The Maasai Mara National Reserve (also spelled Masai Mara; known by the locals as The Mara) is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya, contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region, Tanzania. It is named in honor of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: "Mara", which is Maa (Maasai language) for "spotted," an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which includes the following Group Ranches: Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien, and Kimintet.
The wildebeest (pron.: /ˈwɪldəˌbiːst/WIL-də-BEEST or /ˈvɪl-/VIL- , plural wildebeest or wildebeests, wildebeesties (juv)), also called the gnu (pron.: /ˈnuː/NOO or /ˈnjuː/NEW ) is an antelope of the genusConnochaetes. It is a hooved (ungulate) mammal. Wildebeest is Dutch for "wild beast" or "wild cattle" in Afrikaans (beest = cattle), while Connochaetes derives from the Greek words κόννος, kónnos, "beard", and χαίτη, khaítē, "flowing hair", "mane". The name "gnu" originates from the Khoikhoi name for these animals, gnou.