Witnessing the world’s best wildlife on safari in the Masai Mara National Reserve

When it comes to discovering the world’s best wildlife, Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve might just have it. Surrounded by the Serengeti plains to the south, and pastoral ranches to the north, east and west, the reserve is a land where wildlife of all varieties live or pass through during migration.

Every member of a collection of safari favourites, known as the Big Five, can be spotted in the reserve at some point during the year, which consist of the lion, African elephant, leopard, black rhinoceros and the African buffalo. The big cats, which also include cheetahs, are especially easy to spot on game drives between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment, and make for some excellent action shots if you’re a budding wildlife photographer.

The main event which takes place in the Masai Mara National Reserve each year is the Great Migration, where, from between July and October, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, among other wildlife, migrate north from the Serengeti plains, occupying the Masai Mara until they return south in October. It is considered one of the world’s most impressive natural events, as it involves 1.3 million wildebeest, 500,000 Thompson’s gazelles, 200,000 zebras, 97,000 topi and 18,000 elands. These animals are also often pursued by predators such as lions and hyenas, making this season one of the best times of year to visit the reserve.

The Mara and Talek rivers also offer up some prime opportunities to spot hippopotami and Nile crocodiles, while the Masai giraffe, roan antelope and nocturnal bat-eared fox can also be found in the boundaries of the reserve, rarely present anywhere else in Kenya. Over 470 species of birds also call the park home for at least part of the year, including ostriches, vultures, crowned cranes, marabou storks, long-crested eagles and lilac-breasted rollers, the national birds of Kenya.

Where to stay

If you’re seeking your own Kenya luxury safari park, Chic Retreats has some truly incredible boutique safari camps tucked away in their own personal corner of the Masai Mara National Reserve. For an authentic safari experience taking in the very best of the African wildlife and landscape, paired with a luxurious glamping experience under the stars, Chic Retreat’s Kenyan boutique safari camps have it all.

See our full collection of boutique hotels in Kenya here

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.