If you’re a Safari enthusiast and still haven’t included Masai Mara National Reserve in your to-go list you’re definitely missing out on some Big Game, pun intended.
Masai Mara is one of the world’s most renowned and important wildlife conservation and wilderness areas in Africa. Rolling hills, sprawling savannahs, dramatic river crossings and an elaborate assortment of wildlife that is out of this world! Home to lions of “Big Cat Diary”, Masai warriors, some luxurious safari lodges and even private conservancies, Masai Mara is the most coveted location for any wildlife lover. Tourists around the world spill in great numbers to experience the amazing game viewing of African wilderness and witness the “Great Migration” of wildebeests every year.
The Wildebeest Migration is a dramatic mass movement of almost two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle in a seasonal annual cycle driven by rainfall that can even be observed in space! As one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves and possibly the world’s top most big game viewing ecosystem, Masai Mara has been lorded as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and top ten Wonders of the World.
Good To Know
Wildlife Sighting Index
10/10 for Lion & Cheetah sighting
Beauty of Forest Index
10/10 Beauty of Forest
Standard of Infrastructure Index
8/10 Stay & Amenities
120 Days in Advance
Fauna of Masai Mara
Experience speaks for itself and tales of the amazing wildlife encounters at Masai Mara are numerous and divine. The park boasts an evergreen population of the Big 5 all year round. The Big 5, namely lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros are the most difficult to hunt animals since historic times and are often referred to as Hunter’s trophy. The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular lion and cheetah. While hunting animals is no more a common practice, viewing these majestic animals will truly be an experience of a lifetime. Other carnivores likes cheetahs, African wills dogs and spotted hyenas also roam the champagne colored savannah although competition with lions sometimes depletes their packs. Smaller carnivores like weasels, caracals and alot more are also found here that fit into various spaces of the Masai Mara food chain. As mentioned earlier wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate in herds into the Mara reserve from the Serengeti plains to the Loita plains, crossing huge rivers in the months of July to October. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers. Some unique animals like antelopes, Masai giraffe, nocturnal bat eared fox make this Kenyan park truly exciting and one of a kind. Moreover, the scope of diversity can be judged by the 470 different species of birds found here including almost 60 species of raptors.
The wide number of herbivores at Masai Mara are sustained by an equally diverse and suitable flora of the African woodland. The dominant dress known as “desert date” are dotted across the grassland. These thorny yet hardy evergreen trees grow in most part of African and middle eastern areas where temperatures are high and thrive on different type of soils like heavy clay soils found in Masai Mara. This semi arid grassland is blessed with wide valleys and beautiful escapements and diversified vegetation like grassland, acacia woodland, riverine forest, non-deciduous thicket, tarchonathus and croton scrubs. The plantation at Masai Mara has also evolved to include drought resistant trees due to frequent encroachment, droughts and bush burning.
- Black and White rhino
- African buffalo
- African wild dog
- African golden wolf
- Black-backed jackal
- African striped weasel
- Honey badger
- African wildcat
- Side-striped jackal
- Bat-eared fox
- Zorillas, African civet
- Mongoose species
- marabou storks
- secretary bird
- crowned crane
- long-crested eagle
- African pygmy-falcon
- lilac-breasted roller
Explore The Known and Unknown of Masai Mara
Game viewings and game drives are the highlight of your trip at Masai Mara. The park is known for delivering exceptional views of the big cats especially cheetahs as they are quite well adapted to the region’s expanding flat plains making this woodland one of the best places to catch a sight of these nimble predators.
These reputable cats are often spotted taking vantage points on fallen trees, temite mounds and even tourist jeeps! Overall, cruising the open savannah to spot these exciting predators along with concentrations of elephants, buffalos and giraffes along with an extensive list of other flora and fauna is highly encouraged for your trip to Masai Mara. Tourists are also free to explore Masai guided nature walks to truly absorb the African wilderness.
You can also crown your Masai Safari experience by hopping onto a hot air balloon! These early morning hot air balloons are usually flown across the course of Mara river allowing you to take a bird’s eye view of the forest coming alive, fly past vulture nests, witness the early morning routine of boisterous hippos and if you’re lucky you may even get to see one of the seven wonders of Africa, The Great Migration from a cozy spot amidst the sky!
While at Masai you will also get the chance to interact with local Masai guides, travellers and even visit the nearby villages to learn more about the vibrant culture, lifestyle, traditions and explore the Masai makets. Since sometimes of the year the Masai Mara Reserve can get exceedingly busy you can even enjoy a private conservancy for crowd free, off road game viewing, night drives and guided nature walks. Conservancy is basically a specific type of wildlife conservation area that is lended to safari operators by landowners for monetary or other means of compensation. Here you can relax, unwind and have a haste free vacation enjoying the views and wildlife of Masai Mara.
Masai Mara Safari Booking
Jeep rides in African safaris are often referred to as “game drives” and they fulfill the same purpose of wheeling through a wildlife reserve area to explore the wildlife and their natural habitat.
Game drives are divided into two with morning timings usually scheduled from 6.30 am to 9 am and afternoon timings being 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm while full day gamedrives generally happen from 10am to 4pm, in which case the excursion will include a packed picnic lunch inside the Masai Mara reserve at a designated picnic spot during lunch hours.
However, many tourists go for all inclusive Safari packages that include several game drives, accommodation, meals and flights from Nairobi.
How to reach Masai Mara
Despite being a remote location, Masai Mara is easily accessible infact routes to the national park are often hustling and bustling with tourists from all over the world. For international travellers the recommended mode of entry is the Jomo Kenyatta International (NBO) in Nairobi.
NBO Airport serves as East Africa’s biggest hub and as a result many convenient flight options are available. After that you can opt for a road travel to Masai Mara or have a convenient flyride into Mara through the several airstrips that will air transfer you closest to your booked Safari lodge. For doemstic visitors, the most convenient route for a Masai Mara fly-in safari is by flying from Nairobi Wilson Airport (WIL). From here it is a short flight to the Mara. However, you can also opt for a road trip into Masai Mara depending upon your convenience.
For a pure road side travel, many visitors also go for booking a guided drive-in safari. Drive-in safaris start from Nairobi and allow you to include multiple other destinations in Kenya besided the Masai Mara. The park is also accessible for self drivers via a rented 4×4 vehicle. However, its important to be extra cautious if you’re driving by yourself as some stretches of roads are in poor condition despite recent improvement.
Resorts at Masai Mara
Accommodation options at Masai Mara are truly exhaustive. Owing to the extreme popularity of this Game Reserve, resorts are available with varying experiences from budget hotels to thematic, relaxing, adventurous, luxurious and much more.
Some popular options we’d recommend you to try are Eutomoto Safari Camp consisting of elevated private camps on the Rift Valley with breathtaking sunset views and amazing service, Matira Bush Camp which is a cozy camping setup right in the heart of Masai Mara, the seasonal Sentinel Mara Camp running along the banks of Mara river and Elewana Sand River Camp which is remiscent of romantic 1920s safaris with its classic set up and remote location.