What is the Best Time to Visit Masai Mara for a Tour?

What is the best time to Visit Masai Mara National Reserve for a wildebeest migration tour? Masai Mara National Reserve is most popular for its powerful wildlife encounters, especially the Great Migration experience. But what is the best time to visit Masai Mara for a tour in Kenya? Which is the best month to visit Maasai Mara Kenya? Masai Mara National Reserve is an all-year-round game-viewing destination thanks to its friendly weather and climatic conditions.

However, for visitors who desire to experience the best of the Great Migration the best time to visit Masai Mara is during the long cool-dry season. This is recorded from July, August, and September to October. These long dry months are characterized by no rains with less dense vegetation/flora. Not only are these ideal months to witness the Great Wildebeest migration, but also a perfect period to observe other diverse wildlife.

The exact timing for the Great Migration in Masai Mara may vary depending on the rainfall patterns. At times, rains can come early. Huge herds arrive and depart sooner, whereas in some other months, the late rains translate to the late arrival of wildebeest.

Travel guide to Masai Mara – month-by-month guide

January to March

January is notably one of the warmest months of the year but it doesn’t experience heavy rains as December. This is the preferred month of the year for visitors interested in birding or bird watching, especially if your focus is to look out for migratory bird species. January also marks the start of calving/birthing season, a perfect period when abundant newborn wildebeest is recorded in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Around February, 1000s of newborn wildebeest can be spotted during the day. The calving season runs up to March. Visiting Masai Mara during this period is also advantageous, especially for photographers or if you are interested in sighting the big cats.

Best Time to Visit Masai Mara

Visiting Masai Mara from April to May

April is one of the low or off months of the year and is characterized by heavy rains compared to the rest of the months. Compared to March, April is a bit cooler but experiences some warmth. It is the month of the year when Masai Mara records the long rains with very a low number of visitors. Around May, slightly less rainfall is recorded and generally, it marks the beginning of the cooler month in Kenya. The roads can be sticky mud, then rivers flood their banks, and several other effects.

Traveling to Masai Mara for a tour from June to August

June is when the long rains come to an end and the busy season starts in Masai Mara National Reserve. June is slightly drier and is notably one of the best months/times of the year to visit Masai Mara for a tour. Huge herds of the wildebeest migration can be observed. The arrival of wildebeest begins in July when they set off from Serengeti. Like June, July is most favorable for game drives or specifically the big five safaris. August is also most famous for its rewarding Great migration and game viewing experiences, without forgetting the powerful Mara River crossing. It should also be noted that the Mara River crossings are not as predictable as other events.

September to October for a tour of Masai Mara

September is known for its warmer conditions with high daytime temperatures and cold nights compared to August. This is also one of the dry months of the year. This is most popular for its remarkable game viewing as well as the Great Migration. October happens to be one of the hottest months of the year but so rewarding when it comes to wildebeest encounters.

Traveling to Masai Mara for a Kenya tour from November to December

The short summer rains begin around November. During this month of the year when the Great Migration moves towards the South to their calving sites in Serengeti National Park. Compared to other peak months, December is slightly less busy in some protected areas, but busier in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Weather

Masai Mara National Reserve is known for its pleasantly warm weather accompanied by cool nights throughout the year. Masai Mara lies South of the Equator and at an elevation range of 1500 to 1900m. From October to March, Masai Mara records slightly higher temperatures. From June to August, this reserve experiences cooler temperatures and can drop below 10 degrees Celsius. The rainfall amount record is usually around 1400mm per year with the wettest month being April while July is the driest.

Wildlife and Great Migration

Masai Mara is one of the top visited Kenya safari destinations. This reserve boasts of its diverse mammal species including zebras, wildebeest, elands, Thompson’s gazelles, and big 5 games (African bush elephants, cape buffaloes, lions, leopards, and rhinos). Masai Mara National Reserve also protects numerous Nile crocodiles; 450 species of birds.

What is the best time to see great migration in Masai Mara National Reserve?

The Great Migration is remarkably the world’s most dramatic wildlife experience. July, August, and September are the best months of the year to visit Masai Mara to witness the wildebeest migration. During the Great Migration, over 1.2 million wildebeest leave Serengeti National Park. They are accompanied by many grazers including zebras, gazelles, and more.

How many days are enough for Masai Mara Reserve?

There are many Kenya safari packages one can choose from that lead you to explore the Masai Mara National Reserve. You can embark on a 3-day Masai Mara safari on budget, midrange, or luxury and you can enjoy the big 5-game safari or the great wildebeest migration tour. You can specifically opt for a 3-day Great Migration tour to Masai Mara National Reserve.

Other alternative Kenya safari tour packages to Masai Mara National Reserve include 4 Days Masai Mara safari, 5 Days Masai Mara, or combine your Masai Mara tours with other destinations on 7 Days Kenya wildlife safari, 10 Days Kenya safari tour, and others.

Visitors can also have an unforgettable Amboseli and Masai Mara Safari experience. This is possible on 6 Days Amboseli and Masai Mara wildlife safari. A perfect African safari that allows you to explore the big 5 game and also Great migration.

Top things to do on the Masai Mara safari tour

Some of the bucket list experiences to book on the Masai Mara tour include game drives, hot air balloon safaris, community or cultural visits, horseback safaris, the great wildebeest migration, birding or bird watching, and others.

What to pack for the Masai Mara safari?

Packing for the Masai Mara safari tour can be challenging, especially if it is your first time visiting Masai Mara National Reserve. Anyone planning a Kenya safari to Masai Mara should consider packing essentials first. Here are some of the essentials to pack for your Masai Mara. A camera and other photography gear, safari hat and sun protection gear, and comfortable clothes –environmentally friendly ones.

Other items include a first aid kit or medical kit, medication, comfortable safari shoes, and insect repellent. A pair of binoculars, a daypack, toiletries (shampoo, soap, conditioner, deodorant, hair brush, moisturizer, toothbrush, and toothpaste), and more.

Where to stay?

All accommodation categories are available in and around Masai Mara that is budget, midrange, and luxury. The top lodges to consider for an overnight stay on a Kenya safari holiday in Masai Mara include. JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, Mara River Lodge, Sand River Masai Mara, Mara Legends Safari Camp, and Sentinel Mara Camp. Other safari lodges include Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Entumoto Safari Camp, Porini Lion Camp, Mara Bush House, Little Governors Camp, Agama Mara, Cottars Camp, and more. 

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