Home to a stunning array and exceptional density of big game, Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve is justifiably one of Africa's most famous parks. The sheer quantity of wildlife on display during each game drive is outstanding. There are very few places on the continent that offer such good big five viewing and the Mara also hosts the Great Migration's immense herds towards the end of the year. Following the great migration from a hot air balloon, is an amazing way to take in the vastness of the Masai Mara's untamed wilderness and the incredible density of the wildlife on the plains.
However, it must be said that the Mara's reputation has a price: this is one of the busiest parks in Africa. Its proximity to Nairobi means it is very easily accessed, and as a result it is full of day-trippers and package tours and large hotels. It is not uncommon to have more than 10 vehicles around a pride of lion...
But like any sought-after tourist destination, you have to look beyond the crowds and see the essence of the park underneath. The Masai Mara is classic Africa; awe-inspiring endless plains, studded with the odd acacia tree, with a fantastic diversity and density of wildlife. This is the landscape that most people bring to mind when they think of Africa. The BBC's famous Big Cat Diary was filmed here, and as such, it has incredible big cats! In addition, between August and the end of October the herds of the Great Migration pass through the area, in one of the world's most spectacular and impressive wildlife events.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
The Great Migration throughout most of the year makes its way around the Serengeti National Park
in Tanzania. Only between the months from July to October are the 2 million wildebeest and zebra herds creeping into Kenya’s Masai Mara. Although you can witness the river crossings on the Kenya side of the border, this is not happening the whole way through this 4 month period.
Some of the wildebeest head to Kenya
for further pastures as an extension of their main Serengeti route, and whilst there are daily crossings over the Mara River in Tanzania (from Kogatende to the Lamai Wedge, back and forth), catching a huge herd crossing the Mara River in Kenya can be more difficult as it is a smaller time frame the big herds are actually mulling around the Masai Mara area! For further explanation of how the herds cross from Kenya to Kenya and from Tanzania to Tanzania see our map here
. This should clear up the common misconception that the Mara River acts as a border between the two countries. For more information about Tanzania and the Great Migration, visit our Tanzania