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.

Highlights
  • 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.

Maasai Mara National Reserve Lion Onne Vegter

Masai Mara lion

(Image: Onne Vegter)

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.

Serengeti Migration Map

A map showing the annual migration (estimate only)

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.

Maasai Mara National Reserve Hot air balloon safari Sutirta Budiman I Unsplash

Hot-air ballooning in the Mara

(Image: Sutirta Budiman I Unsplash)

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).

Getting there

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.

Optional activities

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.

Kicheche Bush Camp,
Kicheche Bush Camp - Maasai Mara - Kenya

Kicheche Bush Camp is located in the Maasai Mara, within the prime wildlife area of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy which borders the Reserve. Guest numbers are strictly limited, giving you incomparable game viewing, without the crowds, right from your tent' s verandah.

Bateleur Camp, Maasai Mara
Feature - Bateleur Camp - Maasai Mara - Kenya

A luxurious and exclusive safari camp, Bateleur Camp in Kenya's famous Maasai Mara National Park has a distinctive style and glamour. While reminiscent of bygone days, it has all the modern comforts and conveniences. Situated in a private concession on the edge of the Maasai Mara, Bateleur and its sister camp, Kichwe Tembo, are in the direct path of the annual Great Migration.

Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp - Maasai Mara - Kenya

This luxury safari camp is set at the edge of riverine forest, overlooking the sweeping plains of the Maasai Mara, and it lies within the path of the incredible annual Great Migration. At Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, you can expect an authentic African safari experience with legendary Kenyan hospitality.

Mara Plains Camp
Mara Plains Camp - Maasai Mara - Kenya

Mara Plains Camp is within a 30,000 private conservancy on the northern border of Kenya's famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve. In the heart of one of the most abundant game areas in the world, you'll be in the midst of big predator country and often fall asleep to the sounds of lions roaring.

Sala's Camp
Sala's Camp - Maasai Mara - Kenya

Beautifully located on the confluence of the Sand and Keekorok Rivers, Sala's Camp is a small, intimate tented camp in the heart of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. One of the most game-rich areas in the world, this is also the site of the mighty annual Great Migration, one of nature's greatest spectacles.

Basecamp Masai Mara
Feature Eco tent interior Basecamp Masai Mara Kenya

Basecamp Masai Mara is an affordable tented, riverside, safari eco-camp located in the dense tropical forest foliage along the Talek River right on the doorstep to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Home to the highest density of wildlife in the world, the Maasai Mara is renowned for superb Big Five game viewing and the spectacular annual Wildebeest Migration.

Entim Camp
Accommodation feature entim camp masai mara kenya

Entim Camp is a luxury tented safari camp situated on the edge of the riverine woodlands that overlook the Mara River. From its prime location inside the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Entim Camp guests can witness the wildlife drama of thousands of wildebeest crossing the crocodile-infested Mara River right from the comfort of the veranda of their tent.

Karen Blixen Camp Masai Mara
00 feature karen blixen camp maasia mara kenya

Set on the banks of the Mara River in Kenya's Mara North Conservancy, Karen Blixen Camp is a luxury tented safari camp that echoes back to the bygone days of the original safari adventurer. From the comfort of their private veranda, guests can watch elephant, giraffe, zebra and impala gather at the Mara River to drink.

Governors' Camp
00 feature governors camp masai mara kenya

Situated on the winding banks of the Mara River, Governors' Camp offers authentic luxury tented accommodation inside the heart of Kenya's flagship safari destination, the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Famous for the Great Migration, the Masai Mara has plenty of year-round resident game to ensure an unforgettable safari experience.

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