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This 938 mi² (1510 km²) reserve and its surrounding conservancies are quintessential Africa: big game and predators traversing the open plains, rolling savannah grasslands, and acacia-dotted bush. The Maasai Mara serves as one of the stages for the Great Migration, one of the most impressive natural events in the world. Millions of ungulates, most notably wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle, seasonally converge at this National Reserve in approximately mid-July. By around mid-October, these migratory ungulates return to the Serengeti. But before then, the Maasai Mara’s most famous spectacle occurs: wildebeest and zebra frantically stampede across the Mara River while crocodiles lay waiting below the surface.
Yet unlike many other seasonal reserves in Africa, the Maasai Mara offers excellent year-round game viewing. Year-round residents include elephant, lion (prides of which sometimes exceed 40), hyena, buffalo, black rhino, cheetah, eland, topi and Maasai giraffe. For this reason and its expansive landscape, the Maasai Mara is arguably one of the best places on earth for ballooning.
The Maasai Mara is also a birdwatcher’s paradise. The more than 400 species inhabiting Mara’s wetlands and grasslands include martial eagle, long-crested eagle, bateleur, Ruppell’s vulture, white-backed vulture, hooded vulture and white-headed vulture, Ross’s turaco, black-and-white casqued hornbill, blue flycatcher and the narina trogon.
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