Cheetah and cub, Masai Mara

Masai Mara National Reserve

84 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: 352
Tour packages: 1622
Wildlife: 37 animals listed
Total area: 1,510 km² (583 mi² )
Year established: 1974
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think

Quality of wildlife:
Crowdedness:
Quality of lodging:
Most-visited month:
July
* Crowded parks have a lower rating

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 in Africa"
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
962 kudus
Photos (179)
Reviews (8)
Visited: Jun. 2019 Reviewed: Sep. 19, 2019

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.

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6People gave this
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Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jun. 2019
Reviewed: Sep. 19, 2019

6People gave this
a kudu

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"Big five animals!"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
2 kudus
Photos (0)
Reviews (1)
Visited: Sep. 2020 Reviewed: Sep. 25, 2020

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.

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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Sep. 2020
Reviewed: Sep. 25, 2020

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"Great place to visit!!"
Safari enthusiast
Kenya Kenya
7 kudus
Photos (0)
Reviews (2)
Visited: Jul. 2020 Reviewed: Jul. 21, 2020

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.

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Safari enthusiast
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jul. 2020
Reviewed: Jul. 21, 2020

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"What an Adventure"
By: Joel
Travel writer
Kenya Kenya
20 kudus
Photos (1)
Reviews (2)
Visited: Jan. 2020 Reviewed: Jul. 06, 2020

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!!

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By: Joel
Travel writer
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jan. 2020
Reviewed: Jul. 06, 2020

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"Masai Mara is wildlife heaven"
Safari enthusiast
Kenya Kenya
18 kudus
Photos (0)
Reviews (4)
Visited: Oct. 2019 Reviewed: Mar. 09, 2020

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.

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Safari enthusiast
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Oct. 2019
Reviewed: Mar. 09, 2020

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"Lose yourself in the Mara"
Safari guru
Australia Australia
68 kudus
Photos (16)
Reviews (4)
Visited: Aug. 2019 Reviewed: Oct. 15, 2019

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. That’s 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.

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By: Sambell
Safari guru
Australia Australia
Visited: Aug. 2019
Reviewed: Oct. 15, 2019

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"Best experience in Masai Mara National Reserve"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
11 kudus
Photos (4)
Reviews (2)
Visited: Aug. 2011 Reviewed: Oct. 01, 2019

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.

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By: Safari
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Aug. 2011
Reviewed: Oct. 01, 2019

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"The best and magical to visit in Africa"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
66 kudus
Photos (8)
Reviews (7)
Visited: Jul. 2019 Reviewed: Aug. 31, 2019

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.

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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jul. 2019
Reviewed: Aug. 31, 2019

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"Nature at its best"
Safari enthusiast
Kenya Kenya
13 kudus
Photos (0)
Reviews (2)
Visited: Jun. 2019 Reviewed: Jul. 26, 2019

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.

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6People gave this
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Safari enthusiast
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Jun. 2019
Reviewed: Jul. 26, 2019

6People gave this
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"Heaven's no place like the Masai Mara."
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
936 kudus
Photos (141)
Reviews (2)
Visited: Feb. 2019 Reviewed: May. 27, 2019

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.

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6People gave this
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Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Feb. 2019
Reviewed: May. 27, 2019

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"Wonderful destination in Kenya"
By: A.H.S
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
312 kudus
Photos (44)
Reviews (4)
Visited: Nov. 2018 Reviewed: May. 24, 2019

Welcome to Maasai Mara Game Reserve and discover the beauty of Kenya in just one Destination. Kenya is really blessed with a great wildlife and with Masai Mara you will definitely have all the best, this is where your dream of being close to nature and wildlife will be attained. Maasai Mara has a large population of wild life and it reaches its climax between July and October every year when there is annual great migration, with wildebeest and zebras crossing Mara River from Serengeti to Kenya. With a short holiday of at least 3 days you can make a visit to this game reserve and take with your great memories back home. Masai Mara has so many safari lodges, tented camps and budget camps to shelter for all tourist visiting the area. So as per your budget you must get accommodation that suits your budget and have a great safari. We highly recommend Maasai Mara to any tourist who is looking to be close to the nature and animals.

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By: A.H.S
Safari tour operator
Kenya Kenya
Visited: Nov. 2018
Reviewed: May. 24, 2019

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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

Also flies to:


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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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