Venturing into the African savannah to photograph the wildlife of the Maasai Mara is a dream for many wildlife enthusiasts. From majestic elephants to mighty lions, Kenya's Mara offers an endless list of fascinating creatures to explore. This article will take you through the remarkable wildlife that calls this incredible ecosystem home. As you venture through the Mara, Mother Nature will present you with a fantastic array of captivating & awe-inspiring animals. Photographers from around the world come to see the majestic African Wildlife of the Maasai Mara in its natural habitat, & it is a sight that you will remember for a long time.
The Mara is also home to many bird species, making it an ideal photographer's destination. Whether you're searching for an unforgettable safari experience or an up close & personal encounter with the incredible wildlife that calls Kenya home, there's no better place to visit than the Maasai Mara.
The Mara ecosystem is one of Africa's most iconic & diverse wildlife reserves, making it the perfect spot to take in the sights & sounds of the Mara. As you traverse the terrain, you'll be astonished by the sheer number of animal species living in this area, along with the unique array of plants & vegetation that are also abundant here.
From photographing African elephants up close to spotting lions, cheetahs, & gazelles, visiting the Mara will leave you mesmerized. The Mara is an incredible destination for photographers, who will see the wild at its best, an experience never to be forgotten.
What is the wildlife you can typically see in Maasai Mara, Kenya?
The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is one of the most iconic safari destinations in the world. It's home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, including lions, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, baboons, & many other species. One of the most popular attractions in the Mara is the annual wildebeest migration, which sees hundreds of thousands of wildebeest & zebra traverse the reserve to search for food & new grazing grounds.
The Mara's plains are home to one of the densest populations of large predators in the world, & visitors will have the chance to spot lions & cheetahs as they roam through the grasslands. The area also hosts a variety of antelope species, such as Grant's gazelle & Thomson's gazelle, which are both common sightings. Herds of elephants can also be seen, particularly during the wet season when the vegetation is more abundant.
Birdlife is abundant in the Mara, with a wide range of species from raptors to smaller passerines. Vultures, eagles & hawks often soar above the plains, while pink-backed pelicans are usually spotted along the Talek River. The Mara is also home to more unusual species, such as the Lesser Kestrel, the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill & the White-belied Bustard.
Other animals found in the Mara include hippos, crocodiles, hyenas, jackals, warthogs, ostriches, baboons, monkeys & genet cats. Nocturnal species are harder to spot; however, if you venture out on a late afternoon or early evening game drive, you may be lucky & see servals, African civets, mongooses & aardvarks. The Mara is truly a remarkable destination for witnessing the incredible diversity of African wildlife.
Which is the best month to visit the Maasai Mara?
The best time to visit Maasai Mara & other parks in Kenya for optimal wildlife viewing is during the dry season from July to October. During this period, the Mara is quite dry, & the concentration of animals is higher as they are restricted to waterholes & areas near rivers & lakes. This makes spotting wildlife easier & more rewarding as the game is concentrated in fewer areas.
The months of July & August are particularly great for wildlife viewing in the Maasai Mara. Wildebeests & antelopes can be found grazing in the plains, & predators, including lions, cheetahs, leopards & hyenas, are out hunting. It is also a great time to witness the Great Migration, with millions of creatures going through the Mara Triangle in search of greener pastures.
November to June is generally the wet season in the Maasai Mara, & while wildlife is still easy to spot, it is not as rich or easy as during the dry season. However, if visiting during the wet season, there are many advantages. The lush green vegetation & the newborn calves, foals & cubs make for a spectacular show, & bird photographers will be excited to see the variety of migratory birds that flock to the Mara during this time.
No matter when you visit, the wildlife of the Mara is always incredible. However, the best months to visit Maasai Mara are July to October for the most rewarding wildlife viewing experience.
What is the Maasai Mara great migration?
