Masai Mara National Reserve and Conservancies – Located on Kenya’s south western boundary with Tanzania the Masai Mara Reserve joins the Serengeti wildlife area to form possibly the most dramatic wilderness area on the continent.
There are no fences separating where the two countries, Kenya and Tanzania meet, and no fences between the reserves and the surrounding private conservancies. Allowing free passage for all the wildlife, to continue to move from South to North and back again, as they have done for centuries.
Safari packages passing through the Masai Mara
Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara Game Reserve, started as a small wildlife sanctuary 520 Km2 in 1948, it was extended eastwards in 1961 and went through some size variations before reaching the current size of 1,510 Km2 that it is today. The reserve originally got its name from the Maasai people who called the area “Mara” which in Maa (language of the Maasai) means ‘spotted’. This is exactly what the area looks like from afar. Great sweeping plains, spotted with umbrella acacia trees, bushes and animals.
In the east are the sandy Ngama Hills covered in thick bush, favoured by the black rhino. The western border is demarcated by the Oloololo Escarpment. On the northern border is the Musiara Swamp, a great place for sighting elephant, lion, cheetah and leopard. The Mara Triangle is bordered by the Mara River, which has lush grasslands, attracting high concentrations of wildebeest during the annual migration.
The National Reserve’s Mara Triangle is managed by the Trans-Mara County Council which is a non-profit organization and the more tourist-popular south eastern section is managed by the Narok County Council. These organizations are responsible for the protection of the wildlife and the anti-poaching units, as well as the tourism in the area.
The Mara River
The Mara River originates in the Napuiyapi Swamp, in the Kenyan highlands, as the Amala and the Nyangores rivers, providing water for human and animal alike along its route. The two rivers converge to form the Mara River which flows through Africa’s greatest wilderness areas including the Masai Mara and Serengeti before ending in Lake Victoria – but it is on its route through the Masai Mara where it hosts the most dramatic natural events on earth.
Masai Mara Conservancies
The Masai Mara ecosystem contains around 25% of Kenya’s wildlife. These rangelands belong to a variety of landowners, some private individuals, some belong to communities and some to groups of individuals on lands that were formerly community land and have since been subdivided. Many of these land owners are pastoralists, traditional Maasai. These lands comprise most of the ancient migratory corridors bordering the famous tourist attraction, the Masai Mara. Should the landowners ever decide to fence them off and use their land for agriculture the country’s wildlife would be greatly diminished.
Situated on the northern most point of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, running along the Mara River. There is a large number of giraffe and also plains animals and resident buffalo that live near the boundary. There is also a resident pride of lion that have their territory inside the conservancy. The riverine forests contain hippos and crocodiles are numerous along the river. They also focus on cattle management programmes working in conjunction with the local community.
Mara Naboisho Conservancy
Located adjacent to the Masai Mara Reserve, is a private conservancy, with a high concentration of wildlife encounters.This conservancy offers exclusivity and also protects and empowers the local Maasai community by channelling a large part of the conservancy fees paid by tourists back into the community.
Mara North Conservancy
A partnership of twelve member camps and also 788 Maasai landowners made up this is a non for profit company. Moreover, they provide world class commitment to the environment, wildlife and also local communities. It borders the Masai Mara Reserve, and is also one of the most populated wildlife areas within the Masai Mara. Moreover, It is home to Leopard Gorge, a birthing and maternity ground for big cats made famous by the BBC’s “Big Cat Diary”. Also a good place to view the highly endangered wild dogs. During the Loita Hills migration (Dec to May) thousands of wildebeest also come to Mara North.
Ol Kinyei Conservancy
An area of 8,000 acres of community land was set aside for this first conservancy in the Mara ecosystem.The conservancy is now 17,500 acres and belongs to the Maasai community. They set aside their land for wildlife conservation. This provided them with returns to help them improve their lives and not be solely dependent of cattle. There is also a resident pride of over 30 lions, leopards and also numerous other animals. There are also over 300 species of birds. With only two camps with a total of 15 tents on this conservancy. You can enjoy the wildlife without the crowds.
Olare Motorogi Conservancy
277 Maasai landowners brokereda a deal I\n May 2006 . The involved parties thereaftre formed this conservancy, bordering the Masai Mara Reserve. They offer high quality low traffic safaris. The Maasai people have agreed to move their homes from the area. This only allow managed cattle grazing, leaving the wildlife unimpeded. As a result the wildlife population and diversity has improved in the area. There are now good populations of predators and herbivores, including for example big cats and elephants.