What is the Maasai Mara National Reserve?
The Maasai Mara National Reserve (also spelt Masai Mara) was established in 1948, it is approximately 1500sq. kms in size and adjoins Tanzania’s Serengeti. Probably Kenya’s number one tourist destination it holds spectacular scenery as well as vast amounts of bird and wildlife. The Reserve is famous for it’s huge herds of Wildebeest and Zebra which migrate through Maasai Mara from the Serengeti around June-October each year. It is a reserve not a national park meaning it is totally unfenced and is run by the local county rather than the national Government.
Where is the Maasai Mara National Reserve located?
It is located approx. 270km South West of Nairobi and the reserve borders Tanzania and the Serengeti. It is approximately 85km from the nearest large town which is Narok. The reserve itself has 4 main entry gates, Ololomutiek, Sekenani, Talek and Musiara. The roads beyond Narok to each of these gates are un-tarmaced rough roads, some in better condition than others.
What can I expect to see in the Maasai Mara?
As you approach the Maasai Mara you will begin to see many of the local Maasai tribes people as well as their livestock which surrounds the National Reserve.
The Maasai Mara is unfenced and is an extension of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania therefore the wildlife is free to roam back and forth, inside and outside the Reserve on a daily basis. For that reason every day is different and you can never predict what you will see.
However aside from abundant birdlife the Maasai Mara is a Big 5 National Reserve meaning it has Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Black Rhino which permanently reside here. It also has Cheetahs, Serval Cats,Hyenas, many species of Antelope and resident herds of Zebra and Wildebeest which don’t migrate to Tanzania and therefore can be seen year round.
As well as the plains wildlife there is also some stunning scenery and rivers including the Mara, Talek and Sand River which are home to Hippos and Crocodiles.
How much is it to enter the Maasai Mara?
- Park entry for non-residents is currently $80 per adult and $45 per child for 24hrs.
- For residents it is KES 1200 per adult and KES 300 per child or student for 24hrs.
- For a vehicle with 6 seats and under is it KES 400 and for 6-12 Seats is it KES 1000 per 24hrs
What are the rules and regulations I should follow in the Maasai Mara?
This is a list of current rules and regulations set by the County Government of Narok:
- Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
- Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
- Don’t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
- When there are more than five vehicles waiting to see an animal the viewing time is restricted to 10minutes. Vehicles waiting to see the sighting must wait at a distance of 100mtrs.
- Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
- Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonise your fellow visitors.
- Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas. Sitting on top of vehicles during game viewing is strictly prohibited.
- No alighting from vehicles at river crossing points.
- Keep below the maximum speed limit (50kph) and always watch out for wildlife in the road such as Tortoises.
- Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat. Keep to granted roads and cut tracks.
- When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 25mtrs and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
- Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
- Ensure you get correct receipts and produce these to the park officials on demand.
- Use only designated entry/exit gates.
- Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
- Leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 6.30pm and 6am unless they are staying inside overnight in which case you should be in your camp by 6.45pm.
- Night game driving between 6.45pm and 6am is not allowed.
- Do not cross the Tanzanian border.
- No pets allowed into the reserve.
- Entry to the park is at your own risk