"Kenya’s most famous wildlife reserve, the Masaai Mara seldom disappoints. Home to an almost unrivalled volume and variety of plains wildlife, it offers a good chance of spotting all the Big Five throughout the year. Between August and October, it hosts one of the world’s most awe-invoking wildlife spectacles: the million-strong wildebeest migration that streams across the Mara River from Tanzania. ”

- Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations.

Maasai Mara

The Maasai Mara is ideal for first-time safari-goers. Its mosaic of open savanna, rocky hills, verdant swamps and riparian forests – best seen from one hot-air balloon trips that float overhead every morning – supports an astonishing variety of plains game. Elephant, buffalo, black rhino, giraffe and zebra are common, and there’s no better place for close-up views of the world’s largest antelope, the normally skittish eland. From August to October, the green plains host the legendary migration, a peerless spectacle whose hoof-stomping drama is encapsulated by the multiple river crossings that punctuate the wildebeest’s tenure.

When it comes to carnivores, the Mara excels. It hosts one of Africa’s highest lion densities, and prides of up to 20 individuals are often seen on a kill. It’s one of the best places to see cheetahs pacing the plains, or surveying the surroundings from a fallen branch or termite mound. Even leopards are encountered with unusual regularity. Other conspicuous predators include spotted hyena, bat-eared fox and black-backed jackal.

The Mara tends to become quite crowded with tourists during the migration. This is most extreme southeast of the Talek River, the sector where most of the reserve’s larger lodges and campsites are concentrated. The central sector, cupped between the Talek and Mara rivers, hosts fewer camps and tends to be less busy. The westerly Mara Triangle, set below the Oloololo Escarpment, is quieter still. Best of all, a cluster of exclusive Maasai concessions bordering the reserve offers a similar wildlife experience, but with no other tourist traffic, nor any restrictions on off-road driving and night drives.

When to go

Find out when is best to visit

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DRY SEASON

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains. The migration will be located within the southern regions of the Serengeti during this period. The resident (non-migratory) wildlife in the Masai Mara is however superb throughout the year, so still well worth consideration as a safari destination. Migratory birds will also be present, offering great bird watching opportunities.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

DRY SEASON

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains. The migration will be located within the southern regions of the Serengeti during this period. The resident (non-migratory) wildlife in the Masai Mara is however superb throughout the year, so still well worth consideration as a safari destination. Migratory birds will also be present, offering great bird watching opportunities.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

WET SEASON - 'LONG RAINS'

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year. This wet season is also often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain. As a consequence of the rainfall roads can be hard to navigate and wildlife a little harder to spot. On the plus side, rates are at there cheapest, and visitor numbers to the park are incredibly low, offering a more private safari experience for those who don’t mind taking their chances!

During this period the great migration starts to make its way north towards the Western Corridor of the Serengeti ecosystem, in Tanzania. The resident (non-migratory) wildlife in the Masai Mara is however superb throughout the year, so still well worth consideration as a safari destination. Migratory birds will also be present, offering great bird watching opportunities.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

WET SEASON - 'LONG RAINS'

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year. This wet season is also often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain. As a consequence of the rainfall roads can be hard to navigate and wildlife a little harder to spot. On the plus side, rates are at there cheapest, and visitor numbers to the park are incredibly low, offering a more private safari experience for those who don’t mind taking their chances!

During this period the great migration starts to make its way north towards the Western Corridor of the Serengeti ecosystem, in Tanzania. The resident (non-migratory) wildlife in the Masai Mara is however superb throughout the year, so still well worth consideration as a safari destination. Migratory birds will also be present, offering great bird watching opportunities.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

WET SEASON - 'LONG RAINS'

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year. This wet season is also often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain. As a consequence of the rainfall roads can be hard to navigate and wildlife a little harder to spot. On the plus side, rates are at there cheapest, and visitor numbers to the park are incredibly low, offering a more private safari experience for those who don’t mind taking their chances!

During this period the great migration starts to make its way north towards the Western Corridor of the Serengeti ecosystem, in Tanzania. The resident (non-migratory) wildlife in the Masai Mara is however superb throughout the year, so still well worth consideration as a safari destination. Migratory birds will also be present, offering great bird watching opportunities.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

DRY SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year. This wet season is also often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain. As a consequence of the rainfall roads can be hard to navigate and wildlife a little harder to spot. On the plus side, rates are at there cheapest, and visitor numbers to the park are incredibly low, offering a more private safari experience for those who don’t mind taking their chances!

