A Complete Guide To Masai Mara Safari In Kenya: Once In a Lifetime Experience

How To Do Masai Mara Safari On A Low Budget

After Rwanda and Uganda, I traveled to Kenya during my 2 months long East African Trip. I was on the last leg of my trip and still have not done an African Safari. I skipped the safaris in Rwanda and Uganda cause I wanted to do the best safari in East Africa i.e. Masai Mara Safari. The BIG 5 game animals of Africa i.e. Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant and Cape Buffalo are found here. Before my trip to Masai Mara Safari, I had little interest in animals but after the trip, I can’t wait to visit National Parks in my own country INDIA! Masai Mara Safari is consists of 3 days and 2 nights. Food, accommodation, transportation, a guide was included in a package. I always avoid taking a package but I got a great deal thanks to Malvic tours and travels. They customise a package as per the customer’s budget/requirement. The best part is they also host people via Couchsurfing.

The Great Rift Valley

On The Way To Masai Mara

LUNCH
THE STATE OF OUR VAN AFTER REACHING MASAI MARA!
ENTRY GATE OF MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

THE FIRST ANIMAL WE SAW!
IT WAS WILDEBEEST
ANTELOPES
THOMSON’S GAZELLE
WILDEBEEST’S CARCASS

THE LION KING MOMENT!
TIME TO HEAD BACK TO OUR LODGE
DINNER IS SERVED
MY TENT!

 DAY 1

The safari starts from Nairobi. I reached the city centre in the early morning to board the vehicle. It was an Eight-seater Van with a provision of open roof. We were 8 people apart from our driver cum guide which consists of A German lady, An Indian family of 3, A Russian guy, Two French ladies and yours truly. The journey to reach our destination was approx. 8 hours long. Our first stop was to view the Great Rift Valley. It is a series of contiguous geographic trenches that runs from the Red Sea to Mozambique covering 9600 Km. Breathtaking view! We also stopped in between for lunch. The journey to Masai Mara is full of picturesque views. We reached our lodge around 4 pm and hurriedly left our luggage at the lodge before heading to the Masai Mara National Reserve/Park. After completing the entry formalities, we checked into the Park. The first animal we saw was the Wildebeest followed by Gazelles, Antelopes, elephants and the Lion! Watching Lion walking into a sunset was the highlight of my Masai Mara trip. Truly cinematic! You can watch the whole video here. The moment reminds me of “The Lion King”. After the 2 hours long safari we returned to our lodge to get a much-needed rest. For the next day, we were given a choice to either start late and do 2 more hrs safari on Day 3 OR start early tomorrow and visit Maasai village on Day 3. Majority chose the latter option. I was given a safari tent with 2 beds inside. Since I was alone and it was not the high season, I got the whole place to myself! After the dinner, I was fast asleep and tomorrow will be the full fledged safari day lasting for approx. 11 hours!

 

CAPTURING SUNRISE
ALL SET FOR THE SAFARI
WILDEBEESTS RUNNING TO CROSS THE ROAD
IMPALAS

MASAI MARA IS VAST.THE AREA IS 1500 sq km 
WE SAW THE GIRAFFES, FINALLY!

ZEBRAS GRAZING
THE KING OF THE JUNGLE

HERD OF WILDEBEEST RETURNING TO SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK IN TANZANIA

THE KILL OF A LEOPARD
CAPE BUFFALOS


HARTEBEEST
HYENA
THE YAWN OF A LIONESS 😉
MARA RIVER
HIPPOS IN MARA RIVER
MONKEY SEARCHING FOR FOOD IN WATER
SKELETONS OF VARIOUS ANIMALS
KENYA-TANZANIA BORDER, THIS ROCK DIVIDES THE TWO COUNTRIES
AN ACT OF PERSEVERANCE: A BETTLE CARRYING IT’S FOOD
TOPI
DO NOT DISTURB 🙂

 

