Masai Mara National Reserve
Safari suitability: 10/10Find your tour
Big five game, excellent tourist infrastructure and close proximity to major international airport. Let the safari begin!
What YAS members think
- Annual migration of over two million ungulates
- The ability to visit with tribal groups including the Masai.
- The big five are found here.
- Excellent tourism infrastructure in place
About Masai Mara National Reserve
Originally established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1948 and as a national park in 1974, the Masai Mara (also sometimes spelled Maasai Mara) is the most-visited park in Kenya. It is also one of the most well-known game parks in Africa. The park is approximately 1,510 km² (583 mi²) in size and is located just north of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. In fact, the Serengeti and Masai Mara parks are contiguous parks separated only by a country border.
The Masai Mara has a high concentration of game-viewing for its small size and, unlike the Serengeti, it is possible to drive off-road here to view game. The smaller size also means the Masai Mara tends to be more crowded than its neighbor, particularly during the peak migration times.
The Masai Mara is a well-established reserve with an excellent concentration of wildlife. It has a wide-range of lodging options and offers visitors the opportunity to do driving, walking and even mountain biking safaris. It is recommended for travelers of all levels.
Maasai Mara wildlife
The Masai Mara has an enviable amount and density of wildlife, including the big five, although the number of black rhinos has significantly decreased in the last 50 years. In addition to the big five, cheetah, hyena, giraffe and even wild dog can be seen here.
When is the best time to visit Masai Mara National Reserve?
Masai Mara offers excellent game viewing opportunities at any time of year, but it is particularly popular during the months of July through October. It is during these months that the annual herbivore migration passes up through Kenya, up from Tanzania. During these months it is possible to witness one of the greatest spectacles on earth. Over two million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and antelope pass through the Masai Mara on their endless pursuit of lush, green grass. It is interesting to note that most of the female wildebeest passing through the Masai Mara will be pregnant. The calving season for wildebeest is mid-January through February and the gestational period of the wildebeest is 8.5 months.
The Masai Mara is home to the big five: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino, although the number of black rhinos has significantly decreased in the last 50 years.
The Mara contains one of the planet's greatest concentration of large animals, and is one of the iconically beautiful spots in Africa. Having only read it from the internet, it was time to come up and close to the edenic perfection of Africa. Masai Mara national reserve is located on the Southern part of Kenya along the Great Rift Valley area. From Nairobi, Kenya's capital you descend down through the tourist shacks and snake down the vertical face of the great escarpment through to the Masai town of Narok. The Mara is a limitless landscape of golden grasses, blue sky, posies of dark green trees, and far, far away, smoky blue smudges of the cliffs of the Rift Valley. The park is populated with predators ranging from big cats like Lions, leopards, cheetahs-other predators include hyenas, Jackals and many more. Many tourists who visit the Mara are always interested in viewing the big five-Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos and Rhinos. The park is easy to navigate through with excellent spots for animal viewing as well as photography. The Mara is also famous for the Great wonder migration of wildebeest. The wildebeests move in millions along with other herbivores like zebras who accompany them to cross the dangerous Mara River from Serengeti to Masai Mara. This magical migration usually starts in July, and happens every year. ( Wildebeest migration experience requires timing and patience) The animals cross to Mara in search of fresh water and green pasture, they graze for two to three months before they cross back to Serengeti National park in Tanzania around October. Masai Mara is also a birding paradise with a bout 500 species of birds, bird lovers are not left behind when visiting the park. Your cameras should be ready to capture every moment presented by the beautiful birds chirping and singing from the bushes. Visiting Mara also exposes you to the rich culture of the Masai people who occupy the vast region. You can join their traditional dances or even visit their villages for extra adventure. Indeed, Masai Mara is a one-stop park for anyone looking for a breathtaking adventure that would stay with them forever! Highly recommend.
The Masai Mara game is quite naturally highly habituated to humans, which means it’s not unusual to see a hyena kill or something similarly thrilling before you’ve been there too long. If you’re short on funds you can find a group tour to the Mara out of Nairobi for an affordable price, and although the Masai tribespeople have almost become a cliché among images of East Africa, their culture is still fascinating and their ethnic group a force to be reckoned with in Kenya.
Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru are astounding. We were able to see a wide variety of animals at the tail end of the Great Migration, and there were lots of baby animals this time of year as well! The camp we stayed at was clean, the staff friendly, and the food tasty. Overall, could recommend anyone to book them.
One of the best park of all Kenya park. When we made inquiry with Wild Race Africa Company, this was the first park and true to their word, its one of my best.
Masai Mara is the best park in the world to see wildebeest migration and other wildlife in Kenya but the park gets really crowded and expensive to visit during the great wildebeest migration
The park hosts the yearly wildebeest migration, a phenomenon you should not miss in your life time. It normally happens between the months of July - September. Furthermore it houses most of the big fives.. With cats leading in numbers..
