Masai Mara Travel Guide - A quick overview
April 25, 2019
by Abuga Aroni
The Masai Mara is a popular safari destination in Kenya. It is a national park and one of the few locations you can experience wildlife on the savannah and catch a glimpse of the big 5. Find out more about it.
Getting there …
If you are flying into Kenya, chances are you are landing in Nairobi at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). It is located about 30-45min from the CBD and you can easily get an Uber (for less than $10) to get to your hotel.
The next step is to get to the Masai Mara. You can either drive 5 hours there or take a 1-hour flight from a smaller airport.
Hiring a driver and car costs around 15,000ksh or around 150USD. This includes fuels and usually covers the duration of your outward and inward cost to and from Nairobi. It also covers where the driver will stay for the duration of your visit, but that may be up to the driver and the hotel.
You can also fly there for around the same 20,000ksh (200 USD) going both ways. The flight is under one hour and takes off from Wilson Airport, an airport located around 10-15min from the CBD. Your hotel in the Masai Mara can usually make arrangements to pick you up from the given airstrip.
What should you bring?
Beyond some cool clothes, a hat, a hoody, and your pajamas, it is always a good idea to include these things when you are packing for the Masai Mara.
- Pain killers
- Suntan lotion
- A hat
- A rain jacket
- Mosquito repellent
- Money for gifts
- Extra SD card
What should you expect?
Sleeping in the wild …
Most hotels are camps rather than huge structures with multiple floors. Guests typically stay in ‘tents’, in single, double or triple rooms.
These tents are pretty huge and include big bedroom, a toilet, and a nice shower.
Given that it is more a camp than a hotel. Nature is often only a fence away.
Thusly at night, you can hear the animals going about the business. You can hear Lion roars, Hyena’s laughing, and Hippo grunts throughout the night. To add onto that, most hotels are based along the Mara river where hippos live. You can literally watch hippos from your bedroom door.
The hotels are well protected so you have no fear of getting in contact with an animal during your stay at the camp.
Game drives are the number one reason for going to the Mara and you will have many. Often two a day; one at dawn and another at dusk.
Game drivers occur at this time because this is when the predators are most active. Animals are pretty lazy and avoid operating during the hottest part of the day (around noon). So if you want to catch a Lion, Hyena or Leopard in action, you better wake up early.
A walk with Rhinos
I don’t think all camps offer this experience, but there is a guard post where you can park your car and walk up to see some Rhinos. You obviously can’t touch the Rhinos, but it is an experience that reminds you of how fragile and small you are as a human being. When on foot you really get a sense of the immense size (and power) of a Rhino. Imagine seeing such a creature in the wild!
You are able to see them like this because they have had guards there entire lives. These guards protect them poachers and because of this they Rhinos are relatively used to the presence of humans.
A down to Earth experience with the Masai –
The Masai are the indigenous tribe of the Masai Mara. They have kept their nomadic lifestyle over the generations and are not as influenced by the development of the world around them.
One of your game drivers will take you to a Masai Manyatta where you get to interact with the tribe. You pay a small fee (usually around 20-40USD) and you get to watch them dance and they tell you more about their lifestyle and how they survive on the Savannah.
You can also buy trinkets at the end of the experience. They are directly sold by the women who make them and the profits go directly into their pockets.