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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.


Popular Masai Mara Safaris

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

 | 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...

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...

 | 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...

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...

 | 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...

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...

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...

 | 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...

 | Migration Safari in Kenya and Tanzania (8 days)

Migration Safari in Kenya and Tanzania (8 days)

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

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