During this period the great migration starts to make its way north towards the Western Corridor of the Serengeti ecosystem, in Tanzania. The resident (non-migratory) wildlife in the Masai Mara is however superb throughout the year, so still well worth consideration as a safari destination. Migratory birds will also be present, offering great bird watching opportunities.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

DRY SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year. This wet season is also often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain. As a consequence of the rainfall roads can be hard to navigate and wildlife a little harder to spot. On the plus side, rates are at there cheapest, and visitor numbers to the park are incredibly low, offering a more private safari experience for those who don’t mind taking their chances!

During this period the great migration starts to make its way north towards the Western Corridor of the Serengeti ecosystem, in Tanzania. The resident (non-migratory) wildlife in the Masai Mara is however superb throughout the year, so still well worth consideration as a safari destination. Migratory birds will also be present, offering great bird watching opportunities.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period the great migration will be making its way into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti. Game viewing will, therefore, be exceptional, this the perfect time of year to visit!

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period the great migration will be making its way into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti. Game viewing will, therefore, be exceptional, this the perfect time of year to visit!

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period the great migration will be making its way into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti. Game viewing will, therefore, be exceptional, this the perfect time of year to visit!

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!

There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

WET SEASON – ‘SHORT RAINS’

A rather unpredictable time of the year with the occasional heavy shower or thunderstorm, but usually plenty of sunshine in between. While technically the wet season the rains are not as intense during this period as the ‘long rains’, it can therefore still be a great time to visit.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!
There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

WET SEASON – ‘SHORT RAINS’

A rather unpredictable time of the year with the occasional heavy shower or thunderstorm, but usually plenty of sunshine in between. While technically the wet season the rains are not as intense during this period as the ‘long rains’, it can therefore still be a great time to visit.

Its location so close to the equator means that the Masai has very consistent temperatures throughout the year, while the high altitude (1,435 to 2,143m or 4,708 to 7,031ft) moderate these to a very pleasant 25°C/77°F to 27°C/80°F. The mornings can, however, be a little chilly, so be sure to bring a light fleece!
There are two wet seasons in Kenya. The first known as the long rains take place between March and May, the second wet season is known as the short rains which also tend to be a little less intense, these take place between November and December.

Experiences

Witness the Great Migration

Extending over 30,000 square kilometres west from the Great Rift Valley to the shore of Lake Victoria, the Serengeti-Mara is the only African migratory ecosystem of comparable scale to have survived unfenced and practically unencroached into the 21st century. To see the endless lines of wildebeest in bleating, snorting, dust-kicking motion as they march determinedly across the plains is one of the world’s most memorable wildlife spectacles.

Take to the skies for a different type of safari

Making the most of the still morning air, float over the landscape in a hot air balloon for a infinite view of the pristine wilderness below. With vistas of the winding waterways, enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of champagne from your wicker basket as the sun peeps over the horizon.

Home to some of the highest predator concentrations in Africa

When it comes to carnivores, the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem excels. It hosts one of Africa’s highest lion densities, and prides of up to 20 individuals are often seen on a kill. It’s one of the best places to see cheetahs pacing the plains, or surveying the surroundings from a fallen branch or termite mound. Even leopards are encountered with unusual regularity. Other conspicuous predators include spotted hyena, bat-eared fox and black-backed jackal.

Saddle up for a horseback safari

Riding safaris are an exhilarating way of viewing Africa’s incredible scenery and wildlife. There are plenty of options for riders of all abilities.

Meet the Maasai

Possibly Africa’s most famous ethnic group, the Maasai people are semi-nomadic people located primarily in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. According to their own oral history the Masai people originated in the Nile Valley in Northern Africa and migrated south around the 15th century with their cattle. They quickly spread south through the Rift Valley where the fertile grasslands were ideal for their cattle and around the 18th century, reached the present-day territories in Kenya and Tanzania.

Explore Maasai Mara Properties

What People Say

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  • The personalised service provided was far beyond my expectations. A three week trip visiting four countries in Africa, multiple game reserves, wineries and much, much more was flawless. While a close encounter with a leopard and her cubs…

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