One of the most famous safari destinations in the world, the Masai Mara has the classic African landscape of endless plains studded with lone acacia trees. Whether you hope to see the Big Five, big cats or The Great Migration, the Masai Mara has all the ingredients to make a wonderful safari destination for first-timers, families and safari veterans alike.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is part of the Serengeti-Mara eco-system and the reliable rainfall, along with abundant vegetation, supports a whole host of wildlife. You can expect to see antelope, gazelle, giraffe and zebra grazing the plains, while being watched over by the many predators they attract.
The Big Five are all here, big cat sightings are particularly impressive and the two rivers, the Mara and the Talek are home to both herds of hippo and basks of crocodile. Bird lovers are also well catered for with over 450 species, from the flightless ostrich to over 50 varieties of birds of prey.
If you visit between July and September you may even get to see the dramatic spectacle of The Great Migration, as over a million wildebeest move anxiously across the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania to the Masai Mara, in search of food and water. Those that do make it across the fast-flowing crocodile-infested Mara River, must still navigate through the scores of hungry cats prowling on the opposite bank. Widely touted as the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, you can enjoy a ringside seat at this unmissable event.
We think one of the most amazing ways to experience the Masai Mara is on a hot air balloon safari. You’ll get a sense of the vast scale of the reserve and enjoy panoramic views as herds of animals roam across the plains. The silence and tranquility make this such a special trip and it’s particularly good for wildlife photographers. What’s more, the champagne bush breakfast upon landing is a real bucket list activity.
For those interested in the culture and lifestyle of the slender-framed, scarlet-robed Maasai tribe, village visits can be arranged. There’s the chance to discover your inner warrior as the Maasai introduce you to their way of life, where you will learn bush survival skills, how to track animals and even how to use a traditional bow and arrow.
While it is easy to appreciate what makes the Masai Mara the most popular safari destination in Kenya, it can make visiting the reserve a crowded affair. That’s why we recommend staying in a private conservancy around the perimeter of the main reserve. You can still expect to see the same prolific levels of wildlife, but visitor numbers are restricted. This not only allows you to escape the crowds, but is also great for conservation efforts too.