Maasai Mara, at a Glance

The Maasai Mara is the most popular safari destination in East Africa, along with the Serengeti in northern Tanzania.

It is the site of the Great Migration, where over 2 million zebras, gazelles and wildebeest travel from Serengeti to the Maasai Mara each year.

Often called the Jewel of Africa, the Maasai Mara takes its name from the Maasai tribe who have inhabited these lands since the 17th century.

Mara translates to spotted, referencing the scattered acacia trees that mark the landscapes, and that have become the symbol of the Maasai Mara. 

Maasai Mara, kenya

Located in Kenya's South West, the Maasai Mara National Reserve covers just over 583 square miles. Unlike national parks, the Maasai Mara has no fencing and is instead bounded by the Ololoolo (Siria) Escarpment on its western edge and extends south to the Tanzania border, where it seamlessly merges with the Serengeti National Park.

However, the reserve's northern and eastern borders are surrounded by private wildlife conservancies.The conservancies add 350,000 acres to the greater Mara area, and animals are free to roam anywhere within the Mara ecosystem.

There are fourteen in total, but the top four conservancies, also known as the 'Big Four' are: Mara NorthMara NaboishoOl Kinyei, and Olare Motorogi. 

Maasai Mara
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The Mara conservancies are the best option for those wanting a secluded safari experience, as guest numbers are strictly limited on a number of acres per-guest basis.

Conservancies also offer a more flexible approach to the safari experience, with walking safaris, horseback riding, off-roading and night game drives available (all of which are not allowed in the reserve). This enables closer wildlife encounters and a wider variety of experiences.

Reasons to visit the Maasai Mara

The Great Migration

The Great Migration is the world's largest migration of wildlife. 

The event takes place from July to October each year. Over 2 million mammals make their way from the Serengeti in northern Tanzania where the dry grasslands can no longer sustain them. 

It's a treacherous journey, particularly at the crossing of the Mara River. Crocs lurk in the murky waters, and when wildebeest numbers are this large, not everybody will make it across alive. 

Safaris in the Maasai Mara

The Maasai is one of Africa's best safari destinations. The reserve has excellent wildlife densities, and there are a number of ways to explore. 

Game drives and walking safaris take you up close to the animals, and it's possible to take to the skies via hot air balloon for aerial views of the savannah. Horseback safaris are also possible here. 

Most safaris are centred on the Central Plains, the largest part of the reserve full of dense, bushes, grasslands and a huge variety of wildlife. If you head east, you'll arrive at the Ngama Hills, a series of undulating hills that extend to the reserves limits.

Slightly more centrally sits the leafy bushes beloved by the black rhino, and further west lies the Oloololo Escarpment, part of the Mara Triangle which borders the legendary Mara River with vibrant-lime coloured grass and woodlands. 

Most people spend a few nights exploring the Mara, and you can choose between basic camps, mid-range accommodation, or luxury tented camps and lodges as your base. 

Maasai Mara, kenya

Maasai Culture

The Maasai people are known globally for their vibrant red robes and tremendous bravery as fierce warriors in the wild.

Their way of life can seem unimaginable for many; living amongst the punishing dangers of the natural world.

A Maasai cultural experience is a fascinating insight into the life of the Maasai people, learning about their rich history and culture.

From centuries of living amongst the untamed wild, the Maasai have mastered living off the land.

Maasai Mara

When to visit the Maasai Mara

The best time to visit Maasai Mara is between July and October, during the Great Migration.

Temperatures remain pretty consistent year-round, and rainfall is all that separates the seasons.

January and February is the driest season. These months offer the best wildlife sightings and great conditions for safari. March to May is the rainy season, and some lodges and camps will close in April when the rains are at their peak.

June to October follows with a short dry season, often punctuated with short, sharp showers. Temperatures are typically cooler at this time of year. 

Maasai Mara FAQs

  • What do I wear on safari?

    The Sub-Saharan climate is hot and dry most of the season, so wearing clothing that allows air circulation is important for your own comfort. 

    You'll want to wear neutral colours in order not to disturb the animals and stand out. Avoid wearing bright colours and blacks. 

    Bring appropriate footwear, good quality hiking boots are recommended. 

    If you are going in the rainy seasons, make sure you bring a light waterproof jacket in case of passing showers

    Ensure everything you bring is comfortable and practical! 

    When booking with us, you'll receive a full kit list. 

  • How much does it cost to go to the Maasai Mara?

    The price will depend entirely on the specifics of your trip: the length, group size, and accommodation preferences are the biggest factors on price. 

    Get in touch with us, and we'll talk you through the costs involved, and how we can design a safari that meets your budget. 

  • Will I see all of the Big Five?

    All the Big Five can be found in the Maasai Mara. Elephants, lions and buffaloes are easiest to spot. 

    The leopard is a solitary and elusive cat. The best time to spot one is in the early morning or at night. Spotting leopards is not guaranteed, but is certainly possible. 

    The rhino is an endangered species. Black rhino numbers have dropped by 98% to less than 2,000 in the wild. 49 of these are found in the Maasai Mara. It's possible you'll see rhino in the Mara, but other destinations like Ol Pejeta Conservancy are better if you're looking for rhino. 

  • What is the accommodation like in Maasai Mara?

    There's a good range of accommodation options in the Mara. These range from simple camps and lodges, to luxury options with exceptional service, views, and aesthetic. 

    We can help you decide which accommodation option is right for you. 

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Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.

+1 315 636-4279