Masai Mara vs Kruger: Which Park is Better for Photographers?


Are you a photographer considering an African safari in 2022? Have you decided where to go? The options are limitless. There are very many great game reserves across Africa, and you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience wherever you decide to go. 

The Masai Mara national reserve and Kruger national park are two of the finest parks in the world. They are both home to hundreds of species of bird and wildlife species making them perfect for wildlife photographers. 

The big question is, which park should you choose for your African safari?

In this post we will look at both parks and what they have to offer. 

The Masai Mara 


The masai mara is one of the most famous parks in the world. The annual wildebeest migration, one of the wonders of the world, is the main reason why the mara is so famous. 

The vast savannah grassland coupled with decent road networks in the park make Masai mara a haven for wildlife photographers. 

The big cat diary was filmed in the mara which helped elevate the prominence of the park. 

Kruger national park 


Kruger National park located in South Africa is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It is located in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in the north eastern part of the country. 

Kruger national park is home to the famous big 5 animals, elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalos. This along with a very good road network, and the fact that the park has more than 100 species of animals make the park perfect for wildlife photographers. 

Masai Mara vs Kruger Comparison

Let us now compare the two parks and which one is better for photographers; 


Masai Mara 

Kruger National Park 



South Africa

Distance from capital 

160 miles 

300 miles

Park fees



Top attractions 

Wildebeest migration 

Bush elephants 


Savannah Grassland 

Woody vegetation 

Best time to visit 

June – October  

June to September

Safari cost

From $375

From $450

Distance from the capital 

The masai mara is located approximately 160 miles from Nairobi, the capital city. You can get to the park by road or by air from Wilson airport. 

Kruger national park on the other hand is located about 300 miles from Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa. The best way to get to the park is by air from OR Tambo international airport to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. The same journey takes about 4-5 hours by car. 

Charter flights can be arranged via tour operators.  

Park fees

The masai mara park fee is $70 if your lodge is inside the park and $80 if your lodge is outside the park. Additionally, you might have to pay $50 to the Kenyan film board in order to film or take still photography at the park. This mainly applies for commercial photographers and filmmakers. 

Kruger national park fees for international visitors is R440/$30 per adult per day. 


Both the masai mara and kruger national park ecosystems boost hundreds of birds and wildlife species. However, the mara has an edge over kriger due to the annual wildebeest migration. 

Mara attractions 

  • Wildebeest migration 
  • Bird watching 
  • Mara river
  • Hot air balloon safaris 
  • Masai cultural experiences 

Kruger national park attractions 

  • Hiking trails 
  • 4 wheel drive off road safaris 
  • Picnics in the wild 
  • Cultural experiences 

What animals are there in Kruger National Park?

Wild animals in Kruger national park include the big 5, wild dogs, hyenas, zebras, and hundreds of bird species. 

The lion is commonly sighted in the south of the park while elephants can be sighted almost anywhere in the park as their numbers have grown in the last couple of years. Rhinos on the other hand are rare but most tour guides know the best places to get up close with the endangered species. 

What animals do you see in Maasai Mara?

  • Lions 
  • Ephants 
  • Zebras 
  • Wildebeest 
  • Hippos 
  • Crocodiles 
  • Birds 


Kruger national park experiences the conventional winter and summer seasons as it is the case in the west. However, the seasons are opposite to the west in that the winter season is in May to September and the summer season is from Oct to April. 

Masai mara game reserve on the other hand has dry and wet seasons. The temperature in the masai mara do not get as cold as winter in the west but it is advisable to pack warm clothing for early morning game drives. 

The Masai Mara Landscape 

The masai mara landscape consists of vast savannah grassland with scattered shrubs. This makes masai mara perfect for grazers such as zebras and wildebeests. 

Kruger national park landscape 

Kruger national park landscape is characterised by grassland and woody vegetation. The vegetation is perfect for kingfisher birds and is perfect for nocturnal predators such as leopards. 

Best time to visit Kruger and Masai mara 

The best time to visit Kruger national park for photographers is from June to September. During this period, the vegetation is less thick allowing for easier animal sightings. 

On the other hand, the best time to visit the Masai Mara is from June to October as this is when the wildebeest migrate. This allows photographers to get perfect shots of the crossings. 


There are hundreds of lodges and camps within the Masai mara game reserve. Most of the lodges have experienced tour guides who can help you spot some of the elusive animals and take you to the perfect wildlife viewing spots. 

Similarly, there are many lodges and camps within Kruger national park and they also have experienced tour guides who will help you spot most of the animals.

Conclusion, Which is better for photographers, Masai Mara or Kruger?

Both parks are unique in their own way and both have lots to offer. If you are a photographer, it is worth visiting both parks as they are two of the most famous parks in the world. 

The wildebeest migration in the mara is perfect if you want to capture images of the crossing while the elephant population in Kruger allows you to capture giant elephants in their natural habitat. 

Whichever park you decide to go to, you can rest assured that the experience will last a lifetime and in most cases, it will be the first of many trips. 

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