The Masai Mara

The Masai Mara is the most famous of the Kenyan Game Parks, covering an area of some 1,500 square kilometres. Situated in the south-west of the country, it joins with the Serengeti to its south, across the border in Tanzania, to form a huge reserve for the animals within. It gets its name from the tribe who own the land, and still herd cattle here, the Maasai, and the river that runs through the park, the Mara.

The national reserve which has two rivers, the Mara and Talek, naturally divides into three key areas:
1.Sekenani - south-east of the Talek and Mara Rivers
2.Mara Triangle - the land lying between Oloololo Escarpment and the Mara River
3. Musiara - the area between the Mara and Talek rivers

The national reserve has a number of camps and lodges, which can be accessed with a private vehicle and guide. Accommodation within the reserve itself tends to be in larger camps and lodges, and the reality is that these areas have a high density of traffic.

We prefer the private conservancies which adjoin the national reserve - all these areas are unfenced to assist the migration of wildlife. These exclusive conservancies have strict limitations on visitor numbers. They tend to be far smaller, high quality operations, with many of them reached by light aircraft with guests joining game drives in camp 4x4 vehicles led by their own guides, many of them local Maasai.

The Mara North Conservancy, 64,000 acres of prime wilderness situated immediately to the north-east of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, works in partnership with local Maasai landowners. In MNC, there are eleven member camps. Each is represented by a land management committee. The committee meets monthly with the Maasai Landowners Committee representing over 800 Maasai landowners, who have opted to lease their land for conservation. The MNC is one of the largest community and private sector owned conservancies in the world and this is the first time many Maasai have been able to receive a direct income from wildlife.

Crucially, all the camps in the private conservancies promote low density tourism with, for example in MNC, one camp visitor to 350 acres. This ensures an exclusive safari experience and minimal impact to the environment and its wildlife.

Wherever you choose to stay in the Mara there is no getting away from the most famous spectacle here - the annual wildebeest migration. Over 1,000,000 animals migrate across the savanna in search of fresh pasture. Although impossible to predict exactly, those visiting in July through to September are likely to see the huge herds, maybe even crossing the Mara River with its giant Nile crocodiles in attendance. If you want to be right in the thick of it and don't mind the crowds, position yourself close to the Mara/ Talek rivers - consider one of the Governors Camps, Mara Serena, Rekero Camp, Serian Nkorombo or Naibor.

Slightly further away from the river front in the private conservancies you'll find Mara Plains, Kicheche, Offbeat Mara and Mahali Mzuri to the east, Serian, Saruni Wild, Angama Mara and Karen Blixen Tented Camp to the north - and many more - all geared up for the migration months. The best thing to do is to speak to us so we can look at the time of year and your budget and then give you options for where to best position yourself.

You can read more about the migration, with a rough guide to the timing of key events on the Serengeti page, and also browse our selection of lodges in Kenya's Masai Mara or Tanzania's Serengeti, in our Lodge Library. We can also book hot air balloon safaris for you - these take off at dawn and end with a champagne breakfast on the plains.

The Masai Mara is home to all of the Big Five. It is especially famous for its Lion prides and it is in the Mara that the BBC filmed the series "Big Cat Diary". The Mara and Talek rivers are also home to some large groups of Hippos. The area is especially good for cheetah, with the parks vast, flat savanna allowing them to use their speed to good effect.

Herds of elephant wander through its grasslands, feeding off the shrubs and trees that litter the park. There are several important elephant migration corridors. Amongst them, zebra, eland, Thomson's gazelles and many, many more types of grazing animal spend their days and nights grazing the rich grasslands. To the west of the park is the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment, a particularly good area in which to see the wildlife. But overall, the Wildebeest rules, with huge numbers around the park.

