These two parks are part of the same ecosystem, divided by an unmarked line in the African savannah of which the local and migrating wildlife are totally unaware. From July to October, the great wildebeest migration is in the northern Serengeti and the Maasai Mara. At this time of year, there is little difference between the two parks – it is peak season, so it can get busy. The Mara river meanders its way through both parks and with river crossings happening regularly the game viewing is incredible.
For your accommodation at this time of year, you have a couple of options in each park. In the northern Serengeti, you can stay in a traditional mobile tented camp such as Serengeti Safari Camp, located right at the heart of the action, or in a permanent lodge like Lamai Serengeti, which offers a few more little luxuries. In the Mara, the choice is between a camp in the national reserve close to the Mara river – here Naibor Camp is in a fantastic location! – or a stay in one of the Greater Mara Conservancies, which offer a more private and exclusive experience. With vehicle and guest numbers restricted in the conservancies, many travellers will choose a camp here over one by the river in the national reserve to escape the crowds. The game viewing in the conservancies is still spectacular, but there are no river crossings on your doorstep. However, with more activities on offer, the conservancy camps are a great option. Two of our favourites are Kicheche Bush Camp and Mara Plains.
From January to March, the Great Migration is found on the short grass plains in the southern Serengeti – for that reason, we recommend staying in this area at this time of year. The Mara has good year-round resident game, so it won’t disappoint, but for many travellers seeing the Great Migration herds makes the Serengeti the place to go during these months. Again, the mobile camps are in the best location. Lemala Ndutu is a great choice, or, if you are looking for a little more luxury, Mwiba Lodge is unbeatable.