The Masai Mara National Reserve in the southwestern part of Kenya forms part of the greater eco-system that encompasses the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The Masai Mara is named for the Maasai people and the Mara River, which divides it. The wildlife is not confined within the reserve’s boundaries. There are many conservancies to the north and east of the Masai Mara where, over centuries, an almost symbiotic relationship has developed between the Maasai people and the wildlife. The reserve is famous for its exceptional population of game and the migration of the wildebeest, which occurs here every year in July and August. The entire area of the park is nestled within the enormous Great Rift Valley. The Masai Mara consists of open savannah, rolling grasslands and undulating hills. The western border is the Esoit Olooloo Escarpment of the Rift Valley, and wildlife tends to be most concentrated here as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good and tourist disruption is minimal. The easternmost border is 224km from Nairobi and hence it is the eastern regions which are most visited. The Masai Mara is always an amazing safari destination, but at its best during the wildebeest migration, which occurs here between July and October each year. The park is surrounded by concession areas and tribal lands of the Maasai tribespeople. These are unfenced from the Mara and there can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside so staying in these private concessions can often be just as rewarding. This area is known for its predator population, particularly lions, hyenas, and cheetahs. Cheetahs are severely endangered, and it is quite magnificent to see them take down kills at 110km/h on the Masai plains. The Mara is probably the best service of all Kenyan national parks and reserves with a wide range of accommodation for any budget. The reserve is ideal for game drives, and some lodges and camps offer walking and balloon safaris.