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Masai Mara & Conservancies

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Masai Mara & Conservancies

Known as Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve, the reputation of the Masai Mara goes way beyond being simply a wildlife park. It is classic Africa.

A world-renowned place of adventure and exploration, this is a worldwide stage where the brutal and unfettered reality of nature is played out in the greatest wildlife show on earth. Its fertile rolling grasslands, bisected by riverine forests, attract countless game, enticing wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle, which ensures that predators are never too far away and the sense of raw energy on the savannah is palpable. Despite some areas being notoriously over-visited, it is nonetheless possible to experience sensational safaris and incredible wildlife sightings from the camps we have selected.


The Masai Mara

The Masai Mara forms the northern section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and different areas offer contrasting safari possibilities. The Masai Mara National Reserve is official national parkland and covers 1,800 square kilometres, its grassland plains offer great opportunities to witness the phenomenal annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle between July and October, as well as prides of lion, hippos, elephants, hyena and countless other wildlife, including Big Five game. 75% of Kenya's land sits outside the national park, and within the Mara many privately owned and run conservancies have been established to offer more tightly regulated and low-impact tourism, thereby supporting the local Maasai communities.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Masai Mara?

The optimum time to visit the Maasai Mara for a safari is determined by what you want to see and do during your trip. The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is famous for its spectacular wildlife and the Great Migration, which comprises enormous herds of wildebeests and zebras migrating in search of fresh grazing. Here are the two most important variables to consider:

  • While the Great Migration is surely a highlight, the Maasai Mara offers superb animal watching possibilities all year round. The dry season, which lasts from July to October, is often favoured because wildlife congregates around water sources, making it easier to spot animals.
  • If you want to avoid crowds and enjoy more beautiful greenery, visit during the wet season, which runs from November to June. Due to the abundance of water throughout the area, animals are likely to be spread over greater distances.

Ultimately, both the dry and wet seasons provide distinct experiences, so the optimum time to visit is determined by your choices and interests. If seeing the Great Migration is important to you, plan your trip during the dry season. Consider going during the wet season if you like a more calm ambiance and lush sceneries.


Mara North Conservancy

Situated along the Mara River towards the north of the main reserve in the south-western corner of Kenya, this conservancy covers 30,000 hectares and was established in 2009 as a non-profit organisation to help provide a sustainable tourism framework for the local communities. With lower density of tourism vehicles, you will enjoy a more exclusive and authentic safari, using the tranquil Kicheche Mara Camp as a base.

Naboisho Conservancy

Naboisho meaning ‘come together’ in Maa dialect, this conservancy was formed in 2010 and is situated immediately north and east of the Masai Mara National Reserve, covering just over 20,000 hectares through which the annual wildebeest and zebra migration passes. Owned by the local Maasai, the land is protected and managed to allow low numbers of tourists whilst allowing the wildlife and local Maasai culture to thrive. The exclusive and spectacular Naibosho Camp and Kicheche Naibosho Camp will host your expert-led explorations to see a wide range of wildlife in the area.

Olare Orok Conservancy

Exclusive and expensive, Olare Orok is a groundbreaking conservancy bordering the reserve to the north-west. In this partnership, local Maasai landowners have cleared their homes and cattle to provide a sanctuary for the wildlife of the area. The pristine area is excellent for grazing, resulting in prolific game viewing and predatory action, as well as elephants and even rhino, in unspoiled territory. Start your adventures from the unfenced and luxurious Kicheche Bush Camp, or the stunning Mara Plains Camp.

A new twist on a classic: walking safaris in the Masai Mara

Game drives are a mainstay of African safaris, and for good reason - the maneuverability of safari jeeps allows guests to see a variety of animals on a single excursion, travelling between different wildlife hotspots throughout your chosen reserve. The Masai Mara, with its vast tracts of land and healthy populations of lions, hippos, zebra, elephants and gazelles - to name just a few species - is no exception. However, seeing the Masai Mara on foot allows for a completely different safari experience.

Few climb out of their vehicle when visiting this famous reserve, but walking through the bush allows to fully take stock of the wonders present in this ecosystem. You'll be able to follow game trails deeper into the pristine wilderness here, walking in the footprints of elephants and drinking in the scenery and atmosphere of the Masai Mara, your ears filled not with the dull hum of a car engine but with birdsong, buzzing insects and the symphony of the savannah all around you. Walking safaris in the Masai Mara are a fantastic option for travellers wishing to truly immerse themselves in the natural world.

CAT St Kenya Masai Mara Lion Shutterstock Ajay Kumar Singh
  1. Natural phenomena: the Great Wildebeest migration usually occurs between July and October.
  2. Wildlife spotting opportunities: wildlife is regularly spotted on game drives and the Big 5 can all be seen here.
  3. Did you know: there have been 450 species of bird recorded here.
  4. Unique for: having one of the highest lion densities in the world.

Read more about wildlife in Kenya