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The Best Time to Safari in Maasai Mara

The best time to go on safari in the Maasai Mara, Kenya, largely depends on what you want to experience during your trip. However, there are a few factors to consider that can help you determine your ideal time. With the impact of climate change and human interference causing the daily vanishing of species, time is of the essence to see the wildlife of the Mara. The most popular answer has always been July-October to witness the Great Migration. But, if you're looking to avoid crowds, or perhaps to see an abundance of baby animals, you may opt to not go during the migration or peak season. Here is a list of factors to consider when planning your trip:

  1. Great Migration: Certainly one of the most popular events in Maasai Mara is the Great Migration. Where once there were millions of wildebeests, climate change and human impact have reduced the numbers to the 100's of thousands now. Still, the spectacle of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores traveling from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in Kenya in search of fresh grazing lands, is a sight to see. This migration typically occurs between July to October, but predicting the exact time has become more difficult as the wildebeests cope with the effects of climate change--choosing to migrate at unexpected times and even turning back for a while.

  2. Weather and Vegetation: The weather conditions can also shape your safari experience. The Maasai Mara used to have a distinct dry season and a wet season. These days, rains are not always predictable. The dry season tends to be from July to October, and offers clearer skies, lower vegetation, and a higher concentration of wildlife around water sources. The wetter season, from November to May, brings lush green landscapes and an abundance of birdlife, and elephants and hippos love to come out in the rain. It is a favorite time for photographers too, who take advantage of the light this time of year. While some roads may become muddy and inaccessible for a period of time during April and May due to heavy rainfall, the Mara is always full of life no matter where you hunker down till the rains subside.

  3. Crowds and Prices: The peak tourist season in Maasai Mara aligns with the Great Migration, in particular, July and August. This period tends to be very crowded, as a glut of safari vehicles jockeying for position can make wildlife viewing challenging. Prices for accommodations and safaris are also substantially higher. If you prefer fewer crowds and lower prices, consider visiting during mid season, such as January through March, June, or October and November when the weather is still favorable, and wildlife is bountiful.

  4. Calving Season: A great time to see baby animals in Maasai Mara is during the calving season, which typically occurs from December to March. This is the period when many herbivores, such as wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles, give birth to their young ones. The luxuriant vegetation during this time attracts predators, creating a prime opportunity to witness thrilling predator-prey interactions. Exploring Maasai Mara during this period allows for remarkable sightings of adorable baby animals taking their first steps in the wild and vastly lower crowds and prices.

It's worth noting that Maasai Mara offers unique wildlife experiences year-round, so any time you choose to go, you're sure to have an incredible safari adventure. While the Maasai Mara is magical at any time, it is especially so without crowds. The locals will appreciate you too. While many travelers are convinced the only time to go is during the migration, Mara Napa would like to change that narrative. You will enjoy superb game viewing, more individualized attention, and personalized service when the crowds are less. And you will be doing the wildlife and the ecosystem of Mara a favour, by helping us create a more balanced flow of visitors. So what are you waiting for?

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