What African safari animals can you see during the Great Migration safari in Kenya? Each year millions of wildebeest and zebra travel to Masai Mara from the fields of Serengeti in Tanzania, followed by numerous predators. This is the bucket list spectacle of nature that took our breaths away! Have a look what African safari animals you can see during the Masai Mara migration in Kenya and how to experience the best safari in Kenya on your own.
African Safari Animals in Masai Mara, Kenya
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Wildlife, nature and being outdoors is what I love the most. Initially, our trip to East Africa was supposed to consist of a week of hiking and watching animals on the safari. Due to my broken ankle in the snowmobile trip to Svalbard, the plans had to change. African safari in Kenya was still a must, especially that we were travelling to Kenya during the Great Migration. After my previous trip to Madagascar, I knew that wildlife in Africa is just spectacular and couldn’t wait to experience more.
The Great Migration happening in Masai Mara in Kenya is a spectacle of nature, that makes an African safari a trip of a lifetime. I really think that thanks to that, Masai Mara safari is one of the best safaris in Kenya. The longer you stay in the park, the more you can see. Of course, the Masai Mara safari is not cheap, but there are options to go on the safari on the budget. And it’s totally worth it!
We went on the 4 day Masai Mara safari, which gave us 2 full days in the park and one-afternoon game drive. We also went on the morning hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara plains with bush breakfast to admire the migrating animals from above. What an experience! If you considering going on safari, I’ve also written a post about what to wear in safari in Africa – a full guide on what to pack for safari in Kenya, which might be helpful for you.
Tip: In Africa, the safari drives to see animals are called “game drives”. Therefore, during your safari, you have full day game drives, morning game drives, and afternoon game drives.
Recommended best safari in Kenya – Masai Mara safaris with Get Your Guide:
Read more: How to travel more with limited time?
What African Safari Animals can you see during the Masai Mara migration safari in Kenya?
We’ve seen a lot. During only two and a half day in the park, we managed to witness many different animal species and also see four animals from the Big Five.
Tip: “Big Five” are the lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard. The terminology comes from hunting time when those animals were said to be the hardest to hunt. I do not support hunting, but the same terminology has been now adopted by the tour operators marketing the safaris. Some of the animals from the Big Five are very hard to spot in specific parks – for example, rhino and leopard in Masai Mara. Of course, seeing other types of animals is amazing as well, but the adrenaline of watching a rare sighting is amazing.
African safari photography
I am an amateur photographer, and all the photos below were taken by me. If I could do it, you can easily do it too. For safari photography, I used my mirrorless FujiFilm X-E1 with the Fuji zoom lens 50-230 mm, F 4.5-6.7. Occasionally I used my landscape Samyang 12 mm lens and AKASO EK7000 action camera (cheaper GoPro equivalent) for recording. More about my travel and photography gear here.
Read more about what to pack for safari in Kenya.
Sunset in Masai Mara, Kenya
African Safari Animals in Masai Mara
A lion is probably the most popular African animal that people want to see on the safari. I mean, who doesn’t want to see the lion? They are the kings of Africa! We managed to see 11 lions, which I find quite impressive. We’ve also spotted the lions mating – an interesting sight 😉 Apparently, the mating, which lasts for a week is very exhausting for lions. I’ve been told that they can do it even 100 times a day, resting in between. Impressive, right?
The lions are also very active during the Great Migration, due to many animals in the park. Killings can happen quite frequently, but mainly during the morning or evening hours.
Rhino is supposed to be one of the hardest animals to spot during the Masai Mara safari in Kenya. Unfortunately, persistent poaching for their horns and the habitat loss made many rhino species to be critically endangered. They kind of look like the last cousin of the dinosaurs, don’t you think?
African elephants are the world’s largest land animals. At the same time, they look so cute! We’ve seen so many of them in Masai Mara, as well as during our train ride from Mombasa to Nairobi. Unfortunately, they are still being at risk due to poaching for the ivory.
