The Masaai Mara National reserve lies in southwestern Kenya in the Kenyan rift valley province in Narok County bordering Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Also called the Mara Park by the locals was named in honor of the Masaai people who are the ancestral inhabitants of the area. Mara comes from Maa of the Masaai language which means a description of the spotted circles of trees, shrubs, savanna and cloud shadows that markup the Park area.
The reserve is under the management of the Narok County government unlike other conservation areas in Kenya which are managed by the Kenya wildlife service. This National reserve was first established in 1961 as a wildlife sanctuary covering only 520km2 and was later extended to cover 1821km2 to be converted into a game reserve in the same year 1961. In 1974, part of the reserve`s area was promoted to a National reserve and the local communities were given 159km2 out of the total area. In the year 1976, additional 162km2 were also removed from the reserve and the reserve was reduced to its current size 1510km2. The reserve is made up of three group ranches that`s the Mara Triangle, Musiara and Sekenani.
Masaai Mara National Park is the northern largest section of the Serengeti ecosystem which covers 2500km2 in Kenya and Tanzania. It is bordered by Serengeti national park of Tanzania to the south, the Siria cliffs to the west, the Masaai villages to the north and east. The reserve`s most neighboring town is Narok town.