When to visit Masai Mara : Masai Mara national reserve is famous wildlife destination in Kenya and world at large, the reserve attracts a huge number of tourists mostly visiting to witness the Great Migration and a huge abundance of wildlife including the big 5 (lion, leopards, cape buffaloes, rhinos and leopards).

When visiting Masai Mara national reserve sometimes it is hard to decide on the perfect time to visit the reserve, in Masai Mara there is no wrong season to visit for a Kenya safari. This article details the when is the right time to visit Masai Mara national reserve for a Kenya wildlife safari.


Undoubtedly, the Great Migration also known as the annual wildebeest migration is one of the most popular attractions in Masai Mara national reserve and something to lookout for. The Great migration in Masai Mara national reserve happens during the months of July to October, this epic annual trek of 1.5 million wildebeests accompanied hundred thousands of gazelles and zebras migrate from the Serengeti national park in Tanzania to the Masai Mara region (Masai Mara national reserve). These two protected area for the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem.

During this time of the year (July to October), the savannah plains are awash with wildebeest, zebras and other herbivores, it is also the time of the year known for dramatic Mara and Talek River crossing which are the most sought for episodes of the annual wildebeest migration.  Since this time of the year is a dry season, there is less vegetation making wildlife –viewing much easier.

Although Masai Mara national reserve is a year round destination and can be visited year-round for excellent wildlife viewing, many travelers plan their safaris/trips to Maasai Mara national reserve around the Great migration time.

In this time of the year, the region can became rather crowded and you may even end up tail to tail in a safari vehicle queue at some point or another. In case you are fun of traffic jam then you may need to avoid this time of the year and travel to Masai Mara national reserve during another time of the year, alternatively you can opt to stay at one of the more exclusive and less crowded Masai Mara conservancies.

When to visit Masai Mara
Wildebeest Migration in Maasai Mara


After the rainy season with plenty of rain showers, there is an abundance of food and water in Masai Mara national reserve. In this period the Masai Mara baby boom kicks in and the plains are brimming with wildlife and young wildebeests, zebras and other herbivore calves which are seen dashing through the plains. The presence of the newly born babies attracts the big cats including the lions thus the Lion season, the big cats (prey) feast on the newly born babies which is the circle of life.

The months of January through March are known as the “Lion Season”, when the rain stops , the grass in Masai Mara national reserve become less plentiful making the spotting of wildlife easier. This is the perfect time of the year to spot pride of lions out and about.


The months of March through May in Masai Mara national reserve mark the arrival of heavy rains, these spring rains resemble a paint brush, bring the dry African Savannah to life and painting the landscape of the reserve in new shades of green, gold and other vibrant hues. The dusty savannah grasses make way for swaying grasses and the vast plains become the maternity ward for young impalas, antelopes and other herbivores.

The presence of the newly born animals attract predators in all shapes and size, so do not be surprised when you see a few high-speed chases on the plains in this time of the year. The green season is not only one of the best time to spot predators, but also for bird watching. The plains of Masai Mara national reserve are crowded by thousands of colorful swarms of migrant birds flocking to the newly awakened blooming trees blooming because of the rains.

The rainy season also known as the Green Season in Masai Mara national reserve is accompanied by lower accommodation rates at safari lodges and tented camps. Since most tourists chose to visit Masai Mara national reserve during The Great Migration, most safari lodges and camps lower their prices significantly during this time of the year.



The period from January – February are pretty hot and dry and since water is more scarce in this time of the year, most the animals in Masai Mara national reserve head to waterholes to drink water making this period excellent for wildlife viewing. This period is also has splendid clear skies and also a good bird migration season.


This period of the year is known as the long rainy season in Masai Mara national reserve and the wetter season of the two rainy seasons with most rainfall experienced in April, however it is still hot in these months. In this period, the rain pours turns the local vegetation of Masai Mara all shades of green.


This period experiences pleasant temperatures, warm and dry weather and mostly clears blue skies above, this weather is perfect for game viewing safaris. The period is the popular time for traveling to Masai Mara national reserve for game viewing and witnessing the annual great wildebeest migration.


These two last months of the year experience short rains, the less intrusive of the two rainy seasons. In this period expect overcast, cloudy skies and rain showers in the afternoon. Temperatures in this period are still high although the mornings can be rather chilly that is why you need to carry a warm clothing for morning game drives.


Dry Season

Dry season in Masai Mara is experienced from June throughout October (June, July, August, September and October).

Pros of dry season

  • Less rain is received meaning there is less vegetation cover making it easier to spot wildlife
  • Lovely and conducive weather with less rain
  • Wildlife is more concentrated during the dry season, they generally gather near waterholes and rivers
  • Less mosquitoes meaningless chances of Malaria
  • It is the best time of the year to witness the annual wildebeest migration
When to visit Masai Mara
Safari Activities in Maasai Mara National Reserve

Cons of dry season

  • Since most visitors visiting Masai Mara national reserve seek to see the Great Migration come this period, this time of the year is the busiest time in Masai Mara. In the dry season expect congestion in the reserve.
  • Since this period is a high season, travel is more expensive as opposed to the rainy season in which prices are more favorable
  • Expect cold evenings and very chilly early morning game drives.

Rainy season in Masai Mara

In Masai Mara national reserve, rain season is experienced from November – May (November, March, April, May and June).

Pros of the rainy season

  • Rates most especially accommodations and safari are lower when compared to the Great Migration months
  • Chances of getting the accommodation of your choice are high
  • Rain season is the best time for bird watching
  • Masai mara national reserve is less crowded
  • The rains bring the plains and other areas back to life, the landscapes get to be green, blooming trees start to bloom making it the best time for photography.

Cons of the rainy season (most especially during the long rainy season in April and May)

  • Rains lead to poor road conditions
  • Wet weather can dampen the spirits and can have you huddling in your tent on occasion
  • Some lodges and camps close up for general maintenance and some-time off for staff
  • In April and May, river such as Mara can flood their banks

Dry season versus rainy season

If you are having difficulty in deciding on when to visit Masai Mara national reserve, I advise you look at the pros and the cons of visiting the reserve during the dry season or rainy season.

If you’re having difficulty deciding when to visit Masai Mara, have a look at the pro’s and con’s of visiting during the dry season or rainy season:

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