You’ve done your research and found the safari you’re most interested in, but then you realize there are two options available to you. Should you go to Masai Mara or Serengeti? Both are large, famous, and incredibly beautiful parks, but they each have their own unique charms, so it can be hard to make your decision. Luckily, with our ultimate guide to choosing between Masai Mara and Serengeti, you’ll be able to plan your trip much more effectively.
We’ll discuss all the pros and cons of both parks, helping you choose the best one for your preferences, budget, and interests.
1. Masai Mara vs. Serengeti – Location & Landscape.
While the Masai Mara and Serengeti are both important parts of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, they do not have similar landscapes. The Serengeti, for instance, covers an area of approximately 14,760km, which is very huge when compared to the Masai Mara, which covers 1,510km². The Serengeti also has a diverse landscape, that includes: open grassland, kopjes, evergreen riverine forest, and deciduous woodland. And as visitors travel from south to north in the Serengeti, and eventually to the Masai Mara, the terrain gradually changes and becomes more hilly and wooded.
2. Masai Mara vs Serengeti – Wildlife.
Both the Masai Mara and the Serengeti provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Both parks are Big Five destinations that consistently provide good sightings of lion, leopard, buffalo, and elephant – as well as cheetah, giraffe, and a variety of other animals. Rhinos are rare throughout the ecosystem, but they are far more likely to be seen in the Masai Mara, especially in the western section known as the Mara Triangle, where you have a good chance of encountering one of these heavyweights. elope.
3. Masai Mara vs. Serengeti – The Great Wildebeest Migration.
The great migration takes longer time in Serengeti than in the Masai Mara due to the larger size of the Serengeti. The months of January and February are ideal for a safari in Southern Serengeti. The wildebeest come here to give birth, interrupting their migration. Thousands of calves are born here every day during the calving season, attracting a large number of predators. When the calves are strong enough to begin their first migration, the herds start to move north in long, noisy columns toward the end of April. From June to July, they cross the Grumeti River in the Serengeti’s Western Corridor, another migration highlight. The survivors continue north until they reach the Mara River in August. This river crossing, possibly the most exciting moment of the great migration, can be seen from both the Serengeti and Masai Mara sides of the ecosystem. Once all the wildebeest have crossed, they spend about two months in the Mara before returning south to the Southern Serengeti.
4. Masai Mara vs. Serengeti – Best Time to Visit.
The best time to visit either park is during the dry months of June to October. This period draws animals to available water sources, such as rivers and waterholes. The vegetation shrivels away as the dry season progresses, making wildlife viewing easier – especially for predators, which can be difficult to spot when the grass is tall. The best time to see the wildebeest migration, however, varies between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara. The exact timing is dependent on rainfall, but from January to September, you have a good chance of seeing the migration in the Serengeti. The migration in the Masai Mara is best seen between September and October.
5. Masai Mara vs. Serengeti – Accommodation..
Although both parks offer every level of accommodation, from tented camps to larger chain lodges, the Serengeti has the largest selection of small upmarket lodgings. There are a few more mid-range options in the Masai Mara, as well as a lot of budget accommodation just outside the reserve. Camping trips to the Serengeti are typically conducted within the park, as opposed to budget camping trips to the Masai Mara, which are typically conducted outside of the reserve.
6. Masai Mara vs. Serengeti – Cost..
A safari in the Masai Mara is typically less expensive than one in the Serengeti. For starters, there are more affordable accommodation options in the Mara than in the Serengeti, with many of them located outside the reserve. Due to Serengeti’s size and the fact that the main entry point is through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, staying outside the Serengeti and entering the park for day visits is not a viable option.
Most of the reasonably priced lodging options at the Masai Mara are mostly concentrated on the reserve’s eastern edge, which can make the experience quite crowded, especially during peak season. Staying on the quieter western side and central plains of the Masai Mara will generally cost a bit more. Staying in one of the private conservancies north of the national reserve is a great way to get away from the crowds. In terms of cost, a safari in the Mara and the Serengeti are comparable.
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