Wildlife in the Masai Mara

cheetah and cubs masai mara wildlife safari 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 numbers of leopard and cheetah. Other predators include spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and bat-eared fox, while antelope species include topi, eland, reedbuck, impala and Thomson’s gazelle. Masai giraffe – the largest subspecies of giraffe found only in Kenya and Tanzania – is easily spotted.

lion hunt wildlife masai mara Credit: Mara Plains Camp

The Great Migration is the most famous wildlife spectacle in the world, and the reason that many people travel to the Masai Mara. Each year, millions of antelope move across the savanna from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara, crossing the Mara River and falling prey to predators along the way.

While the Masai Mara is more renowned for its wildlife than its birds, its varied habitats are still home to more than 500 species of birds, from kori bustards, ostriches and ground hornbills in the grasslands to saddle-billed storks and goliath herons in the swamps to Schalow’s turaco and Ross’s turaco in the riverine forest and seven species of kingfisher in the rivers. There’s an incredible diversity of raptor species – 57 recorded species – as well as seven species of vulture, while migratory birds arrive in the reserve in November and stay until April.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)

day 1

Welcome to Kenya
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)

day 2 to 5

Explore the Masai Mara National Reserve
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)
  • Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)

day 6

Bon Voyage

View Full Itinerary

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Masai Mara in May

There’s slightly less rain in May than in April, but it’s still one of the wettest months of the year. May marks the start of several slightly cooler months (with average daytime highs are 25C), lasting until September. May isn’t an ideal time to visit the Masai Mara because of the amount of rainfall making wildlife viewing and driving around the park more challenging. Some…

Masai Mara in October

October is one of the warmest months of the year, but luckily temperatures don’t rise much above an average of 28C during the day. It’s also a relatively dry month with little rainfall. October is a wonderful month to visit the Masai Mara, as the majority of the herds from the migration are in the park, but there are fewer visitors, so viewings aren’t as crowded as August and…

Masai Mara in April

Credit: Mara Expedition Camp April is the wettest month of the year, with an average of 23 days of rain. It’s slightly cooler than March but still warm with average maximum highs of 26C. Because it’s so wet, the roads can be tricky and some lodges close down, making April one of the least ideal months to visit the Masai Mara. On the plus side, it is the low season so you can get…

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 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…

Masai Mara National Reserve

Located in the far southwest of Kenya in the Great Rift Valley, the Masai Mara National Reserve is the East African country’s flagship park: a vast wilderness of abundant big game, spectacular landscapes and the scene of one of the planet’s most dramatic wildlife migrations. The reserve is named after the Maasai people, a semi-nomadic tribe of pastoralists who have long inhabited the…

Popular Masai Mara Safaris

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

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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...

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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...

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

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HerdTracker Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Journey (7 days)

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

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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...

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Southern Kenya Sojourn (10 days)

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

 | 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...

 | 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...

 | 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...

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...

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