Planning a holiday to the Masai Mara in Kenya constitutes various stages, each of which is crucial to impact the experience you are to have while on your visit. The Masai Mara, Kenya’s most popular National Park and arguably one of Africa’s best is home to great numbers and species of wildlife including the big five among other wildlife species. Popularly known for the existence of huge numbers of lions easily seen here, The Masai Mara is also the home to the famous Great Wildebeest Migration as you might have heard of it before.
Planning to visit the Masai Mara? Here are a few main points to consider to set up your dream safari and make the most of it.
Consider Booking through a Tour Operator
Planning and booking your holiday to Kenya can be done through a Kenya Ground Tour Operator, an international Agent, or a Lodge/ Camp in the Park you intend to visit. Booking through a tour operator has proven to be the most convenient and cost-friendly way to plan and book a safari to Kenya’s Masai Mara. Tour operators offer an all-inclusive cost for your trip whereby you do not have to worry about any groundwork but rather fly into Kenya to take on the safari of your dreams planned exactly to your wishes. As a tip: Keep in mind that booking through a ground operator in Kenya will cost you less as compared to booking through an overseas international agent. These agents contract ground Kenya operators who will handle your trip thereby contacting a ground operator directly will save you some money. Booking through a lodge or Camp in the Masai Mara is costly since such a trip will require you to fly into the Park with usually no option to drive there.
Upon landing, you are picked up by your guide to transfer to the lodge or camp and from here you will enjoy a safari limited to 2 game activities each day. Please note that you might have to share a vehicle with some other guests at the lodge or camp. Are you looking for an entirely private safari? A Kenya ground tour operator will weave a private safari best, most operators own private 4×4 safari vehicles that they issue out to guests that have booked. This vehicle will be yours exclusively throughout your trip with a guide (usually English-speaking) that will be in charge of showing you around the entire trip. Not to say that group joining tours to the Masai Mara are impossible, but if wish to make the best out of your trip and you can afford the luxury of a private tour, it is advisable that you book one.
Pick out a favorable Season to Visit
The Masai Mara can be visited any time of the year whenever you can. With the experience of 10 years operating safaris to the Masai Mara and Kenya at large, I can confirm that every month is okay to plan a successful safari that will meet your exact wishes. Picking out a good time for you to visit mainly depends on what you are looking forward to seeing on your visit and secondly, what type of trip you are looking for. Late July to early September is the time to witness the annual wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara. This is also the high season in Kenya’s Safari Parks which sees the highest number of visitors in the year drawn by the dry weather with scattered little or no rainfall.
December, January, February, March, and October are also good months to visit the Masai Mara if you are looking for dry months with little rainfall, but please note that at this time of the year the migration is out of sight as the herds have returned back to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. April, May, June, and November lie in what is known as the low season in Kenya’s National parks. These months are traditionally wet months associated with the highest level of rainfall in a year. Much as these months may not favor safari to the Masai Mara due to the chances of rain, the fewer visitors at this time of the year enjoy the exclusiveness of witnessing major sightings with a few other safari vehicles in the park. This is also a good time to find the best deals for a trip to Kenya and the Masai Mara.
Please note that as much as these months are traditionally characterized as stated above, there has been a shift in seasons over the years due to global warming that has caused traditionally dry months to come with traces of rainfall and so have wet months come around with traces of sun shining most.
Book your trip in Advance
It is never too early to book your safari, in fact, the earlier you do it the better. A safari to the Masai Mara targeted for the high season months should be booked early in advance. This is to ensure that you are booked for your lodge/camp and safari activities on time. It is common that good accommodations get fully booked as early as four months or more in advance of the dates you plan to visit. Not to say that urgent bookings are not possible, in fact, booking on short notice is very much possible in the low season since these months do not have many visitors.
Whilst the world taking a turn that a pandemic or any other uncertainty might occur to affect already booked travel plans. The good news is that the travel industry has become more flexible to cater to uncertainties. A Reputable Tour operator should be able to allow for bookings to be postponed for a favorable time in the future when you are able to travel at no extra cost. This is a policy we have at Masai Mara Holidays Ltd as so should any other reputable firm in the travel industry.
Consider a night or two in Nairobi
Nairobi which is Kenya’s Capital City is the base for all Trips to Kenya’s Major tourist attractions. You will have to fly in and out of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi for most safaris to Masai Mara and Kenya at large. Considering a night in Nairobi upon arrival is highly recommended to ensure you get over the jetlag that might have come with your arrival flight. This will enable you to rest in preparation for your safari that can start the next day. One thing you will not like is feeling exhausted at the start of a safari due to starting a safari immediately upon landing. Most safaris are associated with long drives in transit to the parks and on game drives.
Equally, a night in Nairobi after the safari can also come in handy for you to get more rest before you board your departure flight home. With more time, exploring some bit of Nairobi City is also recommended for a city blessed with unique attractions including the giraffe center, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Nairobi National Park among other attractions. Short excursions to visit most of these attractions are easily possible to arrange on short notice.
Ensure that you a booked in a Lodge or Camp in a Great Location
Have you seen photos on the Internet of wildlife in close proximity to camps and lodges? Well, this will contribute to an experience never to be forgotten on your safari. Most Parks in Kenya and the Masai Mara are served by a number of different accommodation options but key differences will be in the level of comfort, price range, and location. “The best-located camps are lodges” is information known by your tour operators and most will ensure their clients are booked at one of these accommodation options. For a safari booked in advance, there is a high chance that your tour operator will place you at an accommodation with a good location.
Please note there are also accommodations located outside the parks (most budget and midrange lodges and camps) This means that each morning, you will have to drive a distance to the park gate and into the Park within which time visitors booked in lodge and camps in the park are already enjoying the peak action of the early morning. Similarly, while you drive out of the park in the evening, the lucky visitors take this time to extend the game viewing to enjoy the peak action of sun dawn in the park
Ready to start planning your Kenya safari to The Masai Mara? Feel free to check out our carefully designed safari packages to Masai Mara. Our Masai Mara safari holidays feature expertly crafted itineraries to include The Masai Mara and other Attractions in Kenya or even wider itineraries to include Tanzania and Uganda.