masai mara safari cost

How much a Masai Mara Safari Costs

Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the best wildlife reserves in Kenya and indeed the world, famously known for the great wildebeest migration.
Many tourists planning to visit enquire how much a Masai Mara Safari costs. Well, there are many factors that determine the total cost of your safari tour. Some of these factors include the type of accommodation, number of people travelling, preferred mode of transport ( by road or by air), duration of your trip, the time of the year and inclusion of additional activities.
For instance, full package prices vary considerably from USD 350 per person for a budget 3 day tour (with a group of 6 persons in a vehicle) staying in a budget camp, upto USD 1500 per person for luxury accommodation for a similar Masai Mara safari. Below we will discuss each of these factors in detail.

1. Accommodation

Your choice of accommodation has the biggest influence on your Masai Mara safari cost. The reserve offers an extensive range of accommodation options that cater for every budget. The different categories of accommodation range from adventure budget camping to mid-range tented camps to uber luxurious safari lodges. Apart from the type of accommodation you choose, your accommodation price is also determined by the number of days you plan on staying and the time of the year you visiting ( during the peak season from July to October the prices are higher).
A luxurious Tented Camp such as Governors Camp or Mara Explorer will cost roughly US$ 300+ per person/night during low season and US$ 600+ per person per night during the peak season.

A mid-range luxury safari lodge such as Keekorok Lodge will cost roughly US$ 150 per person per night during low season and US$ 250 per person per night during peak season.

There are also budget tented camps that you can find for US$ 100 or less per person per night. You may also opt for camping in tents which is way cheaper still but then this is a basic camp site with your own tents and very basic facilities.

Typical tent interior at Luxurious Governor's Camp, Masai Mara

Typical tent interior at Budget Fisi Camp, Masai Mara

2. Mode of Transport

The other factor that greatly influences your Masai Mara Safari cost is the mode of transport to the reserve. Flying to Masai Mara from Nairobi is more expensive compared to travelling by road, but also more convenient and quicker especially for shorter safaris such as an overnight or two night trip. For solo travellers flying to the Mara works out cheaper than driving there unless one manages to join a group on a road safari which lowers the pricing.
There are several reliable local airlines that offer daily scheduled flights to Masai Mara from Wilson Airport Nairobi, including Air Kenya, Safari Link and Governor's Aviation among others.
The flying time from Nairobi to Mara is usually one hour though the actual time depends on how many interim stops the flight will make, ( known as ''hops'') as they land to drop or pick up passengers from various airstrips. A one way flight ranges from US$ 200 - 250 per person while a return flight will cost anything from US$ 300- 450 per person including taxes, depending on the season and availability.

For road transport, there are normally two types of vehicles that are used for safaris i.e 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser Jeep or Safari Tour Vans that carry upto 7 persons per vehicle. Tour Vans are the most common mode of transport for safari tourists as these cost less compared to the other vehicle type. The 4x4 Toyota Landcruisers are more expensive than the Tour Vans understandably so as these are larger, four wheel drive vehicles that make rough road travel slightly more comfortable.
Note that the price is based on the full occupancy of the vehicle. For instance, if there are only two people in the vehicle it will cost US$ 80 per person/day for transport in a safari tour van. Therefore, the larger the group the lower the cost per person sharing. A Landcruiser safari vehicle costs anything from US$ 250 to 275 per vehicle/day depending on the season and availability.
Note:Transport on your safari is priced per vehicle and not per person. The drive from Nairobi to Mara takes approximately 5-6 hours. The road from Nairobi upto the main gate is now paved / tarred all the way.

Safari Tour Minibus (Van)

Landcruiser Jeep 4x4 vehicle

3. Number of People travelling ( Group Size )

As a general rule, the larger the group travelling the cheaper it is for everyone, as you get to share the costs compared to when one or two persons are travelling. Also for family travel, the ages of children affects the cost of your safari as children under the age of 12 years pay a reduced price while children under 3 years of age are allowed for free in almost all lodges and camps in Masai Mara.