DAY 2

We were set off for the safari at around 6 AM. I was half asleep before entering the Park but as we entered the park and the moment I saw the first animal (even though it was a quite common Wildebeest), I was wide awake. Wildebeest was running at high speed to cross the road and our vehicle stopped to let them pass. It was a thrilling spectacle. Followed by the usual suspects i.e. Gazelles, Antelopes, Zebras, Elephants. And then, we saw Giraffes, Hartebeests, Topi, Cape Buffalos, Hyena and the Lion. We saw a Giraffe running to cross the road. The running which can be only described as an awkward walk due to its long legs. I saw the king of the jungle resting on a rock. Our driver took the Van way too close to the Lion. To be honest, I was a bit scared. We were in the eye contact range of the Lion but he was undisturbed by our presence and completely ignored us hahah. We saw many vans were heading in the opposite direction. So our driver followed them and it turns out it was all for the two sleeping lionesses. Again, they were undisturbed by our presence and pay no heed to us whatsoever! One Lioness did yawn after some time and then go back to sleep again. After watching them sleeping for 15-20 minutes, our patience ran out. Since we have seen the Big 3(Lion, Cape Buffalo, Elephant) out of Big 5 game animals, we pushed our driver cum guide to track Rhinoceros and Leopard. He said seeing Rhinos is quite rare as there are less than 50 rhinos in Masai Mara. We did not see the Leopard but we did see his prey lying on a tree. We also witnessed a herd of wildebeest returning back to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. We chased them fo a while before heading to Mara river. The Great Migration happened between July to September when hundreds of thousands of Wildebeest and Zebra migrate from Serengeti National Park, Tanzania to Masai Mara, Kenya in search of good grazing. It is the peak season of Masai Mara Safari. After half an hour drive we reached the Mara river and as we reached there, rain gods welcomed us. So we took the lunch break in our van. After the lunch and rain break, we ventured out to take a walk close to Mara river. We saw Hippos and Crocodiles in Mara river. We were accompanied by a Ranger who gave us a few insights about Hippos and Crocodiles. He told us Hippos come out of the river during evening at a specific time every day. Crocodiles remain still as a rock with their mouth open as if they were a statue not real. This is a ploy to attract their prey and kill them subsequently. At the end of our Mara River tour, it starts to drizzle again. We head to the unofficial Tanzania- Kenya Border. I crossed over to Tanzania without visa or immigration 😉 Our guide informed us the Tanzanian immigration point is nearby and one can enter Tanzania from there by availing visa-on-arrival facility. We were at the end of our safari when the French lady pointed us towards a scenario that could be a prospective hunt.  So, we saw a gazelle eating grass and minding his own business. Not so far from Gazelle, we saw a Lioness sitting behind a bush. Gazelle was aware of Lioness as he keeps looking in Lioness’ direction. A warthog joins the Gazelle and shortly after we saw a Lion coming in the direction of Gazelle and Warthog. The lion was not running just walking at a normal pace. Now, this gets our massive attention. Even our guide got excited and was looking at the situation with great interest. Gazelle and Warthog were simultaneously looking at Lioness and Lion. At one point Lion stops and so does our heart for a second. We thought, he is going to attack but no that didn’t happen. Warthog moves in the opposite direction and so does the lion and so does our Vehicle shortly after.  With that our safari comes to an end. We exit the Masai Mara around 5 pm. While exploring Masai Mara, you never know which animal is around the corner. It was a wild, wild adventure. There is something irresistible about seeing the wild animals in their natural habitat. It was surreal and Goosebumps inducing experience! It is too hard to articulate in words. It is something which needs to be experienced.
MASAAI MAN
MASAAI PEOPLE GREETING TOURISTS
LOCAL MARKET
ON THE WAY BACK TO NAIROBI

DAY 3

On Day 3, we returned to Nairobi. We had an option to visit the nearby village to see the lives and culture of Maasai People for an entry fee. Maasai people are semi-nomadic people known for their distinctive customs and culture. Popularly known for their vertically high jumping dance. They are considered very strong and lion hunting was quite common among Maasai people in old times. I chose to wander around the nearby market where I spoke with some Maasai people. They came across as polite and hospitable bunch. We reached Nairobi around evening and bid each other goodbye.

