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2-Day Masai Mara Safari Tours

The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is one of Africa’s most iconic tourist destinations. No wonder you’d like to tick it off your bucket list. Even if you only have 2 days to spare, it’s worth visiting. When you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by a scene of what most people image Africa to be; endless open savannah broken up by the odd flat-topped acacia tree. A quick scan of the environment will reveal lots of grazers moving peacefully in search of food and water. But don’t be fooled, there is plenty of drama too, and even on a short safari you’ll catch a glimpse of the circle of life that rules in the bush.

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1-20 of 43 Masai Mara 2-day holidays, itineraries, trips, packages & vacations

6 Questions About 2-Day Masai Mara Safaris


6 Questions About 2-Day Masai Mara Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Is 2 days enough time for a trip in the Masai Mara?

“Although 2 days is very short for a safari in the Masai Mara, it can be done. Time and budget permitting, I would recommend adding a few more days to really enjoy your time in the bush. However, if 2 days is all you can spare, a safari in the Masai Mara is still worthwhile. Whether you’re looking to squeeze in a short safari on a stopover in Nairobi between flights, you’re adding a few days to a business trip, or you’re in need of a weekend escape from the capital, a 2-day Masai Mara safari is a great option. The reserve teems with animals, and the wildlife viewing will most likely exceed your expectations. Even on a 2-day safari, you’ll still see plenty. Going out at dawn increases your time out looking for animals and raises your chances of seeing something really special. This is when animals are most active and predators are on the prowl.”


Is it better to fly or go overland to the Masai Mara?

“There are two ways to get to the Masai Mara; you either drive the five- to six-hour journey, or you take the easy one-hour flight. Flying is a great way to maximize your time in the reserve. You’ll get to your accommodation fresh and rested, ready to fully enjoy the afternoon game drive. Of course, this depends on flights being on time and arriving early enough in the day to allow sufficient time for a full afternoon game drive. The drive to and from the Masai Mara is bumpy (especially the last 100km/62mi). So doing this drive on 2 successive days is not for everybody. On the plus side, you’ll get to see the scenery and villages along the way. A photo stop at the Great Rift Valley is one of the highlights of the journey. Although doing the return trip in 2 days makes for a very tiring safari, it is an action-packed adventure from start to finish. Fly-in safaris are overall more luxurious than road safaris. The accommodation is usually top end and fully inclusive of all activities. Your knowledgeable guide will pick you up from the airstrip and will take care of you for the duration of your stay. Road safaris are more budget-friendly, so the price difference is a consideration as well.”


What accommodation can I expect on a 2-day Masai Mara safari?

“There is no shortage of accommodation in the Masai Mara. There are lodges and camps to suit everybody. There is a big range of prices too. To keep costs down, you could choose to stay just outside the reserve where camps are usually a bit cheaper. As the reserve is unfenced, you might still see wildlife at your accommodation. It will probably take a bit longer to get to where the best wildlife viewing is than if you stay inside the reserve. Therefore, budget permitting, it might be more time-efficient to stay inside the reserve on a very short trip. Mid-range and luxury lodges inside the Masai Mara vary in size and style. Some are larger hotels offering all the mod cons, while others are intimate rustic tented camps blending into the environment. The latter might be basic in terms of facilities, but the food and service are usually of the highest standard. Camping is always an option too. This is perhaps the best way to really feel immersed in the bush. Specialized operators offer very good camping trips and you’ll be surprised at how comfortable they are. Unless you opt for a participatory tour where you could be allocated some chores, the tour crew takes care of everything, including providing hearty meals around a fire. Note though that on a 2-day safari, a lodge stay might be more time-efficient.”


Which animals am I likely to see?

