MAASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE is situated to the west of Nairobi, on Tanzania’s northern border. This 1, 812 km² (700 sq. miles) Reserve is the northern extension of the larger Serengeti National Park – a massive 56, 000 km² (5, 600 sq. miles).
The Masai Mara offers wonderful scenery and an abundance of big game. It is perhaps the only region left in Kenya where the visitor may see animals in the same super-abundance as existed a century ago. It is a reserve of breathtaking vistas, panoramas of vast rolling plains, hills and woodland groves, well watered by the lovely Mara River which bisects the Reserve from north to south.
The Mara is home to the largest population of lions in Kenya, these magnificent beasts spending most of the day sleeping in the shade of acacia trees. Vast herds of buffalo, zebra and wildebeest roam the plains. Impala, gazelle, giraffe and hartebeest grace the landscape, the cautious topi may also be seen standing sentinel on earth mounds on constant look-out for predators. The waters of the Mara River are home to crocodiles and pools of hippo, the acacia woodlands and riverine forests favored by leopard and elephant, and the open savannah and dry bush areas host to the plains game and their attendant predators such as lion, cheetah, hyena and jackal.
The birdlife of the Mara is as profuse as the animal life. On the open plains there is a variety of bustards and ground hornbills. Birds of prey are abundant – no less than 53 species have been recorded, including the magnificent Bateleur eagle. In the sky there are always opportunistic vultures circling and waiting in anticipation, and distinctive secretary birds are a common sight as they stalk sedately over the open plains.