Masai Mara National Park Guide
Here you can find all the information and tips when planning your trip to Masai Mara National Park.
Besides the beautiful beaches Kenya offers, the country in East Africa is also one of the best destinations in the world to do good game drives. During the 10 days I spent in Kenya I went to Masai Mara for one night to experience a little bit of the country’s incredible wildlife.
Check out my Masai Mara Guide to find all the things you need to know before you visit the National Park.
Where is Masai Mara located?
The Masai Mara National Park is situated in the southwest of Kenya on the Tanzanian border. The park connects directly to the Serengeti in Tanzania and is the most popular national park in Kenya. It is also one of the most popular game reserves in Africa.
Where does the name Masai Mara come from?
The Masai Mara owes its name to the Mara River and the Masai Tribe, the best know local group in Kenya and Tanzania, which inhabit the land.
More Masai Mara Facts
- The National Reserve stretches 1510 km²
- Masai Mara raises on average 1500 meters above sea level
- A map of Masai Mara you can find here
Masai Mara Migration
A great spectacle of nature is the Great Migration, which takes place in the Masai Mara. Every year from July to October millions of wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara to find food. The wildebeests are accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebras. Of course, the migration also attracts numerous predators, such as cheetahs, crocodiles, lions and leopards. It is a natural game of a special kind when the wildebeest cross the rivers Mara and Talek. The big wildebeest migration is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. This event and the National Park itself attract millions of tourists every year.
Masai Mara Animals & Wildlife
Thanks to the Masai Tribe, the most well known tribe in Kenya and Tanzania the biodiversity in the Mara is unique. The area surrounding the national park is Masai area. The Masai subsist on their lifestock only (goats, sheep, cattle, cows and bulls). They have always used their land as pasture and always coexisted with the wild animals. That is why the park offers perfect opportunities for wildlife observation. The Masai Mara is also one of the best parks to see the BIG 5. The BIG 5 includes lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo. Thousands of other species like zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, cheetahs, gazelles, giraffes, impala, crocodiles, monkeys and hundreds of bird species call the nature reserve home. The park is a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the variety of wildlife.
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How to get to Masai Mara
From Nairobi, it takes you about 5 hours to get to the Mara, best done with a safari vehicle. Going by public transport (Matatu) works as well but it will take you the entire day as you need to switch between different buses quite often. From Nairobi, you can also catch a flight to Masai Mara but it is quite expensive.
Masai Mara Entrance Fee
- 80 US$ a day/ adult (non-resident) + vehicle fees when staying outside the park
- 70 US$ a day/ adult (non-resident) + vehicle fees when staying inside the park
- 45 US$ a day/ children(non-resident) + vehicle fees when staying outside the park
- 40 US$ a day/children (non-resident) + vehicle fees when staying inside the park
Read next: What to do in Nairobi Kenya
Masai Mara Accommodation
I stayed in Mara Explorers Camp and Backpackers which offer simple and comfortable accommodation for backpackers and budget travelers. The camp is owned by Laura and Moses. It was super clean, the staff extremely friendly and the food yummy. I can honestly recommend them as a basecamp in Masai Mara as most of the other camps inside the park are super high star and that makes it more expensive.
Here you will find more recommendation on Lodges and Camps that my friend & tourguide Kevin recommends:
Enchoro Wildlife Camp
Ol Moran Tented Camp
Talek Bush Camp
Hotel Masai Mara Sopa Lodge
Zebra Plains Mara Camp
Savora Mara Game Camp
Best time to visit Masai Mara
To see the Wildebeest Migration you have to travel to the Mara between July and October but keep in mind that this is also the most expensive season. In fact, the Mara offers best game drive options the entire year.
Read next: How to spend 10 days in Kenya – my itinerary
Is there Malaria in Masai Mara?
Due to the high elevation the Mara is not a malaria area. Mosquitos usually don´t live at those elevations. However, if you are planning to visit other places of interest in Kenya, you are best adviced to consult your doctor before disembarking on your Kenia trip.
My friend Kevin runs the tour company “Rock Agama Safaris”. Kevin grew up in Nairobi and had been working for an Africa Overland company for many years. He is an amazing and super knowledgable tour guide. I do believe that you can only get to know a country by meeting its locals. Kevin made my Kenya trip special. He taught me a lot about the country, the people and the culture.
I can honestly recommend him and his tours. Its super convenient. Your choose your safari and Kevin sorts out the rest:
- pick up and drop off
- game drives
- accommodation according your preferences
Would you like to get in touch with Kevin?
Just drop me an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put you in touch with him.
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My Safari experience
My friend Kevin took me to the park in the south west of Kenya. Kevin grew up in Nairobi and runs a tour company. He is an amazing and super smart tour guide. Seeing that my time in Kenya was a bit limited we could only go to the Mara for one night. However, we managed to do 2 safari drives, one in the evening when we arrived and one in the morning the day of our departure.
Read next: Eyerything you need to know before traveling to Kenya
We spotted Buffalos, Elephants, 3 Leopards and plenty of Lions. I have been to many National Parks before. I went to Kruger and Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park in South Africa, Chobe National Park in Botswana, Liwonde National Park in Malawi and I already went on a game drive in Nairobi National Park but have never seen a Leopard and that many lions before. The only animal of the BIG 5 we missed out that day was the Rhino, which according to Kevin is more like a 50/50 chance to see in Masai Mara. Besides that, we saw a Cheetah, Zebras, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Giraffes and an Ardwolf, which is super rare to spot.
My recommendation on other National Parks in Kenya
- Amboseli National Park
- Nairobi National Park
- Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks
Check out my video as well:
Which National Park in Africa have you been to? Let me know in the comments?
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