Masai Mara National Reserve is a wildlife heaven. The Masai Mara safari is Once in a lifetime experience and should not be missed if/when traveling to Kenya. It was quite easily one of the best experiences from my solo trip to East Africa!

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An Indian Traveler

Hello! My name is Saurabh. I'm a cinephile, an avid traveler with a song stuck in my head which I keep humming till ad nauseam :)

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32 Comments

  1. This blog post is most helpful for those who plan on visiting the place. After all, we all need different ways to save up and scrimp on things so we can enjoy the finer things in life such as traveling.

  2. My dream hast always been to go on a Safari somewhere in Africa… thanks for your itinerary, now I definitely have a goal set! 🙂

  3. As someone who has always wanted to go on a safari, this blog post was remarkable to read. Thank you – I so enjoyed following your experience and seeing your bright, welcoming photos. Masai Mara Safari looks like the ideal spot to experience this once in a lifetime journey!

  4. Wow, such an excellent description of your adventures paired with stunning photos–I almost feel as though I was along! Thank you for sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s always been a dream of mine to go on a wildlife safari like this!

  5. The Lion King moment! Yay! I want one of those moments myself. I must have seen the Masai Mara so many times on nature documentaries and it’s always been on the bucket list. It looks amazing.

  6. That van is cute, and the lunch you had while there looks pretty tasty. I love animals and new experiences, this sounds like it was an amazing trip and I will have to add it to my “to do list”. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. The Masai Mara National Park looks pretty amazing! I have actually just returned from a trip to the neighboring Tanzania, and looking at your photos I remember all the amazing safari moments I had in Serengeti.

  8. We went to the Masai Mara in 2000. and then went on a safari. It was an amazing experience. This summer we want to take our kids to meet their Kenyan grandfather and other relatives and then take them on a safari. I am so excited!

  9. Now this is a real bucket list location, I would love to visit one day. I remember my mum telling me all about it when I was younger and gutted she didn’t take me along

  10. We were supposed to go on a school trip to the Masai Mara but unfortunately, it was cancelled and I have been dying to visit ever since. This is a brilliant guide and is making me want to go even more.

  11. it’s definitely a different lifestyle in Africa! My mom went there about 8 yrs ago and she said it changed her perspective on life/living.
    The photos are amazing! Glad you had the experience.

  12. This would definitely be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I love to see animals in the wild, that is the way it should be. Just incredible.

  13. Going to Africa is one of my son’s top two dream destinations. We would love to see this someday. We are hopeful to visit within five years from now. Thanks for sharing this, and it’s great you were able to do it. Some of us still dreaming of going. The animal pictures are amazing.

  14. Brilliant post! It brings back such happy memories of visiting the Masai Mara! You were so lucky with all your animal sightings! I didn’t think I’d be that excited by the animals, but then as soon as I saw the first one, I was like “squeeeee”, and I want to see them all!

  15. I’ve spent months out in Africa, working with these fantastic animals and I only saw a leopard and cheetah once! They’re incredibly rare but maybe you’ll get another shot and seeing them in their natural habitat. Try going to South Africa, especially in the KZN area to see a rhino. I think it’s the black rhino that’s on the Big 5 list as they’re very endangered, but seeing a white rhino is just as exhilarating

  16. This really does look like the experience of a lifetime! I’m so jealous you got to spend so much time in multiple countries in Africa. The food you had looks delicious, and I love all your pictures, although the one with the zebras and the giraffes together is probably my favorite! The landscape is beautiful in and of itself, but the abundance of animals you saw makes it that much better. Thanks for sharing!

  17. This is my dream destination to go to with my kids. Pinning this for Later reference . Thanks for the tips

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