The Big Nine of Masai Mara National Reserve : Maasai mara national reserve is a preserved area, which is located in the southwestern region of Kenya, and it shares boarders with Tanzania. It was officially established in 1961 covering a total surface of about 1,510 square kilometers. This national reserve is surrounded with grassy plains and rolling hills. Masai Mara national reserve is famously known as a unique wildlife conservation haven which is commonly visited because of its spectacular natural diversity of wildlife species hence ranking it to be a home to the big nine animals which include the following below;
Maasai mara national reserve hosts a large population of lion species, which are considered to be among the Big 5, and there are approximately about 850 to 900 lions that can be found within this park. Therefore, it is generally considered as one of the best places in Kenya and East Africa to see these magnificent animals in the wild while on an African safari.
Elephants are one of the most prolific animals in Masai Mara National Reserve as well as the African wilderness; Africa elephants are characterized to be intelligent, sociable and familial animals. Despite the threat they attract due to their ivory, their numbers are high most especially in Masai Mara National Reserve.
African elephants are also known to be the world’s largest land animals, which weigh up to 6.6 tons.
Masai Mara National Reserve is famously known to be a home to Black Rhino compared to White Rhino they are more aggressive and commonly spotted at Lake Nakuru.
In size, black rhinos are smaller than white rhinos. Actually, there is no colour difference between them at all, black rhinos use their horn during mating, fighting and defending themselves from predators, they also used their hooked lip to browse shrubs and prefer thick bush habitat.
Leopards are one of the Big Cats and one of the Big Five species in the genus Panthera, leopards can be found in Masai Mara National Reserve in Big numbers as well as some parks in Kenya.
Leopards are elusive animals and they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened and one of their main threats is human encroachment and habitat loss.
Leopard are shy creatures and they always hunt on their own, they also prefer to hunt at night.
5. African Buffalo.
African buffalo also known as Cape Buffalo are large animals and they are regarded as one of the more dangerous animals in East Africa due to their volatile and unpredictable nature, this is one of the reasons to why the African Buffalo has never been domesticated as is the case in Asia.
In nature, females protect their young calves and solitary rogue bulls are the most aggressive. Weighing 800kg, an angry African buffalo is no joke.
Both sexes have the distinctive curving horns, which broaden and almost meet over the forehead, although those in females are fairly smaller.
Buffaloes are found found in herds of over 100 and never stary too far from a water source most especially in dry season. These animals appear in great numbers in all major parks and reserves in Kenya except in Masai Mara National Reserve.
Cape buffaloes are found in large numbers in Masai Mara National Reserve.
Cheetah is an iconic animal common in Masai Mara National Reserve, cheetahs are known for hunting in the open and in live in groups of up to four or five. Cheetahs are universally known for their spend, they are the fastest land animals which can run up to 110 kilometers per hour on short bursts during hunts.
Cheetahs have a similar to the leopards in appearance however, they are longer and lighter in the body, and it has a slightly bowed back and much smaller and rounder face.
Cheetahs stand around 80 cm at the shoulder, measures around 210 cm in length including its tail and weights from 40 to 60 kg. In Kenya, cheetahs are found in small numbers and can be found in major national parks and reserves including Maasai Mara National Reserve.
An adult cheetah weights 75 to 140 pounds (34 to 64 kilometers) and is about 30 inches (77 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and 44 to 56 inches (112 to 142 centimeters) long with another 26 to 33 inches (66 t0 84 centimeters) in tail length.
Males are slightly larger than females.
Sometimes cheetahs are confused with leopards, but they can be identified by distinctive black stripes in their faces. The black lines down their faces and under their eyes act like anti-glare devices when they are sprinting.
Giraffe (Giraffa) are the tallest living terrestrial animals and are quite a remarkable sight; the giraffes are extremely picturesque and known for their graceful movement even when running at their fastest speed of 50 to 60 km per hour.
There are two main sub species of giraffes found in Kenya that is the Reticulated or Somali Giraffe in Northern Kenya and, the Maasai Giraffe in Southern Kenya including Masai Mara National Reserve.
The wilderness of Kenya hosts approximately 33,000 Maasai giraffes.
The Masai Giraffes also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animals and actually quite a sight to see. Masai giraffes can be distinguished from Reticulated Giraffe because they have jagged spots on their bodies instead of polygonal liver – colored spots.
Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the best places in Kenya to see the Masai Giraffes, this specie of giraffes is diurnal and live in small groups and they feed 16 – 20 hours each day and their preferred feeding is to browse on various acacia species using their long lips and tongues that can reach between the thorns to extra the leaves.
Usually, male giraffes eat from the top branches and females eat from the bottom branches.
In the wilderness, the main enemies of the Masai giraffes are the lions, hyenas and poachers. Their only defense is their speed and their powerful kick that can render a lion or a leopard unconscious and, in some cases, even decapitate it.
The Hippopotamus ( Hippopotamus amphibius) commonly referred to as the hippo are the third largest land mammal weighing close to 1500 kilos, hippos typically inhabit swamps, rivers and areas close to the lake shore and they remain cool by staying in the water during the most time of the year.
Hippos are common in Masai Mara National Reserve in large numbers; they can also be seen in Nairobi National Park, Tsavo National Parks and Lake Baringo.
Zebras are one of the wild animals that most people always associate with in East Africa wilderness; in Kenya, zebras are common in Masai Mara National Reserve.
In Kenya, there are two subspecies of zebras that is Plains Zebra, Mountain Zebra and Grevy’s Zebras. Masai Mara is home to the plains Zebras while the Gravy’s Zebras, which have unique thinner strips, are found in Samburu National park.
Contact our trusted tour operators for more information about the big nine animals in the country and then book with tours and travel companies such as; Focus East Africa Tours who offer the best tour packages while on your safari in Kenya.