Maasai Mara

Ecotourism Resource


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The Maasai Mara National Reserve (also known as Masai Mara and by the locals as The Mara) is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya, contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region, Tanzania. It is named in honor of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of 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.

It is globally famous for its exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson's gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which includes the following Group Ranches: Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien, and Kimintet.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is today faced by unprecedented challenges. Inside the Reserve, escalating pressures from tourism development and growing visitor numbers drawn by the world-renown of the Reserve’s wildebeest migration and other exceptional natural resources are leading to a decline in the quality of the tourism product, and to a deterioration of the natural habitats on which the Reserve’s tourism product is based, which is in turn leading to a major decline in several of the Reserve’s charismatic wildlife species. Outside
the Reserve, there is growing pressure from local communities to use the Reserve’s pastures and water sources for livestock, because of the diminishing supplies of these resources in the wider ecosystem, and deteriorating community livelihoods. Rapidly changing land-use in the Greater Mara Ecosystem and rapid and uncontrolled tourism infrastructure development is also leading to diminishing dispersal areas and migratory corridors for the Reserve’s wildlife, and enhanced poaching and human-wildlife conflict. In the face of all these and other challenges, the Reserve’s management has been unable to respond adequately to the changing circumstances, lacking as it does a clear road map for the future management of the Reserve in a radically changing world, and also lacking the financial resources, manpower and infrastructure to address the emerging challenges.

In response to these grave concerns about the future of the Reserve, the County Councils of Narok and Trans Mara together with the Mara Conservancy, which is responsible for managing the Mara Triangle section of the Reserve, resolved in May 2007 to jointly finance the development of a new 10-year management plan for the Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR), the first management plan for the Reserve to be developed for a quarter of a century. The main aims of the plan are to:
Ensure conservation of the Reserve’s globally significant biodiversity

Maintain the role of the MMNR as the flagship of Kenya’s tourism industry

.Improve on a sustainable basis the revenues generated by the MMNR, to support increasing community livelihood and PA management needs

Provide a practical management framework to support MMNR managers in carrying out their dayto- day management responsibilities.

In order to achieve these aims, the new plan sets out a set of stakeholder and management agreed goals (the purpose statements and objectives) that Reserve managers will aim to achieve, and a series of prescriptions and management actions that will be implemented in order to ensure these goals are achieved. The plan mainly focuses on the management of the Reserve itself, although, to a limited degree, it does also address issues beyond the Reserve that are impacting on the area, such as regarding ecological or community issues.

The Serengeti Road


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