The one main factor that makes the Masai Mara National Park so well-known is that it is joined to the Serengeti National Park and therefore allows the free movement of wildebeest during the Great Migration. The Great Migration is an event in which millions of wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara National Park and then back again – creating a spectacular safari experience. When travelling to the Masai Mara it is important to try and track the wildebeest migration so you can catch a glimpse of this amazing spectacle.
The Masai Mara was named after the Masaai tribe (also spelled Masai) who live within this protected park. The Masai people, who are nomadic traditional herders, are permitted to graze their cattle in this area of Kenya. The Masai Mara habitat within the park includes the forests along the banks of the Mara and Talek Rivers, the acacia forests and the open savannah. This area is home to a great variety of game including lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, wildebeest (gnu), giraffe, buffalo, jackal, topi, gazelle, impala and elephant. Hippopotamus and crocodile are plentiful in the rivers here, and the bird life is also abundant.
No less than 53 different species of birds of prey alone have been recorded. From June through to October you may see the annual migration – as hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra move through the area in search of fresh grass. Driven on by those behind, the first animals forge the Mara River. This perilous crossing is undertaken by hordes of beasts, and it is unforgettable to anyone who has ever witnessed this dramatic event.
If you would like to visit the Masai Mara and hopefully get a glimpse of this Great Migration then contact us. Our Jenman East Africa division tracks the migration throughout the season and will be able to advise you on the best time to visit.