Masai Mara is Kenya’s most magical national reserve that has a lot to offer, including sightings of the Big 5! You can also spot the Great Migration here in September and October. It’s a must-visit place if you’re visiting Kenya!
However, you might have been told that visiting the Masai Mara is very expensive. Well, that’s not true if you do it the right way. This guide tells you how to plan a pocket-friendly safari to Masai Mara!
Go During the Off-Peak Season
You don’t need to travel during the peak season to get the best views and wildlife encounters! The off-peak season (December to March) is equally rewarding, that too, without the crowds! Just avoid the rainy months of April and May so that the rain doesn’t disrupt your plans. Lodges are a lot cheaper during the off-peak season and there are no issues with space so you don’t need to book in advance.
Lioness and Her Cub, Image Source: MagicalKenya.Com
Duration of Your Safari
To explore Masai Mara, you should stay for at least two nights and three days! This way, you have a very high chance of spotting the Big 5 along with all the other wonders the Reserve has to offer!
Choosing Your Accommodation in Nairobi
To get the best safari deals, you should just book a reasonable hotel in Nairobi and then look for safari deals after arriving. Ideally, your hotel/lodge in Nairobi will arrange a safari themselves. If they can’t, they will refer you to an agency that can make arrangements for you. Make sure you talk to the agency directly in such cases so that you can avoid the “middle man” costs.
Giraffe, Image Source: Ootlah.Com
Get one ticket for admission to the park. One ticket should get you through game drives for both day 1 and day 2 because it’s valid for 24 hours. If you don’t stay for 24 hours inside the park, you can use the same ticket the next day as well. This is why it’s a great idea to get a lodge outside the park. It will cost significantly less.
Go on a Group Safari
Once you decide which agency you’re going with, try to get a group deal! This way, you can share the transportation cost! A typical safari van can accommodate about 6 people with adequate leg space!
However, if you’re already going with your friends and you’re already 3-4 in total, you should go for a private safari because this way, you can stay at places as long as you want to!
Bush Dining, Image Source: TimbuktuTravel.Com
Accommodation Type and Location
Find a lodge/camp outside the park. Lodges inside the park will cost you a lot more and you might have to purchase more than one ticket if you’re going to stay inside the park (more on that later).
Moreover, when it comes to accommodation, you have multiple options ranging from USD 70 per night to USD 2000 per night. Therefore, the type of accommodation you choose is entirely up to you. Try to find a place that’s comfortable for you but not too expensive. Your accommodation should also cover breakfast, lunch and dinner because you won’t find restaurants there.
That’s all you need to know to plan a pocket-friendly safari to Masai Mara. Don’t forget to negotiate and bargain for your safari deal to get the best price!
However, before you start planning your trip, don’t forget to check out 8 Things to Know Before you Visit the Masai Mara!