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5-Day Masai Mara Safari Tours

With 5 days to spend in the Masai Mara National Reserve and/or surrounding area, you’ll be somewhere close to safari perfection. Five days will allow you to experience so much of what this remarkable place has to offer, whether it’s in the reserve or in one of the exclusive community conservancies adjacent to the reserve. The wildlife possibilities here are some of the most incredible in Africa, and the landscapes are the quintessential safari terrain, with rolling savannah grasslands, light woodland and distant hills and escarpments. The Masai Mara is also the scene of the annual great wildebeest migration, one of nature’s grandest spectacles.

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1-20 of 134 Masai Mara National Reserve 5-day trips, itineraries, holidays, packages & vacations

9 Questions About 5-Day Masai Mara Safaris


9 Questions About 5-Day Masai Mara Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What is a typical day on a 5-day Masai Mara safari?

“A typical safari day in the Masai Mara usually begins with a soft African voice waking you in the pre-dawn darkness, as someone from the accommodation or tour company brings you tea and cookies, or something similar. As (or just before) the sun appears over the horizon, you will likely head out in a minibus or open-sided 4WD vehicle for a game drive. The dawn hours are when the animals are most active and easiest to see. Depending on what you’ve seen while out, you will usually return to your camp or lodge around midmorning for a proper breakfast, followed by some relaxation time back at your accommodation. Another possibility between breakfast and lunch is that you go out on an excursion, perhaps to a local village or market. After lunch, you’ll have more time to relax (or to go on an excursion), before afternoon tea, which usually takes place midafternoon, followed by an afternoon game drive. A special feature of the afternoon game drive is the sundowner, which occurs just before sunset, when your guide will find a picturesque spot to have drinks and snacks and watch the sunset before returning to camp or your lodge. If you’re staying at one of the conservancies rather than the reserve, you may be able to go on an evening game drive to look for nocturnal animals. (Night drives are not allowed in the main reserve.) Some camps and lodges offer entertainment (perhaps a local cultural performance) or talks (by a naturalist, for example) before or during dinner.”


Is 5 days a good length for a Masai Mara trip?

“Five days is an excellent amount of time for your safari in the Masai Mara, although don’t be surprised if you wish you could stay for longer once your tour is over! If your 5-day Masai Mara safari includes transfers on the first and last days, you can expect 3 full days to enjoy the Masai Mara, not to mention the accommodation where you’re staying. This allows for anywhere up to eight game drives during which you’ll go looking for wildlife in the company of your expert guide. With this amount of time, you’ll really get to know the Mara, but also your guide and the accommodation staff, which can be one of the more pleasurable highlights of your safari. During your 5 days, you could stay in one area of the Mara and really get to know it well, returning to your favorite places over and over again. Or you might move around to see two or even three areas and get a more comprehensive understanding of why the Mara is such a fabulous place to visit.”


Which activities are available on a Masai Mara tour?

“On a 5-day Masai Mara safari, you’ll have time to enjoy a number of activities. In the case of the morning and/or afternoon game drive, you’ll even get to enjoy the experience on multiple occasions. The guided game drive is the heart of the safari experience and they can be quite addictive: the excitement of which animals might suddenly appear never really goes away. Apart from the guided game drive, possible activities include hiking (although not inside the main reserve), dedicated birding excursions and hot-air ballooning (which is usually an optional extra and not included in the standard quoted prices). More sedate activities include bush breakfasts (a full breakfast served out in the bush and away from your accommodation). There are also a range of activities that involve some form of engagement with local Maasai communities. These can take the form of a village or home visit, an excursion to a local market, a crafts demonstration or something along these lines.”


What can I expect from the lodges in the Masai Mara?

“The Masai Mara area has some fantastic lodges and there’s certainly a wide variety of places to choose from. Most lodges are in the mid-range and luxury end of the market, and these offer facilities that include one or more restaurants, a bar, a lounge area, often a swimming pool and a gift shop. When it comes to the rooms, these come in all shapes and sizes, although most have private bathrooms and mosquito nets and many are decked out in bright safari colors. The service in most of the Mara’s lodges is generally excellent. Lodges aren’t the only accommodation types in the Masai Mara. The other really popular places to stay are the tented camps, which have en suite bathrooms, private terraces, often a writing desk and a wooden chest for decoration. Some of the luxury versions have private outdoor showers and even a plunge pool.”


What are the campsites like in the Masai Mara?

