Kenya‘s most famous game park is also its best, a relatively small 280 sq. miles of rolling grassland plains bisected by several large rivers, including the great Mara for which the park is named. The southwestern edge is contiguous with the Serengeti, making it actually the northernmost part of the greater Serengeti biosphere. Tourists are not allowed to cross between the parks, however, and because the ecosystems are similar, many safaris that include the Serengeti will not visit the Mara, and vice versa.
But as similar as the ecosystems are, the rainfall patterns between this northern area and those to the south are quite different. The Mara is the wettest protected wilderness in East Africa. On average rainfall occurs almost every day of the year except in October and early November. It is exactly because of this that the game viewing is so good year-round, and this is also the reason that the Great Migration will be found here towards the end of the year.
The Mara vies with Ngorongoro Crater in having the highest density of cats in Africa, and it also has among the highest density of tourists. Because there is so much to see in a relatively small area, the park is the most developed in East Africa, and arguably, also the best managed. Many of Africa’s most prestigious camps and luxury properties are found here.
At any time of the year, the Mara probably provides the best game viewing in any Kenyan park. In addition to the high density of cats, expect to see a lot of plains animals like zebra, hartebeest, topi and a variety of gazelle. Most of the park is rolling grassland plains, but in the peripheral forests are many elephant, buffalo and impala. In the great rivers like the Mara are many hippo and some of Kenya’s largest crocodiles.