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Wildebeest crossing the Mara River

Best Time to Visit Masai Mara in 2024

The best time to visit Masai Mara is during the dry season. However, if you’re looking to travel during the low season, the best month would be the rainy season. Fewer visitors visit the country during the rainy season, so accommodation rates are lower.

If you are a luxury tourist looking to experience the Great Wildebeest Migration, the best time to visit Kenya is July to September. The wettest months in Kenya are March, April, and May.

The best time for tourists in Kenya to see migratory bird species and newborns is in December. December weather has a daily maximum temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, with a minimum of 14 degrees Celsius. December is also an excellent time to go on a Masai Mara safari because the rains are short and the weather is perfect.

It is also advisable to visit the month of December if you do not want to expose your children to excessive predatory scenes. To know the best time to visit Kenya for a safari, we will examine different months and how they can affect your Kenya safari tours

Best time to visit Masai Mara

Masai Mara in September
A wildebeest jumping into the crocodile-infested Mara River

If you want to experience the great wild beast migration, then the best time to visit Masai Mara will be the month of July to October. It is impossible to pinpoint an exact date because the timing depends on the rain patterns. If the rains delay, the migration might delay.

Masai Mara in January

In January, the  Masai Mara receives only 15 days of rainfall. It is considered a dry month and one of the warmest of the year. The temperature can be as high as 28 degrees Celsius and drop to a minimum of 12 degrees Celsius.

The Masai Mara in January is ideal for luxury tourists interested in bird-watching. During this month, tourists in Kenya get to see baby animals because it is a birthing month.

Masai Mara in February

Masai Mara February

The Masai Mara in February has cool mornings with hot days. The average morning temperature is 14 degrees Celsius, and the average midday temperature is 30 degrees Celsius. February is also ideal for adventure travelers who prefer to observe migratory birds.

In February, the green grass begins to dry and turn Golden Brown. If your camp is near Warburgia trees, you will realise that they attract baboons and elephants because of their fruits. The elephants will have young calves with them, while young males will be pushed out of the herd to start their herds.

During February, animals will also begin migrating from one plain to another, searching for water. For example, zebras will trek to the Musiara marsh because it has fresh water. The month also sees animals such as the Cape Buffalo roam the Bila Shaka grasslands of the Masai Mara. The buffalos are usually calving their young ones.

Also, in February, you will see Cheetahs training their cubs to hunt animals such as the Thomson Gazelle and warthogs. If you are on a safari in the Mara, you will notice that the cheetahs always try to avoid hyenas and lions. 

You can check out the article “Is Kenya Safe” to know whether it is a good idea to travel to Kenya on a Safari.

Masai Mara in March

Masai Mara in March is characterized by an Orange Glow that lits the open Savanna. The average rainfall is 31.55mm, and the average morning temperature is 32 degrees Celsius. During this period, the savanna plains have tall grasses, especially in Bila Shaka, Musiara Marsh, Topi, and Paradise plains.

Though the grass is taller in the western part of the Mara, it is Shorter in the Eastern part of the reserve. This is especially so in the Mara and Kaboso plains. The Kaboso plains have plenty of Thomson’sThomson’s gazelle and Zebras. 

If it rains in March, the roads will become muddy and difficult to use. Therefore, luxury tourists are advised to consider air Safari. March is also an ideal month for viewing migratory Birds. March is also considered a low season; meaning prices are usually lower.

Masai Mara in April {start of the low season}

During April, the Masai Mara will receive an average of 23 days of rainfall. Though it has a maximum temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, it is colder than in March. During this month, some lodges closed down due to the low numbers of tourists in Kenya. 

For this reason, April is considered one of Kenya’sKenya’s most affordable adventure travel months. It is also ideal for budget travelers to travel during April because:

  1. There are few tourists in Kenya, meaning the park is quiet and less crowded
  2. Kenya safari tours are more affordable because of the decrease in demand
  3. Tourists get more personalized services because they are fewer

If you go on a Masai Mara safari during April, you will see lions scent mark and patrol their territory. Because the grass is longer, the lions are forced to roam deeper in search of prey. During this month, lions spend most of their time near the Musiara airstrip and Marsh. 

The female lions hunt warthogs as the male patrol and protect their territory from other male lions. During this month, it is not uncommon to see large numbers of elephants trek through the Bila Shaka and Marsh plains. At this time, the male elephants are more aggressive because they are in ”heat” and are looking to mate. 

Bird lovers can observe thousands of European barn swallow birds as they hunt grass-hopers, small insects, and crickets. Tourists in Kenya will also see birds such as the African Fish eagles and the European roller, a migratory bird from Asia and Europe.

Masai Mara in May

The Masai Mara in May is also a wet month, with the average daytime temperature being 25 degrees Celsius. The month is also considered a low season because of the low tourist numbers visiting the National Park. In May, the rain will fall during the afternoon and last into the evening.

Though it is a rainy season, tourists will see different wild animals, such as serval cats, leopards, elephants, lions, and cheetahs. Lionesses give birth to cubs during this month.

