5 Interesting Facts about Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve

Jhalana leopard safari

“Fabulous” is the perfect word to describe the wildlife of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, a large part of African savanna including the northern part of the Serengeti Plains.

Well known for its great wildebeest migration, plenty of lions and the rich culture of the native Maasai people, traditional pastoral herders who have grazed cattle here for hundreds of years, southwest Kenya’s Maasai Mara is a treat for all travelers.

Here are 5 interesting facts you might not know about this 580-square-mile reserve which is home to nearly a hundred mammal species and offers impressive wildlife sighting all year.

  1. The reserve’s first name represents the Maasai people. The second word, Mara–“spotted” in Maa (the Maasai language) –  glorifies how they described the area when they saw it from afar. The dark shadows from the clouds and the circles of trees, savannah & scrub gave the land a speckled appearance.
  2. The Maasai people don’t consider themselves as only residents of the region. The land is a vital part of their lives, but they strongly believe that they are also an integral part of the life of the land. For this reason, they hardly hunt and do their best to live in harmony with wild animals.
  3. When actually recognized as a wildlife sanctuary in 1961, the Maasai Mara encompassed only 200 square miles of the present area.
  4. Scientists have detected more than 570 species of wild birds in the park, many of them are migrants. More than 50 birds of prey, including, storks, eagles, and vultures, comprise Mara’s rich birdlife.
  5. Proof of early human settlements, including arrowheads & pottery left behind form the Neolithic era, have been found within the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
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