Welcome to the Masai Mara

Kenya’s flagship park, the Masai Mara National Reserve, is one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations where quintessential safari landscapes of vast acacia-dotted savannas teem with animals. The stellar highlight of the Masai Mara is, without a doubt, the Great Migration, an annual movement of millions of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra migrating between neighbouring Tanzania the Kenyan park. Seeing the dramatic daily scenes of the Great Migration – the massive, noisy herds, the animals making the perilous crossing of the crocodile-infested Mara River and the thrilling big cat hunts – are among the best and most exciting wildlife experiences you can have in Africa.

big cat safari masai mara lion

Apart from the Great Migration, the Masai Mara has excellent wildlife viewing throughout the year, and sightings of four of the Big Five – leopard, lion, elephant and buffalo – are pretty much a given, making it a perfect first timer’s safari destination. The Mara is famous for its leopard, lion, and cheetah, but there’s plenty more game to see on the wide-open plains, from giraffe and eland to smaller predators such as bat-eared fox, spotted hyena and black-backed jackal.

While there’s a wide range of lodging options to accommodate all budgets, the Masai Mara’s luxury lodges and camps really stand out. Scattered across the park – in some truly spectacular remote locations – they offer a taste of the “Out of Africa” safari romance: tented rooms and suites that open right onto plains full of grazing animals, impeccable décor and antique furniture, four-poster beds, infinity pools and outdoor canvas bathtubs – as well as excellent service and well-trained guides who are not only experts at finding wildlife, but will also bring the bush to life with their storytelling skills. Luxury mobile tented camps that occupy different seasonal locations in the park give you the chance to get as close to the migrating herds as possible, without having to rough it. These camps combine an intimate low-key wilderness experience with luxury comforts: a recipe for the perfect safari.

masai mara photo safari

While game drives are the focus of a Masai Mara safari, there are other plenty of other activities to include in your itinerary, from sunrise hot air balloon rides over the plains, cultural visits to local Maasai villages, picnics and sundowners in the bush, horseback rides, and visiting the locations from the film Out of Africa, while some lodges and camps offer a host of kids’ activities such as storytelling, bow and arrow shooting and fire making.

The Masa Marai National Reserve makes up just one part of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which is also made up of community ranches and private conservancies owned by local Maasai, and which offer privacy and the exclusivity of limited numbers of visitors spread out across vast areas. As the Masa Mara has increased in popularity, many safari goers now choose to stay on these conservancies – many of which were established in the last 10 years – for the same wildlife experiences as the Mara but with far fewer other cars around. What’s also special about the conservancies is the option of doing walking safaris with Maasai guides, an exciting activity that is not on offer in the reserve. With their abundant game, spectacular scenery, commitment to community conservation and low tourism densities, the Masai Mara conservancies are now up there with East Africa’s best safari destinations.

Popular Masai Mara Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Guests going on a Bush Walk | HerdTracker and Kicheche Camps Safari (7 days)

HerdTracker and Kicheche Camps Safari (7 days)

The best of Mara North and Olare Orok Conservancies with Kicheche...

 | Gorilla trekking and the Great Migration Combined (11 days)

Gorilla trekking and the Great Migration Combined (11 days)

Unforgettable experience in the jungles of Rwanda to track the last Mountain gorillas on earth and view the awesome Great Migration river crossings...

The Uganda Hills | The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

Enjoy East Africa's most celebrated highlights, from a snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, to sailing above the Serengeti in a hot-air balloon and meeting mountain gorillas...

Lion Cubs | The Big Cats of East Africa Safari (10 days)

The Big Cats of East Africa Safari (10 days)

This safari to the Serengeti and Masai Mara in East Africa is all about big cats – lots of them and up close for outstanding photographs...

 | Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

Experience the best of Africa, from the Okavango Delta – one of Africa's Seven Natural Wonders – to the endangered mountain gorillas and East Africa's Great Migration...

Enjoying a sundowner whilst watching the wildebeest migration.  | HerdTracker Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Journey (7 days)

HerdTracker Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Journey (7 days)

Witness the wildebeest migration in Kenya's iconic Masai Mara National Reserve with HerdTracker...

Asilia Africa | Spectacular July to September Wildebeest River Crossings  (10 days)

Spectacular July to September Wildebeest River Crossings (10 days)

Experience one of Africa's greatest spectacles – smell the dust and hear the noise of thousands of animals crossing the Mara River in an epic struggle for survival...

 | Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)

Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)

Explore the jewel in Kenya's crown; the wildlife-rich Masai Mara National Reserve...

Lion cubs | Southern Kenya Sojourn (10 days)

Southern Kenya Sojourn (10 days)

Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara are southern Kenya's superstars, the best places for your safari...

 | Migration River Crossings Safari with Governors’ Camps (4 days)

Migration River Crossings Safari with Governors' Camps (4 days)

Enjoy the migration and river crossings at Governor's Camp and choose your level of comfort...

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Masai Mara luxury safari

Credit: Elewana Sand River Camp There’s no shortage of luxury lodging in the Masai Mara, so you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a superb place to stay, whether it’s an intimate tented camp or a stylish lodge. Upmarket camps and lodges usually offer fully-inclusive packages that encompass all your meals and activities, such as twice-daily guided game drives, and if…

Budget Masai Mara safari

The Masai Mara is an expensive destination and everything from daily park fees to lodging is pricey, however, you do have some choices when it comes to planning a budget trip. The best budget-friendly way to travel is on a group safari and stay in campsites: your transport, guide, park entrance fees and meals are included in the package price. You can travel to camps on the outskirts…

Masai Mara Conservancies

While the Masai Mara National Reserve is the focal point of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, in the last decade there have been a number of conservancies that have been established which border the unfenced national reserve. These conservancies are on private land owned by Maasai families that have been set aside for wildlife conservation and tourism. The landowners lease their land to safari…

Solo travel in the Masai Mara

Credit: Kilima Camp Solo travel in the Masai Mara is an exciting adventure in one of the world’s top safari destinations, whichever way you choose to travel. Self-drivers will have the freedom to explore the park on their own, while if you would prefer to join up with a group, there are plenty of options for organised tours, ranging from budget-friendly safaris where you stay at…

Highlights of the Masai Mara

Few places have a higher concentration of wildlife than the Masai Mara, and sightings of four of the Big Five are almost a guarantee on any trip (although rhino are harder to spot). The Mara is also one of the best reserves on the planet for seeing the three big cats: leopard, lion and cheetah. It’s no wonder that the BBC TV show Big Cat Diaries is filmed on the reserve. Credit:…

Masai Mara in December

Credit: Governor’s Il Moran Camp December falls during the “short rains” – the second rainy season of the year – in the Masai Mara, and sees and average of 17 days of rain during the month. While the rain can be heavy, it usually only pours for a short time in the late afternoon and shouldn’t affect your game viewing too much. Longer grass from the rain makes wildlife viewing…

Wildlife in the Masai Mara

Credit: Karen Blixen Camp The Masai Mara has wildlife in abundance: the reserve is home to the Big Five, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant on any trip, although black rhinos are harder to spot. The reserve is particularly famous for its populations of big cats, with one of the highest concentrations of lion in the world, as well as large…

Masai Mara weather

Located near to the equator in southern Kenya, the Masai Mara is warm year-round, with higher temperatures from October to March and slightly cooler weather from June to August. There are two rainy seasons: March to May (known as the “long rains”) – April being the wettest month – and November to December (known as the “short rains”). The months of June to October are the…

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