The Maasai Mara National Reserve is undoubtedly Kenya’s most notable and revered reserve. Its sheer size—extending to and eventually joining Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park—and stringent anti-poaching systems have made it famous for its remarkable populations of lion, cheetah, and leopard. It is also celebrated for being one of the stomping grounds of the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Maasai Mara is also a starting point for one of the oldest pilgrimages in history. Every year from July to October, the Great Migration sees thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and gazelle leave clouds of dust in their wake as they stampede toward (literally) greener pastures in the Serengeti. When on the move, their pace is frantic and panicky as they attempt to avoid being singled out by a watchful pride of lions, or unsuspectingly clamber too close to a crocodile lying in wait near the riverbanks.

The reserve’s name is attributed to the Maasai tribe who call the area home. Their original name for the land, ‘mara’, refers to the vast landscape that is ‘speckled’ with animals and acacia trees, and the cloud shadows that characterise the area. Maasai Mara is home to a range of lodges and camps where visitors are afforded the opportunity to immerse themselves in an authentic safari experience. 

Highlights

  • An impressive population of wildlife call the reserve home 
  • A superb vantage point from which to observe the annual Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra
  • An array of lodges in the reserve provide comfort and frequent game-viewing opportunities either by foot, vehicle, or hot-air balloon
  • A large population of big cat can be found roaming the Maasai Mara plains 
  • The most-visited reserve in Kenya—named in honour of the Maasai people
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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