Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya – Wildebeest Migration

Maasai Mara Game Reserve

It is also known as Maasai Mara and locally as The Mara. The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is a vast game reserve located South West of Nairobi, the Capital City of Kenya and Kenyan safari hub. The Mara is an extension of the neighboring Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

The Maasai Mara Wildlife Reserve is famously known worldwide for its superbly high population of leopards, lions, cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest trek to and from the Serengeti each year from July to October. This is known as The Great Migration with the highlight being the Mara River crossing where crocodiles lay in wait to make a kill whilst others drown in the already swollen Mara River. This is a great scene for travelers to The Mara during Kenya safari experience. This annual phenomenon attracts hundreds of Kenyan safari enthusiasts to witness this remarkable journey of the wildebeests.

While on Maasai Mara safari tour, wildlife to be seen includes the migration of wildebeests, Thomson’s gazelle, topi and zebra which migrates annually to the Mara.

Also resident to the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve are the big five members (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and Black Rhinoceros).

Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya: Wildebeest migration - mara game reserve

About Maasai Mara

Within the Mara River and Talek River, the Nile crocodiles and hippopotamus are also found in large numbers. Hyenas, bat-eared foxes, cheetahs, and jackals can also be found in the reserve. Within Masai Mara,  the plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for safari game viewing, in particular for the lion and cheetah.

Like the adjoining Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the wildebeests are the main inhabitants of the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Their numbers are estimated in several million. In July of every year, the wildebeests migrate towards the north from Serengeti plains to Masai Mara in search of freshly sprouting pasture. They then make a return journey to the south approximately late October of each year.

On a Kenya safari, The Great Migration is probably the world’s most attractive natural event which involves more than 1.3 million wildebeests, 97,000 Topi, nearly¬† 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 200,000 zebras and finally about 18,000 elands. The migrating animals are without doubt closely followed along their route by hungry predators, most markedly lions and hyena, out to make their kill from them. Due to this dramatic phenomenon, many travelers also migrate into the Masai Mara on safari in Kenya during July to October. This is a scene to only seen exclusively while on a Maasai Mara tour in Kenya.

There are many other antelopes to be found in the Mara Game Reserve. These include eland, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, Coke’s hartebeest, and duiker. Large herds of zebra are to be found throughout the reserve. The Maasai Mara is also abode to the majestic Maasai giraffe. Rarely seen in any other part of Kenya, the Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, can be seen here in The Mara.

wildebeest migration at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve: migration in kenya masai mara
Remarkably, In Maasai Mara Game Reserve there are over 470 species of birds that have already been recorded in the Mara. Most of these birds migrants and about 60 species are raptors. For avid bird watchers, vulture, hornbill, secretary bird, marabou stork, Maasai ostrich, crowned crane, African pygmy falcon, long-crested Eagle, and the lilac-breasted roller are residents of this reserve. So to say, The Mara Game Reserve is a fit destination for Kenya bird watching tours.