One of the world’s last great wildlife sanctuaries. The Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya is home to over three million large animals. Covers a staggering 1,500 sq km of mixed terrain. Despite its popularity, it harbors areas that are both isolated and filled with life. However, even this vast wilderness is under threat. A well-meaning and well-supported – policy of reserves and parks has seen a steady decline in hoofed populations (Masai Mara game reserve Kenya giraffe numbers, for example, are down by 95%, and impala, warthog, and hartebeest numbers have been similarly reduced), resulting in an increase in types of herbage that overwhelm other species, and which are of no use to local pastoralists, whose cattle are weakened and made less valuable by overused grazing lands in the Masai Mara National Park Kenya.
All is not lost. Great tracts of the Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya remain relatively untouched; ideas taken from success stories (Kenya’s Laikipia, for example) are being considered, and the kind of responsible tourism we like to promote is beginning to take shape on a national level.
Which is just as well. Contiguous with Tanzania’s Serengeti, the Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya part hosts the spectacular annual wildebeest migration. Little compares in terms of experiencing the wild – with the sight of thousands of these animals crossing the Mara. Best viewed as systems, and ones that are complex, beautiful, and full of surprises, places like the Maasai Mara deserve our understanding, and it is for this reason that we use areas of the park that are not under threat.
The eastern sector from the Mara & Talek rivers to the Ngama Hills makes up around half the reserve and is the closest part of the reserve to Nairobi and the most visited. The Ngama hills rise above the main Sekenani Entrance Gate and are a prominent feature of the landscape, visible from all areas of the park and a useful landmark if you’re doing a self-drive Masai Mara safari. The hills themselves don’t have as much wildlife as the plains below, but dense thickets on the slopes attract elusive black rhinos, so it’s worth doing a tour of the hills.
The plains surrounding the hills are the classic East African safari landscape of short grassed savannahs, dotted with the occasional acacia tree. For the best wildlife viewing in this part of the park take a detour from the main roads, and use the smaller tracks that wind their way between the main routes. Big cats and cheetahs are common here, along with their prey of antelope, gazelle, eland, and ostrich, along with plenty of elephants.
The South Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya Bridge is the only crossing between the eastern and western sectors of the park and offers a great spot to take a bush picnic with views over a large hippo pool.
The central plains lie between the Mara and Talek rivers in the heart of the Masai Mara. Game viewing here is exceptionally reliable – particularly for big cats, many of which are habituated to vehicles, meaning you can very close for top viewing and photos without fear of driving the cats away.
Cupping these central plains are the Mara River and its tributary the Talek, the only permanent water source flowing through the Masai Mara National reserve Kenya. The area is covered with dozens of deep hippo holes, and the Mara River supports much aquatic life including hippos, crocodiles, and otters, along with plenty of birdlife. The lush forest that edges the rivers is home to a strong leopard population, vervet monkeys, and bushbucks.
It’s this central section of the park that is home to one of nature’s greatest shows – when the Great Wildebeest Migration comes to town and crosses the Mara River. This can actually happen several times during the wildebeests’ 2-3 months in the Masai Mara. There are a number of regular crossing points, most of which are in a 5 km stretch of the Mara River, up-water from where the Talek joins the Mara. Lookout Hill, opposite the Serena Lodge, is the best vantage point for seeing the herds congregating and crossing the river.
The most westerly section of the Masai Mara Reserve is known as the Mara Triangle and is divided from the rest of the park by the Mara River on its eastern side. Oto the northwest is the Oloololo Escarpment making for a dramatic backdrop to the scenery as it is 400 meters above the wildlife grazing on the plains. In July and August, the grasslands of the Mara Triangle are heaving with wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle – as well as their many predators. This section of the park is less visited and less crowded than the rest of the Masai Mara and has limited – though quality accommodation options
Eluai Plain – The Eluai plain is known for its vast wilderness areas and scattered trees. The Eluai plain is a great place to see spectacular sights of animals in Masai Mara National Reserve like cheetahs, large herds of elephants, and zebras, among so many others.
