Africa’s most famous wildlife reserve
The most famous reserve in the world, the awe-inspiring Maasai Mara is what safari dreams are made of – rolling grasslands, wide open savannah and rich in wonderful African wildlife. Here is the place to witness the incredible annual wildebeest migration between June and October as over a million animals thunder across the plains in search of water and grazing – but the Maasai Mara has mass appeal all year round. Spot prides of lions basking in the shade or seek out an elusive solo leopard. And a magical hot-air balloon safari here is a must – gently drift over the plains as the sun rises, with game roaming below.
- Incredible wildlife viewing amongst stunning African landscapes of rolling plains and wide open savannah
- Witness the Great Migration as over a million animals thunder across the plains in search of water and grazing (June-October)
- As Kenya’s most popular reserve, the Mara can become busy at times – but even experienced safari-goers admit that the game viewing opportunities here can be wonderful
- The conservancies outside of the reserve boundaries also offer excellent – and often less crowded – wildlife viewing
- Gain an insight into traditional Maasai life by visiting a Maasai community and join Maasai-guided bush walks in surrounding conservancies
Maasai Mara holiday highlights
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is located in the Rift Valley in southwest Kenya, bordering Tanzania, 45 minutes' flight or approx. six hours' drive from Nairobi. Around July each year, herds of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores travel over the border from the Serengeti to the Mara during the Great Migration.
The reserve offers fantastic chances of seeing the Big Five – and even better opportunities for viewing big cats. The BBC’s Big Cat Diary team have been following the lives of the Mara’s resident lions, leopards and cheetahs here since 1996. Other wildlife to spot includes elephant, giraffe, zebra, hyena, impala, wildebeest, topi and buffalo.
The landscape is predominantly open grassland, with areas of acacia woodland and occasional bushes. The Mara River bisects the reserve – its waters are inhabited by crocodile and hippo, and many a wildebeest has come into danger when making the crossing during the annual Great Migration.
There are no fences so the wildlife roams freely throughout the Mara region. The land on these surrounding conservancies is owned by local tribes, with camps and lodges leasing the land from them. This system benefits the local community and also allows for activities that are not permitted within the reserve, such as Maasai-guided bush walks.