Masai Mara Vs Serengeti

The Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania together form an open plains region undoubtedly known to be the best wildlife area in Africa. The Masai Mara is a northern continuation of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania separated by the Kenya – Tanzania border. These two animal kingdoms are the same and there isn’t much you will miss by visiting just one of the two.

Serengeti and The Masai Mara owe their fame to the great migration of over 1.5 million grazing wildlife best witnessed in either of the two parks depending on the time of the year. While this migration attracts the highest number of visitors to the Masai Mara and Serengeti, these two parks are home to some of Africa’s highest population of lions and one of the best places to see them.  Unlike other wildlife reserves in Africa that are seasonal, game viewing in the Serengeti and Masai Mara is fabulous all year round.

Masai Mara Vs Serengeti

Much as these two animal kingdoms offer world-class safari experiences, there are some slight differences, pros and cons of visiting either of the two parks. Are you stuck on a decision on which of the two parks to visit? Below is a detailed comparison that should help you come to your final decision;


The Masai Mara is a smaller extension of Serengeti National Park covering an area of 1,530 sq. km with a varied landscape made up of open plains, acacia woodland and riverine forest on the river banks of Mara and Talek rivers. 

The Serengeti with a bigger size covers an area of 14,763 sq. km of vast plains broken by kopjes (rocky outcrops), acacia Savannah, Savannah woodland and riverine forest. Northern Serengeti differs with a hilly landscape with thick scrub and forests. 

The smaller size of the Masai Mara gives it an advantage of being able to explore the park with a minimum of 3 to 4 days whereas exploring the Serengeti’s varied zones split into the Northern, Western, Central, and Southern may require a minimum of a week.

That said, most Serengeti safaris are focused on Central Serengeti (Seronera Area) known to be rewarding all year round. The rest of the regions in the Serengeti are visited based on the movement of the migration. Western Serengeti is a fine base for June to July, The north is rewarding from August to November whereas the Southern plains are a fine base for the calving season for Dec to April.

The Great Migration

Many will argue that the great migration is best witnessed in Masai Mara National Reserve when over 1.8 million herds are spread on the smaller area of the Masai Mara. However, please note that the migration is seasonal and relatively spends shorter time in The Masai Mara (July to September) as compared to the Serengeti (the rest of the year).

That said, Serengeti National Park is known to be the home to the Great Migration, the herds spend most of the year here (outside late July to September) and if you plan a safari focused on the migration, depending on your planned time to visit, the Serengeti offers most of the action and is arguably the best place for it.


Safari to both the Serengeti and The Masai Mara is captivating; there is nothing more rewarding than being exposed to open plains greatly gifted by thousands of herd wildlife, a huge number of big cats, and the predators where even catching them hunting is common. Whereas safaris to both these parks are world-class; the cost for a safari in the Masai Mara is less compared to what you will get for a similar (same number of days) in Serengeti National Park.

If you plan to visit any of the two parks on a tight budget; the Masai Mara in Kenya should be your priority. Unlike the Serengeti where extra fees like concession fees apply, safaris to the Masai Mara do not include these fees. To note more; accessing the Serengeti is limited to a 4×4 safari land cruiser (jeep) which is quite costly to hire. The Masai Mara is open to a cheaper 4×4 safari van alternative which is the ideal mode of transport for visitors on a budget. That said, The Masai Mara offers cheaper safaris as compared to the Serengeti National Park

Comparing the Masai Mara and Serengeti; whichever of the two parks you will consider visiting, you will be welcomed to one of Africa’s best Safari destinations. There is no such thing as a trip not meeting up to your expectations. 

Luckily, at Masai Mara Holidays (Ltd) we offer exciting Safari tours to both these two animal kingdoms with extended trips to some of East Africa’s other attractions. You can check out our carefully designed itineraries to the Serengeti and the Masai Mara and request for a free quote.

You may also like...