Masai Mara National Reserve
Safari suitability: 10/10Write a review
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.
As I drove through the Masai Mara, I couldn't help but think to myself... "Disney really got it right". All those movies I'd seen about Africa seem to have been based off of the landscapes and wildlife of the Mara. Unbelievable. I spent a 3-day safari touring through the Mara with a backpacker operator based out of Nairobi. We drove through massive plains full of zebra, elephant and giraffe, observed lions and vultures sharing a kill, drove through the wildebeest migration, watched as a cheetah yawned in the shade, and so much more. Given the volume of tourists that travel through this park, the animals are unperturbed by approaching trucks. Provided your truck can sneak through the other safari trucks observing a sight, you'll get unparalleled viewing. The crowds however, are a downside. Luckily enough, our trip coincided with the wildebeest migration which is one of the more incredible sights I've seen on the continent. At the time, they were making the crossing from the Serengeti over to the Mara in search of greener pastures. Upon reaching the Kenya/Tanzania border, we were met by literally thousands of wildebeest, all marching together north. We spent hours observing as wildebeest jump nimbly across rivers, run through ravines and slowly cruise across the plains. I didn't honestly appreciate how spectacular this was until seeing only handfuls of wildebeest at a time in other national parks. Following a day in the truck, a highlight for many was also a visit to the local Masai communities. A dance performance and tour of the village is typically included - as is a bit of shopping. While these trips do feel a little disingenuous, the Masai culture is impressive all the same. If you're looking for that typical African experience, this is the park to start at. It is especially great for budget travelers since you're able to stay on the border of the park and travel in each day, seeing the exact same game as the high end lodges.
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.
Maasai mara national park is one of the most beautiful national park I have ever visited. The enjoyed our animals view with Silver Spark Africa Safaris company. I cant wait to visit this place again after the rona pandemic!!
Maasai Mara National Reserve is the most celebrated and visited park in Kenya. Safari to Mara will offer you an experience never forgotten in a long time. Variety of wildlife, birdlife, and fauna, scenic landscape of Great Rift Valley. A chance to see the seventh wonder, where millions of wildebeest/gnu, zebra, and other herbivores migrate from vast wilderness of Serengeti to Masai Mara ecosystem crossing, through Mara River.
Imagine a place with open spaces further than the eye can see. You're sitting in a Land Cruiser 4 x 4 driving down dirt roads as the sun rises over the plains. You look to the left where the tree line starts and you see hyenas who have been out all night looking for food. Thats what it is like to enter the Maasai Mara National reserve at the start of a full day game drive. This place is magical and a must see in person as photos just do not do it justice. My favourite part about safari in the Mara is simply the tranquility, there maybe a few vehicles in the reserve, however it is never over crowded as the place is so big. All the cars have radios in case of sightings of rhinos or cats so that everyone has the chance to see some of the most elusive animals in the park. In this reserve you have the chance to really see animals in their element. I have seen lions stalking pray, hyenas with a feed from the night before, cheetahs just after they have caught a zebra, and my favourite animal experience of all time on safari has to be seeing the Great Migration which can only be seen in the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti in Tanzania. The next time you're thinking about Africa and going on safari, I recommend you look at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
If you are looking for a vacation in Kenya, dont forget to visit Masai Mara National Reserve, best park in Africa and famous for wildebeest migration.
Masai Mara offers a very high chance of spotting the big five (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard) plus it has beautiful scenery for photography.
Indeed Masai Mara Game Reserve is the best park to visit if you are really looking to have an adventure of life time. Its wealth of both flora and fauna speaks on itself and you will never be disappointed. I have been there several times and all the time I find myself loving this park more and more...talk about the BIG FIVE they are all residents here.
Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the greatest reserves in Kenya. It is the most popular and hosts a number of wild animals such as lions, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, gazelles and more. The place is the most frequented and offers one an opportunity to experience nature. A must go to place for any safari enthusiast.
Masai Mara is on of the best world wonders, A small heaven on earth great sceanic views, rich in wildlife specially the Big 5 animals found in their natural habitat. Every traveller to Kenya should not miss a visit to Masai Mara.
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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