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Large herd of wildebeest walking on the grassland

Location & how to get to Masai Mara

Located in a preserved savannah in the southwest of Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve is a safari region that packs a punch. Find out exactly where this mighty destination is, and all the different ways you can reach it and discover the wildlife found here.

Masai Mara safaris

Where is Masai Mara located?

This massive game reserve is found in Narok County, Kenya and named in honour of the old Maasai tribes that have inhabited the region for centuries. Masai Mara falls along the border of Tanzania, alongside Serengeti National Park (another famous safari destination). As well as Tanzania, Kenya's neighbours include Uganda, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. This east African country is comprised of savannahs, lake lands, the Great Rift Valley and mountainous region, and a coastline along the India ocean.

What is the nearest airport to Masai Mara?

There are a few ways to reach Masai Mara, but because the roads aren't in great condition, most people fly to the park. The nearest international airport is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), in Nairobi, and lots of people fly into the city when visiting Masai Mara. There are also many airstrips surrounding the reserve, but where you fly into will depend on where you are staying during your safari.

Airstrips close to Masai Mara: 

  • Keekorok
  • Serena
  • Ol Kiombo
  • Serena
  • Siana
  • Musiara
  • Ngerende
  • Buffalo
  • Ol Seki
  • Olare Orok
  • Kichwa Tembo
  • Cottars

What is the best way to get to Masai Mara?

You can reach Masai Mara by road or plane from Nairobi or by taking a plane from Mombasa. 

1. By road from Nairobi

A majority of travellers fly into Nairobi and opt to reach Masai Mara by road via B3 and C12. The city is approximately 306 kilometres (190 miles) away from the reserve, and it can take 6-7 hours to drive. If you want to experience Kenyan countryside, driving is the way to go. Nairobi to Narok is around a two-and-a-half hour drive, which offers plenty of views and scenery, onwards from that, you'll see the Great Rift Valley escarpment. Be aware that the journey from Narok to Masai Mara can get quite bumpy, and take around three hours, without much to see. If you have a lot of time and want to experience Kenyan landscapes, this is the best option.

2. By plane from Nairobi

If you're short on time, the best option is to fly from Nairobi to Masai Mara to one of the airstrips. It takes from 30 to 45 minutes and it's certainly more comfortable than driving, especially if the primary purpose of your trip is to see wildlife. Flying will provide you with an aerial view of the region that will take your breath away. You can take a domestic flight from Wilson Airport (WIL) in Nairobi to an airstrip closest to your accommodation in Masai Mara.

3. By plane to and from Mombasa

It's also possible to reach Masai Mara from Mombasa, where you can take a non-stop flight to Nairobi. From there, travellers can take another short flight of around 30-45 minutes (depending on which airstrip you are landing into) to the reserve. Some safari packages offer the option to fly to Nairobi and drive from there to Masai Mara. 

There are also direct inbound and outbound flights from Mombasa to the Kichwa Airstrip nearby Masai Mara. An air safari is a unique way to experience Africa and the Masai Mara game reserve. You'll get to fly over Lake Amboseli, the Great Rift Valley and enjoy views of the Soda Lakes Natron in Tanzania and Magadi in Kenya.

Again if you're short on time, this isn't the best option, but if you want to explore more of Kenya and experience an exciting city that's renowned for being a melting pot, this is the way to go. 

Pictured above: the location of Masai Mara National Reserve
Pictured above: the location of Masai Mara National Reserve


1,500–2,180 m (4,920–7,150 ft)
Regions of Greater Mara Ecosystem
Masai Mara National Reserve and a number of private Masai Mara Conservancies (Mara North and Naboisho are among the most popular ones)
Closest international airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO)
Masai Mara Airstrips
Serena (MRE), Musiara, Olkiombo, Keekorok

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