Masai Mara is one of the best safari destinations in Africa. Each year The best place to witness the wildebeest migration and also to see the big five and plenty of animals and birds. Be sure to include Masai Mara National Reserve on your next safari.
I accompanied our company clients for a five days Maasai Mara Safari, the safari was so epic we got experience the best wildlife safari ever we managed to see the wildebeest migration in the Mara. Our driver guide for the safari was so helping in search for the animals. Our accommodation and food at Sopa Lodge was top notch. I will always recommend the Maasai Mara National Park experience to everyone who needs to experience the best in terms of wildlife experience.
Maasai Mara National Reserve has a wide variety of animals. It is amazing national reserve for a game drive. It is actually one of the best place I would love to visit every high season.
This place is so amazing. I was able to see big five animals during our visit by Silver Spark Africa Safaris. The game drive in this place is fantastic.
Driving to Masai Mara from Nairobi
Most international flights into Kenya arrive at NBO, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It is possible to drive to the Masai Mara, with the drive taking just under six hours in normal weather conditions.
Driving to Masai Mara from the Serengeti
Since the Masai Mara and the Serengeti are contiguous parks, driving from one to the other is, essentially, seamless. However, you will need to switch guides when going from one park to the other, and the border crossing can take time, especially during peak times.
Flying to Masai Mara from Nairobi
Daily flights out of Nairobi-Wilson airport (about 20 minutes away from NBO) and Masai Mara make it convenient for those who don't wish to drive the ~ six hours. The flights are roughly 45 minutes in duration. Companies that offer domestic connections include:
The following airlines travel to Masai Mara National Reserve
Regional services within Kenya. At Airkenya safety and security are of paramount importance. As one of Africas leading aviation companies Airkenya aspires to reach new heights of service delivery. At Airkenya our diverse operations are looked into with eagle eyes. Our aircraft are thoroughly inspected by highly trained engineers to ensure our passengers enjoy consistently smooth safe flights. Our excellent maintenance facilities have been approved by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority in accordance with international airworthiness safety standards. This together with our dedicated ground team has secured Airkenya an impressive track record for safety. Visit website
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Auric Air Services Ltd is Tanzania's preferred corporate and safari airline with a wide network of domestic scheduled services with daily scheduled services to more than 30 destinations and handles approximately 8500 passengers every month. From its bases at Mwanza AirportMwanza, Julius Nyerere International AirportDar-es-salaam and Arusha Airport, Auric Air provides scheduled charter flights to some of the most remote and otherwise inaccessible destinations (parks & game reserves) within Tanzania. Visit website
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Coastal Aviation is an airline operating out of Dar es Salaam - charter flights. Coastal Aviation flying to some 100 strips located in some of the most isolated pockets of the East African Region. The scheduled Coastal network also connects visitors to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with the world-famous Serengeti, links the emerging tourism destinations of Mozambique with the Southern Tanzania parks of Selous and Ruaha, and unites the tropical island paradises of Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia and Fanjove Private Iaslandwith the National Parks and towns of the mainland. Our state of the art fleet is composed of 20 aircraft and has been expertly-adapted to the African safari environment, without compromise to safety and comfort. Visit website
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Mombasa Air Safari is a Kenya coast scheduled airline. MOMBASA AIR SAFARI has been based at Mombasa's Moi International Airport since 1974. Our offices at Mombasa and Diani Beach Ukunda Airport are open during normal business hours. Our agent in Malindi Southern Sky Safaris have offices in the centre of Malindi. Our fleet consists of five aircraft with a seat capacity exceeding 100 seats. We have our own maintenance capability based at Moi International Airport Mombasa. Visit website
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Premier safari airline and charter. Safarilink is Kenya's premier safari airline with a network of connecting domestic scheduled services to all the best safari destinations within Kenya and across the border into northern Tanzania. From it's base at Wilson Airport, Nairobi SafariLink provides daily scheduled flights to Masai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo West, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Lewa Downs, Samburu, Lamu, Kilimanjaro, Loisaba, Migori and Diani Beach. Additionally it can also provide private charter flights if a client's particular requirement as regards destination or timing cannot be met by the scheduled services. Visit website
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AeroLink Uganda Limited is a domestic airline offering both scheduled and charter flights into Uganda's national parks. From its base at Entebbe International Airport, AeroLink using its Cessna Grand Caravans, offers daily flights into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips), Queen Elizabeth National Park (Kasese and Mweya airstrips), Murchison Falls (Bugungu, Pakuba and Chobe airstrips), Semuliki National Park (Semliki airstrip) and Kidepo Valley National Park (Apoka airstrip). Effective 1st June 2019, in partnership with its sister company Airkenya Express Limited, Aerolink commenced scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport to the famous Maasai Mara in Kenya via Kisumu International Airport for Immigration. AeroLink Uganda is affiliated to Airkenya Express in Kenya and Regional Air Services in Tanzania. Visit website
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