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Maasai Mara Game Reserve

Date of Submission: 30/06/2023
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
National Museums of Kenya
State, Province or Region:
Narok County
Coordinates: Lat: 1.529493 Long: 35.170874
Ref.: 6679

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The Maasai Mara Game Reserve was established through legal notice 271 of 1974 (Annex). The reserve covers 1510 km2 that is enclosed by the reserve Boundary Plan 216/50 under the custody of the Survey of Kenya. It is managed by the Narok County Government and has two management sectors, the Narok Sector which is managed by the County Government of Narok, and the Mara Triangle Sector managed by the Mara Conservancy LTD on behalf of the County Government.

The Greater Maasai Mara Ecosystem spans across the southern parts of Narok town comprising of Maasai Mara Game Reserve and 23 conservancies including Enonkishu, Mara Lemek, Mara Naboisho, Mara North, Nashulai, Olare Motorogi, Olarro North and Olarro South, Olchorro Oirowua, Ol Kinyei, Olderkersi, Oloisukut, Nyekweri, Maasai Moran, Olerai, Nyekweri Oloirien, Isaaten, Olare Orok, Pardamat, Isinya and Siana.

The Reserve is the northernmost section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which covers some 2500,000 ha in Tanzania and Kenya. It is bounded by the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria / Oloololo escarpment to the west, and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west.

The ecosystem has a semi-arid climate with biannual rains and two distinct rainy seasons. Local farmers have referred to these as the 'long rains' which last approximately six to eight weeks in April and May and the 'short rains' in November and December which last approximately four weeks. The rainfall increases markedly along a southeast–northwest gradient, varies in space and time, and is markedly bimodal. The Sand, Talek and Mara Rivers are the major rivers draining the reserve. Shrubs and trees fringe most drainage lines and cover hill slopes and hilltops. However, the main vegetation type is that of acacia trees and grasslands.

The Reserve supports large assemblages of large mammals, namely, 2,595 African elephants, 37,281 wildebeest, 32,358 common zebra and 11,604 buffalos. The ecosystem is home to the famous Mara Serengeti migration.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is the northern part of the world-famous Serengeti-Mara animal migration that has been referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In addition, the Mara ecosystem supports the highest concentration of wildlife in Kenya.

Criterion (vii): The annual wildebeest and zebra migration from the Maasai Mara to Serengeti has earned the status of being one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Further, the Maasai Mara ecosystem is an important feeding/foraging area for the critically endangered white backed vulture that roosts in Hell’s Gate National Park and flies daily to the Maasai Mara ecosystem.

Criterion (x): The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is an important area for the in-situ conservation of the black rhino, African elephant and the carnivores, especially the lion, leopard and cheetah.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The Maasai Mara National Reserve as a savannah ecosystem, is contiguous to the Serenegeti National Park in the United Republic of Tanzania. The ecosystem provides a wide wilderness that has continued to support a large population of diverse animal species. The site has continued to provide the grazing lands for wildebeests during their annual migration from Tanzania and vice versa. of wildebeests. The Mara River continues to provide water for the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem which assures continuity of species into the future.

Comparison with other similar properties

The Maasai Mara is comparable to the Serengeti National Park located in the United Republic of Tanzania. Both sites are characterized by unaltered animal migration which thousands of wildebeest and zebras annually make a circular movement between Kenya and Tanzania. Both sites also host one of the largest and most diverse large predator-prey interactions worldwide, providing a particularly impressive aesthetic experience.