Maasai Mara

The Maasai Mara National Reserve in the southeast corner of Kenya is the country’s premier tourism showpiece and forms part of the vast unfenced Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, including neighbouring private conservancies in Kenya and the larger Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Species to look out for include the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino), many antelope species, zebras, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles and good populations of cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs, as well as smaller species such as serval and bat-eared fox.

The Maasai Mara can become crowded during the high safari seasons of July to November and January to February, and during these times it’s advisable to stay in the neighbouring private conservancies. The private conservancies are close enough to permit day trips to the river crossings and mass congregations of wildebeest in the reserve, with the advantage of accommodation in crowd-free camps and lodges outside of the reserve. The private conservancies allow off-road road driving, night drives and bush walks – which are not possible within the reserve.

The Maasai people play an integral role in your Maasai Mara safari and although their traditional nomadic lifestyle has largely been abandoned, they still uphold many traditions and dress codes. Many of the lodges have a strong Maasai community presence and provide wonderful and enriching cultural experiences for tourists. The neighbouring conservancies offer particularly genuine community experiences. Read more about the Maasai Mara here.

More about the great wildebeest migration (or read this useful month-by-month explanation of the migration, with tips on when and where to go):

The Greatest Show on Earth is in fact an ongoing process and not an event.

Around 1,5 to 2 million wildebeest, zebras and various antelope species form the largest land mammal migration on Earth as they continuously follow the rains and good grazing across the vast plains of Serengeti and Maasai Mara.

Along the way they cross many rivers, a sometimes chaotic and dramatic process if the river banks are steep and the water deep and fast flowing. Crocodiles trawl the murky waters and lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas line the banks as they too make the most of the situation. Watch this dramatic video of a Mara River crossing.

The migration follows a clockwise direction, with exact timing varying every year, depending on the rains. January and February usually sees most of the herds giving birth in the southern Serengeti, when the grass is green and highly nutritious. During March and April, the grasses have dried up and the herds start moving northwards through the Serengeti, ending up in the Maasai Mara area in July. The herds move continually back and forth between the northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara until late September – with the regular river crossings across the often-treacherous Mara River being a focal point for tourists. After September, the herds start to move back south through the Serengeti, although stragglers will still be seen in the Maasai Mara into October.

Additional information:

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Useful and interesting information about the Maasai Mara

The Great Wildebeest Migration, month-by-month (when and where to go): The Great Migration Explained

Travel diary from a happy client who has many safaris under his belt: Maasai Mara, Falling in Love Again

Travel diary: Mara River crossings – The Greatest Spectacle on Earth

Photo gallery from a safari client: Maasai Mara – Beyond Imagination

Photo gallery from a client: Mara Magic

Travel diary: Our Secret Season Safari in East Africa (includes Maasai Mara)

Travel diary from a client: Magical Maasai Mara

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

9 days

4

Big 5

Classic Safari

Cultural

Photographic

indication price US$ 6,238 per person sharing

Maasai Mara safari with Africa Geographic

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

9 days / 8 nights

4

Big 5

Classic Safari

Cultural

Photographic

indication price US$ 6,185 per person sharing

Maasai Mara safari

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

6 days

Big 5

Children on safari

Classic Safari

Cultural

Great migration

indication price US$ 2,681 per person sharing

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

7 days

Flexible – you tell us how many in your party

Big 5

Children on safari

Classic Safari

Cultural

Great migration

indication price US$ 3,452 per person sharing

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

6 days

Flexible – you tell us how many in your party

Big 5

Children on safari

Classic Safari

Cultural

indication price US$ 2,792 per person sharing