Lion in Masai Mara Lion in Masai Mara
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Masai Mara National Reserve

103 reviews

Safari suitability: 10/10

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Big five game, excellent tourist infrastructure and close proximity to major international airport. Let the safari begin!

Found in: Kenya
Companies: 1516
Tour packages: 2364
Wildlife: 37 animals listed
Total area: 1,510 km² (583 mi² )
Year established: 1974
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think

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Most-visited month:
August
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Highlights

  • 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.

"One of the best parks for game drives"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
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Reviews (1)
Visited: Dec. 2017 Reviewed: Oct. 31, 2022 Submitted in:

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.

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By: Milana
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Dec. 2017
Reviewed: Oct. 31, 2022

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"An Unforgettable journey into the heart of the Maasai Mara National Reserve"
Top contributor
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African traveller
Tanzania Tanzania
189 kudus
Reviews (11)
Visited: Mar. 2024 Reviewed: May. 17, 2024 Submitted in:

As a Tanzania tour operator, I have had the privilege of exploring some of Africa’s most stunning landscapes, and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya stands out as an unparalleled gem. Our recent safari through this iconic reserve was nothing short of magical, leaving us in awe of its breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife. Unrivaled Wildlife Encounters The Maasai Mara is renowned for its exceptional wildlife sightings, and it did not disappoint. From the moment we entered the reserve, we were greeted by vast herds of wildebeest and zebras, especially thrilling during the Great Migration. The sheer number of animals traversing the plains was a spectacle of nature’s grandeur. Our game drives offered close encounters with Africa’s Big Five. Majestic lions basked in the sun, elusive leopards lounged in acacia trees, and powerful elephants roamed the savannah. We were fortunate to witness a thrilling cheetah chase, highlighting the raw beauty and drama of the wild. Stunning Landscapes The Maasai Mara’s landscapes are as diverse as they are beautiful. Rolling grasslands stretch endlessly, punctuated by the iconic flat-topped acacia trees. The Mara River, with its hippos and crocodiles, winds through the reserve, adding a dynamic element to the scenery. As the sun set, the sky painted a mesmerizing palette of colors, creating perfect moments for photography. Cultural Richness Our experience was enriched by the warm hospitality of the Maasai people. Visiting a Maasai village allowed us to learn about their vibrant culture and traditions. Their colorful attire, intricate beadwork, and rhythmic dances provided a deeper understanding of the connection between the land and its people. Exceptional Accommodation Staying in the Maasai Mara offers a range of accommodation options, from luxurious lodges to traditional tented camps. Each stay is designed to blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, providing comfort while immersing guests in the wild beauty of the reserve. The sounds of the bush at night, combined with the star-studded sky, create an unforgettable atmosphere. A Haven for Birdwatchers Birdwatching enthusiasts will find paradise in the Maasai Mara. The reserve is home to over 450 bird species, including the striking lilac-breasted roller and the formidable martial eagle. The varied habitats, from riverine forests to open plains, offer excellent opportunities for spotting a wide array of birdlife. Conclusion The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a destination that captivates the heart and soul. Its unparalleled wildlife, stunning landscapes, rich cultural experiences, and exceptional hospitality make it a must-visit for any safari enthusiast. As a tour operator, I wholeheartedly recommend the Maasai Mara for an extraordinary and unforgettable safari adventure.

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Safari guru
Tanzania Tanzania
Visited: Mar. 2024
Reviewed: May. 17, 2024

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"Unforgettable experience"
Kenya Kenya
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Visited: Aug. 2019 Reviewed: Feb. 22, 2024 Submitted in:

Masai Mara is one of the few parks in Africa where you can see the Big Five in few days. The first time I visited there I encountered all Big Five in less than a day. This park should be in everyone's bucket list!

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By: Motangi
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Kenya Kenya
Visited: Aug. 2019
Reviewed: Feb. 22, 2024

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"Home to all of th big five"
Kenya Kenya
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Reviews (1)
Visited: Aug. 2023 Reviewed: Feb. 11, 2024 Submitted in:

This is the park where you get to see all the big five animal... Witnessing the migration is that best part of the visit.. The hot Air balloon was amazing, you get to watch the animals from the air... The aerial view was fantastic. Visiting the Masai village tribe was amazingly awesome to learn the cultural practice of the Masai tribe

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By: Starvel
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Kenya Kenya
Visited: Aug. 2023
Reviewed: Feb. 11, 2024

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"Natural Beauty: The Maasai Mara Game Reserve"
Safari guru
Canada Canada
67 kudus
Reviews (2)
Visited: Oct. 2023 Reviewed: Jan. 28, 2024 Submitted in:

The first time I've been back to my favorite park since Covid shut down travel. I was eager to see how things were as I heard the last few years were tough. It was nice to visit the same lodges and camps and meet some of the staff that still remember me. While I was there, I heard about the doubling of prices to enter the park, luckily, I was still at the old prices but I will have to look carefully at future visits. I found it no more or less crowded than previous trips at the same time of the year. The weather was good, and the animals were abundant. I didn’t spot any rhinos this time, which isn't uncommon although my driver and I did go looking after a tip off. I did see lions daily and several cheetahs and leopards which made for some great photography. The highlight was some hunting crocodiles. Looking forward to my future trips

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Safari guru
Canada Canada
Visited: Oct. 2023
Reviewed: Jan. 28, 2024

