The Masai Mara National Reserve and its neighbouring conservancies form Kenya’s flagship conservation area and one of the top safari destinations in Africa. Its wide-open plains provide a sanctuary for an abundance of animals like elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, hyena and the Mara’s famous big cats: lion, leopard and cheetah. And from about June to November every year, the Mara is a much-welcomed pit stop for unending masses of wildebeest that follow the rains on their death-defying, 2 900-kilometre (1 800-mile) circular journey.
Game viewing in the Masai Mara is excellent all year round thanks to its varied landscapes, wide-open spaces, temperate climate and diverse population of resident game. Its champagne-coloured savannahs are home to safari heavyweights like lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo, plus popular species like zebra, giraffe, hyena, eland and gazelle. Rhino sightings are scarce, but these endangered animals can be spotted – if you’re in luck – in the Mara Triangle.
The Mara is renowned for delivering exceptional big cat (lion, leopard and cheetah) sightings. Cheetahs are particularly well adapted to the region’s flat plains, which makes the Masai Mara one of the best places to see these nimble predators. They often seek vantage points on fallen trees, termite mounds, and even game drive vehicles! It’s a highlight of any Masai Mara safari to watch the world’s fastest land mammal chase down its prey.