Masai Mara Safaris
Experience the ultimate African safari adventure in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve. The reserve spans 1,510 km² across southwest Kenya and is known for its incredible wildlife sightings year-round. With over 800 lions, 2,500 elephants, and up to 50 black rhino, it's the perfect place to catch the Big Five in action.
Masai Mara Wildlife
The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is one of the world's most renowned wildlife destinations, and for good reason. The vast plains are teeming with animals, providing an unrivaled safari experience. Here are just a few of the incredible creatures that call the Masai Mara home:
Predators in the Masai Mara:
The Masai Mara is famous for its big cats, including lions, cheetahs, and leopards. There are over 800 lions in the reserve, making it one of the best places in Africa to see these majestic creatures. Cheetahs are also frequently spotted, often lounging atop termite mounds. Leopards are more elusive, but their distinctive rosettes make them a real treat to see.
While the big cats may steal the show, the Masai Mara is also home to a variety of smaller predators, including hyenas, jackals, and bat-eared foxes. Wild dogs are also occasionally spotted, making for a rare and exciting sighting.
Grazers of the Masai Mara:
The Masai Mara is home to a wide variety of herbivores, including elephants, giraffes, zebras, and gazelles. The reserve is particularly renowned for its wildebeest population, which makes up a large part of the annual Great Migration. During this event, millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles make their way from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park to the Masai Mara, providing a truly unforgettable sight.
The Masai Mara is a bird lover's paradise, with over 500 different species to be found. Raptors are particularly common, including eagles, hawks, and vultures. Ostriches are also a common sight, with their distinctive feathers and long necks making them hard to miss.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is an incredible destination for anyone interested in wildlife, offering the chance to see some of the world's most iconic animals in their natural habitat. With such a diverse range of creatures to be found, there's never a dull moment on safari in the Masai Mara.
The Great Migration
The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most spectacular natural events in the world, and a highlight of any Kenyan safari holiday. This annual migration sees over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles travel from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya in search of food and water, providing a thrilling spectacle for visitors to witness.
The migration is a perilous journey, with predators such as lions, leopards, and crocodiles lying in wait for the migrating herds. Witnessing the hunt or the crossing of the Mara River, where crocodiles lie in wait, is a thrilling and unforgettable experience.
The best time to witness the migration in Kenya is between July and October when the herds are in the Masai Mara. However, the exact timing of the migration can vary from year to year, so it is essential to plan your trip with a reputable safari operator who can advise you on the best time to visit.
A Kenyan safari holiday offers visitors the chance to not only witness this incredible natural event but also to experience the country's other diverse wildlife and landscapes. From game drives to hot air balloon safaris, a Kenyan safari holiday promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Masai Mara National Reserve vs. The Mara Conservancies
The Masai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve located in southwestern Kenya, and is home to some of the most iconic African wildlife. It is a protected area and is managed by the government. The Masai Mara Conservancies are private conservancies that are located within and around the Masai Mara National Reserve. They are managed and funded by private companies, and the money generated goes towards conservation projects and development within the local communities.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is most popular for a Kenyan safari holiday because it is home to the “Big Five” African animals - lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo as well as a plethora of other iconic species. The Masai Mara Conservancies offer a more exclusive, private safari experience. They are home to a range of wildlife, but are not as densely populated as the National Reserve, there are also no rhino found in the conservancies. They are better suited to travellers who are looking for a more intimate, personalized safari experience away from the crowds.
The species found in the Masai Mara National Reserve and the Conservancies are largely the same, but the Conservancies may have fewer animals due to the fact that they are smaller and more exclusive. However, unlike in the National Reserve, safari vehicles are permitted to drive off-road in the conservancies, making it easier for visitors to get up close with wildlife. There are also limited numbers of vehicles allowed per sighting which eliminates the chances of mass vehicle gatherings at sightings which do occur in the reserve, especially in peak-season.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is generally busier than the Conservancies because it is larger, more popular, and with more cost-effective accommodation options. The conservancies offer more luxury accommodation options due to the fact that they are more exclusive.
Best Time to Visit
If you're planning to go on safari in the Masai Mara, you may be wondering when is the best time to visit. The answer largely depends on what you hope to see and your preferred travel experience.
The most popular time to visit the Masai Mara is during the Great Migration, which typically takes place between July and October. This is when millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles make their way from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park into Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve in search of greener pastures. It's an incredible sight to behold and a prime opportunity to witness predator-prey interactions.
However, keep in mind that this is peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices for accommodations. If you're looking for a quieter experience, you might consider visiting during the shoulder season, which is typically between November and March. During this time, you can still see plenty of wildlife, and there are fewer tourists around. You may also have a better chance of spotting newborn animals.
The rainy season in April and May may not be the best time to visit the Masai Mara, as heavy rains can make travel difficult, and some lodges and camps may be closed. However, if you're willing to brave the weather, you may be rewarded with beautiful, lush landscapes and fewer visitors.
In summary, the best time to visit the Masai Mara depends on your preferences. If you want to witness the Great Migration and don't mind larger crowds, visit between July and October. If you prefer a quieter experience and the chance to see newborn animals, consider visiting during the shoulder season. And if you're willing to brave the weather, the rainy season can offer a unique experience with fewer tourists.
Month-by-Month Guide to Weather
The Masai Mara experiences its warmest temperatures in January, with an average high of 28°C (82°F) and low of 12°C (54°F). Rainfall is low, averaging around 23mm for the month.
February is still warm in the Masai Mara, with an average high of 28°C (82°F) and low of 13°C (55°F). The park typically receives slightly more rainfall in February than January, with an average of 42mm.
The temperatures in March remain warm, with an average high of 28°C (82°F) and low of 14°C (57°F). March is one of the wettest months in the Masai Mara, with an average of 94mm of rainfall and around 12 rainy days.
April marks the start of the long rainy season in the Masai Mara, with an average of 169mm of rainfall and around 16 rainy days. Temperatures remain warm, with an average high of 27°C (81°F) and low of 14°C (57°F).
May is the wettest month in the Masai Mara, with an average of 224mm of rainfall and around 20 rainy days. Temperatures begin to cool down slightly, with an average high of 26°C (79°F) and low of 13°C (55°F).
June marks the start of the dry season in the Masai Mara, with lower rainfall and fewer rainy days than the previous months. Temperatures remain mild, with an average high of 25°C (77°F) and low of 11°C (52°F).
July is one of the driest and coolest months in the Masai Mara, with an average high of 24°C (75°F) and low of 10°C (50°F). Rainfall is rare, with an average of only 20mm for the month.
The cool, dry weather continues in August, with an average high of 25°C (77°F) and low of 10°C (50°F). Rainfall is very low, with an average of only 16mm for the month.
Temperatures start to warm up again in September, with an average high of 26°C (79°F) and low of 11°C (52°F). Rainfall remains very low, with an average of only 16mm for the month.
October is a transitional month in the Masai Mara, with temperatures and rainfall levels increasing. The average high temperature is 27°C (81°F) and the average low is 12°C (54°F), with an average of 46mm of rainfall.
The short rainy season starts in November, with an average of 98mm of rainfall and around 13 rainy days. Temperatures remain warm, with an average high of 27°C (81°F) and low of 13°C (55°F).
December marks the end of the short rainy season, with rainfall levels decreasing towards the end of the month. Temperatures are warm, with an average high of 27°C (81°F) and low of 13°C (55°F).