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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Affordable safari in the Masai Mara

Credit: Elewana Collection The most cost-effective way to do a mid-range trip to the Masai Mara is to join a safari tour which offers transport, a guide and lodging as part of the package. For those travelling independently, you have a lot of options for mid-range lodging. Outside of the park gates you’ll find the best selection of mid-range lodges, camps and hotels but there are…

Masai Mara in June

After the rainy season months of March to May, June is much drier – down from 20 days of rain to an average of 12 days of rain during the month. June marks the start of the busy season in the Masai Mara – the weather is dry, and the days are cooler than at other times of the year, and the wildlife viewing is excellent, although the majority of the herds of the Great Migration have…

Mara Triangle

Wedged between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Mara River and the Oloololo Escarpment in the western section of the Masai Mara, the Mara Triangle is a special area of the national reserve which, unlike the rest of the reserve, is managed by a non-profit conservancy company formed by local Maasai communities. The aims with the management of the Mara Triangle are to reduce…

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…

Masai Mara in January

There’s less rain in January than in December, with an average of 15 days of rainfall in the month. If it does rain then it’s usually a short shower in the afternoon. January is one of the warmest months of the year, and day time temperatures can reach 28C, with nights dropping to a minimum of 12C. January is a great month to visit the Masai Mara if you’re a birder: the…

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…

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...

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...

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Masai Mara Safari Adventure (6 days)

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

 | 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...

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

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

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

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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...

 | 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)

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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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See the beauty of nature's greatest wildlife spectacle in two countries...

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

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