March 24, 2023 3 min read

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya: A Comprehensive Guide

Embark on an adventure in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya's most famous and iconic safari destination. Known for its exceptional wildlife and the annual Great Migration, the Masai Mara offers an unforgettable African safari experience. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the best time to visit, the wildlife highlights, and the accommodation options available.

Introduction and Overview of Masai Mara National Reserve

The Masai Mara National Reserve is located in southwestern Kenya, covering an area of 1,510 square kilometers (583 square miles). Its vast savannahs, teeming with wildlife, offer a quintessential African safari setting. The Masai Mara is home to a remarkable diversity of animals, including the Big Five, and is the stage for the annual Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest and zebras cross the treacherous Mara River in search of fresh grazing lands.

Best Time to Visit: Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Month

January - February

  • Advantages: Dry season, excellent wildlife viewing, less vegetation for better visibility, and fewer mosquitoes
  • Disadvantages: Peak season with higher visitor numbers and higher rates at lodges and camps

March - May

  • Advantages: Lower visitor numbers, lower rates at lodges and camps, and lush green scenery
  • Disadvantages: Heavy rainfall, muddy roads, and lower visibility due to tall grass

June - October

  • Advantages: Peak of the Great Migration, dry season with pleasant temperatures, excellent wildlife viewing, and lower risk of malaria
  • Disadvantages: Peak season with higher visitor numbers and higher rates at lodges and camps

November - December

  • Advantages: Lower visitor numbers, lower rates at lodges and camps, and vibrant landscapes after short rains
  • Disadvantages: Short rain season, unpredictable weather, and the Great Migration may be harder to witness

Wildlife Highlights and Key Attractions

Great Migration

Witness the incredible spectacle of the Great Migration, where over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebras brave the dangerous Mara River, with predators such as crocodiles, lions, and hyenas waiting to ambush them.

The Big Five

The Masai Mara is home to the iconic Big Five, offering excellent opportunities to spot lions, leopards, elephants, African buffalo, and rhinoceros in their natural habitat.

Dusty Boots Travel - Governors Camp - Elephant crossing River


The reserve is known for its high concentration of predators, including cheetahs, leopards, and lions, providing thrilling wildlife encounters and exceptional photography opportunities.

Cultural Experiences

Visit a traditional Maasai village and learn about the customs, traditions, and way of life of the Maasai people, who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries.

Hot Air Balloon Safaris

Experience the majestic beauty of the Masai Mara from a hot air balloon at sunrise, taking in breathtaking views of the landscape and its wildlife.

 Dusty Boots Travel - Governors Private Camp - Lion and HotAir Balloon

Accommodation Options and Safari Packages

The Masai Mara offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences:

Luxury Lodges

These upscale lodges provide a luxurious stay, complete with fine dining, spa services, and high-end amenities.

Tented Camps

Tented camps offer an authentic safari experience, combining the feeling of being close to nature with modern comforts such as en-suite bathrooms and comfortable beds.

Dusty Boots Travel - Little Governors Camp - Tent View

Mobile Camps

These seasonal camps follow the migration patterns of the wildlife, ensuring guests have the best opportunities to witness the Great Migration up close.

When it comes to safari packages, there are various options to choose from:

  1. Private Guided Safaris: Enjoy a personalized experience with a private guide who will tailor the safari to your interests and preferences.
  2. Group Safaris: Join a group of like-minded travelers and explore the Masai Mara together, providing a more cost-effective option.
  3. Fly-In Safaris: Save travel time and access remote areas of the reserve by flying directly to airstrips near your chosen accommodation.


The Masai Mara National Reserve is a must-visit destination for any wildlife enthusiast or safari seeker. Its spectacular landscapes, abundant wildlife, and range of accommodation options make it an ideal choice for an unforgettable African safari experience. We hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights to help you plan your dream safari to the Masai Mara. Stay tuned for our next destination guide: Kruger National Park, South Africa: A Comprehensive Guide.

Contact Dusty Boots Travel via emailInstagram or Facebook today to start planning your dream safari holiday.

Images by our travels partner Isak Pretorius Wildlife Photography, Governors Camp Collection

Riaan van den Berg
Riaan van den Berg

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