Facts About the Mazai Mara Park of Kenya
Masai Mara Park is a protected area in southern Kenya, along its border with Tanzania. The Mazai Mara Park covers an area of 1,510 sq km and is the most visited Park in Kenya. It was first protected in 1948 but officially declared a national reserve in 1984. Masai Mara consists of open grasslands and patches of acacia woodland with the rocky outcrops of kopjes. It is bordered on the east by the hills of the Eastern Rift of the Great Rift Valley and on the west by an escarpment, the other side of which slopes down to Lake Victoria; and across the border is the Serengeti Park of Tanzania.
Mazai Mara Lion on flickr,com by Mara 1
The Masai Mara holds the largest population of Lions in Kenya. It also boasts of other great mammals like the elephant, buffalo, hippopotamus, giraffe, topi, hartebeest, zebra, cheetah and gazelles etc. The Masai Mara is one of the best reserves where visitors could view these animals comfortably. The park hosts the nearly exterminated population of endangered black rhinoceros. It’s a common sight where the herds of wildebeest and zebra are being preyed on by the lion, leopard, hyena and cheetah as they migrate from the Masai Mara to Serengeti in Tanzania.
Cheetah on flickr.com by cliff1066TM
The Masai Mara is of great importance to the Serengeti ecosystem. The migratory herds of wildebeest and zebra, moves from the Serengeti when the grasses get dried, to the main grasslands of Masai Mara where it will be raining to support the growth of fresh grasses. From July to August, nearly 2 million animals move across the open dusty plains of the Masai Mara in seemingly never-ending droves. The herds turn around and disperse southward back into the Serengeti in October and November when the grasses come up again.
Zebra on flickr.com by Robbert van der Steeg
The Masai Mara Park belongs to the Masai people of Kenya. They live a traditional pastoral ways of life and feed mostly on their subsistence agricultural products. The Masai people are striving to reclaim most of the park land for agriculture as against the park because they believe that will be rewarding than their benefits from the park’s tourist revenues. Apart from the challenge of the Masai people, tourism can pose a threat to the park’s ecosystem. The influx of visitors and the excessive crowding of tourists’ vehicles have affected the habitat of the animals. For example, animals like the lions, leopards and cheetahs keeps retreating inwards. The vegetation of the park also suffers a lot from the traffic of excessive visitors thus reducing the grasses for the animals’ grazing. The park administrators sometimes close the park to allow the grasses to recover. The park remains one of the sources of revenue to the government of Kenya and the people of Masai.
Picture in box by exfordy on flickr.com