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wilderbeest

The Maasai Mara National Reserve (also known as Masai Mara and by the locals as The Mara) is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya, contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region, Tanzania. It is named in honor of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: "Mara," which is Maa (Maasai language) for "spotted," an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.
It is globally famous for its exceptional population of Masai lions, African leopards and Tanzanian cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson's gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which includes the following Group Ranches: Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien, and Kimintet.


Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson's gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita Plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve.
All members of the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and black rhinoceros) are found in the Maasai Mara. The population of black rhinos was fairly numerous until 1960, but it was severely depleted by poaching in the 1970s and early 1980s, dropping to a low of 15 individuals. Numbers have been slowly increasing, but the population was still only up to an estimated 23 in 1999.


Hippopotami and Nile crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes can also be found in the reserve. The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah.
As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these ungainly animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson's gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena.


Antelopes can be found, including Grant's gazelles, impalas, duikers and Coke's hartebeests. The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe. The large roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders.
More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park, many of which are migrants, with almost 60 species being raptors. Birds that call this area home for at least part of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, African pygmy-falcons and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya.

 

  1. The Lion
  2. Elephant
  3. Buffalo
  4. Rhino
  5. Leopard
The African lion king of the sub-Saharan savanna, has been admired by man for its beauty and strength for thousands of years. It's one of the most exciting animals to see on safari. These beautiful, large cats are excellent hunters but you're more likely to see one sleeping than hunting. Where to see lions: Nairobi National Park,Masai Mara, Tsavo, and Amboseli National Parks
The African elephant is the largest mammal in the world and remarkably adaptable. Elephants live in woodlands, forests, deserts and savanna, spread across 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Elephants are quite peaceful if left alone, but if they feel threatened - watch out. Where to see elephants: Masai Mara & Amboseli National Parks
Buffalo are commonly found in protected wildlife areas (that have plenty of water), throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Four sub-species of African Buffalo have been recognized and basically reflect the different type of regions and habitats they live in: Forest Buffalo; West African Savanna Buffalo; Central African Savanna Buffalo; and Southern Savanna Buffalo. Where to see Buffalo
There are two species of rhino in Africa, the Black rhino and the White rhino. Black rhinos have suffered the most drastic reduction in population in the last 20 years. There are now only about 4000 left in the wild although valiant conservation efforts are increasing those numbers. Where to see Rhino: Lake Nakuru, Tsavo National Parks and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
The African leopard is more numerous than the African rhino in the Big 5 pantheon, but they are just as difficult to spot on safari in Africa. Leopards use trees as observation platforms and for protection, so you have to remember to look up to see this solitary, beautiful cat. Leopards are shy and nocturnal, quite modest for a cat that can climb, swim and live in a wider range of habitats than most other wild cats. Where to see Leopard: Masai Mara, Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks

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Kenya is a country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley, mountain highlands and abundant wildlife such as lions, elephants and rhinos.