Is Serengeti Better Than Masai Mara?
This is one of the top-asked questions of people heading to East Africa for safaris! Masai Mara is in Kenya while Serengeti is in Tanzania. The parks actually share many similarities since they are in the same region and they share a border.
There are also stark differences between the two places though! If you are heading to both Kenya and Tanzania, try and make time to visit both spots since there are different animals and environments to see.
If you only have time to visit one though, Serengeti should be your top pick. This guide will cover why!
Best Place to See the Great Migration: Serengeti
If you’re looking for a national park just to see the Great Migration, Serengeti is the better choice. It takes place in both parks, but you will see more wildebeests and zebras making their journey in Serengeti since the park is so much larger than Masai Mara.
You have a larger window of time to see the migration in Serengeti as well. So, if you aren't in Tanzania for the bulk of the herds moving, you still have a chance to see parts of the migration.
The Great Migration only takes place in Masai Mara for less than two months. You will need to be in the park during the perfect time or you miss seeing the animals.
You can see the Migration just about any time of the year in Serengeti since the park is so large. In the west, you can see the animals crossing the Grumeti River.
In northern Serengeti, you can see the animals crossing the plains from late May to June. In southern Serengeti, you can see the Great Migration from January to February. The herds are moving south during these months to take place in calving season when thousands of wildebeests are born every day.
Best Place for Year-Round Viewing: Serengeti
Will I see more animals in Serengeti and Masai Mara? This is a common question amongst travellers as the main goal is to usually see as many animals as possible. Masai Mara is smaller, so it’s better for game viewing if you are taking a one-day safari.
However, Serengeti has higher wildlife populations since they are spread across the park. If you are taking a longer safari, Serengeti gives you a chance to see more animals in a large variety of terrains.
Heading to East Africa just to see lions? Make sure to book a Serengeti safari! It has a high lion population. Leopards are also in abundance here.
You are more likely to see larger crowds of animals during the dry season, so try to visit Tanzania from June through October.
What else makes Serengeti and Tanzania so special for game viewing? Ngorongoro Crater!
You can see all the large animal species here. They don’t migrate so they are in the crater all year round!
Better Place to See the Big 5: Serengeti
Ready to see lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo? Serengeti National Park gives you plenty of opportunities to see the famous big 5. It’s very rare to spot leopards in Masai Mara.
Most people who have their hearts set on seeing big cats head to Serengeti as it’s the more obvious choice.
Make sure to let your safari guide know you don’t want to leave before seeing leopards. They will take you to the Seronera Valley where the largest leopard population is found.
Best Place for Affordable Safaris: Both!
The safari price largely depends on the company you travel with, the accommodation you choose, and the number of parks you want to visit. There are many affordable high-quality Serengeti safaris that you can combine with other Tanzania national parks!
Masai Mara only has lodges and camping choices in the eastern part of the park. Lodging options can get very crowded and expensive, especially during the high season.
During the low season, prices drop significantly, but you have a smaller chance of seeing the animals and having dry weather during the low season.
If aren’t able to book a place in Masai Mara, you will have to stay outside in one of the nearby towns.
Serengeti has lodges and camps all over the park. You can choose from luxury lodges to budget options. Since Serengeti is bigger, you’ll have more options for actually lodging within the park rather than outside like in Masai Mara.
Best Place for Accommodation Choices: Serengeti
Since Serengeti has more lodges and permanent tented camps, you will have more accommodation choices here. All the lodges and tents are located inside the park compared to Masai Mara where the accommodation sites are mostly outside the park.
In Serengeti, you have a better chance of waking up to wildlife and even hearing them during the night!
Better Place for a Variety of Habitats: Serengeti
Serengeti and Masai Mara share a border, so they are part of the same ecosystem. The landscapes and the terrain are very different though.
Masai Mara has more hills and trees while Serengeti has more habitats because it covers more area. If you head to northern Serengeti, you’ll see more hills and trees since this is where the border to Kenya is located.
In Serengeti, you get to witness plains, wooded hills, acacia trees, and rolling savannahs. For the famous grassy plains which you have probably seen in many photos, head to southern Serengeti.
In the west, you can see 16 different species of acacia trees since the soil is perfect for growing all the different kinds.
No matter what kind of African habitat you're looking for, Serengeti has it!
Best Place to See the Masai Tribes: Both
Although Masai Mara has the word “Masai,” you can see the Masai tribe in Serengeti as well. You’re more likely to see Masai people in Ngorongoro Crater though.
Many people combine Ngorongoro to their safari bucket list so they can see more of the Masai people and their traditional way of life.
Best Place to See Birds: Serengeti
If you’re a bird lover, bring your binoculars and head to Serengeti! With over 500 different species of birds, Serengeti doesn't disappoint people who come to Tanzania specifically for birding.
While Serengeti is considered one of the best birding destinations in the world, you’ll see the most amount of birds from November through April.
This is the wet season and the time when birds migrate from North Africa and Europe.
Best Place to Photograph Wildlife: Serengeti
Both parks have Instagram-worthy photograph opportunities. Serengeti takes the lead though simply because there are more diverse landscapes.
You have the chance to see and take pictures of the animals on many different terrains.
Which is Bigger: Serengeti or Masai Mara?
Serengeti is much larger than Masai Mara. Covering 14,763 square kilometers, Serengeti is one of the largest parks in the world. If you want to see the most habitats and ecosystems, Serengeti is a much better choice for your safari.
Book Your Serengeti Safari Today!
While Masai Mara has plenty of wildlife and fun activities, Serengeti wins because of its multiple terrains, more gaming viewing chances, and better accommodation selections.
If you’re ready for the experience of a lifetime, book your Serengeti safari today to see the best that Tanzania has to offer.