The Maasai Mara animal migration, also known as the Great Migration, is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. Every year, millions of wildebeest, zebra, & other herbivores make the perilous journey across the Serengeti plains of Tanzania to the grassy savannas of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in search of food & water. This is an epic struggle of life & death as predators lurk, waiting to pick off stragglers.
The Migration begins in the late-summer months of July & August when the wildebeest & zebra start to gather & migrate northward out of the southern Serengeti plains in search of greener pastures. They eventually reach the Maasai Mara by October, where they stay until July, when the short rains arrive & the herd moves south again, following the rain cycle.
The annual Migration is a spectacle unlike any other, with thousands of animals travelling together, weaving & snaking their way around the country's terrain. The animals traverse rivers, valleys, & gorges & clash with predators such as lions & hyenas, who are always in hot pursuit.
The Maasai Mara is also home to other wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, & hippos. With such a diverse range of animals living side by side, it offers one of the most unique wildlife experiences in the world. A visit to this incredible park is a must-do for any safari enthusiast or nature lover looking to experience the thrill & buzz of the African savanna.
Where is the the Maasai Mara?
The Maasai Mara is a beautiful landscape along the Tanzanian border in southwest Kenya. It houses one of the largest & most diverse wildlife populations, making it one of the premier safari destinations in the world. Spanning over 1,510 square kilometres, the Mara comprises rolling plains, open woodland, lush grasslands, & seasonal swamplands. In this area, visitors can find many animals that depend on the changing environment, including lions, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, & more.
The Mara River runs through the park's centre, providing an important water source for wildlife. From June to October, the Mara is filled with abundant wildebeests, zebras, & other grazing animals during their annual Migration from the Serengeti. The park is divided into blocks managed by local Maasai people, who also use the land for livestock grazing.
This area is considered a biodiversity hotspot, & is home to various wildlife species, rare plants & trees. The Mara is also an essential habitat for over 550 bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The area is also famous for its large prides of lions & its spectacular landscapes, which have been featured in documentaries & films like the BBC's “Big Cat Diary” & Disney's “The Lion King.”
An Introduction to the Wildlife of the Maasai Mara
Kenya's Maasai Mara is a stunningly beautiful part of the world that offers an incredible array of African wildlife. From elephants to lions, cheetahs, wildebeest, & more, the Mara is home to some of the most spectacular animals on the planet. While the safari experience can be thrilling, it also provides a beautiful opportunity to view & appreciate the diverse wildlife of Africa.
The Mara's landscape comprises savanna grassland & acacia trees, which provide the perfect habitat for many wildlife species. Elephants are some of the most iconic animals in the Mara, & there's a chance to spot them in large herds as they travel across the plains in search of food & water. There's also a variety of antelope, such as impalas, gazelles, & Grant's gazelles, that can be seen grazing on the grasslands.
The Mara is also home to the Big Five – a term used to refer to Africa's five most dangerous animals: lions, leopards, rhinos, & elephants, & cape buffalo. Spotting these animals in their natural habitat is an incredible experience, & you're likely to see plenty of majestic lion prides roaming around the region. Cheetahs & wildebeest are also familiar sights in the area, & it's not unusual to catch a glimpse of hippos wallowing in the waterholes.
Birdlife is also abundant in the Mara, with yellow-billed storks, hamerkops, & secretary birds often seen. Many of the Mara's rivers are also home to various fish & reptiles. You may even spot the elusive Nile crocodile basking in the waning sun if you're lucky.
From the iconic animals of the Big Five to the many species of Maasai Mara birdlife, these grasslands provide a mesmerizing display of Africa's incredible Wildlife of the Mara. A visit to the Mara is an unforgettable experience & will leave you with lasting memories.
Bird photography in the Mara
Kenya's Maasai Mara is ideal for avid bird photographers looking for unmatched wildlife experiences. The National Reserve is home to over 450 species of birds, from fossas to flamingos, making it a paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts. The diverse range of habitats, ranging from grasslands to riverine forests, provide a habitat for the myriad bird species found here.
