Maasai Mara is one of the most important wildlife conservations and wilderness areas in Africa. It is renowned for its lion, cheetah, African leopard, and African Bush elephant population. The national reserve showcases the best of Africa’s wildlife.
The Mara also hosts the Great Migration, prominent for being a natural phenomenon. During the migration, wildebeest and other animals migrate from Serengeti and make their way to Maasai Mara, annually.
Owing to all these reasons, Maasai Mara is one of the top places for game drives and safaris.
Seasons of Maasai Mara
Seasons and climate must always be taken into consideration while traveling and, the Mara isn’t an exception. But there is no best time to visit the national game reserve and other conservancies in the neighborhood as they are active all year round.
However, there is a right time to witness activities that takes place in the Mara.
In the Maasai Mara National Park, the climate is semi-arid all year round where it is pleasantly warm in the day while the night becomes cooler.
The area of the national park is located at the South of the Equator where temperatures are slightly higher from October to March. From June to August, it is slightly cooler and nights are particularly chilly as the temperature drops at 10°Celcius.
Maasai Mara is divided into two seasons: the wet or green season and the dry season. The wettest month in the Mara is April while the driest is known to be July.
The wet season
The wet season takes place in November and goes on till April. Temperatures during this season reach a maximum of 32° Celsius and a minimum 18°Celcius.
There are two rainy periods in the wet season: the ‘short rains’ occur in November and go on till December. The ‘heavy or long rains’ takes place from April to May.
It becomes difficult to drive on the typical terrain during these months as the area becomes extremely slippery. The wet season is characterized as:
- November and December – These months experience short rains where afternoon temperatures are 27° Celsius.
- March, April, and May – These three months are known for their rain period with April being the wettest month, receiving regular showers. Early mornings experience temperatures around 13° Celsius.
The dry season
Maasai Mara’s dry season occurs in July and ends in October. The air during these months is the driest.
Tourists can enjoy the warm weather although there might be a shower or two and chilly nights during the dry season. Given the different altitudes of Maasai Mara, visitors embarking on early morning drives may need warm clothes.
The dry season is characterized as:
- January to March – These months are dry and relatively hot.
- June to August – There are chances of rain showers in June but the rest of the months are mostly sunny and dry. The afternoon records an average temperature of 25° Celsius but evenings and early mornings experience colder weather, around 12° Celsius.
- September and October – These months remain dry although they might occasionally experience rainfall. Temperatures in October become warmer and hover around 27° Celsius which further decreases with rain. Chilly early mornings are expected during these months.
Maasai Mara’s wildlife viewing
1. Best season for birdwatchers
There are more than 500 bird species recorded in Maasai Mara, making it a remarkable place to observe birds. The park is particularly abundant in Raptors, Waders, and migratory birds.
The best months for birdwatchers are considered to be from November to April. During this period, migratory birds come to the Mara from Europe to spend their winter here. It should be noted that these months are also the wettest where quick rain showers are frequent.
2. The calving season
The calving season in Maasai Mara takes place in November and December. Wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes give birth to calves, foals, and fawns. The high concentration of predators including lions are on the lookout for their prey and sightings of lion pride can also be seen.
As there is no rain during these months, the vegetation becomes less dense and one can easily observe animals on game drives.
3. The Green season
The Green season is usually referred to as Early Spring or rainy period. During this time, Maasai Mara receives large amounts of rainfall. The months from April to June mark this season. This period becomes magnificent to witness the reserve as the savannahs become clearer, free of dust and haze. It makes Africa’s landscape look the best.
During this period, colorful migratory birds arrive in thousands and reside in the Mara. The blooming flowers and trees add to the beautiful scenery of the park. Visiting Maasai Mara during this season is considered to be the ultimate way of spending your Easter break.
4. The Migration season
The great wildebeest migration takes place from July to October during the dry season.
Comprising of 1.5 million wildebeest, antelopes, and zebras, they make their way to the Mara, crossing crocodile-filled rivers and lions waiting to pounce on them. During the end of June, millions of animals that arrive on Mara scatter along the great plains of the park.
The herds pick up their pace as the short rains attract them southwest. As the rains decrease and the constant grazing makes the grass dry and shorter, wildebeest head south in search of green pasture.
From October to November, you can witness the migration leaving the Mara and heading to the northeast Serengeti in Tanzania.
Maasai Mara’s different seasons and months offer a variety of activities for tourists. Yet, no matter the period you pick, the park reserve will never disappoint with its incredible wildlife.
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