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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.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: cheetah, Grant’s gazelle, leopard, lion, Thompson’s gazelle
  • Where: Rift Valley Province, Kenya

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Big Cat Weekend

This ideal whistle-stop wildlife getaway to the Masai Mara is an opportunity to see some of the finest wildlife on earth. Lion, leopard and cheetah hunt topi, eland and gazelle in this pristine wilderness, herds of elephant roam the grasslands, while hippos and crocodiles cruise the riverbanks.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 6 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Big Cat Photography with Warren Samuels

Based at Governors’ Private Camp, renowned for its comfort and key location in the Masai Mara ecosystem, this photographic tour will give you the opportunity to capture Kenya’s incredible and prolific wildlife in the company of world-renowned photographer, filmmaker and wildlife guide Warren Samuels.

  • When to go: Jun-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Classic Africa Explorer

This 37-day comprehensive itinerary, which visits no less than seven countries, delivers the ultimate African safari experience and a wealth of contrasts. Travel to some of Africa’s best National Parks and stay in a range of classic lodges, hotels and tented camps on this wildlife trip of a lifetime.

  • When to go: Apr-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 37 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £16,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Kenya Adventure Camping

An outstanding value safari, staying in private camps in Amboseli National Park and the Masai Mara. All the big cats can be found here, together with large numbers of elephants and giraffes. If you value wildlife and adventure above the need for luxury accommodation, then this is the trip for you!

  • When to go: Dec-Mar, Jul-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Masai Warriors & Wildlife Galore

Ideal for young explorers, this awe-inspiring journey visits the land of the Masai warriors on a fun family educational programme in some of Kenya’s finest wildlife reserves. Staying in small camps and lodges, learn about wildlife, identify tracks and listen to the mysterious sounds of the savannah at night.

  • When to go: Jan-Mar, Jun-Oct, Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,295 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Migration Special

After the Serengeti rains have ended and the grassland has turned to dust, witness the astonishing natural phenomenon of the Great Migration. Huge herds of zebra and wildebeest make the long trip to the Masai Mara in search of fresh pasture. An unforgettable experience and a photographer’s dream.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,645 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Samburu & Masai Mara Safari

This 9-day classic safari incorporates the renowned Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserves. Staying in three luxury lodges, explore the rivers and plains of the Great Rift Valley, while looking for herds of elephant, big cats and Samburu specialties including Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe.

  • When to go: Jan-Mar, Jun-Oct, Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,995 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Ultimate Kenya Safari

A rich blend of outstanding scenery and memorable wildlife can be found on this trip to three of Kenya’s top wildlife locations - Lake Naivasha, Laikipia Plateau and the Masai Mara. Enjoy game drives, walking safaris and boat trips, before relaxing on Mafangano Island at Lake Victoria.

  • When to go: Jul-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Wings over Kenya

The itinerary travels from Amboseli National Park in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, to the highlands of Laikipia Plateau, and on to the savannahs of the Masai Mara. Flying between locations and staying in top quality camps is one of the most exciting ways to experience Kenya’s excellent wildlife areas.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Governors’ Private Camp

The jewel in the crown of four sister properties in the Masai Mara, Governors’ Private Camp is perfect for anyone who wants an exclusive experience. It occupies a spot overlooking the Mara River where animals come to drink, hippo laze in the shallows, and elephant calves enjoy a playful dip.

Governors’ Camp

Governors’ Camp has a magical setting, so much so that around a century ago it was reserved – exclusively – for Kenya’s colonial governor and his royal visitors. The camp nestles in the forest along the winding banks of the Mara River, its waters teeming with hippo and crocodile.

Kicheche Bush Camp

Kicheche Bush Camp is a small and intimate classic tented camp, consisting of six spacious custom designed tents. Located in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, it offers the perfect combination of a luxury hideaway in an outstanding wilderness, with incomparable and uncrowded wildlife viewing.

Kicheche Valley Camp

Kicheche Valley is a luxury camp with six tents, sited on platforms amidst trees and rocky outcrops. Set on the eastern side of the Mara Naboisho conservancy - home to impressive numbers of big cats, herds of elephant, giraffe and wildebeest - the camp has a beautiful yet secluded location.

Little Governors Camp

Situated within the Masai Mara National Reserve, Little Governor’s is an intimate luxury safari camp, with 17 tents set around a large natural watering hole. Access is by boat only, ensuring a peaceful stay, and wildlife activity is constant, with giraffe, elephant and warthog all ambling through the camp.

Mara Ngenche Safari Camp

In the heart of the Masai Mara, on the confluence of the Mara and Talek Rivers, lies the elegant Mara Ngenche Safari Camp. With just ten spacious and well-appointed tents, this intimate and unfenced camp offers a spectacular wildlife experience, and overlooks a busy hippo pool.

Mara Plains Camp

This exclusive camp on the northern border of the Masai Mara National Reserve is one of only three in the 30,000 acre Olare Orok Conservancy. It has just seven tented rooms on raised decks, and wildlife is never far away, with leopard regularly wandering through the camp, and cheetah territories nearby.

Porini Lion Camp

With only ten luxury and secluded tents, this exclusive safari camp offers a real bush experience. It is located in the exclusive 33,000 acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy, along the banks of the Ntiakatiak River, a seasonal river with some permanent hippo pools near the camp.

Porini Mara Camp

Porini Mara is the only safari camp in Ol Kinyei Conservancy, and offers traditional game drives, comfortable accommodation and a wonderful safari experience at an affordable price. It has some of the best safari guides in the Mara, and with just six spacious tents, the camp has an exclusive feel.

Rekero

This seasonal (June to March) eco-camp is one of the Mara’s premier properties and consists of nine tents overlooking the Talek River, in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. It is ideally situated for the annual migration, when hundreds of thousands of wildebeest zebra move through the Mara from the Serengeti.

Tipilikwani Mara Camp

Situated on the banks of the wildlife-rich Talek River, the luxury Tipilikwani Mara Camp boasts a unique location, combined with excellent food, personalised service and traditional Kenyan hospitality. Each of the well-appointed tents enjoy river frontage and is decorated with warm Masai colours.