Kenya's famous Masai Mara isn't just where you go to spot wildlife. The grasslands fully immerse you in all the drama and charm of the wild, from lionesses chasing zebra herds to the echoing drumbeat created by wildebeest hooves on the move. Exploring these plains has continually provided us with the most iconic of safari memories.
When is the best time to visit the Masai Mara?
The rolling Mara plains swell with life from July to October, when the great wildebeest migration crosses the Mara River and arrives from the Serengeti to the south. We have some exceptional camps overlooking the water, giving you the ultimate seats for this natural theatre; just gaze out from a private verandah and you can see thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and Thompson’s gazelle. Admiring the plains from a hot air balloon is another way to lose yourself in the enormity of the spectacle.
Masai Mara's incredible big cats.
Wherever there's prey there's predators and we think the Masai Mara is unbeatable for spotting the big cats. You don't just see them lazing around. These evocative plains are a great opportunity to watch lions, leopards and cheetahs on a raid. We've been close enough to hear the crunch of a hyena biting into a carcass, or see the blood-splattered mane of a dominant male lion. Most predators don't follow the migration as they must protect their home realm, so these exhilarating encounters occur throughout the year.
The private conservancies are phenomenal.
We also recommend the private conservancies in the north of the Masai Mara, where you can escape the crowds and enjoy a variety of activities that aren't possible in the National Reserve; walking across the plains with a Maasai warrior guide is one that always gives us goosebumps. These exclusive conservancies have the same abundance and diversity of wildlife as the National Reserve, but access is restricted to just a handful of guests and you're permitted to drive off the trails.
The Masai Mara can't be rushed. Taking your time and settling into the rhythm of the wild is an experience not to be missed. Baboons shouting, elephants roaming, hyenas battling, buffalo charging...there's a wonderful beauty to being immersed in this world-famous destination.