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Articles > Africa > Maasai Mara - Africa - The Mara Host The World's Greatest Natural Spectacle

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Maasai Mara - Africa - The Mara Host The World's Greatest Natural Spectacle
South Western Kenya is the heartland of the Maasai. The Maasai are a strongly independent people who still value tradition and ritual as an integral part of their everyday lives. They regard themselves not just as residents of this area but that they are as much a part of the life of the land as the land is part of their lives.

Traditionally, the Maasai rarely hunt and living alongside wildlife in harmony is an important part of their beliefs. Lions and Wildebeest play as important a role in their cultural beliefs as their own herds of cattle. This unique co-existence of man and wildlife makes this Maasai land one of the world's most unique wilderness regions.

At the heart of these lands is the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, widely considered to be Africa's greatest wildlife reserve. The Mara comprises 200 sq miles of open plains, woodlands and riverine forest. Contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, the Mara is home to a breathtaking array of life. The vast grassland plains are scattered with herds of Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle, and Topi. The Acacia forests abound with Birdlife and Monkeys. Elephants and Buffalo wallow in the wide Musiara Swamp. The Mara and Talek rivers are brimming with Hippos and Crocodiles.

Each year the Mara plays host to the world's greatest natural spectacle, the Great Wildebeest Migration from the Serengeti. From July to October, the promise of rain and fresh life giving grass in the north brings more than 1.3 million Wildebeest together into a single massive herd. They pour across the border into the Mara, making a spectacular entrance in a surging column of life that stretches from horizon to horizon.

At the Mara River they mass together on the banks before finally plunging forward through the raging waters, creating a frenzy as they fight against swift currents and waiting crocodiles. The wildebeest bring new life to the Mara, not just through their cycle of regeneration of the grasslands, but for the predators who follow the herds.

The Mara has been called the Kingdom of Lions and these regal and powerful hunters dominate these grasslands. Cheetah are also a common sight in the Mara, as are Hyena and smaller predators such as Jackals. The Mara is an awesome natural wonder, a place where Maasai warriors share the plains with hunting lions, a place of mighty herds and timeless cycles of life, death and regeneration.

The Mara is probably the best serviced of all Kenyan Parks and Reserves with a wide range of Accommodation for any budget. The Reserve is a popular attraction with Safari operators. The reserve is ideal for game drives, and some lodges and camps offer walks and balloon safaris.

Wildlife moves freely in and out of the reserve, and through neighbouring Maasai lands. Outside the boundaries of the reserve there are many other small camps and lodges, some of which offer walking, horse riding and other safari options.

The Loita Hills and the Nguruman Escarpment, both considered sacred to the Maasai, offer high forest trekking opportunities for the adventurous traveller...

Getting there: The point of road access to this region is Narok, a 3 hour drive from Nairobi. There are regular buses and matatus to Narok from Nairobi and other destinations. Some people choose to Fly to the Mara, which is serviced by 2 airstrips. There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi, and the coast. Private Charters also use these strips.

Come for a visit.
About the Author
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail address: southafricantravelarticles@12234455.co.za. Website address: www.12234455.co.za.
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