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The story of magnificent Mara

A safari in Kenya

Magnificent Mara, true to its name, is one of the most sought over safari destinations across Africa. It is home to the 7th Wonder of the World. People from all over the globe visit each year to witness the great wildebeest migration. Observing the savannah from a birdseye view or from the surrounding hill top ranges, the lone acacia trees and scattered animals make the grasslands look as if they are dotted with nature. Thus why Mara got its title from the local Masai people who named the land “Mara”, which translates to “spotted” in Masai language (Maa).

The king of masai Mara: Scarface the lion

When initially recognised in 1961 as a wildlife reserve, the Mara enclosed 520 square kilometres and now shelters approximately 1,510 square kilometres. People recognize the Masai Mara National Reserve for its profusion of big cats (lions, leopards and cheetahs). In the Reserve there are 90 species of mammals and around 300 types of birds. Masai Mara has one of the largest populations of lions in the world. Travelers often visit Mara to glimpse one lion who became a worldwide celebrity. To have seen the legendary “Scarface” in real life was considered a blessing. In Kenya’s Masai Mara, Scar’s power was well renowned. Together with his good looks he exemplified every moment the “King of the Jungle.”

Masai Mara
Photo by Purvisha Hirani

Scarface was not just a name in Mara but had become a brand ambassador for tourism in Kenya. His demise in June 2021 demonstrated how much the people respected and adored by tourists when his tribute became a global movement across the internet. We celebrate the life of Scarface and look forward to the new and upcoming kings of Mara, “The Notch Brothers”. Notch was the first lion in current history to form a formidable union with his five sons. With that union he generated one of the most prominent pride of lions in the region. His five sons continue to reign over the plains of Mara and are always a delightful spectacle for sightseers.


Another iconic animal in the Mara was Malaika. She was a very social cheetah. She was famed for ascending safari cars to deliver a once in a lifetime experience to those within the vehicles. Malaika’s legacy lives on as her two sons continued to create history in the Mara by forming the largest cheetah coalition to ever seen. The “Tano Bora” (Fast Five) as they are prevalently titled by the local safari guides formed an alliance of five males. The organizers of Safari do not consider this alliance to be normal behavior for cheetahs.

Masai Mara
Photo by Purvisha Hirani

Characteristically, a male cheetah will leave the mother to become solitary, or form a connection with another male cheetah to form a duo upon coming of age. The group of five cheetahs hence interests a lot of animal fanatics and researches who instigated observing this astounding union. Many essentially assumed that this partnership would be short-lived. Five years later it seems they are not parting ways soon.
Radiating self-assurance that comes with the domination of numbers, the Tano Bora take down prey that is larger than their usual target. The Tano Bora have grasped the hearts and camera lenses of so many enthusiasts and have turned around the overall insight on cheetahs, especially here in Mara. Although reflected as extremely introverted and difficult to spot whilst on safari.

Kaboso, a female leopard, is usually very easy and well-recognised amongst the Safari guides in the Mara. Unlike most leopards, Kaboso doesn’t shy away from humans and their cars. Leopards are nocturnal and often hunt during the night. People saw Kaboso  hunting several times during the day and has successfully birthed and raised many cubs of her own. Spotting any leopard in the wild is usually a hard task, but always a glorious occasion.

The Great Wilbdebeest Migration in Masai Mara

The Great Wildebeest Migration across the East African Savannah is one of the world’s greatest, exhilarating, captivating and remarkable exhibitions of a wilderness journey. That Great migration is the ever changing environment for masses of wildlife within in the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania. So, the primary intention of migrating is in persuading greener pastures. So, they shadow the patterns of the rains.

We always consider it best to travel to Masai Mara between mid -July and mid-October. It is approximately 1.7 million wildebeest, 450,000 Thomson Gazelles, 350,000 Zebras, a few thousands of Hartebeest and other hoofed creatures partake in this spectacle of the ultimate crossing of the Great Mara River. In the commotion, however, you watch as the toughest and most unwavering reach the other end of the riverbank and you feel a great sense of relief and joy for those that survive the crossing, only to watch them do it again each year.

If you want to know more about safaris or cultures of other places, look at our Blog.

Author: Max Nyawira from Azari Afrika Safaris

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