Masai Mara


  • Arguably still the finest safari destination in Africa
  • Photograph thrilling wildlife encounters and spectacular scenery
  • Witness spectacular river crossings during the Great Migration
  • Meet the Masai – one of Africa’s most iconic and misunderstood tribes


Picture Africa in your mind’s eye and chances are you will visualise the vast, acacia-dotted plains of the Masai Mara, teeming with game. Situated in the south west of Kenya, the Masai Mara is part of the Serengeti ecosystem. Huge herds move through the sweeping plains on their annual migration followed by a supporting cast of predators. It has gained an unfair reputation as being too busy or too commercial, but this is simply not true.

The knowledge of Steppes’ Kenya experts highlights this misconception. We know the places to avoid - where the crowds can seem overwhelming. Instead, we can take you to small, privately owned conservancies, where the wildlife is every bit as prolific, but the viewing is private and infinitely more memorable.


Every month is different. Peak time in the Masai Mara is August and September, when the migration is in full flow. The promise of rain and fresh grass in the north brings more than a million wildebeests together - into a single massive herd, which pours across the Tanzanian border and into the Mara. Undeniably exciting and an assault on the senses, catching it takes patience and expertise.

That said, the Mara is always full of wildlife, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking the reserve is void of game for the rest of the year. One of our favourite times to visit is during the green season, from February until March or between October and November. The showers clear the air, the build-up of clouds makes for the most dramatic sunsets, the plains are a lush green and the animals look healthy. There are also virtually no tourists; you have Africa’s most wildlife-rich park to yourself. 


With so much choice, there is a camp to suit everyone. Kicheche Mara Camp is a tried and tested, classic bush camp. Delivering great wildlife experiences, it is particularly popular with photographers. Alternatively, look at Leleshwa Camp, which overlooks the Loita Hills. Unique in its genuinely authentic interaction with local Maasai villages, it also offers superb fly camping.

If you are looking for a safari with added style, then Alex Walker’s Serian is the perfect choice. The original of the Serian Camps, it features commanding views across the Mara River and a private walking concession. Additional touches here include a private vehicle per couple as standard. The camp also has its very own tree house, complete with night-vision goggles.

Somewhere like Cottar’s 1920s Camp provides a true Out-of-Africa experience, with a safari heritage going back to the turn of the last century. Alternatively, jump right into the 21st Century, with the show-stopping design and striking setting at Angama Mara.

Families can create their own safari in fully staffed, private homes, such as the Mara Bush Houses. Or enjoy front-row seats for the migration, staying at the excellent Naibor Camp, where the game is almost close enough to touch.

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