Arguably the most famous wildlife area in the world and a must-see place during a Kenya safari, the Masai Mara National Reserve lies in the southwest of the country, bordering Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. This is an ecosystem of vast grasslands prowled by cheetah, peppered with acacia thickets in which leopards lurk, and divided by the Mara, Sand and Talek rivers. 

From July to November each year, the great wildebeest herds arrive from Tanzania. To reach the grasslands of the Mara, they must risk their lives crossing the Mara River, where famished crocodiles wait in the swollen waters. After nervously milling about on the banks, it takes just one wildebeest to leap in, and then the herd follows en masse in a cacophony of grunts, thundering hooves and splashing water. The river crossings are iconic — the subject of many nature documentaries — and attract huge numbers of tourists each year.