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Best time to visit Masai Mara

Animals - including the Big Five - can be seen year-round in Masai Mara National Reserve! However, if you're dreaming of seeing the Great Migration - the natural phenomenon that sees thousands of wildebeest travelling from Serengeti National Park into Masai Mara, the best time to visit is from July to October.

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When is the best time to visit Masai Mara?

The best time to visit Masai Mara depends on what you'd most like to see and do on your visit!

The Great Migration
If witnessing the Great Migration is the most important to you, then time your visit from July to October.

Birdwatchers should visit from November to March, but make sure your safari leaves in the early morning when birds are most active. 

Avoid crowds
There are two "rainy seasons" in Masai Mara. The first, the "long rains", lasts from March to May. The second, the "short rains", takes place from October to December. Travellers looking to avoid crowds should visit during the long rains (March to May): animals will still be easily-spotted, but this off-season means you'll have fewer people to contend with. 

Best time to visit Masai Mara - Infographic

Which months are ideal for catching the Great Migration?

The month-by-month guide to the Great Migration in Masai Mara:

The beginning of the Great Migration, visitors will see thousands of wildebeest and zebras crossing the Mara River into Masai Mara from Tanzania. This also makes it a great time to view birds of prey and big cats such as lions and leopards!

By this time, travellers should expect to see the Great Migration slowing down; now, the animals will be happily grazing on the plains of the Masai Mara. This means further opportunity to view wildebeest, zebras, lions, leopards, and more.

With the dry season in full swing, expect to see larger crowds and higher temperatures in September. Visibility of all wildlife present for the Great Migration (wildebeest, zebras, big cats, and more) is still excellent, however, so this month remains a popular time to visit.

The last month of the dry season, October sees the migrating animals begin to make their way back to Tanzania. Visiting the south-eastern part of the reserve offers the best views of these incredible animals in October.

The "short rains" usually begin in mid-November, so travellers should expect the occasional wet day. However, there are ample opportunities for birdwatching at this time, and some baby animals can also be seen! For more information about when to see the animals in the Great Migration, please see our migration map.

December - June
At this time, the animals who take part in the Great Migration have returned to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. While many animals remain in Masai Mara, the taller grasses make them more difficult to see.

Interesting facts about the Great Migration

How many animals migrate?
Nearly 2 million animals make the journey.
What animals migrate?
Mostly wildebeest, zebras, and Thompson's Gazelles.
What drives the Great Migration?
Seasonal rains, and a search for green fresh grass.
How do they know where to go?
The sun and Earth's magnetic field acts as a compass, and the animals instinctively know where to go.
How many perish on the way?
About 250,000 animals don't complete the journey.
An empty road among the grasslands with a stormy sky

When is climate and weather best in Masai Mara?

The months of June to October see the least rainfall in Masai Mara, as this is the dry season. Masai Mara experiences two rainy seasons, the "long rains" and the "short rains." The long rains take place from March to May, and the short rains occur from October to December. While travellers visiting during the rainy seasons will have fewer crowds around them, they should be prepared for muddy conditions.

More on "weather & climate"

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