Tourists in Kenya will also have a glimpse of giraffes as they trek with their calves. Other animals you will see include the hyena, Topi, warthog, impala, baboons, and bushbuck.

You will also see several bird species hatch their young chicks while others learn how to fly. Popular birds in the reserve include the Open billed stork, Wolley-necked storks, and the Jackson widow birds. Other bird species that can be viewed during a Masai Mara safari include the Marshal eagle, Grey kestrels, and Double-toothed barbets.

May is also a good month to see butterflies in the African Monarch and Mara River grasslands, such as the Swallowtail butterfly.  

Masai Mara in June {end of the low season}

Masai Mara in June

In most cases, June marks the end of the rainy season. Unlike in May, when it rained every day in the afternoon, June is much drier, with only 12 days of rainfall experienced. It is also the start of the busy season, and hotels have begun to open due to high tourist demand.

Grass in several conservancies, such as the Olare Orok and Mara North, is now shorter. The roads have dried, making them more passable. During this month, tourists in Kenya come to witness the great wild beast migration. Elephants can easily be spotted around the Musiara Marsh while the calves imitate their mother’s feeding habits. 

Though the Wildebeest migration has not officially started, luxury tourists on a Safari can see migrations such as the Loita Hills Migration. The migration includes gazelles, zebras, and wildebeeststs. As the animals migrate into the Masai Mara, they have to use the Mara River, which is full of Nile crocodiles.

 During the migration, the Mara crossing becomes a journey of survival! This is just a taste of what the great migration will look like. The Loita hills migration attracts predators; they, too, wait for the wildebeest migration. By now, the cubs have started eating meat and have learned a few hunting tricks.

Masai Mara in July {The start of the great wildebeest migration}

The Masai Mara weather in July is primarily cool and cold at night, and the temperatures can drop to as low as 10 degrees Celsius. The month is one of the driest in the year, with only 11 days of rainfall experienced. One of the best time to visit Masai Mara is July because it is the beginning of the great wildebeest migration.

If your Masai Mara safari involves the wildebeest migration, travel in June. In June, wildebeests begin migrating into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti National Park. During this migration, tens of thousands of wild beasts plunge into the mighty Mara River, battling strong currents and the killer Nile crocodiles. 

Crossing the Mara river is just the beginning for these animals. If they survive the Nile crocodile, they will find predators such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards waiting for them on the other side of the river.

The predators wait for an opportunity to strike, and many animals do not make it alive. However, so many make it through the crossing that their numbers create a dark shadow over the Savanna. 

The migration creates an ecological effect that sustains life in the reserve. For example, large herds of herbivores leave dung in the plains, which attracts termites and dung beetles. The beetles then attract bat-eared foxes that feed on them. 

Masai Mara in August – High peak season

Masai Mara in August
A lioness hunts a Wildebeest

The Masai Mara weather in August is one of the driest of the year. The day temperatures can be as high as 25 degrees Celsius, and all-night temperatures can be as low as 11 degrees Celsius. The dry season makes it easy for adventure travelers to spot animals in the plain Savanna. 

During August, there are thousands of wildebeests trying to cross the Mara river safely. The raging waters carry the weak downstream while others are stamped by the strong. Elephants also cross the river but quickly Retreat into the Woodlands because they do not like being surrounded by Wildebeests.

Buffalos will move back into the marsh, trying to find fresh water. The male will protect the young from predators, and it is not uncommon to see buffalos attack lions when they get too close to the herd. 

In August, animals such as the Cokes hartebeest and Topi are pregnant. Baboons are also spotted with newborn babies who cling to their mother’s bellies. By the end of the month, the Mara river will rescind, causing the hippos to congregate in one location. This makes males more aggressive as they fight for their personal space. 

If you visit the Masai Mara during August, you will notice that the Quinine tree loses its leaves and bears fruits and flowers. As a result, the fruits attract several birds, such as the Double Toothed Barbets, Olive Pigeons, Turacos, and White and Black hornbills.

Masai Mara September {Peak Season}

Masai Mara weather in September is warmer than in August. The average daytime temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius, and there is little to no rain during the month. The temperature can drop to as low as 13 degrees Celsius at night. During this month, the water levels are low, and the Nile crocodile and hippos can be seen basking on the banks of the Mara river. 

If your Masai Mara safari involves the Great Migration, visit viewpoints such as the Kichwa crossing point, Makutano and No 4, No 6, and Singita. Luxury tourists will also see animals such as the Common elands, an antelope that feeds on shrubs and leaves. 

By September, the plains will have plenty of herbivores, such as the Western white-bearded gnu and plain zebras. The animals are mostly located in the Mara Triangle. The best way to enjoy this Safari will be to use an air balloon. This way, you get a 360 view of the entire Mara triangle and experience the magical effect of being so close to nature. 

During your stay in the Mara, you will see bird prey such as the White-backed and Ruppell vultures. The acid levels of these vultures are highly acidic, making it safe for them to eat dead animals, including those infected with anthrax. Though vultures play an important role in the life cycle, more than half of their population has vanished in 30 years.