“The Masai Mara’s campsites are usually good and cater mostly to those on cheaper budget safaris. One thing to remember is that most of the campsites are outside the Masai Mara National Reserve; many are really close to one of the park entrance gates but on the outside. That’s because rules are very strict in Kenya’s national parks and reserves about being allowed to walk around outside of vehicles, due to the dangers posed by wild animals. Most of the campsites in the Masai Mara area have a cleared area for pitching tents (although some have semi-permanent tents for hire) with varying degrees of shade. Most also have a communal kitchen and a communal dining area where guests can prepare and enjoy their meals. There are also communal toilet and shower blocks; some will have hot water, others not.”


How much does a 5-day Masai Mara safari cost?

“Prices for a 5-day Masai Mara safari vary greatly. As a starting point, you can expect to pay around US$100 to US$150 per person per day for the cheapest budget camping safari, up to more than US$500 per person per day for a high-end luxury safari. At the lower end of the price scale, these estimates may or may not include the cost of any air transfers and the daily entry fee into the Masai Mara National Reserve (US$80 per adult per day). Remember that not all Masai Mara safaris take place within the reserve, although budget safaris are only possible in a few of the conservancies. Variables that will impact upon the cost of your tour include the season in which you travel (high season and its prices run from June to October and December to March), the type of accommodation you choose and the type of safari. For the latter, there are expensive private safaris, cheaper group safaris and self-drive safaris which come in a range of options.”


Can I combine a Masai Mara tour with a beach holiday?

“Yes, it should be easy to combine 5 days on safari in the Masai Mara with time spent by the beach. This is a common arrangement and will most likely involve flying from the Masai Mara to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport and taking a connecting plane to the coast. There may also be a direct flight between the two, although these are less common. Most safari tour operators in Kenya can make the necessary arrangements: if a safari company can’t do this, find one who can! Most beach holidays in Kenya center on Diani Beach, around Mombasa, or even the Lamu Archipelago on the northern coast. It might also be possible to combine time in the Masai Mara with a beach holiday in Zanzibar (which lies southeast of Kenya, off the coast of Tanzania, the country to which Zanzibar belongs).”


How do I get to the Masai Mara?

“There are two ways to get to the Masai Mara. One of these is by road from Nairobi or elsewhere in Kenya or even Tanzania. The drive from Nairobi takes roughly five hours because road conditions in the area can be poor. You can’t cross directly between the Serengeti (in Tanzania) and the Masai Mara, but there are border crossings to the west of the parks, which saves you traveling via Nairobi. Many travelers to the Masai Mara get there by plane, flying into one of the Mara’s numerous airstrips. This could be on a flight originating from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, from an airstrip in one of the national parks or reserves of Kenya or northern Tanzania, or from Kilimanjaro International Airport (which lies between Arusha and Moshi in northern Tanzania).”


What is the best time of the year for a 5-day Masai Mara safari?

“The best time of year for a 5-day Masai Mara safari is usually from June to October, during the Dry season. This is when you’re most likely to enjoy fine weather and mild temperatures, along with good road and track conditions. Conditions for seeing wildlife are especially favorable late in the Dry season (September and October) when animals gather close to the last remaining water sources, making them relatively easy to find. Birders may want to consider the period from November (when many migratory species arrive in the region) through to April (when many of the birds leave). Rains are possible in November and December. These are known as the short rains, and they rarely provide too much disruption to your safari. The longer rains months from March to May are probably the worst time to visit. If you are here to see the great migration, September and October are usually the best months, although this can vary from year to year according to the rains.”


Masai Mara Reviews

4.6/5 406 Reviews
Mike Unwin  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award-winning wildlife writer, former editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Safari central

This famous park – a northern extension of Tanzania’s Serengeti – is responsible for perhaps more images of African animals than any other. And with good reason: it is chock-full of wildlife, and blessed with open terrain that makes...

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Nana Luckham  –  
United Kingdom UK

Nana is a travel writer and author of multiple guidebooks, including the Lonely Planet guides to Africa, Zambia & Malawi and South Africa.

The legendary Masai Mara

Legendary Masai Mara is the most visited wildlife reserve in Kenya and it’s easy to see why. This 1,800 square km park supports a huge and diverse animal population and is one of the only places in the world where it is still possible to...

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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.

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Sean W Ryan  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Mar 25, 2023

Beautiful scenery, especially at sunrise, but we were mobbed by peddlers at the gate. This, however, was quickly forgotten when we saw the amazing variety of animals there! It definitely exceeded my expectations!

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Venkat Ramani  –  
India IN
Reviewed: Mar 23, 2023

Undoubtedly the best and must-visit place to be to see all types of wildlife at close quarters. Visiting Masai Village is a must. The price paid to visit the village is utilized for the village itself.

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Lori Carlisle  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2023

We had some great sightings in Masai Mara - 12 lion, cheetah, leopard as well as lots of birds. We visited in February and were glad that there were not hoards of tourists. Highly recommend a visit.

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