4. Duration of your Safari

The cost of your Masai Mara safari is also dependent on the number of days you plan to be on safari. It is therefore advisable for clients on limited budget to spend the minimum recommended time of 3 days in the reserve. Low season ( April to early June ) will probably allow you to spend less for a longer safari as accommodation prices are significantly lower and the reserve as well is less crowded with tourists as compared to peak season. Keep in mind that the wildebeest migration takes place from July to September and this is peak season. Budget permitting, we recommend a minimum of 4 days ( 03 nights ) in Masai Mara to allow you to full explore the park. This will include enough safari game drives to see plenty of wildlife at a relaxed pace and give you enough time for leisure time at your camp. Traveling ''Slow'' really does have its advantages in the African wilderness.

5. Time of the Year

Your Safari cost is also dependent on your travel dates. Prices tend to be higher during the Peak season which is normally when the Great wildebeest migration happens as this attracts large numbers of visitors to Masai Mara making it more expensive to secure rooms due to the high demand. The Peak season runs from July to October. Clients on a limited budget are advised to avoid the peak season and plan on visiting during the low or the shoulder season ( Jan to March ) when the prices are lower and rooms are readily available.

6. Park Entry Fees

To enter Masai Mara National Reserve, one is required to pay an Entry Fee at the gate. The Park Entry Fees is determined by the location of the lodge or camp at which one is staying at in the reserve and also the visitor's residence status ie Citizen, Resident and Non-resident.
Citizens of Kenya have to show proof of status such as a valid National ID / Passport. Residents refer to persons residing in Kenya with valid documentation from the Kenyan government while non-residents refer mainly to overseas tourists. Please note that proof of identification is required before entering into the Reserve.

If staying at accommodation located inside the main National Reserve, the entrance fee is USD 70 per adult per 24 hours and USD 40 per child under 12 years of age.
If staying at accommodation outside the main reserve the entry fee increases to USD 80 per adult per 24 hours and USD 45 per child per 24 hours. This applies to both the Narok side of the main reserve as well as Mara Conservancy in the western corridor of the Maasai Mara though for Mara Conservancy note that persons under 18 years of age are also extended the child rate.

inside park* outside park
east african resident** kenyan citizen
Adult US$ 70 US$ 80 Ksh 1,200 Ksh 1,000
Child*** US$ 40 US$ 45 Ksh 500 Ksh 300
Student**** US$ 40 Ksh 500 Ksh 300

7. Additional Activities

Apart from the standard Masai Mara Safari package which usually includes transport from and back to Nairobi, safari game excursions, accommodation and meals as well as the park entry fees, some clients opt to include other activities which may include a Maasai Village Visit, Hot Air Balloon Flight, Night Gamedrives (if staying outside the main reserve), Bush breakfast and dinners, Nature Walks and Guided Safari Walks as well as Horse Riding. These activities are quite exciting and enhance your tour but come at an added cost.
Hot Air Balloon ride price ranges from US$ 415 per person to US$ 500 depending on which camp or lodge you will fly from in the Mara.

Maasai Village Visit price ranges from US$ 30 to US$ 50 per person and the cost is inclusive of return transfers from your overnight Safari Lodge or Camp, Services of an English speaking Driver-guide and Village Contribution Fees.

Hot Air Balloon Ride, Masai Mara

Maasai Village Visit, Masai Mara

8. Other Factors

Apart from the above listed factors, there are other factors to consider when costing for your Masai Mara Safari such as Travel Visa, Insurance, International Flight Tickets, Tips, Laundry, Souvenirs, drinks and beverages.

In conclusion, with some basic planning in line with the above factors, we can customize your Masai Mara Safari costs to meet your budget while still ensuring you have unforgettable experience whether you are a solo traveller or a part of a group.

See Masai Mara Safari Packages