Masai Mara National Reserve

How can we not mention the Masai Mara National Reserve? It’s one of the most famous safari destinations on the continent, but you can escape the crowds by heading to a private concession on the edge of the park. Aside from not being accessible to the general public, concessions have the advantage of allowing activities not permitted in national parks: bush walks and night drives, for example. The Masai Mara is one of the best places in Africa for big cat sightings: lions, leopards and cheetahs are all easy to spot. Then of course, there’s the big-ticket draw: the year-round migration that sees nearly two million wildebeest, plus half a million antelopes and thousands of zebras, following the rains around Tanzania and Kenya. The most anticipated part of this journey is the dramatic Mara River crossings that occur between July and September as the animals enter Kenya.

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