The Masai Mara

As the northern extension of the Serengeti plains, the Masai Mara eco-system sustains some of Africa’s largest and most varied wildlife populations.

The word Mara means ‘spotted’ or “mottled” in the Masai language. Some say the Masai named it thus because of the patchy landscape – acacia trees and thorn thickets lend patches of colour to the otherwise uniform-looking plains.

Others believe the Mara is named after the speckled appearance of its vast plains when the millions of migrating wildebeest, zebra and gazelle arrive to rest here.


The Masai Mara and the adjoining Loita Plains of Kenya form the northern part of the even greater Serengeti- Masai Mara ecosystem – about 25,000km2 of land. In the Masai language Serengeti means “wide or seemingly never ending plains”.

The long distance to the country’s main urban centers poses a difference that allows the Masai Mara National Reserve to keep one of the features which is becoming today an oddity in African parks: wildlife roams in complete freedom, without fences or other obstacles around.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is about 1530 km². The Masai Mara is bounded by the Serengeti Park of Tanzania to the south, the Siria escarpment (also called Oloololo escarpment) to the west and Masai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west.

The Sand, Talek and Mara rivers are the major rivers draining the reserve. Becoming a rarity in African parks is the wildlife roaming in complete freedom, without fences or other obstacles stopping them. Animals disregard the borders drawn on the papers, not only those that split Kenya from Tanzania but also the limits of the protected area.

The Masai Mara offer a great diversity of different natural habitats for the wildlife: the vast open plains covered with tall red oat grass and scattered acacia trees, the rolling hills covered with short grass and interspersed with rocky inselbergs, the patches of woodland, the extensive marshes and swampy areas, the mighty Mara river with its dense riverine forests…

The western border is the Oloololo Escarpment or of the Rift Valley, the Siria escarpment , and wildlife tends to be most concentrated here, as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good and tourist disruption is minimal.

The Weather

The excellent weather is one of the highlights of the Masai Mara. It’s warm and mild without being scorchingly hot throughout the year, and hardly ever gets cold: ideal weather and climate for an African safari holidays.

Check the weather on real time and see several webcams in Kenya! Check the weather at Kilima Camp in the Masai Mara in real time thanks to our Webcam at Kilima Camp!

You can visit the Masai Mara at any time of year. There is no real best time to go to the Masai Mara as it is a superb game viewing destination all year round. However, the busiest time are around Christmas and from July to October.

In fact most people would like to time their visit with the Great Wildebeest Migration from July to November. Getting the timing right is really tricky as it all depends on when the rains fall and set the migration in motion.

Great Wildebeest Migration
Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov
Hot season       Cold season

The hot season is from December to March when temperatures range from 28ºC / 80ºF to 32ºC / 92ºF. The cold season lasts from July to September, but temperatures rarely fall below 12ºC/52ºF.

Nights can be chilly in all seasons because of the altitude (1500 above the sea level for the Masai Mara plains and at 1800 at Kilima Camp) and warm clothing is essential.

Long rains usually come around March and May (long rainning season) while short rains (short rainning season) are between November and mid December. The short rains are usually followed by sunny skies and do not last long.

Masai Mara
moderate rain
humidity: 81%
wind: 3m/s ESE
H 18 • L 18
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

The best periods and seasons to travel to the Masai Mara from a weather point of view are from mid December to March and from July to September.

Useful links:

The Masai

You will have the chance to meet the Massai and discover their customs and traditions. You will be invited to meet them, to discuss with them and discover their customs, their dances, their songs…

Masai, Massai or Maasai constitute an ethnic group of stockbreeders and of warlike semi-nomads of Eastern Africa, living in most cases in the center and the southwest of Kenya and the north of Tanzania.

The Masai life is dominated by their herds of cattle and livestock. The Masai often move hundreds of kilometers with large herds of livestock in search of water and rich pastures.

The Masai diet is based on fresh / curdled milk, blood and meat from their livestock. Centuries ago the Masai were feared as ruthless conquerors and warriors who invaded other tribal areas in search of bigger grazing land and more cattle. Today the Masai people are peaceful custodians of the Masai Mara and also play a role in Kenya’s social and economic structure.

Most of the Masai people continue living the traditional way in harmony with wildlife.

Masai rites and Masai traditional ceremonies are taken very seriously. Elders play a very important role in the Masai community and Masai society at large. Many Masai men pass through the three stage of boyhood, warriorhood and elderhood. All Masai speak a version of the language “Maa”.

Park fees

Our clients go on game drive in the Mara Triangle which is the western part of the Masai Mara National Resserve and part of the Trans-Mara County Council. This part of the Masai Mara National Reserve is the less busy part and the most preserved part of the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Oloololo Gate is the closest entrance from Kilima Camp to the Masai Mara National Reserve and is at the foot of the Siria escarpment. With just a fifteen minute drive away, Kilima Camp is the perfect base from which to start your safari game drive and explore the Masai Mara plains and its African wildlife.

Kilima Camp is also a perfect location to witness the Great Migration.

Each client who enters the Mara Triangle has to pay a Park Fee. The Park Fee is not compulsory. If for example you stay 5 nights at Kilima Camp, you may just want to go on game drives for 3 full days and enjoy other bush activities (horse ridding, bush walks…) or just relax and enjoy the beautiful surrounding for the other 2 days. In this case you will pay only 3 Park Fees. The Park Fee is valid for 24 hours. It can be bought directly at the gate – Oloololo Gate. Alternatively, Kilima Camp proposes to invoice the Park Fees and buy the Park Fees tickets on behalf of the clients (in order not to have to buy a Park Fees ticket every day at the gate for each client). Please note that if a client prefers to pay the Park Fees directly at the gate, we strongly recommend to bring enought cash as the Visa payment are not reliable.

Please find below the Park Fee fares per day which are subject to changes without prior notice:

Adult Ksh 1,000 Ksh 1,200 US$ 80
Child** Ksh 300 Ksh 500 US$ 45

* Resident rates are applicable to residents of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Visitors are required to present your National ID (for Kenyan citizens) or passport showing work permit or appropriate visa to prove resident status upon entry into the Mara Triangle. Visitors without a valid passport are required to pay the non-resident rates.
**Child rates are applicable to persons 3 to 18 years old. Persons under 3 years are free.

More information on the Mara Triangle official website

From the 1st January, a 300 Acre Private Sanctuary is established around Kilima Camp area to preserve its environment and provide safe haven for the wildlife. A Conservancy Fees will be charged to any client staying  at Kilima Camp or visiting the Private Sanctuary.

Please find below the Conservancy fees per day per person:

Adult Ksh 500 Ksh 500 US$ 5
Child** Ksh 250 Ksh 250 US$ 2.50