How to Plan a Masai Mara Safari

Black newlyweds on Masai Mara Safari

My hubby and I recently returned from our honeymoon in Kenya and the Seychelles. I plan to share more details and tips about our trip in the next couple posts. Going to the Masai Mara Safari in Kenya has been on the hubby’s bucket list, so we had to figure out a way to make the trip happen. Here are some tips I learned while planning our Masai Mara Safari vacation.

Let me start off by saying that planning the safari trip was not an easy task. I was extremely overwhelmed by all the options available online. I had so many questions like “How long should we stay”, “Where do we sleep”, “Do we sleep in tents or a lodge”, “Why do all these prices vary so much.” Trying to answer all those questions took me down a huge rabbit hole but I did eventually find a light at the end of the tunnel.

When to go to the Masai Mara Safari?

Masai Mara National Reserve is known to have great wildlife throughout the year. But if you’re a true animal fenatic, like my husband, visiting between July and October are said to be the best months. The Great Wildebeest Migration is the highlight of most people’s visit and the migration usually occurs during those months. We were so lucky to have been there during the migration. To witness it live and in person was truly breathtaking and absolutely electrifying.

Zebras on the masai mara safari

How to get there?

Masai Mara is located 6 hours from Nairobi, Kenya. To get to the reserve, we flew into Nairobi and spent the evening at a hotel close to the airport. Our guide picked us up first thing in the morning and we took the scenic drive thru the local towns in Kenya. Our tour guide allowed us to stop over in some towns for rest stops and to purchase some local souverniers. The drive was bumpy at times and definitely not for anyone with back problems. But the 6 hours flew by fast and we arrived at our camp by mid afternoon.

How long to stay?

Deciding how long to stay at Masai Mara depends on how much of the Reserve you would like to see as well as how long you would like to stay in Kenya. We chose the 3 day, 2 night option and that was just enough time for us. We spent a lot of our hours out on the Reserve. When we weren’t looking for animals, we were relaxing at our camp. We did meet some individuals who were staying much longer and they had more extensive travel plans, such as going to other parts of the Serengeti. Staying much longer may increase your chances of seeing more animals. But seeing certain animals is truly all about luck and chance as we are in nature after all.

Where to stay?

The toughest issue I had while planning our visit was lodging. There were so many options to stay in tents, camps, or lodges and they all varied by price. There was also the option to stay on the Reserve or outside the Reserve. The least expensive were the tents because they were simple camping tents outside the Reserve. The most expensive were the lodges and they can set you back a few thousands of dollars.

We decided to go with Sarova Mara, a luxury camp located on the Reserve. Staying on the Reserve meant we didn’t have to rush to leave the gates before the mandatory 6:30pm curfew and we were closer to the animals. We were so close that we woke up a few baboons in front of our doorstep. Sarova Mara provided us with all inclusive meals and after dinner entertainment. There was also a pool on sight and a cute souvenir shop.

Sarova Mara Game camp on masai mara safari
Buffet food on a table at Sarova Mara Camp at Masai mara safari

Guided tours

A really good tour guide is necessary to enjoy the safari experience. The Masai Mara Reserve is 583 square miles of open space with dirt paths with no road signs. To the foreign visitor, it doesn’t look like there is much to see. But with our amazing guide, we were able to see the Big Five and encounter with Wilderbeest Migration. The Big Five refers to the 5 animals that game hunters considered difficult to kill. We had the opportunity to see African elephants, buffalos, lions, leopard, and the rare Black rhino. We used Africa Celebrity Tours to assist us with our planning, lodging, transportation, and intinerary for our private tour.

A video clip of the Great Wildebeest Migration
Giraffe on the masai mara safari walking thru the reserve

Our tour guide, Muli, was so informative and quickly responsed to all of my questions via emails, WhatsApp messages, and even phone calls during the planning process. I was extremely apprehensive about booking such an adventure miles away but he truly made the situation very comfortable and eased my worries. He even stayed at our camp, so he was easily accessible if needed.

Africa Celebrity Tours on Masai Mara safari with ChiChi

A Masai Mara Safari is definitely a must visit for any true animal lover and anyone who is looking for a adventerous vaction experience.

Sunsets on the masai mara safari

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