Maasai Mara National Reserve Animals: Maasai Mara National Reserve thrives with abundant of animals being the leading savanna destination in Kenya. Maasai Mara and its neighbor Serengeti national park in Tanzania, make up such a beautiful and breathtaking places to explore while on an African safari with an opportunity to spot the all the big 5 animals, big cats and many more.

Here are the major animals to see in Masai Mara national reserve;


Spotting all the big 5 animals/ game is one of the most fascinating experience for any traveler on an African safari and guess what, Maasai Mara is on the top list of the travel destinations where one can spot all the big 5 animals in their natural home. These big 5 animals include Elephants, Lions, Rhinos, Buffaloes and Leopards. The word big 5 was introduced to refer to those majestic animals that were so hard to hunt down by hunters in the ancient days. The word however, developed more meaning in the tourist industry and you will hear most of the tour operators mentioning it all the time to refer to the above listed animals some of which are still difficult to capture with a camera while on an African safari in Maasai Mara national reserve ad any other savanna destination in Africa.

Maasai Mara National Reserve Animals
Big 5 Animals

Below are the members of the Big 5 animals;


Elephants are not only amongst the big 5 animals but as well the world’s largest land animal. An adult male elephant moves alone while the females live with the young ones. Elephants were previously listed amongst endangered animals in Kenya until later in the 2014 when the population of these elephants started rising from about 1500 to about 2500 in the wild. Elephants can be seen in Maasai Mara national reserve all year round while on a wildlife safari in Mara.


The King of the jungle is as well amongst the big 5 animals. Surprisingly, the size of the lions is way too small to call it a big animal however, If you follow the true definition of big 5 animals, you will know that it was included in the big 5 due to the fact that it is one of these animals that are difficult to tame down and it is as well not easy to capture a lion on your camera since they tend to hide themselves in the long shrub. Good news is that Maasai Mara national reserve harbors a big population of these cats with over 400 lions recorded in the reserve itself thus while on your safari, you will be able to spot a good number of them. The fun and interesting fact about lions is that they live in a big pride of up to 20 lions protected by the adult male while the adult females are responsible for hunting. The best time to spot lions in Maasai Mara national reserve is during the dry season for the months of June, July, August, September and October when the vegetation is shorter and offering easy viewing though any time is possible to encounter with the king of the jungle.


Unlike lions, Leopards are shy cats which are as well a member of the big 5 animals. These animals are hard to see being nocturnal animals thus the best time to spot them is during early morning hours and late evening hours. Encountering with these elusive creature is such a breath taking and life time experience since they are already listed on the IUCN list as endangered. Leopards can be spotted in the savanna woodland, and rocks where they usually hide during the day and come out to hunt in the night. The Leopards can be seen all year round especially during the sunrise and sunset.


Buffaloes look like the domestic cows and they prefer to graze in large herds. Surprisingly buffaloes are the most dangerous animals to human and they can charge so easily. However, their sight is very poor but they have a great sense of smell. Maasai Mara thrills with over 9000 buffaloes which can be seen in the savanna grassland grazing at any given period of time all year round.


Yes, a rhino is also a member of the big 5 family/ animals. However, these animals are listed amongst the endangered species in the wild. This came as a result of poaching and lose of habitats. By the time of establishment of Maasai Mara National Reserve, there was remaining 1 female rhino but later on a male rhino was brought in which helped in mating the only surviving females and as of now, Maasai Mara national reserve thrills with about 30 Rhinos. The best time to spot rhinos in Maasai Mara is during the evening hours.

Other animals;


Apart from the Big 5 animals, Maasai Mara National reserve is a home to the animals of the Great Migration which include Wildebeests, Gazelles, Zebras and many more that make up a great annual migration between Maasai Mara national reserve in Kenya and the Serengeti national park in Tanzania. This annual migration involves over 2 Millions of wildebeests joined by Thousands of Zebras, Gazelles and other animals team up and set off on a migration following the rain patterns in search of fresh pasture starting their migration in Serengeti national park Tanzania to Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya.

The Wildebeest;

Wildebeests are major animals and the reason behind the term wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara national reserve. The wildebeests are famous during the season of river crossing where these animals are forced to jump into a crocodile infested river in order to cross over to the fresher pasture. Wildebeests enjoy moving and grazing in large herds all day and night. Visiting Maasai Mara National reserve during the season of great migration enables tourists to encounter with abundant of wildebeests throughout the months of July, August, September and October which is the best period for wildlife viewing safari in Maasai Mara national reserve. You can as well spot these wildebeest but in few quantities not like during the great migration.

Maasai Mara National Reserve Animals
Wildebeest Migration

Thomson’s gazelle;

Thomson’s gazelles are part of the great annual wildebeest migration together with the Wildebeest and zebras. During the migration, over 500,000 gazelles are seen making it the best time to spot these animals.


Zebras are amongst the most beautiful animals in Maasai Mara. Zebras alongside gazelles are a part of the Great wildebeest migration. Zebras are social and like grazing in large herds. Zebras can be seen all year round but a huge population of these animals is seen during the great migration where over 200,000 zebras take part in the annual wildebeest migration.


Maasai Mara national reserve is a famous destination for spotting the cheetahs in their natural habitats. Cheetahs are known as the fastest land animals in the world and can run up to 95 kilometers per hour. Cheetahs prefer to reside in open savanna grasslands that’s why they are many in numbers in Maasai Mara national reserve.

leopards in maasai mara


Crocodiles are amongst animals to see while on a Kenya safari to Maasai Mara national reserve. They prefer to stay in water bodies where they feast on fish and other aquatic animals. Mara River is a habitat to several crocodiles in Kenya and they are easily seen during the annual migration when they are attacking the animals during the river crossing time. The river actually turns bloody as the crocodiles enjoy the fresh wildebeests and other animals as they cross this crocodile infested river.

Apart from the above mentioned, Maasai Mara national reserve harbors several animals including Hippos, Giraffe, Elands, Serval cats Topis, and many more.

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