The Best Time to Visit Masai Mara National Reserve

Giant Male elephant standing in grasses with three trees in the background in Masai Mara Reserve

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The best time to visit Masai Mara National Reserve is between June and November, when temperatures are relatively steady with highs ranging from 79 F to lows around 56 F. As a popular destination for safari drives, This time of year is ideal for safari drives as the Great Migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, and eland happens between July and November. Use this guide to assist you with planning your visit to Masai Mara National Reserve no matter what time of year you decide to explore it.

Weather in Masai Mara National Reserve

 The Masai Mara National Reserve has two rainy seasons, one being the short rains occurring from November to January and the long rains from March to May. The long dry season lasts from June to November with pleasantly warm temperatures.

The average daytime temperatures range from 75 F to 82 F from September through May. However, overall throughout the year temperatures are moderately consistent due to Kenya’s location to the equator.

Attractions in Masai Mara National Reserve

Famed for its abundance of wildlife, many visitors come to Masai Mara for the game and safari drives, however, that's not all the park has to offer. There are specialty safaris for tourists interested in everything from bird watching to witnessing migrations of herds. A trip would not be complete without a visit to a traditional Maasai village where travelers can learn more about the famed Kenyan tribe, which lives within park boundaries. Another bucket list-worthy experience is a hot air balloon flight over the Masai Mara.

Wildebeest herd standing in golden high grass with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background

Ayzenstayn / Getty Images

January

January brings hot and dry weather to Masai Mara National Reserve. Due to the low amounts of rain, it’s a great time for spotting wildlife throughout the park as they congregate at the watering holes. This is also calving season for many animals within the park such as antelope and zebras. The abundance of prey is the main reason why lions are easily spotted during this time of year.

What to do in the park: January is the start of Lion season in Masai Mara national park. If you're looking to see a lion, January is the month to visit.

February

In the month of February, temperatures average around 69 F, with highs reaching into the low 80s F. The park is typically still in the midst of a dry spell when it comes to rain showers, with only light rain transpiring in certain instances. The average rainfall for the month is typically 1.5 inches.

What to do in the park: Lion season continues through February.

March

March brings in the long rains season to Masai Mara National Reserve, with monthly rains averaging around 3 inches. It is the low season during this time, so visitors can expect cheaper rates on hotels and excursions. The weather is also usually mild, with an average high temperature of 74 F.

What to do in the park: As the rains start in the park, wildebeests and zebras run about bringing out lions through the end of the lion season.

April

April is one of the rainiest months of the year, with average rainfalls of around 4.5 inches. With the heavier rainfalls persisting, the park is usually lush and green, full of vegetation during this time. The green season is a great time for budget-conscious travelers to visit the park as lower rates continue at safari lodges and tents.

What to do in the park: Bird migrations occur at the tail end of the low season in Masai Mara park.

May

Rainy season continues through May, with average rainfalls of just over 3 inches. It’s a gorgeous time to visit Masai Mara National Reserve as high temperatures average around 74 F. The green season, which continues through the month, is an excellent time for photographers to capture shots of baby antelopes being born in the bush.

What to do in the park: Bird watching tours are popular during this month due to the rich green season.

June

June is the beginning of peak season for Masai Mara National Reserve. The temperatures are quite pleasant with an average high of around 76 F. Because this is the start of peak season, accommodations will fill quickly, so we recommend booking as early as possible.

What to do in the park: Safari tours are quite popular in June and the weather is perfection for outdoor activities.

A Maasai tribeperson wearing a traditional red outfit walks in a field with Acacia tree in the far distance

Chris Minihane / Getty Images

 July

July also offers fantastic weather and climate for visiting the park, with the high season continuing. Average highs are around 78 F during the day and slightly chilly in the evening with lows of 56 F. It is advised to bring a jacket for venturing out in the evenings. Yet it is overall quite pleasant and dry during this month.

What to do in the park: Photography tours are popular during July.

August

While it is still peak season for visiting the park in August, this is also a fantastic time to explore due to the pleasant temperatures, dry climate, and the start of wildebeest season. Again, visitors can expect crowded conditions so book tours and campsites early.

What to do in the park: Wildebeest season begins with massive herds starting to cross the river from the northern Serengeti into the Masai Mara. 

September

Dry season continues through the month of September, making it an attractive time for tourists to visit. It is one of the most popular months to visit Masai Mara National Reserve to experience the Great Migration. With drier conditions visitors have more opportunities for viewing animals at the watering holes.

What to do in the park: September is the best time to spot the wildebeest migration occurring in the Masai Mara reserve.

October

With the continuation of high season lasting through October, visitors can expect high levels of congestion in famed safari areas throughout the park. The weather is warm but not unbearable with average highs of 81 F and not too much rain.

What to do in the park: Off-road game viewing and spotting herds of wildebeest are the main draws for October.

November

While there is still considerable amounts of rain in the month of November, it is part of the short rain season making the rains less invasive. Rain showers typically occur in the late afternoons and bring about cloudy, overcast skies yet warm temperatures during the day and chilly mornings. Temperatures average around 68 F. During the short rainy season, park visitors can expect an average rainfall of just over 3 inches in November.

What to do in the park: The start of the migration out of Masai Mara national reserve back into the Serengeti occurs in November.

December

December is part of the short rains season for visiting Masai Mara National Reserve. It is also low and green season during this time. Green season refers to the warm, rainy months where there is an abundance of new leaves and grass, thus making it more difficult to spot animals while on safari drives.

What to do in the park: During the short rains period of December, photography safari tours are popular during the lush green season.

Article Sources
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  1. Weather & Climate. "Average day and night temperature in Maasai Mara National Reserve in Fahrenheit." Accessed April 14, 2022.

  2. Weather & Climate. "Average monthly snow and rainfall in Masai Mara in inches." Accessed April 14, 2022.

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