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The best time to visit the Masai Mara

When is the best time to visit the Masai Mara in Kenya and avoid the crowds? The Masai Mara National Reserve is a protected savannah area in southwestern Kenya. It straddles the border with its neighboring country, Tanzania. In this article we not only tell you about the best time to travel to the Masai Mara , but we also tell you about some of the things you will find there .

The Masai Mara: Perhaps the continent's most loved and hated wildlife sanctuary. This is the Africa of the tales, where the slender Maasai roam the glorious plains, the wildebeest of the Great Migration throw themselves across the river to show life and death, and that there is a different animal to every corner of the savannah. Unfortunately, in some areas there is probably a minibus full of highly motivated tourists clad in khakis every meter. The best time to travel to Kenya and visit the Masai Mara is to avoid the crowds and visit on your own.

The best time to travel to the Masai Mara are the months of January to March or from July to October since you can enjoy the migration of animals such as wildebeests or zebras. From October to November there are brief rains but it is also an excellent time to go.

From March to May there are intense rains and it is less recommended due to the invasions of mosquitoes, but it is still an adventure. Make sure you bring a good repellent and you will enjoy the best images of this great landscape. On several occasions, we thought we had let you discover the secrets…

1. Choose your dates carefully

In summer, when the European school holidays are in full swing and migration peaks, July and August are by far the busiest months in the Mara region. The river crossings are truly spectacular, but watching them in the bustle of hundreds of others can be disappointing. The best time to visit the Masai Mara is therefore in October and November. The sun is still shining, the migration continues and most people have returned home. Another equally quiet time is in February and March when the grass is green and the babies are springing up on the plains. Stunning.

2. Have you thought about conservatories?

The conservatories that line the reserve are truly a game changer when it comes to the best time to visit the Masai Mara. The small uninhabited wilderness areas are jointly owned by safari operators and local Maasai landowners who have a vested interest in protecting wildlife. Most also have a limit on the number of camps and rooms allowed (no 150-room lodges here, thanks!), so you'll really be leaving the crowds behind. When it comes to game drives, consider acres of pristine animal-free land for miles around. And if you can't leave the mass of tourists behind, don't worry, set out for a day's drive through the Mara Game Reserve in search of your wildebeest fix.

Try Camp Naboisho at Mara Naboisho Conservancy and Serian Mara North at North Conservancy.

3. Look at different camps

If Mara has one thing, it's a choice of sides! There are almost 6,000 beds available in the reserve, covering the good, the bad and the very ugly. Among the latter are some of the enormous lodges with over 100 rooms in the main reserve. While the accommodation might not be too shabby, the large number of guests means crowded vehicles and morning traffic jams. Try smaller camps. Nkoromobo, Naibor & Sala's Camp. Game drives usually have a maximum of 6 people and you can even get a private vehicle to do exactly what you want, when you want, away from other people.

4. Look for guides

Not only can a great guide make or break your trip, they can make it truly exceptional. So if you're choosing the best time to visit the Masai Mara, what should you look for and where are the good guides hiding? Choose a camp that is well established in the Mara and has been for years, for example Governor or Rekero. For guides, the Mara is a favorite and they have a safari bag full of tips for finding secret river-watching spots and avoiding minibuses. Generally speaking, some safari drives from Nairobi that visit the Mara for a few days can be dangerous territory, the guides are more used to navigating Nairobi's potholes than herds of elephants!

5. Try something different

So what if you really find yourself in the flood of cars that have come to watch wildlife? Use it as the perfect time to try something new. The camps in the Mara are full of activities and there is enough to fill your days. Soar through the air on a hot air balloon safari and see animals from your own perspective while being serene, or pack your picnic basket and explore a remote corner of the wilderness on a nature adventure. 'a day. For a bit of culture, visit a local community and play volleyball with the kids or watch the women go about their daily chores. Take the opportunity to learn more about the Maasai way of life, it is a source of inspiration.

What to see in the Masai Mara National Reserve

In the reserve you can find animals called "the big 5 of Africa" ​​which are the lion, the black rhinoceros, the African savannah elephant, the leopard and the African buffalo.

You will also be able to see impalas, antelopes, giraffes and gazelles. There is often the chance to see hyenas, cheetahs, jackals and foxes .

Hippos abound in the Mara River and there are also huge crocodiles waiting for their snack. They patiently watch the wildebeest cross the river during the annual migration ritual for survival. 

One of the reasons why you choose the best time to travel to the Masai Mara is because you can go on a sunset or sunrise photo safari . Going through the savannah and the plains in search of the animals that live there is a unique experience to do. There you will discover the incredible fauna that awaits in these lands. For dinner and accommodation you can count on a lodge with all the comforts.

The locals of the Masai Mara

Do not hesitate to visit the tribe of the Maasai who are the ones who inhabit the lands of Kenya and Tanzania . Formerly they were warriors, but today they are semi-nomadic herders who look for grass in the lands of the Masai Mara and move their herds so that the grass grows again.

The total number of Maasai is around 850,000 and, although their life revolves around cattle, there are Maasai people  who have a job and live with respect for their traditions. The Maasai live in villages called "boma" , made up of striking circular mud and straw huts called "manyatas".