Masai Mara National Reserve is located in Narok County, west of Kenya’s capital Nairobi. It is in the Great Rift Valley and is under the custody of the County Government of Narok.
It is one of the most popular and largest reserves in Africa and borders the Serengeti National Park in Northern Tanzania, Mara Region. Together, The Great Migration is made possible.
Masai Mara National Reserve Attractions
Why is Mara so Popular? Here is why.
Masai Mara national Reserve attracts thousands of tourists every year.
This because Masai Mara has a high number and a wide variety of animals. It is also where the Great Migration happens every year. The Migration has been named 1 of the 7 wonders of the world.
Those two major aspects make reserve so popular.
Masai Mara National Reserve is a segment or a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem which is composed of well-established Group Ranches and the Masai Communities.
The Mara Triangle
The Mara Triangle is Masai Mara National Reserve South Western Part under the custody of Masai Mara Conservancy a non-profit organization formed by the local Maasai.
It is divided from the rest of the Masai Mara National Reserve by Mara River. It is almost a third of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Mara Triangle offers more wildlife to view and is less crowded as it is less visited.
The Mara River
The Mara River is found in both Kenya and Tanzania. Its source is Kenyan Highlands Napulyapi swamp (the Mau Escarpment) and 65% of its surface area is in Kenya while the rest 35% is in Tanzania.
It lies across the Great Migration path that happens between the Kenya Masai Mara and the Tanzania Serengeti National Park.
This river nourishes vegetation along its riverine that supports wildlife. During the dry season, it becomes shallow resulting in a shortage of grazing lands for the animals.
Masai Mara National Reserve Animals/Wildlife
The reserve has a wide variety of animal and include; the Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Hyena, Serval, Fox, Jackal, Hippo, Nile crocodile, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Zebra, Waterbuck, Reed-buck, Impala, Thomson’s gazelle, Baboon, Warthog, Topi, Eland, and Wildebeest.
It also has a wide variety of bird species.
The Great Migration
The Migration involves over 1.5 m wildebeests, over 250,000 Zebras, and Thomson’ gazelle moving from Northern Tanzania (Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park) to Kenya Masai Mara.
This migration is determined by the availability of the water and feeding vegetation.
The initial phase is between January and March during the calving period and the grass is abundant in this phase.
As the rain stop and feeding vegetation begin to diminish at the end of May, the animals move to the Northwest to Grumeti River where they stay until the end of June.
In July, the herds move to the great Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Here they cross the Grumeti River and the Masai Mara River as they get fed on by the Mara Nile Crocodiles.
This is one of the major tourist attractions in Masai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park.
The animals stay in Kenya Mara from July to November when the short rains begin.
With the help of emerging vegetation, migration begins again to the south, arriving to Serengeti National Park at around December
This is in preparation of the initial phase of calving and the cycle repeating.
Masai Mara (National Reserve) Climate
The annual average temperature for this region is 25°C with the highest temperatures ranging at 30°C and the lowest temperatures ranging at 20°C.
The rainfall season begins from November to May. December to January and April to May are the peak rainy months. From June to November it is dry.
Best Time to Visit the Reserve
The best time to visit Masai Mara National Reserve is during the peak season i.e. between July and October during the great migration. November and February are also preferable months that offer great wildlife viewing.
Masai Mara Wildlife Trip
The Masai Mara wildlife Safari is a superb trip that you’d not want to miss.
It is about the wilderness, far from the human cities to the wildlife city.
The drive itself is fascinating. Before getting to the reserve, you pass through the formations of the Great Rift Valley.
The views are breathtaking. You are at the top and everything else you are watching is down there- human settlement, valleys, and hills.
The reserve offers you an ultimate wildlife safari. Game viewing can be done at night or during the day.
Things to do in Masai Mara National Reserve
- Camping – you can’t miss this
- Game drives
- Night game drives
- Bush dinner
- Masai cultural village visits
The Amaasai people have a very rich, authentic culture. They are nomads and will keep you entertained throughout. Meet the fearless who get a share of a kill from lions’ mouths.
How to get there
By Road– driving from Nairobi, you can get to the reserve through the following gates; Sand River, Musiara, Talek, Sekenani, or Oloololo Gate (the furthest from Nairobi)
Mara Triangle can be accessed by road through Narok and Sekenani Gate.
By Air– the Mara Triangle can be accessed through two airstrips-Mara Serena Airport and Kichwa Tembo Airport. Musiara Airport and Keekorok Airport are located in the reserve area. Mara Shikar Airport and Ngerende Airport are located in the Conservation Area of Masai Mara.
You can, therefore, book a flight from Nairobi Wilson Airport, Samburu, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (Lewa Downs), Nanyuki, Mombasa, and Diani.
This is a rather more expensive way to get there than using a safari with professional guides consisting of more than two people.
I would recommend the road means to enjoy the tour by joining a local safari company
You may contact the County Government of Narok through
Telephone Number: +254 5022551/+254 50 22222
Masai Mara National Reserve Entrance Fees
The reserve entry fees are as follows:
Citizens (KES): Adult 1,000 Child 300
Residents (KES): Adult 1,200 Child 300
Non-residents (USD): Adults 80 Children 45
For citizens and residents, you must show your valid ID/passport or residency card. Otherwise, you will be charged as non- residents.
Payment methods include the use of M-Pesa, VISA Card, and sometimes cash.
Please note entry fees can be revised anytime
Masai Mara hotels and lodges are brilliant. They are world-class with local and international dishes.
Some are inside the Masai Mara Triangle such as Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Fairmont Mara Safari Club, and Little Governor’s Camp.
Some outside the Masai Mara triangle such as Olonana, Kichwa Tembo, Mara Siria, Mpata Club, and Kilima Camp.
See Hotels and Lodges Here in Details