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Masai Mara Budget Safari Tours

Whatever budget you’re on, a safari in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is a trip of a lifetime. The wildlife viewing is consistently superb. The wide-open savannah makes spotting animals easy, and you’ll find yourself driving from one great sighting to the next. The moment you arrive you’ll be welcomed by big herds of grazers dotted on the open plains, and it won’t take long to find some predators too. There isn’t a bad time for a safari in the Masai Mara, but come here between late September and October and you might observe the wildebeest migration, one of Africa’s greatest wildlife displays.

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1-20 of 374 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Masai Mara National Reserve

5 Questions About Masai Mara Budget Safaris


5 Questions About Masai Mara Budget Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Are there affordable budget trips available to the Masai Mara?

“Although it is one of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations, the Masai Mara is relatively affordable. There are many different budget tours available to this Big Five reserve. Some packages are shared tours where you join other travelers. Group sizes vary, but you’ll usually share a pop-up-roof safari vehicle with no more than eight people. There are private budget tours available too. These offer more flexibility in timings and your itinerary. You might choose a short 3- or 4-day Masai Mara safari visiting only the reserve for a few days from Nairobi. Alternatively you can book a Kenya safari that includes the Masai Mara in a longer itinerary. A stopover in Lake Nakuru National Park en route to the Masai Mara is a popular option for a budget safari. Here you’ll be able to see rhino, the only member of the Big Five that is very hard to find in the Masai Mara.”


What is included in a budget safari to the Masai Mara?

“It is important to clarify before you book what is and isn’t included in your Masai Mara budget safari package. You don’t want unexpected expenses to spoil your holiday or create tensions with your operator. All transportation is usually included, but make sure that this includes airport transfers. Also clarify whether all activities are included or if some are optional extras. Also check your meal plan; most safaris include all meals, but there are exceptions. Drinking water might be provided while on safari, but other drinks are usually for your own account. So is laundry. And then you have to think about tips, which are always expected and never included. They can add up (and this might take you by surprise if you don’t come from a big tipping culture). You’ll need small change for porters and ad hoc tips, but you’ll need to allocate a reasonable budget for tipping accommodation staff and especially your driver-guide and camping crew. We recommend asking your operator for tipping guidelines.”


What type of accommodation can I expect?

“On cheap Masai Mara packages you have the choice between a camping safari and staying in budget accommodation. Camping in the bush is more comfortable than you might think. Specialized operators put together a great camping experience and their crew will look after you very well. They usually have a chef who prepares delicious meals while you’re out on game drives. In some way, a camping safari gives you the best opportunity to be close to nature. There are some lovely campsites in great locations inside the Masai Mara. They offer a perfect base for exploring the reserve while being close to the action. There are plenty of other campsites (some with better facilities) and budget accommodation just outside the reserve as well. Although there are different styles of budget accommodation, most are simple tented camps. These offer big standing tents with beds and en suite bathrooms. At night you can enjoy a drink around the campfire, and meals are usually taken in a large communal tent.”


How much will a budget Masai Mara safari cost?

“Several variables determine the price of a budget Masai Mara package. Prices of 3-day budget tours in the Masai Mara mostly range between US$300 per person and US$550 per person. And prices of 7-day Kenya budget tours including a Masai Mara safari range between US$700 per person and US$1,500 per person. Use the filters on SafariBookings to choose between camping and lodge safaris, and between private and shared safaris. Shared camping tours are usually cheapest and they can be a lot of fun. Joining such a tour is especially cost-effective for single travelers, but less so for families. And if you’re looking for a good deal and you’re flexible in timing, consider a trip in the low season. This coincides with the rains, but it hardly ever rains all day and the scenery is at its best at this time. It’s a great way to avoid the crowds as well. There is a lot to consider. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to get a few different quotes before booking a safari.”


How long do I need in the Masai Mara?

“To really make the most of a safari in the Masai Mara, you need at least 4 days. There are shorter safaris available though. It is still worth going to the Masai Mara if you only have 2 or 3 days available, but you’ll get a lot more out of a longer stay. It is easy to spend the full 4 days/3 nights in the Masai Mara alone. Every day is different and there are a lot of areas to explore. On a 3-night stay you can go on a full-day safari; heading out at dawn and getting back to camp in the evening. It’s the best way to reach remote areas of the reserve away from the crowds. Alternatively, for variety, you can mix and match and opt to spend a few nights in the Masai Mara and 1 or 2 nights in Lake Naivasha or Lake Nakuru or Amboseli National Parks. You can still fit this into a 4-day safari, but extra days will make the trip more relaxed and rewarding. For an ultimate adventure, choose a 10-day budget safari that includes Masai Mara NR and several other parks and reserves, such as Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Samburu National Reserve, Lake Naivasha, or even Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater just across the border in Tanzania.”


Masai Mara Reviews

4.6/5 436 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...

Full Review

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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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.

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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...

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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...

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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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