Maasai Mara, Kenya

Check out the whole cast of The Lion King from the air; hot-air-balloon safaris lift off at daybreak, in time to catch the riotously hued sunrises, before floating over the vast plains and offering a bird’s eye view of the Big Five. Here, lions snooze in the grass, herds of elephants gather by watering holes, and, come October, colossal herds of wildebeest start their yearly migration across the plains to the Serengeti.

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When to go

The best time to spot the Big Five in Kenya is during the dry season, from late June to October; in July, the wildebeest migration reaches the Maasai Mara and remains until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Direct flights with British Airways and Air Kenya operate from London Heathrow, and other major cities worldwide, to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Transfer to Wilson Airport (Nairobi’s second-largest airport), from which Safarilink (www.flysafarilink.com) flies to Mara Serena airstrip in the east of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, around an hour’s journey.
  • Automobiles

    Driving to the Maasai Mara from Nairobi City should take around six hours; but be warned, you’ll need a solid four-wheel drive, as roads vary from hole-filled tarmac to dirt tracks.