Some of the critically endangered vulture species include

  • The African white-backed vulture 
  • The White-headed vulture
  • Hooded vulture
  • Ruppells vulture

Some endangered vultures in the Masai Mara include the Lappet-faced and Egyptian vulture. 

Masai Mara October

The Masai Mara weather in October is windy and dry, and the Midday temperature can be as high as 30 degrees Celsius.  Another best time to visit Masai Mara is October, when the grass is short. If this is your first Safari, do not be shocked when you experience dramatic thunderstorms in the afternoon. 

The thunderstorms create a perfect opportunity for photographers. The storm excites the herds creating big movement across the Masai Mara National Park, resulting in thousands of wildebeest crossing the Mara river. On the horizon, you will see lightning flashes that light up the sky in a terrifying fit of rage. 

During this period, the Mara river has rescinded, and wildebeests cross without swimming. In addition, there is constant fighting between hippos and Nile crocodiles because the crocodiles want to eat the hippo calves. 

Herds still migrate from one side of the reserve to the other and cross back into the Serengeti as it nears the end of the month. If you are lucky, you might see wildebeests cross into the Serengeti National Park, and Zebras cross into the Masai Mara national park simultaneously. 

This creates an amazing opportunity for photographers and travelers to view the migration from hot air balloons. At the same time, the elephants are heading to the marsh and woodland areas of the park. On their way, the elephants enter the riverine forest searching for Warburgia Ugandesis trees {Elephant Pepper}. The trees start fruiting in October and are considered an elephant delicacy.

October is also a good month to see cheetahs because they prey on Impala calves, Thomson Gazelles, and Young Topi. Leopards, too, like October because there are plenty of young calves to hunt. 

Lastly, during this month, bird lovers can see various bird species, such as White-fronted Bee-eaters, Pallid harriers, and the Montague. You can also see the Saddle Bill stork in the Musiara Marsh.

Masai Mara November {low season- end of the migration}

The weather in the Masai Mara in November is dry and rainy in the afternoon. November marks the beginning of the second rainy season in Kenya, which lasts for 20 days. November is the end of the migration, and the animals begin to make their way back to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. 

The month begins hot and dry but ends with light rains. The rains help fill up the Marsh and rejuvenate the savanna. During this month, adventure travelers will see wildflowers like the Flames Lilies bloom.

During this month, elephants will start eating the bark of trees to get additional nutrients because grass is scarce. Tourists in Kenya will also see newborns from animals such as the Giraffe, Topi, Impala, and warthogs. Bat Eared Foxes and Black Backed jackals also give birth during this month

Lions still have plenty to eat because the wildebeest migration is still happening. It is also not uncommon to see cheetahs hiding their cubs in the thickets. 

The best time to visit Masai Mara for bird watching is November, in the  Riverine forests. Birds that can be observed include the Double Toothed Barbets, Pallid Harriers, Mash Harriers, and Common Kestrels. Most of these birds are attracted by Teclea Nobilis trees which begin to fruit during November.

Masai Mara December

There is plenty to offer at the Masai Mara in December. First, the Masai Mara weather in December is usually rainy at night and hot during the day. During this month, the National Park experiences 17 days of rainfall, especially in the late afternoon.

 Most wild animals begin to give birth during December, and it can become a bit challenging to view wildlife because the grass has already grown. Though December is not considered a peak season, the park gets busy during Christmas. The average temperature experienced during December is around 28 degrees Celsius.

 In December, the Mara River is at its bedrock level. The scarce resources cause fighting between Hippo males trying to dominate the few remaining water pods. Strong young male Hippos bully the Old Hippos by denying them entry into the water pods.

The Hippos are left with no option but to wander in the park, where they will meet their death at the jaws of predators. Tourists can view animals such as Zebras in the eastern grasslands of Musiara. The eastern grasslands of Musiara are also home to small numbers of wildebeests. You can view more wildebeests by driving toward the Olare Orok conservancy.

Other animals seen during December are the male black rhino and large elephant herds in the Mara Triangle. Maasai ostriches can be seen in the West Marsh grassland and black-backed jackals.

Book a Luxury Masai Mara Safari 

Is there a best time to visit Masai Mara? Yes and no. A luxury traveler does not worry about the price and season. For example, a hot air balloon will work fine if the roads are impassible. As a luxury traveler on a Masai mara safari, you live in the country’s best lodges and have the best views of the savanna.

You can have a massage while elephants trek safely in the distance. Alternatively, you can hop on a horse and take a 2-hour horse ride early in the morning, ending with a bush breakfast. There is so much more you can do to create a memorable experience. Talk to one of our local experts to curate a luxury Masai Mara safari or to know more about the best time to visit Masai Mara with your family.

Robert K

I am an entrepreneur who spends his time travelling around the country and Africa. I love to travel in Luxury, engaging in outdoor activities and camping in luxurious tents while counting the stars in the sky. My motto is simple: Travel the world and expose yourself to a world of opportunities.

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