Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Park is exactly what you picture when you think of an African safari. It is one of the most famous reserves in Africa and is known for its epic wildlife sightings. Horizons of endless grassy plains and ancient acacia trees are filled with impressive herds of wildebeest and zebra, as well as big cats and enormous, roaming elephants. The reserve's name is derived from the local Maasai people and the Mara River in Kenya, which flows through the land, offering one of the greatest spectacles on earth during the Great Wildebeest Migration across Serengeti. Travel to the Masai Mara National Reserve for an authentic African safari and an enriching cultural experience.
Best Time to Go
June - October
Average Safari Cost
$100 - $600 pp/day. Park fee: $80 (adults), $45 (children)
The Great Wildebeest Migration, the Big Five, Maasai guides, excellent bird watching and game viewing, hot air balloon rides and cultural tours.
Why Visit Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is an ideal safari destination. Its open plains are teeming with wildlife to see all year round. See big cats lazing in the sun, massive herds of wildebeest migrating through the land and giant elephants roaming free. The reserve is famous for the Great Migration, where enormous numbers of wildebeest, antelopes and zebra travel through the land to get to the Mara River for water. Visit the reserve from July to September to see this awesome animal spectacle. This is also the best time to see lions, leopards and cheetahs as they prey on the migrating herds.
Travel the reserve with a Maasai guide and learn about the land on a deeper, more cultural level for a truly enriching safari experience. The Maasai people are expert guides and know all the secrets of this beautiful, unspoiled land. The Masai Mara National Reserve is a must see safari destination and lives up to even the highest expectations!
Pros and Cons
- Great wildlife viewing
- The wildebeest migration
- Many accommodation options
- Wildlife sightings are easy in the open plains
- Interesting cultural experiences
- Can get very crowded
- Roads may become impassable in the rainy season
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Masai Mara National Reserve is during the dry season, from June to October. Wildlife viewing is good all year round, but animals are easiest to see during the dry months when vegetation is thinner and wildlife congregates around water sources. The dry season consists of warm, sunny days with temperatures averaging about 79˚F (26˚C). Night-time temperatures cool down to about 54˚F(12˚C). The best time to see the Wildebeest Migration is from September to October.
The wet season is from November to May. Short rains occur from November to December, followed by a dry period, and then the long rains from March to May. Afternoon rain showers are frequent, but it rarely rains all day long. Days are warm with an average temperature of 81˚F(27˚C), and nights are cool with temperatures lowering to about 55˚F(13˚C). The scenery of the park is more beautiful during these months, as the plants are flowering. This is also the best time to see newborn animals and migratory birds. Heavy rainfall may disrupt activities and travel plans as roads become unstable.
Start your African Adventure
Great Tour of Kenya – Masai Mara, Nakuru, Amboseli, Tsavo, Mombasa - Book NOW, save 10%
1 week safari combining the best aspects of great tailor made safari for a family or an incentive group having range of interest in wildlife and beauty of Kenya and culture of different communities with a visit to Kenya’s famous parks which includes: Tsavo East, West National Parks, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara National reserve. This gives you a chance to visit the Great Rift Valley with its climax at Lake Nakuru National Park, view of Mt. Kilimanjaro from your lodge/camp while at Amboseli. Animals likely to see during game drives includes: Elephants Lions, Rhinos, Leopard, Buffalos, Cheetah, Giraffes, Zebras and different types of gazelles. For bird watchers, it’s also the best safari with lots of bird species to spot along the whole safari with its climax at Lake Nakuru National Park. The safari also combines very well with beach holiday in Kenya Coast as it starts from Nairobi and ends in Mombasa either at North or South Coast – Diani Beach.
4 Day Masa Mara Safari - Book NOW, save 10%
This is a great safari and the best short safari one can do in Kenya visiting the Great Rift valley lakes, the famous Masai Mara which blends very well to any extension one might want to do like beach holiday at Lamu, Mombasa and Zanzibar.
10 Days Maasai Mara Great Migration
Best season: Kenya is a year round destination with excellent game viewing. One of Kenya’s greatest attractions is the annual wildebeest migration between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya between June and September. Peak season is from January to March when the weather is hot and dry. This is the most comfortable time for travelling. It is good for bird viewing on the Rift Valley lakes and game viewing is also best at this time. April – June and October – December are less popular times (this means no crowds!) for visiting Kenya as these are the months when Kenya receives its rain. You will still be able to get around easily during the rainy season.
3 Days Masai Mara Game Reserve Lodge Safari
This tour covers the popular Masai Mara ecosystem where the yearly migration of millions of wildbeestes and Zebra move from Serengeti national park in Tanzania into Masai mara. Great safari
Wildlife and Birds
- Black Rhino
- Wild Dog
- Black rhino, wild dog
Frequently Seen Animals
- Elephant, buffalo, lion, giraffe, hippo, zebra, wildebeest, cheetah, hyena
With over 450 recorded species of bird, the Masai Mara National Reserve is a birdwatchers paradise. From secretary birds and Kori bustards stalking through the plains to bateleurs and eagles circling the skies, there are plenty of birds to look out for.
- Madagascar pond-heron, Egyptian vulture, hooded vulture, white-backed vulture, Rueppell's griffon, gray crowned-crane, Saker falcon
- Gray-crested Helmetshrike, Red-throated Tit, African Yellow-Warbler, Hildebrandt's Starling, Southern Grosbeak-Canary, Kenya Rufous Sparrow, Swahili Sparrow, Rufous-tailed Weaver, Jackson's Widowbird
Getting There and Safety
For the flights to Kenya, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you to Kenya and their various ticket prices.
If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Kenya.
If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Kenya.
All foreign visitors must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after their visit. Foreign visitors of most nationalities need to apply for a visa, however, single-entry visas may be obtained upon arriving in the country. Kenya's eVisa website can give you more information on whether you should apply for a visa or not.
For more information on visas see our Kenya Safari - Complete Country Guide.
Several vaccinations are recommended when travelling to Kenya. These include: hepatitis A and B, rabies, meningococcal meningitis, typhoid and yellow fever. It’s better to check with your local medical authority which vaccinations are required.
There is a high-risk for malaria in Kenya so anti-malarial drugs are advised as well as insect repellent and wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs at night.
Check your local travel health authority for more information:
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Kenya. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.
You will need to pack clothes for both warm and cool weather as it can get quite warm during the day and cold at night. Try to pack neutral, earthy toned clothes and avoid bright colours. Other essential items are a hat, sun screen, toiletries, closed shoes, torch, batteries, insect repellent, binoculars and camera.
For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.