The Small five of the great Maasai Mara Reserve.


The Small Five of Maasai Mara include the giraffe, zebra, cheetah, hyena and warthog. Kenyan zebras have white and black striped skin. They can be seen in thousands during the great wild migration. However, they can be found most in herds. The closely related ones have similar striper patterns.

The Massai’s giraffe has leaf-like patches. It is the tallest animal in the reserve. They can be watched when grazing or stooping to drink water. When stooping to drink water, giraffes display their front legs in a clumsy way.

Another animal to watch out is the warthog. Warthogs are amusing to watch in that when alarmed they bolt their small tails upright as they take off only to stop after running a short distance because they have forgotten the danger they were escaping from.

The cheetah belongs to the cat family.  It is different from the leopard in that it has slender body. It has black spots on the fur rather than black rings as in the leopard. It hunts often during the daylight and uses its sheer speed and pace to run down its kill. It is amazing to watch the cheetah stalking its prey and the eyes firmly fixed on the target.  Cheetahs seize their prey by the muzzle or throat.

Maasai Mara is also a home to spotted hyenas. This subspecies are muscular predators with large, round ears. They are courageous and smart animals who raid farms for livestock and sheep. They are also extremely noisy and are fond of making a variety of vocalizations.  The whoo-woop sound is used as the rallying call. The complex social structure of spotted hyenas is matriarch. Females are larger than their male counterparts. Hyenas are scavengers and effective hunters. Female hyenas have gestation period of 17 weeks.