The trip through the Great Rift Valley is certainly spectacular and, believe it or not, the 14 hour drive is certainly well worth the effort.
The Great Rift Valley in Kenya is well known as the domain of the Maasai people who live in simple tow or three room mud huts, arranged in a circle and enclosed with a cruedly errected thick round 'fence' of sharp thorn bushes to keep their cattle in and the local lions out!
The Masai Mara National Reserve is relatively close to Nairobi, approx 150 kms from the city centre. Having said that, the roads are the most pathetic, pot hole riddled, dangerous, dusty, back country tracks that you can imagine. Be prepared for a very long 14 hour drive to the "Mara." Yes, that is correct, 14 hours!
It seems very obvious from the outset that the money that is allocated to the maintainence of these roads ends up in the pockets of the corrupt officials that "run" the country.
It is well worth the trip as the people, wildlife and scenery that make up the experience that is the "Mara" will be etched into your mind forever more. Di it, you won't regret it.
The reserve, gazetted in 1961, is located west of the Rift Valley and is a natural extension of the Serengeti plains, in Tanzania. The Mara river, the reserve's backbone, traverses north to south heading for its westbound way unto lake Victoria, through the Tanzanian park. This course is the natural barrier crossed every year by the large migratory herds of wildebeests and zebras which march across the two parks.
During the months of July to September one of nature's most dramatic spectacles occurs, the annual migration of over a million wildebeest and zebra, coming from the Serengeti, to cross the Mara River into the Reserve. At this time of the year you will see a large number of lion, hippo, crocodile and vultures all of which prey on the weak and young migrating animals.
Since it is protected as a reserve and not as a national park, Masai Mara is not managed by Kenya Wildlife Service but by the local authorities, namely District Councils.
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