Mara River – The Mara River is a beautiful attraction in Masai Mara National Reserve giving travelers an opportunity to view various water animals like hippos and crocodiles as well as water birds. Also, the Mara River is a great place to witness the Wildebeest migration.
Animals in Masai Mara National Reserve – The animals in Masai Mara National Reserve are the top attraction in Masai Mara National Reserve, with an abundance of animals that travelers can spot, like the African big five including pride of lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, as well as other animals like wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, impalas, elands, among so many others.
The Great Migration
The Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya lands are famous for the annual Wildebeest Migration (one of the Natural Wonders of the World) which occurs from June to October when the Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya becomes host to an almost unimaginable half a million wildebeest seeking the grasses raised by the Spring rains of April and May. Having exhausted the grazing in the northern Serengeti the wildebeest head north en masse. This is an awesome sight in the true meaning of the word which, when coupled with the sound of thousands upon thousands of hooves pounding the earth, makes it an unforgettable spectacle.
Kenya’s game reserves also host a Wildebeest Migration from Kenya’s Loita Plains to the Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya which moves into Ol Kinyei Conservancy earlier, usually by January, and the calving takes place there during February and March when the plains of the conservancy are teeming with wildebeest before they move through Naboisho Conservancy and into Olare Motorogi Conservancy.
The Wildebeest are not the only tenants of the land. The Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya is also the home to among others, zebra, elephants, and the big cats; cheetahs, lions, and leopards. Hyena, jackal, buffalo, eland, topi, impala, gazelle, and warthog add to this huge diversity of wildlife.
Birds – Birds in Masai Mara National Reserve are a great attraction that sees travelers enjoying birding safaris in the reserve. With over 300 bird species in Masai Mara National Reserve, travelers can spot a variety of bird species with birding safaris in the reserve.
Other attractions in Masai Mara National Reserve that travelers can enjoy include the Masai Mara reserve triangle, the Olarek Orok Conservancy, Nashuli Masai Conservancy, and the Olpunyata swamp, among others.
There are numerous activities in Masai Mara reserve which range from luxury experiences such as Hot Air Balloon flights over the plains where you can see wildlife down below, to less costly bush meals and nature walks or wildlife treks. Some of the most popular activities are brief visits to a traditional Maasai tribal village during which travelers get a fascinating glimpse into the unique way of life of these nomadic people.
What is the best time to visit the Maasai Mara reserve? Well, depends on what you want: wildebeest migration or wilderness feel. Your preferences will guide you through the seasons:
The Mara offers superb wildlife viewing year-round. With the best will in the world, you can never be sure of coinciding your few days in the Masai Mara National Park Kenya with the crossing and taking this sought-after picture of a crocodile having a frantic wildebeest in its jaws. Expect to pay exorbitant prices for the Mobile Camps that congregate near the river crossing, and to see plenty of other safari vehicles lined up.
Masai mara game reserve Kenya is charming and captivating no matter the weather. This charm comes from its diverse list of all-inclusive safari lodges. We review the 7 best luxury camps in Masai Mara National Park Kenya you can stay at when you book your safari holiday to Kenya.
Somewhere amidst the famous Masai Mara National Park Kenya Triangle lies this queen of all other luxuries Masai Mara safari camps and hotels. It is a haven where gently rolling landscapes pour into sunburned grasslands, and luxury reigns supreme.
Being a Masai Mara hotel located in the Mara Triangle, the Masai Mara National Park Kenya Serena Safari Lodge gives the term ‘picturesque views’ a whole other meaning.
The vibe here is luxurious. We suspect it has to do with its 74 guest rooms, all of which come complete with uninterrupted views of the Masai Mara National Park Kenya, contemporary amenities, and state-of-the-art interiors. You will love its savoury meals too, and the long list of activities it has planned out for guests. Activities to do on an all-inclusive Masai Mara safari with a stay at the Mara Serena include bush dinners, sundowners, game drives, and exciting walks.
