The Maasai Mara National Reserve is located in the Rift Valley in southwest Kenya, bordering Tanzania, 45 minutes' flight or approx. six hours' drive from Nairobi. Around July each year, herds of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores travel over the border from the Serengeti to the Mara during the Great Migration.
The reserve offers fantastic chances of seeing the Big Five – and even better opportunities for viewing big cats. The BBC’s Big Cat Diary team have been following the lives of the Mara’s resident lions, leopards and cheetahs here since 1996. Other wildlife to spot includes elephant, giraffe, zebra, hyena, impala, wildebeest, topi and buffalo.
The landscape is predominantly open grassland, with areas of acacia woodland and occasional bushes. The Mara River bisects the reserve – its waters are inhabited by crocodile and hippo, and many a wildebeest has come into danger when making the crossing during the annual Great Migration.
There are no fences so the wildlife roams freely throughout the Mara region. The land on these surrounding conservancies is owned by local tribes, with camps and lodges leasing the land from them. This system benefits the local community and also allows for activities that are not permitted within the reserve, such as Maasai-guided bush walks.