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Just hanging out with the elephants 🐘 Can you spot the baby one? :::: My first ever safari in Masai Mara in Kenya just blew my mind. The amount of wild animals that we’ve seen over 2,5 days in such close proximity is unbelievable! More photos on the blog (link in bio👆), including the mating lions 🦁 and hot air balloon 🎈 I tried to do a recap, so here it is what we saw: 1 rhino 11 lions 25 elephants 5 cheetahs 20 giraffes 2 hyenas 10 buffalo 5 ostriches 10 warthogs 2 crocodiles Several big groups of hippos Group of baboons and blue ball monkeys (so funny 😂) Several groups of Vultures Different species of antelopes Many many zebras Hundreds and hundreds of wildebeest :::: Have you ever been on the safari before? . . . #worlderingaround #magicalkenya #visitkenya #masaimara #masaimaranationalpark #elephant🐘 #wildelephants #wildlife_photography #safarioutfit #safaripark #africansafari #outdoorgirls #adventuregirls #femaletravel #travelgirls #travelgirlsgo #goneoutdoors #femaletravelbloggers #postcardplaces #stunningnature #ladiesgoneglobal #outdoorwoman #shetravels #travelphotooftheday #glt #polishgirltravelling #travelbloggers #cnntravel #natgeowildlife #travelpost
Buffaloes have quite unpredictable nature what makes them dangerous to humans. They can, however, be safely seen from the safari jeep in Masai Mara. We’ve also seen them while starting the Mount Sabyinyo hike in Uganda, which might have been more dangerous, but ended up fine.
I adore wild cats and cheetahs are among my favorites. They are especially beautiful when they move with grace and big speed. The one pictured below was running in the field, when we spotted it. Such a beauty!
With the cute face and long eyelashes, giraffes are very nice to watch! The Masai giraffe has a special pattern, which distinguishes it from other types of giraffes in Africa. Can you see it in the pictures?
Brown is a female and the black one is a male. There were also some big ostrich eggs that they were protecting!
Not having the best reputation (especially in the “Lion King” ;)), hyenas are interesting animals. According to our hot air balloon pilot, they are responsible for the majority of the killings in Masai Mara (no, it’s not the lions).
Sleepy during the day, active when the sun goes down, they can be very dangerous but fun to watch!
Zebras stripes are like DNA – everyone has different ones. Can you believe?
The star of the Great Migration in Masai Mara. Wildebeest travel from the Serengeti plains to Masai Mara in the search of the fresh grass. There are hundreds of thousands of wildebeest that can be watched walking through the park and feeding on the grass. Did you know that they follow a scent from the hoofs of the leading animal, and that’s how they walk in lines?
I find them super cute and clumsy, especially after watching Pumba from Lion King. What do you think?
They are a bit scary, especially if you see their size and how they feed on the dead zebra, uh. Their wings are spectacular.
They live in the Mara river and hunt for wildebeest crossing during the migration.
Blue ball monkeys (Vervet monkeys)
I’ve never heard about them before, but the moment we saw them and the guide mentioned their name – I knew I’m gonna like them – just look!
We’ve seen them in the park, as well as on the Kenyan coast in Diani Beach. They are massive!
Masai Mara has many different antelope species. They include Impala antelopes with beautiful horns, Eland antelopes that are the biggest antelopes and Topis, very fast antelopes living in Masai Mara and Serengeti.
Hot air balloon safari in Masai Mara
Great addition to the Masai Mara safari is a hot air balloon safari with champagne breakfast in the bush. This is when you can really see the extension of the Masai Mara park up to the borders with Tanzania when it turns into Serengeti. The hot air balloon ride is particularly interesting during the Great Migration. You can see the thousands of the wildebeest from the air. It was my first ever balloon ride and I loved it!
How to organize a Masai Mara safari in Kenya?
How many days?
Safari tour companies
All in all, the Masai Mara safari in Kenya is a great experience and worth every penny!
Would you like to see some of the African safari animals and go to the Masai Mara safari in Kenya during the Great Migration? Or maybe you’ve already been? Let me know in the comments!
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