A true bucket-list for most, the Masai Mara National Reserve is arguably the most popular spot in Kenya with it's Wildebeest Migration.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is also home to the big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) and boasts around 95 mammal specials and over 400 birds! We love visiting this park when the migration isn’t around, as the resident (ie. ‘year round’) game is outstanding and it means you’ll likely get a quieter experience without the hubbub of folk looking for the big herds. The reserve itself is 1,510 km², but the wider ecosystem includes the bordering Masai Mara Private Conservancies which have no fences and are in the main pretty private. Access to the reserve is super easy, and you can even travel across the border into the Serengeti in Tanzania using a central border-post, so you won’t have to waste valuable time going back through Nairobi – win!
Masai Mara National Reserve FAQs
Is the Masai Mara National Reserve safe?
Kenya is a very safe country, and the Masai Mara National Park is no exception to that. It’s worth bearing in mind that not all Masai Mara lodges are fenced and therefore you will need to be cautious when it comes to wild animals, however, the camp managers will always brief you when you arrive.
What animals live in the Masai Mara?
The Masai Mara Kenya is one of the richest parks in the world when it comes to wildlife. If you look at a Masai Mara map, you’ll see that the park borders the great Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. There is no fence so animals move freely between the two parks. Not only will you get to see the big five (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo), but you will also get to see all the other amazing and typical Masai Mara animals such as giraffe, zebra, hippo, crocodile, cheetah and more antelope than you could ever dream of including impala, wildebeest, bushbuck and waterbuck. In total it is estimated there are 90 mammal species and roughly 450 bird species in the reserve. In terms of carnivores, there is a good chance you will see hyenas, jackals and perhaps even small cats such as serval caracal and African wildcat. In short, there are a lot of animals that can be seen on a Masai Mara safari!
How to get from Nairobi to the Masai Mara National Reserve?
As part of a Tailormade Africa safari, we would include a light aircraft flight from Nairobi to the Masai Mara. It is possible to drive, however, it does take around 6 hours which eats into valuable safari time! For those who do want to be driven rather than fly, we can organise a very comfortable 4x4 with your very own private guide/driver to take you – we do not offer self-drive safaris as part of Masai Mara packages.
When is the Wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara?
The Masai Mara weather affects the Great Migration that happens each year as the great herds of wildebeest and zebra follow the rains. That said, the window when you can see the herds is fairly vast, starting from the end of July through to the beginning of November. To be sure of a sighting in July & November, we would recommend that you include the Serengeti in your itinerary and visit a ‘migration camp’. These are usually set up in areas where the migration is and therefore increases your chances of seeing the action up close.
Is there malaria in the Masai Mara?
Malaria is found throughout Kenya. We do recommend all visitors to the Masai Mara consult their health physician ahead of travel to the region in order to ensure they are covered in all health respects.
How many days is ideal to spend in the Masai Mara Reserve?
As part of a trip with Tailormade Africa, we will always discuss your itinerary with you in detail. If time is limited, we may amend the recommended time you spend in the Masai Mara, but as a rule of thumb, we would say 3 nights is the minimum. Masai Mara lodges are all beautifully located and on extended stays, you will get the chance to simply enjoy being in camp relaxing while the African wilderness comes to you. The longer stays will also allow you to visit Masai Mara tribes where you will get a chance to learn all about how these amazing semi-nomadic people live.
Situated less than 150 meters from a crossing point on the Talek River, Rekero is a superlative safari destination year-round and perfect to view The Great Migration with crossings on your doorstep. The camp evokes the charm of African safaris from a bygone era, with nine romantic tents, and spectacular views of the surrounding game-filled plains of the world-famous Masai Mara ... Read more
Sala’s Camp sits in one of the best locations in the whole of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Intimate and secluded, it is nestled along the tree lined banks of the Sand River in the southern tip of the reserve. As such, it is less than two kilometres away from the Tanzanian border and enjoys a splendid wild outlook and wonderful views into the Serengeti National Park. This also means that it is one of the first camps in the Mara to witness the legendary annual wildebeest migration ... Read more
Nestled on the banks of the Mara River, Il Moran Camp features that extra bit of luxury. The property is small and intimate, with added touches that place this camp at the top of the safari accommodations. Il Moran is small and peaceful – the ideal camp for honeymooners and couples looking for a very special safari experience or for families with older children ... Read more
Bateleur Camp is situated on the western border of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in southwestern Kenya. Set on a private concession leased from the Maasai landlords, the camp lies at the base of the Oloololo escarpment just below the spot where Out of Africa's most famous scene was shot. The camp comprises just two intimate camps of nine tented suites each, set among the forests on the edge of the Masai Mara ... Read more
Set on a private concession, with abundant iconic wildlife and panoramic Masai Mara views, Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp dazzles with its contemporary safari feel. With timeless interiors that are simple yet sophisticated and stylish, the camp enhances guests’ sense of privacy and enjoyment. There are 12 Classic Tents, 20 Superior Tents and 8 Superior View tents. All are laid out in immaculate grounds, with leisurely groups of warthog feeding right outside the tent doors ... Read more
Governors Camp has been pioneering immersive and transformational safaris in the Mara since 1972. They were the first operators to be permanently based inside the Mara, with a site chosen for its prime location. Unfenced and in the heart of the action, the camp is located in some of the best and most precious wildlife locations in the world. Governors' Camp is like a family with a colourful cast of characters that embodies the spirit of safari ... Read more
Little Governors’ is intimate in character, with just 17 luxury en-suite tents tucked around a large watering hole that teems with both birds and wildlife. Located on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve, the camp is accessed by a very short boat ride across the Mara River, then an escorted walk through the riverine forest. Vehicles are left on the far river bank and the camp is therefore quiet and undisturbed ... Read more
This private camp is located in a spot where a variety of animals come to drink. Hippos laze in the shallows, elephants bring their calves for a playful dip, and the forest around the camp is home to many beautiful birds from rare Trogons and Turacos to nesting Hornbills. Often referred to as the ‘jewel in the Governor’s Camp crown,' Private Camp can be booked by one group at a time, so it’s yours to enjoy – as the name suggests – in private with up to 16 guests ... Read more
Nkorombo is Serian’s tented mobile camp, set on a private riverside site in the Masai Mara Reserve. This snug little setup is chock-full of character with a view over the rushing Mara River, bursting with laughing hippo and languorous crocodile. Much like at Serian and Ngare Serian, life at Nkorombo is low-key and tranquil. Nestled among a stand of wild olive and orange croton, the camp is right next to a lively salt lick that regularly features black rhino, and lion and leopard ... Read more
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