Unforgettable Travel Company

Kenya is located in East Africa and, as a destination, it is renowned for being one of the best safaris in Africa. With over 20 national parks and game reserves to choose from, you could quite easily spend a numerous weeks on safari in Kenya, with exceptional game viewing every day.

That said, the most famous and popular national park to enjoy a Kenya safari in is the Masai Mara National Reserve. This park is located in the south of the country, on the border of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Both parks share the same ecosystem, and were both used as inspiration for Disney’s The Lion King (1994). The main difference is that the Serengeti is five times larger than the Mara. As a result, the wildlife is, to some extent, denser, especially in the Mara Triangle. Banner image: Karen Blixen Camp

Karen Blixen Mara North

The Mara Reserve Vs the Greater Mara Conservancies

When you visit the Masai Mara, it’s important to know the different areas you can stay and safari in. You can stay inside the Mara Reserve, or further out in the Greater Mara Conservancies. The wildlife inside the reserve is truly spectacular. There is a huge population of resident wildlife – elephant herds, hippo, crocodile and big cats in particular. Between the months of August-October (this varies year round), you’ll also see the migration herds across the plains of the Maasai Mara.

Inside the reserve, you are limited to only game drives, but you could be out on the safari vehicle for up to 8-9 hours each day. You can also do hot air ballooning, which is a fantastic way to get a different perspective of the Mara from above, especially if you see over a million wildebeest below you.

The Mara Rivers are great places to be around, for both resident game viewing, and the opportunity to see the Mara River Crossings (usually August/ September/ October). The Great Migration is something that is on so many safari enthusiasts’ bucket list, and rightly so. Staying in tented camps like Naibor, Rekero or Governors Camp – all within the national reserve – gives you a great base to see the wildebeest migration during this period.

Image: Karen Blixen Camp, Mara North Conservancy

Naboisho camp 4

The Greater Conservancies are large areas outside of the national reserve. The main draw to the conservancies is that they are much quieter than the national reserve. You can only do a safari within the conservancy if you are staying in a safari camp or lodge there. This limits the number of game vehicles you see on safari.

Another main advantage of staying in the Greater Conservancies is that you are able to do a lot more safari activities, as the rules and regulations are less strict. For example, you can do night drives and bush walks – both great ways to see the resident wildlife in a different light.

Some of the conservancies are renowned for particular sightings too. For example the Mara North and Naboisho Conservancies are both exceptional for big cat sightings. When it comes to the guiding, the game viewing, and the overall ambiance, the camps in both the conservancies and reserves offer a really special safari experience.

Image: Naboisho Camp, Kenya

Great Plains Mara Camp

Best time to visit

As Kenya offers warm weather year round, the Masai Mara can be visited throughout the year, but there are some months we’d recommend avoiding. The rainy season of April and May are very wet, with heavy downpours usually lasting the whole day and well into the night. This makes the vegetation very thick and dense, which in turn makes it very difficult for game viewing.

If you would like to see the great migration, you should visit the Masai Mara between August and October. Each year, the arrival of the wildebeest herds varies depending on the rain patterns. For river crossings, you can see these in both the Masai Mara (on the Kenyan side) and the Serengeti National Park (on the Tanzanian side).

The period of June to October is the dry season and often regarded as the best time to visit the Masai Mara. During this time, expect warm, dry conditions, with great visibility and resident wildlife. If you are combining a Kenya safari as a twin-center trip, it’s worth speaking to our specialists about the best times of year for the beach. For example, the southern coast of Kenya (around Diani and Watamu) actually offers the best conditions between the period of December to March.

Image: Great Plains Camp, Masai Mara

Naibor Camp

Where to stay

There are two main types of accommodation you can stay in on safari – tented camps and safari lodges. If you are looking for a really authentic safari experience, then canvassed tented camps are a great option. These can offer all types of luxury, with some of the most luxurious camps offering free-standing baths, outdoor showers, private butlers, and more. Some of our favorite safari camps in the Masai Mara include Naibor, Governors Camp, Ol Seki Hemingways, Richard’s Camp, and Kichwa Tembo.

For those looking for something larger, there are lodges that offer more facilities like swimming pools, gyms, and libraries. Some of our recommendations would like the Mara Serena or Angama Mara – which has one of the best views in the whole of Kenya! To find out more, please do get in touch with our Africa safari specialists.

Image: Naibor Camp, Masai Mara

Ready to start planning your Kenya safari?

To find out more about a Kenya safari, please get in touch with our Africa safari specialists to discuss and organize your incredible safari!

+1 844 879 7388OR

You may be interested in