In the Nomad Africa Magazine April 2018 issue, discover the wild side of Africa and let the Mara mystify with her untamed beauty. Kate Webster takes you into the wild, from dawn to dusk in one of Africa’s most iconic playgrounds.
As dawn breaks there was a stirring happening. The air was cool with an electricity that cuts through the static and leaves you feeling on edge. The smell of the bush danced on the air, a sweet mix of florals, rustic earthy scents and petrichor from the morning dew.
The sun’s golden glow blanketed the plains, its warmth still developing with each minute that passed. The sound of morning birds filled the air in a symphony of calls. There was movement on the horizon.
It was my first visit to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Affectionally known as the Mara, it is a large game reserve in Narok County, which continues to the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region, Tanzania.
The Maasai Mara was named in honour of the ancestral inhabitants of the area, the Maasai people. They described the area when looked at from afar, “Mara,” which is Maa (Maasai language) for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.
Covering some 1,510 km2, the Maasai Mara stretches for as far as the eye can see. Even then, it is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which covers some 25,000 km2 and includes the following Group Ranches: Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien, and Kimintet.
If I was a vulture circling and looking across the land, I would see the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west, and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west. I would see the Sand, Talek River and Mara River all draining the reserve with fringing shrubs and trees.