Everything about this reserve is outstanding. The wildlife is abundant, and the undulating grasslands ensure that animals are rarely out of sight. The birdlife is prolific, over 450 species have been recorded.

Wildlife is not confined to the reserve and wanders freely in the surrounding areas where the Masai still tend their livestock. Centuries of close association have resulted in an almost symbiotic relationship where wildlife and people live in harmony with one another.

The first sight of this natural wonderland is breathtaking. Here, great herds of elephant browse among the rich tree-studded grasslands, along with an occasional solitary and generally ill-tempered black rhino. Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, topi, eland and many more species of plains game offer a rich menu for the dominant predators – lion, leopard and cheetah – that hunt in this pristine wilderness. In the Mara River, hippos submerge at the approach of a vehicle, only to surface seconds later to snort and grumble their displeasure. Seemingly drowsy crocodiles sunbathe on the riverbanks, mouths agape, waiting with subtle cunning for prey at which to strike with lightning swiftness.

Although July, August, September and, usually, October are the months when the Mara plains fill with migrating wildebeest and zebra, there is plenty of resident wildlife year round. Apart from the better known species, there are numerous opportunities to add some rare and less frequently seen animals to your checklist; in the southwestern sector you may be lucky enough to see roan antelope (which are, regrettably, rare elsewhere in the country), bat-eared foxes peer from their burrows and there are thousands of topi, an antelope not found in Kenya’s other major parks – with the exception of Tsavo.

The combination of gentle climate, scenic splendour and untold numbers of wildlife makes the Masai Mara the most popular inland destination in Kenya.

  • Ideal for viewing: cheetah, Grant’s gazelle, leopard, lion, Thompson’s gazelle
  • Where: Rift Valley Province, Kenya
  • View on Protected Planet Masai Mara National Reserve

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