Serengeti vs Maasai Mara

by | May 21, 2023 | Travel Guide

Serengeti vs Maasai Mara

The Serengeti vs Maasai Mara: The Serengeti and the Maasai Mara (sometimes also written as Masai Mara) are two of the most popular safari destinations in Africa, known for their diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes. Each offers an amazing and authentic safari experience in the most amazing way. And while they share many similarities, there are some differences between the two that might influence your decision on which one to visit.

We take a look at some elements that differentiate between these two amazing safari destinations.

Size & Diversity

The Serengeti National Park is one of the largest national parks in Africa: the entire ecosystem spanning over 30,000 square kilometres. This includes the National Park and the surrounding game reserves such as Ikoma, Grumeti, Ikorongo and many more. The Serengeti National Park itself is 14,763 square kilometres. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including the famous big five, as well as cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, and wildebeests. The park is also home to over 500 bird species, making it an excellent bird-watching destination. In comparison the Maasai Mara Game Reserve is a bit smaller. The Maasai Mara covers an area of approximately 1,500 square kilometres, making it quite a bit smaller than the Serengeti National Park. However, despite its size, the reserve is home to an impressive array of wildlife including the big five.
  • Our winning choice: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Wildebeest Migration

The Serengeti is renowned for hosting the annual wildebeest migration, which is one of the most spectacular wildlife events on the planet. The migration sees over a million wildebeests, zebras and gazelles moving in search of fresh grazing pastures, and it is a great opportunity to witness predator-prey interactions. Due to its huge area coverage, the park hosts the migration almost the entire year except for the months of September and October, where the migration is around the Masai Mara park. By early August, the animals begin to cross the Mara River in the Serengeti and eventually cross over to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve by the middle of October. The herds then spread out across the Maasai Mara and the surrounding areas, where they graze until the end of October or early November when they start moving back south into the Serengeti.
  • Our winning choice: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Visitor Numbers

The Maasai Mara receives about 300,000 visitors every year. By comparison, the Serengeti receives about 400,000. However, the smaller geographic footprint of the Maasai Mara can mean that it can get crowded during peak tourist seasons. The Serengeti on the other hand offers more secluded areas, where you can enjoy a more authentic safari experience.

The Serengeti has a range of options, from the popular Seronera area to the more remote northern or western parts of the park. Due to its size, parts of the Serengeti can still feel remote, secluded and private.

  • Our winning choice: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Scenic Beauty

Both the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara offer some of the best scenic beauty on the planet. They offer a raw view of our planet in a way that is unmatched. Any Safari to either one of these destinations is always highly rewarding. Both destinations offer wide open plains and savanna, rolling hills, grassy landscapes, woodlands and river crossings. Arguably, because of its much larger size, the Serengeti offers a bit more than the Maasai Mara
  • Our winning choice: A Tie

Wildlife

The Serengeti and the Maasai Mara are renowned for their incredible wildlife populations, each offering a unique array of animals. In the Serengeti, you can witness the iconic Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles traverse the vast plains in search of greener pastures. This natural spectacle attracts an abundance of predators, including lions, cheetahs, and hyenas, making for thrilling wildlife encounters. Additionally, the Serengeti is home to a diverse range of animals such as elephants, giraffes, buffalos, and numerous antelope species. The region’s rich birdlife includes raptors, ostriches, and various migratory and resident bird species. Similarly, the Maasai Mara boasts an impressive collection of wildlife, particularly known for its high concentration of predators. Lions are prominent in the Maasai Mara, and sightings of these majestic cats are frequent. Leopards, known for their elusive nature, can also be spotted in the Mara’s acacia trees. Cheetahs, famous for their incredible speed, can be found roaming the open grasslands, while hyenas scavenge and hunt for prey. Elephants, giraffes, hippos, and crocodiles thrive in the Mara’s diverse habitats, including the Mara River, which is renowned for its dramatic wildebeest crossings during the Great Migration.
  • Our winning choice: A Tie

Final Thoughts?

So who wins the Serengeti vs Maasai Mara? The safari goer!

Both the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara offer an extraordinary abundance of wildlife, providing an immersive safari experience with opportunities to witness an impressive range of animals in their natural habitats. Despite our choice and category winners, no matter what park you select, you are bound to enjoy a true African safari at either of the two destinations.

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