Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is probably one of the most famous wildlife regions in the world and provides the most diverse game viewing within Kenya. Such a reputation is with good cause as the Masai Mara plays host to the world's largest mass land migration, with around 2 million animals making the long and arduous journey from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Around this time (July-October) the reserve is awash with wildebeest, zebra and the big cat predators that they attract.
Even outside of the migration season wildlife viewing is still magnificent, with the Mara supporting substantial resident wildlife populations including the Big Five. A fascinating array of around 550 species of resident and migratory birds is also present within the Masai Mara.
The Masai Mara is a remote part of south western Kenya and benefits from a surprisingly varied landscape. The Eastern Ngama Hills are covered with acacia bush and numerous forested riverines. Valley and plains bushland is one of the few remaining black rhino habitats within the reserve. Vast grassy savannah plains dominate the central region and are interspersed with the odd thicket and bushland. It is this dotted covering of trees and shrubs that gave the Masai Mara its name -mara meaning spotted. Such grasslands provide sustenance for the herds of grazing herbivores whilst also giving cover for stalking carnivores.
On the Western fringes of the park the Siria Escarpment (sometimes called Oloololo) marks the edge of the Great Rift Valley within Kenya while the Mara River provides this area of the park with lush forests and marshlands -giraffe, buffalo and elephants are particularly prevelant in these areas along with prides of lion. In addition the Sand and Talek Rivers water the east and the south of the reserve providing havens for thirsty wildlife during the dry seasons (December-March & June-October) consequently also offering great game viewing opportunities.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is inextricably linked with its traditional inhabitants, the cattle herding Maasai people. Historically cattle once provided all their daily needs -milk and blood for food, hides for leather and meat for ceremonial occasions. Now locally-owned conservation areas surrounding the National Reserve attempt to enable the communities to maintain their traditional way of life while also appreciating the positive impact that their environment can bring them.
The reserve is surrounded by conservancies which play an important part in the protection of the area. These conservancies are owned by local tribes people and camps that lease their lands contribute directly to the conservation and communities of the areas. Staying in a camp in the conservancies is a distinct advantage as there are less tourists giving you a more exclusive game viewing experience, plus you can enjoy night drives and bush walks in the conservancies which are not allowed in the national reserve. There are no fences so the animals roam freely the Masai Mara region.
Basecamp Masai Mara
A superb tented camp with excellent environmental and community responsibiity.
Cottar's Camp, in the south east of the Masai Mara, offers opulent tented accommodation with decor harking back to the 1920s.
Elephant Pepper Camp
A small, luxury tented camp with excellent service and guides.
Entim Mara Camp
A lovely tented camp situated in the middle of the very best game-viewing areas.
Governors Private Camp
8-tent luxury camp for exclusive use of one party or family.
Classic luxury tented camp on the Mara River, well-known as the base for filming Big Cat Diary.
Very luxurious 10-tent camp in area where the BBC's Big Cat Diary is filmed.
Karen Blixen Camp
A beautiful eco-friendly luxury camp on the banks of the Mara River.
Kicheche Bush Camp
A small luxury tented camp with just 6 tents in the Olare Orok Conservancy of northern Masai Mara.
Very comfortable and friendly small tented camp in the north. Good links to the community.
Kicheche Valley Camp
Kicheche Valley Camp is a luxury bush camp in a game-rich are north of the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Large luxury tented camp in the north-west Masai Mara with views of savanna and forest.
Little Governors Camp
Little Governors Camp is situated at the heart of one of the most game rich areas of the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Mara Bushtops is a luxury tented camp in a stunning hilltop location near the Mara Reserve, offering game drives, night drives and guided walks.
Excellent small tented camp run in partnership with the local Maasai community
Mara Intrepids Camp
Mara Intrepids Camp is a tented camp enjoying a prime location and great children's activities too.
Mara Plains Camp
Mara Plains Camp offers day and night game drives in a wildlife rich area with comparatively few other visitors.
Excellent small tented camp run in partnership with the local Maasai community
Mara Safari Club
Mara Safari Club is located on the edge of the world famous Masai Mara Game Reserve and offers excellent tented accommodation and facilities.
Mara Serena Safari Lodge
Large lodge with pool and fantastic views
Mara Sopa Lodge
This large lodge has a nice pool and rooms in round 'huts'. It offers good value for money.
Naibor Camp in the Masai Mara Game Reserve has uniquely styled large tented rooms and offers luxury bush living.
Ngare Serian is a small camp with tents on the banks of the Mara river, offering superb game viewing and luxurious accommodation in an exclusive setting.
Ngerende Island Lodge
Ngerende Island Lodge has just 7 luxury tented suites in a secluded setting on the Mara River, an excellent area for game viewing.
Ol Seki Mara Camp
A luxury camp on a rocky outcrop in the northern Mara.
Small luxury camp on the banks of the Mara River with good ethics.
Porini Lion Camp
A luxury tented camp in private conservancy with great links to the local community and responsible tourism.
Rekero Tented Camp
Secluded, exclusive tented camp on the shores of the Talek River.
Small, exclusive tented camp in a woodland setting
Royal Mara Safari Lodge
Small, luxury tented lodge on Mara River in a private conservancy.
Sala's Camp is located at the southern end of the Masai Mara, in a great position for the Wildebeest migration routes.
Sarova Mara Game Camp
For those wanting the feel of a tented camp but the facilities and safety of a lodge.
A small luxury retreat in the Mara - tranquil and elegant
Saruni Wild is a deluxe tented camp 10kms from the main lodge, offering a true wilderness experience.
15-tent camp run in conjunction with 26 Maasai families
Serian Camp is an intimate tradtional bush camp set in a private conservancy in the Masai Mara, offering game drives, guided bush walks and hot air balloon rides.
Siana Springs Intrepids
On the edge of the Masai Mara, this camp has 38 tents, a swimming pool, and excellent children's facilities.
Kenya Adventure Camping
Adventure camping with great guides means you get a high quality safari experience for a very good price.
A large comfortable lodge in the Masai Mara.
Mara Safari & Beach Holiday
12 days from £2,055 pp
A perfect combination of Kenya's best game viewing and a week at an idyllic beach location.
Luxury Kenya Bush & Beach
8 days from £2,575 pp
Stylish accommodation, first class game viewing in the Masai Mara, and a private coastal retreat.
Masai Mara Big Cat Safari
6 days from £1,510 pp
Come and meet the big cats of the Masai Mara!
Kenya Adventure Camping Safari
8 days from £1,455 pp
Superb game viewing in the Masai Mara and Amboseli staying in good value adventure camps.
Annual Wildebeest Migration
2 million wildebeest and zebra massed on the Serengeti and Masai Mara plains. An unmissable wildlife event!
Meeting Tribal People
Experiences of meeting indigenous people of whatever tribe can be fascinating and inspiring.
It's a different world on safari in the dark, so make sure you see it.
Wild Dogs Safari
Watching wild dogs 'talk' to each other, play or hunt is enthralling. Catch them if you can!