The best time to visit Masai Mara

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 03.06.2024

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of southwestern Kenya, the Masai Mara stands as a testament to the raw beauty and biodiversity of East Africa. Covering an expanse of over 1,500 square kilometers, this renowned savanna ecosystem offers a captivating glimpse into the natural world. Named after the indigenous Maasai people who have long inhabited the region, the Masai Mara National Reserve serves as a vital sanctuary for a diverse array of wildlife. Here is our guide to the best time to visit Masai Mara to make the most of your visit. 

When's the best time to visit Masai Mara?

The best time to visit Masai Mara depends largely on your personal interests, whether you are seeking optimal wildlife viewing, lush landscapes, or quieter surroundings.

The dry season, spanning from June to October, is the most popular due to its favorable weather and abundant wildlife sightings. During this time, days are warm, ranging from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), with clear skies ideal for game viewing.

The short rainy season, occurring from November to December, brings sporadic rainfall that doesn't significantly impact safari activities. Temperatures remain warm, creating lush, green landscapes perfect for exploring.

However, the long rainy season, from March to May, experiences heavy rainfall and occasional thunderstorms, making some areas inaccessible and wildlife more challenging to spot. Yet, this period transforms the landscape into a fantastically green paradise. 

As the long rains subside, January to February marks the beginning of another dry season, with progressively drier and hotter weather. Daytime temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F), prompting wildlife to concentrate around water sources.

 Ultimately, Masai Mara is a fantastic place to visit year-round, with each season presenting its own unique charms.

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Masai Mara, Kenya

Masai Mara, Kenya  © Shutterstock

Month-by-month guide for visiting Masai Mara

Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of the best time to visit Masai Mara:


January marks the end of the short rains, so you may still experience some occasional showers. Temperatures range from 28°C (82°F) - 11°C (52°F).

Wildlife viewing is excellent, with lush green landscapes and plenty of newborn animals. It's a quieter time for tourists compared to the peak season.


February is still a good time for wildlife viewing. The wildebeest calving season begins, attracting predators like lions and hyenas. The weather in Masai Mara in February is similar to January, with slightly warmer temperatures as the dry season progresses.Temperatures range from 28°C (82°F) - 13°C (52°F).

The grass is still green, which adds to the beauty of the area.


March is part of the calving season, so you'll witness plenty of newborn animals.

The vegetation starts to dry up, making wildlife easier to spot. It's a good time to visit if you prefer fewer crowds and lower accommodation rates. Temperatures remain warm, and the dry season continues, with a range typically between 28°C (82°F) - 14°C (57°F).

Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya, Africa

Sunrise is one of the best times to visit Masai Mara  © Shutterstock


April is the beginning of the long rains, so expect occasional heavy downpours if you decide to plan your trip to Kenya during this month. 

That said, the landscape becomes lush and green again, and birdwatching is excellent. Wildlife viewing can be challenging due to the dense vegetation.

Temperatures start to cool slightly as the rainy season begins with a range of 27°C (81°F) - 14°C (57°F).


In May, the rainy season intensifies, leading to cooler temperatures and increased precipitation. You can expect a range of 26°C (79°F) - 14°C (57°F).

The Great Migration begins as herds start moving north from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara. It's a quieter time for tourists, and accommodation prices may be lower.


June marks the peak of the Great Migration in Masai Mara. Large herds of wildebeest, zebras, and other animals cross the Mara River, attracting predators and offering incredible wildlife sightings.

Rainfall continues, and temperatures may drop further as the region experiences more cloud cover. You can expect a range of 25°C (77°F) - 13°C (55°F).

It's a popular time to visit, so expect higher accommodation rates and more crowds.


The Great Migration, Masai Mara  © Shutterstock


July is still an excellent time for witnessing the Great Migration. Wildlife viewing is at its best, with plenty of predator-prey interactions along the Mara River. It's one of the busiest months for tourism, so book accommodation well in advance. June is the peak of the cool season with ongoing rainfall. Temperatures typically range from 24°C (75°F) - 12°C (54°F).