Ilkeliani Camp in Masai mara Kenya is the true definition of Kenya as a luxurious destination. Life at this luxury camp in Masai Mara game reserve Kenya centers around a river glade where hundreds of Elephants gather to drink.
But it has always been more than the wildlife with Ilkeliani. All her 12 tents are the epitome of perfection, with each treating guests to breathtaking views of the Masai Mara National Park Kenya landscape and the dark figures roaming all around it.
There’s also a wide selection of viewing decks to scream about, tastefully designed interiors, contemporary amenities, picturesque viewpoints, and exceptional customer service. The panoramic views are an unmatched spot for intimate dinners and lunches.
This luxury Masai mara Kenya hotel is sensational not just for its awe-inducing design but also for its closeness to the Masai Mara Reserve River. The ambiance here leans more towards the pristine, otherworldly side, the resort outdoing itself with its effortless views of the Masai Mara National Park Kenya.
Seeing that it’s very close to the Mara River, you can count on getting the best views of the Wildebeest Migration as well as the lush grasslands and reptiles native to the river. But it’s not only the views you should look forward to here. Entim’s 12 luxury tents are a thing of beauty, each coming complete with impeccable interior décor, a private lounge, a verandah, and modern amenities.
You will also love the camp’s restaurant, bar, swimming pools, and customer service. Activities on a luxury Masai Mara game reserve Kenya safari package with a stay at the Entim Mara include; game drives, bush dinners, lunches, breakfasts, walks, and sundowners.
As far as luxury lodges in Masai mara Kenya go, we are suckers for the Ashnil Mara Camp, a gorgeous 50 luxury-tent wonder housed close to the Mara River. True to form, this luxury Masai Mara reserve kenya hotel merges contemporary facilities with mind-blowing Mara views to create a haven even the harshest critics will love.
There are deluxe twin, deluxe double, and deluxe triple rooms to rave about, a swimming pool, a Michelin-starred restaurant, a lounge bar, and exceptional customer service. The Ashnil Mara Camp also offers intimate bush breakfasts, dinners and lunches, game drives, and cocktails that never miss the mark.
We feel obliged to honor the Basecamp Masai Mara game reserve Kenya because each one of its amenities, mostly its seventeen double riverside tents, is a work of art. The camp lies on River Talek, a position that brings exceptional views of the Masai Mara reserve kenya and an ambiance beyond words.
The vibe here is immaculate, and the service is the quickest, most efficient you’ll ever come across. But it gets even better. Double tents come complete with king-sized or twin beds, fully-equipped bathrooms, an indoor and outdoor shower, and private decks with direct views of the Mara.
There’s everything to love about its family tent, too, those mentioned above featuring two separate wings, each offering double beds and a shared bathroom area. We would vote Basecamp as the best Masai Mara game reserve Kenya luxury safari camp for families.
The LGC has undoubtedly solidified its position as one of the best luxury camps in Masai Mara game reserve Kenya and offers 17 cozy luxurious tents surrounded by lovely sceneries. You would be missing out if you didn’t stay at this riveting haven housed next to a watering hole that teems with wildlife and birds.
You would be missing out on its scenic wooden decks, and the wildlife is always roaming around the property, seeing that it is not fenced. You’d also miss out on its intimate open-air breakfasts and lunches served at the heart of the park and on its impeccable services and contemporary facilities.
Beautifully isolated with tented camps overlooking thick forests and murky waters (Ntiakitiak River), the Mara Plains Camp epitomizes swanky opulence. All-inclusive Masai Mara game reserve Kenya safaris spent here are enjoyed amid roaring lions and trumpeting elephants. Also, an ambiance that is the most pristine you’ll ever experience.
Spend the day discovering the marvelous wonders hidden in the 35,000-acre conservancy surrounding the camp. Stay in one of its five air-conditioned tents and enjoy delicious meals, hot indoor and outdoor showers, hot tub soaks free WI-FI, and the plushiest, most comfortable beds ever. Or go for hot-air balloon safaris, walks, and game drives.