Differences Between Masai Mara Reserve & Masai Mara Conservancies : One of the highlights of any safari to Kenya is a visit to the Masai Mara. There are Masai Mara conservancies and a Masai Mara National Reserve. The majority of people are unaware of their differences. The Masai Mara National Reserve and its surrounding conservancies are among the best places on earth to fulfill your desire for an African safari. The two are always able to intrigue and thrill.

When Masai Mara was first established in 1961, its total area, including the Mara Triangle, was only 520 square kilometers. Later, the region was expanded to the east and turned into a game reserve. The Masai Mara is renowned for having the greatest number of wild animals anywhere in the world. This region is home to more than 40% of Africa’s larger mammals. The Masai Mara is more than just endless plains, though. In addition to the main Masai Mara National Reserve, the region is home to a number of Maasai villages, a dozen community conservancies, and several group ranches. Maasai families privately own these conservancies.

Differences Between Masai Mara Reserve & Masai Mara Conservancies
Masai Mara Reserve & Masai Mara Conservancies

In 2005, the first Mara Conservancy was founded. Currently, there are 15 conservancies spread across 347,011 acres. Because they are privately run, the conservancies can offer a wider variety of guest activities that are not offered in the main reserve while still maintaining stricter visitor numbers controls that create exclusivity. For a monthly fee, the Maasai families that own the conservancies lease their land to safari companies and lodges. Additionally, safari companies pay Maasai landowners a daily fee for each tourist who enters the wildlife sanctuaries. These fees are then invested back into the Maasai neighborhood, usually going toward programs for youth development or education.

There are some extra advantages to staying in the Masai Mara conservancies, such as having access to a wide range of safari options. Conservancies also provide exciting night game drives, delightful bush meals, cultural interactions with the Maasai, and thrilling bush walks. This is unique to the conservancies and isn’t an option while staying in the actual Masai Mara National Reserve. Here are the Differences between Masai Mara Conservancies and Masai Mara National Reserve:


  • It’s not crowded in the conservancies. The number of visitors allowed in the conservancies is strictly capped at a certain number of acres per guest tent.
  • You are not restricted from visiting the National Reserve on a daily basis if you live in a conservancy.
  • Off-road driving, walking safaris, and night drives are all permitted in conservancies, giving safari activities more flexibility.
  • At conservancies, the five vehicles per wildlife sighting rule works better, resulting in better sightings and less stress on individual animals.
  • Maasai landowners are the property’s owners, and they lease it to travel agencies.
  • Only guests staying inside the conservancy are permitted to go on game drives there; guests staying outside are not permitted.
  • The conservancies do not host the wildebeest migration.


  • Rhinos are a rare animal that are only found in the reserve, with the Mara Triangle being of particular note.
  • There are no limitations on the number of vehicles that may attend wildlife viewings.
  • By paying the park fees, anyone can access the game reserve.
  • The county government owns and oversees the property.
  • Activities like night drives, walking safaris, and off-road driving are not permitted in the national reserve.


Masai Mara National Reserve and Masai Mara Conservancies are essentially two sides of the same coin. Regardless of which option you choose, you will have an amazing Kenya safari experience in this well-known part of East Africa. Each has its own advantages and uniqueness.

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