The famously black-manned Mara lions are possibly the stars of the Mara show, but cheetah, elephant, kongoni, topi, Thompson’s gazelle, waterbuck, hyena, and primates are all here too. As with the rest of Kenya, the birding is good. There is no settlement within the reserve however, the Mara is in theory owned by the Masai, pastoralists and, in earlier times, renowned lion-killers. Lodges and hotels offer the opportunity to buy their beadwork, checked cloths and copies of their spears. It is said that if lions scent approaching Masai on the breeze they move swiftly in the opposite direction.
Famously, the Mara is the northerly end of the Great Migration, that great primeval surge of wildebeest, zebra and antelope that sweeps in from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara as the Tanzanian grass starts to fail. The large predators who pick off the weak, the stragglers and the young track them. The great herds, nearing their destination by July, mass along the Mara River, pushing, shoving and fantastically noisy, just waiting for the first animal to cross so that they can all follow, lemming-like, on the final leg of the journey. However, crocodiles lie in wait, sluggishly cruising the waters, fully prepared for their best meal of the year. Many fail in the life-and-death struggle – drowned, eaten by the crocodiles or, made careless or weak by their stressful swim, brought down by lions. The Masai Mara is terrible yet wonderful, and not to be missed.
- Wildebeest migration.
- Big five
- Beautiful scenery (Escarpments
- Maasai Culture