“You’ll see lots of different animals on a 2-day safari in the Masai Mara. The open savannah of the Mara makes for easy wildlife viewing, and you’ll see most iconic safari animals in a couple of game drives. Of the Big Five, you’ll probably see lion, buffalo and elephant. With some luck you might see a leopard too. Black rhino is present, but sightings are rare and almost restricted to a specific area. Cheetah, the most graceful of the big cats, is very common, and giraffe can usually be found grazing on leaves from the umbrella thorns that dot the savannah plains. Hippos and crocodiles are resident in all the rivers. To see the wildebeest migration you need to plan your trip for late September to October. The exact timing depends on the rains, but around this time 2.5 million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles cross the Mara in search of greener pastures.”


How much does a 2-day Masai Mara safari cost?

“A lot of variables determine the price of a 2-day tour to the Masai Mara. Budget tours start at US$250 per person. Mid-range tours start at US$350 per person, while luxury tours start at about US$500 per person. You can use the filters on SafariBookings to narrow down your preferences. The biggest variable determining the price of your safari is the accommodation. As you’re only spending 1 night, you might want to splurge on something special. On the other hand, you could argue that you won’t be spending much time in the lodge on a 1-night stay, so as long as it is comfortable it should be fine. Mind though, that staying in a safari camp is part of the experience, so it is worth choosing carefully. The location is important too. Staying in the heart of the Masai Mara will increase your chances of good sightings. To reduce costs, you could consider joining a group tour. The saving can be considerable, especially for single travelers. Traveling outside the high season is another big saver. This corresponds mostly with the Wet season, so you should expect some rain. Whatever your priorities, always get a few quotes before making a final decision.”


How do I avoid the crowds in the park?

“For obvious reasons, the Masai Mara is very popular, but there are ways to avoid the crowds. Some areas of the reserve are busier than others. Even if logistics or budget make it difficult to stay in the more-remote parts of the reserve, it is usually possible to center your game drives away from the main traffic clusters. Consider asking your guide not to follow up on sightings announced on their radio. Although you might miss out on some sightings, you will experience a more peaceful safari overall and you’ll still see plenty of wildlife. For a really exclusive experience, consider staying in one of the private conservancies outside the Masai Mara. Another way to experience the reserve without the crowds is to visit in the low-season months of April to May or November to December. You won’t see the wildebeest migration at this time, but there is always plenty of resident wildlife around. April and May are the wettest months, but the lush scenery and abundance of new-born animals are a bonus during this period.”


Masai Mara Reviews

4.6/5 436 Reviews
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for Condé Nast Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Big cat country par excellence!

Where else can you be following a lioness and her three cubs towards their luggah hideout and at the same instant see a pair of cheetahs sitting high on their termite hill lookout? The Masai Mara has everything within an incredibly short...

Full Review

Emma Gregg  –  
United Kingdom UK

Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.

Quintessential Kenyan safari destination, whatever the season

Grasslands dotted with graceful acacias, hundreds of big cats and enough natural drama to keep wildlife documentary film-makers busy year after year – the Masai Mara has it all. It also has some highly alluring and charismatic places to...

Full Review

Mees  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Sep 15, 2023

this is a park having unlimited possibilities and gave more feelings of freedom to go in the wild with on top the spot to see the migration, an unbelievable idea of the animals, in leadership and communication.

Full Review

John Reeves  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Sep 6, 2023

I drop scenic beauty by one star solely because of the litter in certain places. Horrible to see two beautiful lions lying amongst paper and human waste. Washing and toilet facilities MUST be provided otherwise tourists will not visit if...

Full Review

Eva Prieschl-Grassauer  –  
Austria AT
Reviewed: Aug 18, 2023

We were in the middle of the great migration and we have never seen so many wildebeests and zebras. We also managed to see lions, lepards, cheetahs and many more in a relaxed way. As cars are limited at a sighting, this makes it even...

Full Review

Timo  –  
Finland FI
Reviewed: Apr 4, 2023

In February, the Masai Mara was a bit green, but the large herds were gone. But same thing with the hordes of tourists which was nice. As the grass was lower, the animals were easier to spot. The scenery on the savannah was wonderful.

Full Review