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"Why Maasai Mara is a must-visit national game reserve"
Kenya Kenya
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Reviews (1)
Visited: Dec. 2023 Reviewed: Jan. 24, 2024 Submitted in:

A visit to the Masai Mara National Game Reserve in Kenya is an absolute a must-see. The reserve is vast and very nice, offering a breathtaking landscape and diverse wildlife. Visiting this game reserve will allow you to witness a variety of animals, with an abundance of lions and lionesses, a rare sighting of a leopard, cheetah, rhinos as well as ostriches, hippos, giraffe and many other wildlife not mentioned. The richness of this reserve in wildlife will definitely leave an indelible mark on your memories. The highlight will be the unique and unforgettable picnic right in the heart of the Savannah, creating a surreal and immersive experience. The guides are there to provides you knowledge and enhancing our understanding of the ecosystem and the behaviors of the wildlife. For anyone considering a safari in Kenya, the Masai Mara National Game Reserve is an ideal for first comers and a must-visit destination.

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By: Oloo
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Kenya Kenya
Visited: Dec. 2023
Reviewed: Jan. 24, 2024

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"Africa's prime park"
Kenya Kenya
0 kudus
Reviews (1)
Visited: Oct. 2023 Reviewed: Jan. 05, 2024 Submitted in:

Masai Mara National Reserve is spectacular, from the rolling plains, the magical mara river, abundance of game -predators, plain game, birdlife, grazers and browser's. The beautiful and strategic lodges/camps makes this destination to be on everyones bucket list. During my last 5 visit i have spotted over 300 species of birds, the big five in every visit, the rare black rhino and Mara river crossing and migration. I highly rate this reserve.

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By: Reteti
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Kenya Kenya
Visited: Oct. 2023
Reviewed: Jan. 05, 2024

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"The magic of Masai Mara"
Visited: Aug. 2023 Reviewed: Nov. 21, 2023 Submitted in:

From the first breathtaking moment of entering the reserve, the vastness of the landscape and the rich biodiversity immediately left me in awe. The open savannahs, punctuated by acacia trees, provided the perfect canvas for the incredible wildlife spectacle that awaited. Our knowledgeable and passionate guide from Sunstrip Africa Safaris skillfully navigated the terrain, unveiling the secrets of the Mara with every turn. The abundance of wildlife was simply astounding – from herds of elephants peacefully grazing to prides of lions basking in the golden sunlight. Witnessing the Great Migration, with wildebeest and zebras stretching as far as the eye could see, was a surreal experience that will forever be etched in my memory. The guides also emphasized the importance of conservation and the delicate balance between humans and nature, making me appreciate the efforts to protect this natural wonder. The accommodations provided by Mara Sopa Lodge were nothing short of luxurious, seamlessly blending with the natural surroundings. Waking up to the sounds of the wilderness and enjoying evenings under the star-lit African sky added a touch of magic to the entire experience. Our journey to Masai Mara surpassed all expectations. The combination of extraordinary wildlife encounters, luxurious accommodations, and a commitment to conservation makes it an unparalleled safari experience. If you're dreaming of an authentic and awe-inspiring safari, Masai Mara with Sunstrip Africa Safaris is an absolute must. A heartfelt thank you to the entire team for making this adventure a reality!

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Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Aug. 2023
Reviewed: Nov. 21, 2023

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"A perfect tour destination!"
Kenya Kenya
5 kudus
Reviews (5)
Visited: Sep. 2023 Reviewed: Oct. 19, 2023 Submitted in:

Masai Mara remains one of the best tour destinations in Kenya! It gives you an opportunity to see all kinds of wild animals! From cheetahs, leopards to lions and elephants, Mara remains the top. I with my friend was able to have a look at almost all kind of animals. We participated in Masai cultural dance with the locals. This was the most thrilling experience!

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By: Sitonic
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Sep. 2023
Reviewed: Oct. 19, 2023

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"Magical Masai Mara. Heaven on Earth!"
Kenya Kenya
0 kudus
Reviews (1)
Visited: Jul. 2023 Reviewed: Jul. 23, 2023 Submitted in:

For long i have always wondered if there is a place I can just go and relieve the stress of this world and be one with nature, in other terms a "heaven on earth". Have never imagined the existent of such a place, that's until I visited Masai Mara National Reserve and now I can say with a sigh that such a place exists. Nothing beats the experience I had while I was there, the caring and dedicated tour guides who are always ready to answer available questions and assist where necessary. The transport service is top notch, the availability of 4x4s Landcruiser's ensures safety and reliable means of cruising in the wild while observing the nature which consists of beautiful animals such as lions, elephants, leopards, buffalos, rhinos also known as the big five I cant stress enough what a beautiful scenery this is. Travel there on mid July and you get to experience one of the most beautiful wonders of nature, that is the famous wildebeest migration which only happens once a year, I call it a bonus package. While there you have the opportunity to meet and experience one of the most culturally diverse community the Maasai who live just a few distance from the reserve.

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Travel agency
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jul. 2023
Reviewed: Jul. 23, 2023

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"Animal kingdom"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
2 kudus
Reviews (1)
Visited: Jul. 2023 Reviewed: Jul. 12, 2023 Submitted in:

Masai mara is one of the famous national parks in Kenya. Be sure of getting to see animals all through out the year when you visit. Wildebeest migrations happens from July to mid sept every year.

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By: JOYINA
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jul. 2023
Reviewed: Jul. 12, 2023

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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


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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

Also flies to:


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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 Airport—Mwanza, Julius Nyerere International Airport—Dar-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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