The magnificient Maasai Mara is a world-known popular large game reserve in south-western Kenya. The area is named after the eye-catching traditional tall red-robed Maasai inhabitants. The Maasai Mara lies in the Great Rift Valley, a 3,500 mile fault line from Ethiopia's Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique. This is a reserve that fundamentally belongs to the Maasai people rather than just being a National Park. Maasai Mara is famous for its 600 mile annual migration of zebra, Thomson's gazelle, and wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October. This migration is so immense that it is named the Great Migration, and considered one of the seven New Wonders of the world. Game viewing here is legendary, and includes all of the legendary Big Five, who have become synonymous with Africa - the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. Hippopotami and Nile crocodiles are found in large groups in both the Mara and the Talek rivers. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes can also be found in the reserve. There are more than 470 species of birds in the park, many of which are migrants. All the animals are free to roam outside the park into huge areas known as 'dispersal areas'. Many Maasai villages are also located in the 'dispersal areas' enjoying a synergetic relationship with the wildlife and land. The Maasai people are constantly under pressure to conform to western culture. The best way to understand another culture is to live with them and experience their way of sustaining life, thereby acknowledging their importance and their unique balance with nature. Hiring a 4x4 for a self-drive tour to Maasai Mara is very liberating and empowering experience, and not for the faint at heart. It gives one the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. There are many activities in Maasai Mara including escorted walking safaris, bird watching, horse riding safaris, day and night game drives, visiting the rhinos, and cultural visits to Maasai villages. The adventurous can try a unique and unforgettable balloon safari or scenic microlight flight over the Mara. The romance, spirit and energy of the area is palpable and quite unforgettable, drawing visitors back time after time again.
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