Safaris visiting this attraction

9 days
From £2,525
'Explorers against Extinction' Classic Kenya Safari

A fantastic value drive-in safari to Laikipia, the Great Lakes and the Masai Mara with your own vehicle and guide, staying in Serena camps and lodges

12 days
From £3,550
Best of Kenya

A wonderful private drive-in safari visiting Mt Kenya, Ol Pejeta, Samburu, the Great Rift Valley Lakes and the Masai Mara

9 days
From £2,445
Big Five Safari

A drive-in safari focusing on the best places to see wildlife and the Big Five in particular

8 days
From £4,995
Black Rhino, Samburu and the Mara Kenya Safari

This is an exciting fly-in safari to Saruni lodges in Kenya's Kalama & Sera Conservancies where you can track endangered black rhino on foot before visiting the Masai Mara.

13 days
From £3,215
East Africa Trails - Kenya and Tanzania Small Group Escorted Tour

An excellent small group guided safari tour of both Kenya and Tanzania

6 days
From £2,130
Explorers Against Extinction - Governors' Masai Mara Kenya Fly-In

Fly to the heart of the action in the Masai Mara and stay five wonderful nights at the famous Governors' Camps.

9 days
From £2,585
Family Bush and Beach Holiday

An extended family holiday combining a safari in the world famous Masai Mara with a stay at Diani Beach on the Indian Ocean

5 days
From £4,090
Giraffe Manor and Sala's Camp Masai Mara Safari

Combine the wonderful Giraffe Manor with a tented safari camp in the world famous Masai Mara

7 days
From £4,470
Giraffes, Rhinos & Big Cats in Kenya

This superb Safari Collection holiday includes stays at Giraffe Manor, Solio and Sala's Camp in the Masai Mara.

13 days
From £3,415
Kenya Bush and Beach - Masai Mara and Diani

A great value all inclusive fly-in holiday combining a safari in a riverside tented camp in the Mara with a week on the Indian Ocean coast.

7 days
From £2,080
Kenya Express

A safari visiting Lake Nakuru, famous for its flamingos and rhinos, and the Masai Mara with its big cats

8 days
From £3,995
Kenya Romantic Escape

Capturing the essence of old-school romance this safari visits Samburu and the Mara with characterful tented camps

7 days
From £1,185
Kenya Small Group Escorted Tour

An escorted small group safari visiting the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Lake Elementeita and the Masai Mara

7 days
From £3,330
Kicheche Explorers Against Extinction Kenya Safari

A wonderful six night safari in Kenya visiting Ol Pejeta and the Masai Mara.

11 days
From £6,245
Masai Mara and the Coast - Serian Safari

This is a fantastic luxury fly-in safari combining two Serian camps in the Masai Mara with a small stylish beach lodge overlooking the white sands of the coast.

6 days
From £2,150
Masai Mara Fly-in

Spend 4 nights on safari in Kenya's wonderful Masai Mara - camps available include Karen Blixen Tented Camp, Mahali Mzuri and Serian

9 days
From £4,960
Out of Africa

A classic fly in safari to Kenya including the Masai Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo

8 days
From £4,155
Rwanda Gorillas and the Masai Mara

Trek to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda before going on safari to Kenya's Masai Mara

8 days
From £5,140
Samburu Elephant Safari and the Masai Mara

Get a real insight into elephant behaviour with a stay at Samburu's Elephant Watch Camp, followed by a safari in the Mara.

7 days
From £3,770
Saruni Samburu and the Mara Kenya Safari

A classic fly-in safari to Samburu and the Masai Mara, staying in luxury Saruni safari lodges in important conservation areas.

7 days
From £2,950
Sweetwaters and the Masai Mara

Enjoy a private safari in the wonderful Ol Pejeta Private Conservancy with its rhino and chimp sanctuaries before heading on to the world famous Masai Mara

10 days
From £3,575
Ultimate Bush and Beach Holiday

This is a superb luxury safari and beach combination staying in hand-picked luxury accommodation

9 days
From £7,160
Ultimate Elephant Kenya

This luxury fly-in safari has it all - stay at Ol Donyo in the Chyulu Hills, Elephant Watch Camp in Samburu and Rekero in the Mara.

11 days
From £7,050
Ultimate Kenya

A luxury fly-in safari combining outstanding lodges in outstanding wildlife areas.

8 days
From £4,675
Wild Kenya Fly-in Safari

A luxurious fly-in safari combining the Masai Mara, Laikipia and Nairobi National Park

Nearby Camps


The Masai Mara
Nearby Camps