The Mara is a relatively small park that covers about 1300 square kilometres. It is a seamless part of the much larger 27 000 square kilometres Serengeti Mara Ecosystem which includes the Serengeti National Park and also communal Masai land bordering the region where Masai herdsmen graze their cattle alongside the herds. It takes its name from the Masai word for spotted which might refer to the small islands of tree clumps that cover much of its rolling green plains. It is a beautiful region bisected by various rivers including the Mara, Sand and the Talek.
How to get there
There are regular scheduled flights into three airstrips in the Mara from Nairobi and the flight is roughly 35 minutes.
The Mara is known for its large concentrations of predators especially lion, leopard and cheetah which can be seen remarkably easily thanks to the openness of the terrain. Elephants, buffalo, black rhino, and the distinctive Masai giraffe also occur here along with a diversity of antelope including Thompson’s gazelle, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, impalas, duikers, Coke’s hartebeest and large herds of zebra. The park has more than 460 species of birds.
When to go
The Mara is always a great place to visit. But many people time their visit for the annual migration. Rainfall and the availability of grazing triggers the migration of three million
ungulates across the Serengeti Mara Ecosystem each year. It is undoubtedly one of the great natural wonders of the world and nowhere is it more spectacular than in the Mara, where the animals gather from July to October. At
this time, the vast herds are not only in enormous concentrations, but they are forced to cross rocky and crocodile-infested rivers. The Mara itself is a national reserve that has large numbers of daily visitors and when visiting the main crossing points it is not uncommon to see 100 other vehicles.
Need to know
Over the past 10 years private concessions have seen the boundaries of the conservation land bordering the park increasing considerably. Many of these private concessions such as Mara North and Olare Orok provide some of the best game viewing in the region and also an exclusivity, which is not found in the park. Off road driving, night drives and walks are other privileges, which guests can enjoy in the private concessions.