Bird photographers can hope to capture images of the near-endemic Jackson's Francolin & the stunning Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill in the grasslands. At the same time, the open bush & riverine forests of the Mara are excellent places to spot birds like Augur Buzzard & Carruthers Cisticola. Other popular species include the Grey-headed Kingfisher, Grey-capped Warbler, African Harrier-Hawk, & the elusive Bustard.
The Mara also offers many opportunities for bird photographers to photograph birds in their natural environment. The vast wetlands are an oasis for many waterbirds, such as the Gray Crowned Crane & the White Stork. The dense woodlands of the area provide an ideal home to the African Pitta & the African Open-billed Stork. Meanwhile, the rocky hills of the Mara harbour species like Hartlaub's Turaco & White-headed Barbet.
The Big Cats of the Mara
When discussing the Wildlife of the Mara, the first thing that comes to mind is the range of iconic big cats that populate the land. The Mara is home to the beautiful & beloved lion, along with cheetahs & African leopards. These big cats are the crown jewels of the Mara's incredible wildlife.
Lions are the most popular & recognizable of the big cats in the Mara. They hunt, sleep, & raise their cubs in the region, & they can often be spotted in groups anywhere from two to thirty-five. While they may appear lazy since they spend a good part of their day lounging, they are quite fierce hunters, & they can bring down prey such as zebra, buffalo, warthog, & wildebeest.
Cheetahs are unique among the big cats in the Mara, as they are the fastest land animal alive. They use their immense speed for hunting by outrunning their prey. Cheetahs are solitary creatures & hunt mainly during the day. They have an impressive repertoire of tricks for taking down their prey, including stalking, chasing, & tripping.
African leopards are another beautiful creature that inhabits the Mara. They differ from lions & cheetahs in that they are primarily nocturnal & much more solitary, preferring to scavenge on carcasses or hunt small prey such as gazelle, dik-diks, & vervet monkeys. Leopards also possess extraordinary agility & can climb trees to avoid predators or store their kills.
The big cats of the Mara provide a fantastic spectacle & offer some of the best wildlife viewing on Earth. A photo or even a glimpse of them when travelling in the Mara is a memory that will last a lifetime.
What are the rarest animals in Maasai Mara?
The incredible wildlife of Kenya's Maasai Mara is both diverse & abundant. Animals from some of the rarest species in the world can be found here, along with other common animals like zebras & giraffes. One of the rarest animals in this area is the black rhinoceros. The number of these animals has declined dramatically in recent years due to poaching, making them very difficult to spot in the wild. Other rare animals in the Maasai Mara include the African wild dog & the Grevy's zebra.
The African wild dog is a highly endangered species that can live up to 15 years in the wild. They are known for their unique spotted coats & can reach speeds of up to 44 mph while running. Unfortunately, their numbers have declined significantly due to the degradation of their habitats & the rise in human-wildlife conflict.
The Grevy's zebra is another rare species found in Maasai Mara, & it is distinguishable from a regular zebra due to its larger size & narrow stripes. It is also listed as an endangered species as its population has declined significantly due to hunting & habitat loss.
Other rare animals in the Maasai Mara include the cheetah, serval, gazelle, & antelope. The area is also home to rare bird species, such as the white-headed vulture & Verreaux's eagle owl. These animals make Maasai Mara one of the best places to view many of the world's rare creatures in the wild.
Which photography safaris do NaturesLens schedule for photographing the wildlife of the Mara?
NaturesLens offers a range of wildlife photography holidays designed to allow photographers of all levels to add images of the magnificent nature of the Mara to their portfolio. These trips generally are conducted in September when the Kenya wildlife is most active.
Our photography holidays allow photographers to capture stunning images of the wildlife of the Mara; during our trips, photographers will also have the opportunity to photograph an array of African wildlife.
At NaturesLens, we aim to provide photographers with an unforgettable experience that will leave them with beautiful, memorable images. Our trips are led by experienced wildlife photographers who are passionate about wildlife photography & are dedicated to helping photographers capture the best images possible.