​Wildlife & Animals – Masai Mara NR

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Masai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s flagship park. Three of the Big Five are commonly seen, but leopard sightings are more occasional and black rhino is difficult to find (they can sometimes be spotted in the northern section of the Mara Triangle). The reserve is one of the best in East Africa for big cats, and smaller predators such as bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal and spotted hyena are also present. Antelope include impala, reedbuck, Thomson's gazelle, eland and topi, while buffalo, elephant and giraffe are relaxed and easily spotted.

Abundant
Common
Occasional
Rare
None
ElephantCommon
GiraffeCommon
HippoCommon
BuffaloCommon
ZebraAbundant
WildebeestAbundant
LionCommon
LeopardOccasional
CheetahCommon
HyenaCommon
Wild DogVery Rare

Wildlife Highlights

The legendary wildebeest migration is one of the world’s most amazing wildlife encounters. Every year is different, but sometime in July and August (and even as late as September), millions of animals leave northern Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and head into the Masai Mara. The crossing of the Mara River along the way is one of the most spectacular moments of the migration. Around October, the migration slowly heads back into Tanzania again.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing in the Masai Mara is good throughout the year, but the months from June to October are relatively dry and offer the best general wildlife watching. The best months for the wildebeest migration are August to October. It should be noted that, although the pattern is well known, the exact timing of the migration varies from year to year as the animals move with the rain looking for greener pastures.

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