THE MASAI MARA
The Masai Mara region is considered the jewel of African wildlife and nowhere on the continent can you find the same abundance and variety of wild animals. It is also a prime area for ornithologists and hundreds of different bird species have been recorded. The area is teeming with herbivores that, in turn, support large numbers of predators. Millions of wildebeest, gazelle, zebra, buffalo, impala, topi, hartebeest, giraffe, eland, elephant, dik-dik, hippo and warthog live their natural lifecycle alongside the largest population of lions in Kenya as well as cheetah, leopard, hyena and jackal.
The Mara ecosystem is made of several conservancies. In addition to the Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) there are privately-managed conservancies that offer visitors the ultimate safari: the lowest tourism densities; incredible day and night game viewing; and authentic cultural interactions. But above all, these Conservancies are managed according to a model that protects the delicate ecosystem and benefits the landowners themselves – the Maasai people. Among the main conservancies there are Mara North Conservancy (MNC), Lemek Conservancy and the other private conservancies that surround the National Reserve (like Naibosho and Olare Motorola). The National Reserve covers 1,672 square km (more than 400,000 acres) and is situated between 1,500 and 2,100 metres above sea level. It is part of the Serengeti ecosystem that extends from northern Tanzania into southern Kenya. This is where Saruni Wild is located, at the heart of the ecosystem on the border between Mara North and Lemek.
This area is the key dispersal zone for the annual 'Great Migration' and supports an extensive variety of additional species, the most recognisable include lion, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, hyena, elephant, crocodile, wild dog, giraffe, hippopotamus, and over 450 bird species. The scenery ranges from the rolling hills dotted with acacias, made famous by endless wildlife documentaries, to the lesser known mountains, rivers and valleys where the vegetation can be very green and lush.
The highlight of the Masai Mara is the famous annual migration of wildebeest that move north from the Serengeti in Tanzania each July-August in search of fresh grazing. After remaining here for three or four months they return south in October before the beginning of the rainy season. Watching millions of these animals traveling en mass is truly a humbling experience for human observers.
The Masai Mara is, above all, the home of the Maasai, a traditional semi-nomadic people known for their beauty, intelligence and a deep love and understanding of the African wilderness.