Maasai Mara Game Reserve
Masai Mara is Kenya’s most famous and most visited game reserve. Open savannahs, rolling grasslands and undulating hills sets the scene for the splendour of the Mara. July to September sees the annual migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles from the plains of the Serengeti. Driven by dry conditions in the Serengeti and led by the lightning and thunder to the north, huge herds of mammals cross the Tanzanian border and rivers to reach the Mara’s grasslands.
They are tracked by elusive predators: black-manned lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas, and circled by vultures as their journey unfolds. Tourists often find themselves amazed at the stark reality that unfolds as the herds cross the rivers. Other land mammals includes elephants, topi, impala, giraffe, gazelle, baboons, jackals, water buffalo, ostriches, antelope and more. The river banks and water-holes sees hippo, crocodile and abundant birdlife including herons, kestrels, corncrakes, bee-eaters, hornbills, shrikes, sunbirds and over 53 different types of birds of prey.
Tourists can also catch a glimpse of the traditional Masai culture. The Masa own the area toward the north. A proud and nomadic people the Masai have lived in harmony with nature for centuries.
NEWS ON MAASAI MARA
Maasai Mara Game Reserve received a shot in the arm when a panel of experts and a major American television channel declared the annual Wildebeest migration one of the seven new wonders of the world.
Broadcasting live from the Maasai Mara to millions of American homes, the channel made the declaration during its breakfast show “Good Morning America.”
Wildebeest cross a river during their migration from the Maasai Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The unique event has earned the animals and the two parks a distinction as one of the new wonders of the world.
Every year, the wildebeest migrate from the Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, attracting thousands of tourists to witness the rare event in nature.
The TV show, which featured a live interview with Kenya Wildlife Service Director Julius Kipng’etich, was the culmination of six days during which panelists invited by the channel voted for new wonders of the world.
The new wonders are separate from the conventional Seven Wonders of the World known for centuries and which are classified by Unesco.
The panel of experts included an oceanographer, a tour expert, a range and wildlife management expert.
The Maasai Mara and Serengeti and the wildebeest migration were selected as one of the new wonders because of what the experts termed as “the uniqueness of the area and the preservation it provides to so many species living in harmony”.
The six other new wonders of the world according to ABC are Tibet’s Potala Palace, selected for the hope it provides to exiled Tibetans that one day they will return to their homeland; the Old Jerusalem City, which is holy to both Muslims and Christians; the Polar Ice Caps in Iceland for the mixture of cold frozen glaciers and volcanoes; the underwater Hawaiian Island’s Monument, a protected underwater coral reef; the Internet – described as a world where anything is possible and the Mayan Pyramids in Cancun, Mexico whose sight was described as breathtaking.
In their citation, the panelists said: “More than one million wildebeests, half a million gazelles, and 200,000 zebras constantly on the move – they’re all in search of fresh grass and water. Welcome to the Serengeti and the Masai Mara plains in the heart of East Africa – the seventh New Wonder of the World.
Covering about 10,000 square miles of land teeming with life, the Serengeti is home not only tosome of the most diverse wildlife on the planet, but the start and finish line for one of the world’s last great migrations.Every year, wildebeests, zebras and gazelles roam, pushing ever forward in a clockwise rotation covering the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania, along the way encountering friends and foes alike.
“There’s high drama almost the whole time,” said tour guide Mr David Bromham. “If they’re not birthing 300,000 calves in the three-week period, they’re leaping into rivers for 20 (feet) up.”
Wildebeests may have been making the trek for millions of years, coping with disease, drought and predators.
“It would be astonishing and wondrous to watch the migrations go by,” said Mr Neil deGrasse Tyson, a panelist and astrophysicist.
Those lucky enough to travel here see wild animals in their purest state. On the East African plains, you’ll see lions, elephants, giraffes, and lots of wildebeests.