Both Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems with their magnificent landscapes and provide an excellent sanctuary for a plethora of wild animals.
The Serengeti sits on an area of about 14,750km2 while the Maasai Mara National 1,510 km2, respectively.
Serengeti implies ‘endless plains’ in Maasai dialect while Mara implies ‘spotted’ referring to the patches of cloud images cast and the bunches of trees interspersed on the savannah.
Below is a detailed comparison to help you get to know which is better Serengeti or Maasai Mara.
Which is Better Serengeti or Maasai Mara?
1. Location & Landscape
Maasai Mara, as opposed to the Serengeti, it’s covered with rock outcrops ‘the kopjes’ which give the savannah excellent views enjoyed over the sunsets. The barren open plains make it easy for a tourist to spot animals much more accessible.
Unlike the Maasai Mara, Serengeti ‘place where the runs forever’ is a vast wilderness of massive undulating plains and interspersed acacia trees traversing the savannah, kopjes, and watering holes
Both of the parks are renowned for their oodles numbers of wildlife spread out on the plains.
The Mara ecosystem provides sanctuary to some of the rarest species in the world, the Thompson gazelles, Kudus, eland, and the Grants gazelles are in dozens.
Due to the abundance of prey, this attracts legions of predators like lions, cheetahs, hyena, leopards, and crocodiles.
On the plains of Serengeti, you will be greeted by the sights and sounds of the big cat species traversing the plains.
With the wildebeests enter the breeding season from February through April.
The Serengeti is crawling with predators seeking to take advantage of this to prey on the vulnerable cows and their newborn calves.
During June and July, marks the onset of the extraordinary great migration starts. The wildebeests and zebras are en-route to the Maasai Mara via the treacherous crocodile-infested Mara river.
A great scene to behold enjoyed on the plains of Serengeti, which offer panoramic views.
Crossing over from the Serengeti National Park to the Maasai Mara National park is a suicidal mission that the animals have to gamble.
During August through October, the Mara plains are lush with succulent grass, and the plains once more are a beehive of activities.
The ideal months to visit the Serengeti runs from November and December to April and May.
While the peaks to visit Maasai Mara National park, runs from June through October.
3. The best time to visit
Albeit, the Maasai Mara and Serengeti National parks offer extraordinary game viewing opportunities and thrilling safaris experiences across the year.
There are particular periods during the year that stand out.
An itinerary to visit Serengeti National park is best scheduled during the months, June through September, and December to early March. The plains of Serengeti are crowded with animals making game spotting easy.
Visiting the Mara is probably done best over June through October, the wildebeests and Zebra in their herds have crossed over to the Mara rains.
4. Accommodation options
A variety of accommodation options is offered in the Maasai Mara National park ranging from, deluxe lodges, budget tents, and tented camps. Costs vary on and off between travel seasons.
Booking in the Mara is done quite early before the migration season, to ensure that you are guaranteed an exclusive camp and a front-row experience.
The same case applies for reservations in the Serengeti, but here it’s done as early a year prior because the park offers better up-close views of the migration.
With a variety of lodging options like budget tents spread out the park, private hilltop villas, and honeymoon retreats lodges.
Accommodation in the Serengeti is a bit pricey in comparison to the charges in Maasai Mara National Park.
5. Size and travel distance
With an area averaging from 580M2, the Maasai Mara national park safari itinerary can be undertaken in three days game drive.
The Serengeti, on the other hand, spreads over a 5,700M2 area. For an all-inclusive and optimized itinerary, a four days and three nights game drive are the ideal option.
Traveling by road From Kenya’s capital to Maasai Mara national park can take up to six hours drive, and forty-five minutes flight to one the airstrips in the park.
While in Tanzania, Arusha to Serengeti National park will take up four hours’ drive on the road and forty-eight minutes flight.
The Maasai Mara National park other than the night and daytime game drives, you can also interact with the local communities.
The Maasai warriors will entertain you with their cultural dances and the famous two feet jump in the air.
You can also float over the park in a hot air balloon and get the birds-eye view over the park.
In the Serengeti apart from the day and night-time game drives, you can also engage in horseback rides, hot-air ballooning over the park, and guided walks in the park.
7. Best Suited for
The Maasai Mara is an ideal option for the honeymooners, because of its exclusive and lush lodges.
With the vast landscapes and diverse array of wildlife, it provides a unique game viewing experience for the first-timers.
The camps set up in consideration of a family-friendly theme, and are well equipped for the very young and juvenile children.
The Maasai Mara is the ultimate destination to try out the local culture.
Serengeti, on the hand, is truly a photographer’s heaven, with picturesque scenes blooming all around, ranging the spectacular wildebeest migration coupled with the sights if its abounding predatory presence.
The camp setting here is ideal for a romantic, intimate itinerary. Couples with young children will find the setting kind of not befitting, but well adapted for the older youngsters.
Final thoughts on Serengeti vs Maasai Mara
An itinerary in this region is sensational, the Maasai Mara and Serengeti have plenty to offer. A safari to the Maasai Mara is ideal for the guests who are more budget constrained or have only a few days holiday vacation.
The Serengeti is best suited to guests who have a more extended holiday vacation, out for an exclusive experience.
With its proximity to conspicuous parks like the Lake Manyara National park, and Ngorongoro crater makes the overall safari experience impressive.