Maasai Mara National Reserve Travel Guide
Maasai Mara National Reserve Travel Guide
The Maasai Mara, Kenya. Also sometimes written as the Masai Mara. It's said that you won't find a greater abundance of game anywhere in Africa, as you will in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Park. Apart from the Big Five, the reserve is home to an incredible variety of wildlife in large numbers like the annual wildebeest migration involving over 1.5 million animals.
- Most popular wildlife reserve in Kenya
- Home to an enormous variety and abundance of wildlife
- Great wildebeest migration passes through in August and September
- World-famous river crossings are an unforgettable spectacle
- Home to the Big Five - lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo
- Vast open plains
- Plenty of resident year round wildlife
- Excellent birding with over 400 species recorded
Without a doubt, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is Kenya's, if not Africa's, most famous safari destination. The Greater Mara is a huge ecosystem with wide-open savannah grasslands located in the Great Rift Valley. The National Park includes the famous Mara Triangle, between the escarpment and the Mara River, as well as the Mara National Reserve to the east of the Mara River. Further north are the Mara conservancies, protected land owned by the Maasai tribes and used for ecotourism. The conservancies form part of the Greater Mara but are not part of the National Park.
Huge concentration of wildlife
The Mara is home to an unbelievable quantity and variety of wildlife, which is most concentrated near its western escarpment. But the vast open plains further east also attracts large numbers of herbivores and predators.
Nowhere else in Africa will you find a greater abundance of game and you're virtually guaranteed to see most of the Big 5 here; buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and with some luck, rhino. Other game you might encounter include cheetah, serval, hyena, bat-eared fox, black-backed and side-striped jackal, hippo, crocodile, baboon, warthog, topi, eland, Thompson's gazelle, Grant's gazelle, impala, waterbuck, oribi, reedbuck, and of course wildebeest and zebra.
The world-famous annual wildebeest migration, known as the Great Migration, takes place here every year between July and October and is said to involve more than 1.5 million animals. It's a truly incredible sight if you're lucky enough to witness it.
The reserve boasts some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles with more than 400 birds species recorded. Only the Kruger National Park in South Africa has more mammal and bird species than the Maasai Mara.
Best time to visit
Peak migration time in the Mara is from late July to early October. During this time you have the best chance to see one of the famous river crossings where thousands of wildebeest brave the dangerous croc-infested waters of the Mara River to get across to the grassy plains on the other side.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is 1,600 m (5,300 ft) above sea level. There are two rainy seasons - the short rains in October and November, and the long rains from March to May. Mornings are usually clear and dry, with clouds building into dramatic thunderstorms by late afternoon, early evening. The dry season extends from June until September and offers you the best game viewing, but it is also the most congested time in the Mara.
If you are able to book a few weeks before or after the peak season, you'll have far less crowding and probably much better rates, too. October and November also offer excellent game viewing. Temperatures generally range from 20 - 30°C (68 - 86°F).
The Mara is easy to get to by road or by air. There are several all-weather airstrips and road access is fair, especially from Nairobi. We'll gladly help you work out the best options for your itinerary and preferences. Which airstrip you fly to will depend on which camp or lodge you are going to.
In addition to superb game viewing by day, night drives with spotlights can be arranged in certain areas. Hot air ballooning is popular and is an unforgettable way for you to experience the sheer expanse of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Of course, a visit to one of the Maasai cultural villages is sure to be a highlight on your itinerary.
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6 Day Masai Mara Budget Safari
Our 6-Day Masai Mara Budget Safari delivers some of the best game viewing opportunities in East Africa, for an affordable price. This fully guided, small group safari overnights in eco-friendly, en-suite tents along the banks of the Talek River on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Book early to avoid disappointment!
6 Day Masai Mara Wildlife Safari
This affordable 6-Day Masai Mara Wildlife Safari takes you on the journey of a lifetime to one of the best game viewing areas in East Africa. Our small-group safari is fully guided and overnights in a luxury tented safari camp located in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve on the edge of riverine woodlands that overlook the Mara River. To avoid disappointment, be sure to book early!
7 Day Kenyan Adventure Safari
Our 7 Day Kenyan Adventure Safari Tour introduces you to the wilder side of Kenya on an affordable budget. Explore Laikipia Plateau's sweeping plains on foot, where the last of Kenya's African wild dogs have found refuge. Discover why the Masai Mara's lush grasslands, acacia woodlands, rolling savannahs and abundance of wildlife make it one of Africa's most iconic safari destinations. In season, witness one of the world's natural wonders, the Great Migration, where one and a half million wildebeest, zebra and antelope leave the Serengeti for the Masai Mara.