August continues to offer fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. The weather is generally dry and mild, making it comfortable for game drives. Similar temperatures to July with a range of 24°C (75°F) - 12°C (54°F), but rainfall tends decrease toward the end of the month. The Masai Mara can be crowded during this time, especially around river crossings.


September marks the end of the Great Migration in Masai Mara as the herds start heading back south into the Serengeti.

Wildlife viewing remains excellent, with predators trailing the migrating herds. It's a good time to visit if you prefer slightly fewer crowds compared to July and August.

The end of the rainy season, with temperatures gradually increasing as the dry season approaches. Temperatures typically range from 25°C (77°F) - 13°C (55°F).

Maasai market in Nairobi © Shutterstock

Maasai Market in Nairobi © Shutterstock


October is the tail end of the dry season, with temperatures starting to rise.  Temperatures typically range from 26°C (79°F) - 14°C (57°F).

Wildlife viewing is still good, although the grass may be dry and vegetation sparse. It's a quieter time for tourists compared to the peak season months.


November is the start of the short rains, with occasional afternoon showers.  Temperatures begin to rise with a typical range of 27°C (81°F) - 14°C (57°F).The landscape becomes green again, and birdlife thrives. Wildlife viewing can be excellent, especially towards the end of the month as the vegetation becomes lush.


December sees the continuation of the short rains, but they typically don't interfere too much with safari activities. The landscape is lush and green, providing beautiful scenery for photography. Wildlife viewing is excellent, with plenty of opportunities to see newborn animals and predators on the hunt.

Dry and warm conditions prevail as the dry season continues into the new year. Temperatures typically range from 28°C (82°F) - 14°C (57°F).

Not sure when to take your trip to Kenya? See our year-round Kenya weather guide.

Elephants in the Tarangire National Park in north Tanzania, Africa © LMspencer/Shutterstock

Autumn is the best time to visit Masai Mara to see elephants © LMspencer/Shutterstock

Best time for a safari in Masai Mara

Ultimately, the best time to visit Masai Mara really depends on what kind of wildlife you are hoping to see. 

The highlight for many visitors is the Great Wildebeest Migration, which occurs from July to October, showcasing millions of animals crossing from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. This period promises dramatic river crossings and incredible wildlife spectacles. 

However, the Masai Mara also offers excellent wildlife viewing year-round, with the dry season from June to October being particularly ideal for spotting animals due to thinner vegetation. 

Bird watching enthusiasts may prefer the wet season from November to May when migratory bird species arrive, and the landscape is lush and green. 

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The Great Migration in the Masai Mara

The Great Migration in the Masai Mara is wildlife spectacle that occurs annually between July and October. For many, witnessing this event is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Over two million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles make the treacherous journey from Tanzania's Serengeti to Kenya's Masai Mara in search of greener pastures, driven by instinct and the pursuit of survival.

To witness this extraordinary event, plan your trip well in advance. Book accommodations in the Masai Mara region early, as lodges and campsites fill up quickly during migration season. Consider hiring a knowledgeable guide or joining a safari tour to enhance your experience and increase your chances of spotting the wildlife up close.

You’ll want appropriate clothing for the Mara's fluctuating weather, including lightweight layers for warm days and warmer attire for cooler mornings and evenings. Don't forget to bring binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to capture the stunning moments of the migration.

Be prepared for long drives and bumpy roads, as accessing certain areas of the Masai Mara may require off-road travel. Additionally, remember to respect the wildlife and ecosystem by adhering to park rules and guidelines, such as maintaining a safe distance from animals and avoiding littering.

White rhino chatting with a bird in South Africa © 4uphoto_Valeria De Mattei/Shutterstock

White rhino chatting with a bird in South Africa © 4uphoto_Valeria De Mattei/Shutterstock

Planning your trip to Kenya

If you’re ready to experience Kenya, you might want to consider having a professional plan your trip. Our tailor made trip service allows you to skip the hours of planning it takes to create a great holiday. Our trips are designed by local travel experts and are completely customized to your preferences. 

  • Family Safari in Kenya (7 days): Take your family on the adventure of a lifetime: 7 days in Kenya with close animal encounters, Big 5 game drives, and fun day activities.
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Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 03.06.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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