Masai Mara, Kenya

The Masai Mara, as the Kenyans call it, is undoubtedly Kenya's best known Park and contains great concentrations of wildlife. Covering an area in excess of 1,800 square km (almost 700 square miles) it was established in 1961 and adjoins the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania forming the northern end of the Great Migration ecosystem.

This is the traditional land of the Maasai people, nomadic herders who choose a traditional lifestyle and who are permitted to graze their cattle in the area. The park's habitats include the forests along the banks of the Mara and Talek Rivers, acacia forests and open savannah. These various habitats are home to a great variety of game including lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, wildebeest (gnu), giraffe, buffalo, jackal, topi, gazelles, impala and elephant. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles are plentiful in the rivers and the bird life is also abundant. No less than 53 different species of birds of prey alone have been recorded.

From June through October you may see the annual Migration as hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra move through the area in search of fresh grass. Driven on by those behind, the first animals ford the Mara River. This perilous crossing undertaken by hordes of beasts is truly dramatic and an obvious highlight.