The Masai Mara National Reserve is probably the most famous and most visited Reserve in Kenya. It offers breathtaking views (as seen in the film "Out of Africa", much of which was filmed here), an extraordinary density of animals including "Africa's Big Five" (lions, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros) and may varieties of plains game.
An impressive feature of The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is the annual migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles from the plains of the Serengeti that cross the Tanzanian border and rivers to reach the Masai Mara National Reserve's grasslands from late June, tracked by predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, and hyena, and circled by vultures as their journey unfolds. Their dramatic river crossings are a reality for tourists visiting in early July-August.
Apart from the seasonal migration, game viewing is excellent year round in the Masai Mara National Reserve. African Wildlife to be seen in Masai Mara National Reserve includes elephant, black rhino, buffalo, plains zebra, hartebeest and big cats. The rivers are home to hippo and crocodiles. 452 species, 53 of which are raptors.
The Masai Mara national reserve is Kenya's most popular game park because it's relatively small yet it hosts an amazing concentration of wildlife. You are almost guaranteed to see the Big 5. Lions abound throughout the park as do leopards, cheetah, hyenas, giraffe, impala, wildebeest, topi, baboons, warthogs, buffalo, zebra, elephants, and of course hippos and crocodiles in the Mara River.
Safari Tours to Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya
Masai Mara is located about 450km away from Nairobi
Safaris to Masai Mara National Reserve can begin from;
- Nairobi - by road or by scheduled flight (Air Safari)
- Mombasa, Diani, Malindi or Watamu (Kenya Coast) by scheduled flight (Air Safari)
and can be combined with tours to Lake Nakuru National Park, Masai Mara Reserve and Amboseli National Park. Sample Masai Mara Safaris include
- 3 Days Masai Mara Safari, Kenya
- 4 Days Kenya Safari to Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru
- 5 Days Safari in Kenya - Amboseli Lake Nakuru National Parks and Masai Mara National Reserve
Things to do in Masai Mara
- Watch the Great Wildebeest Migration: The seventh natural wonder of the world happens in the Mara every year between July and October. During this great migration, over 2 million wildebeests, zebras and gazelles trek from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania right through the reserve in search of water and pasture with predators like lions, hyenas, jackals and vultures in hot pursuit..
- Balloon Safaris: Hot Air balloons Safaris in the Masai Mara provide a different form of game viewing - aerial! The balloons lift off at 6:30 a.m. and last for about an hour. The view of the landscape and wildlife against the rising sun is nothing short of amazing. After the flight, champagne breakfast is served . This is then followed by a leisurely game drive en rout to your lodge/camp.
- Guided Walking Tours: You can take a guided walking tour outside the Reserve (Private Conservancies) where there is also plenty of wildlife and interesting sights.
- Cultural safaris can be arranged to visit the Masai tribesmen. During the tour you are able to visit a traditional Masai homestead or Manyatta and experience a way of life that has remained unchanged for centuries.
Masai Mara Accommodation
Accommodation in the Mara ranges from five-star safari lodges to low priced campsites for the budget traveler.
It takes almost 7 hours from Nairobi to the Masai Mara.
Flights are available from Nairobi and Mombasa and land at the Masai Mara Airstrip - flights from Nairobi depart from Wilson Airport (WIL) and take about 45 minutes, whereas flights from Mombasa depart from Moi International Airport (MBA) and take roughly 2 hours.
Masai Mara - Quick Facts
Area: 1,510 km²
Governing body: Trans-Mara and Narok County Councils
Nearest town: Narok
Facts: The BBC television show titled 'Big Cat Diary' is filmed in both the reserve and conservation areas of the Masai Mara.
By Road: 6 to 6.5 hours from Nairobi
By Air: Twice daily Nairobi/Mara/Nairobi, once daily Mombasa/Nairobi - 1 hour