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Masai Mara Camping Safaris

A camping safari in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya must be one of the greatest adventures in Africa. Camping in nature is always rewarding, but in one of Africa’s most iconic wildlife destinations, this takes on a different dimension. You’ll spend your days roaming around the wide-open savannah searching for animals. Big herds of grazers are a permanent feature, but when looking closer you’ll find monkeys, warthogs, giraffes and much more. Predators such as lions, cheetahs and hyenas are never far off either. Evenings in camp are special too. Imagine reminiscing about the day’s sightings around a campfire, looking at the night sky without light pollution, and falling asleep while listening to a hyena whooping not too far off.

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1-20 of 31 camping safaris to Masai Mara National Reserve

5 Questions About Masai Mara Camping Safaris


5 Questions About Masai Mara Camping Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

What are the pros and cons of a Masai Mara camping safari?

“When choosing between a lodge or camping safari in the Masai Mara there are several pros and cons to consider. First of all, a camping safari is usually more budget-friendly than a lodge safari, especially if you want to stay inside the reserve. While there are some good budget accommodation options just outside the Masai Mara, staying inside comes at a premium price unless you camp. The advantages of camping inside the reserve are multifold. Most of all, you’ll be best positioned for early morning and later afternoon game drives without having to deal with bureaucracy at the entrance gate. And then there is the fact that you’ll be surrounded by wildlife whenever you are in camp; any creature can come past at any time and you’ll hear lots of animal noises at night. Whether you’re camping inside or outside the reserve’s boundary, it is always great fun. It’s the best way to feel close to nature. But if you’re not the camping type and you prefer to sleep between solid walls, there are lots of great lodges to choose from, ranging from budget to moderate to ultra-luxurious. Many lodges are, in fact, tented camps, which give you a taste of camping without having to rough it in the slightest.”


What facilities can I expect in the campsites in the Masai Mara?

“Most campsites inside the Masai Mara have very limited facilities; some have long-drop toilets and cold showers, and others don’t even have that. If you are traveling independently, you need to come well prepared and bring everything you need, including water and firewood. But when booking a trip with a reputable tour operator, all this will be taken care of for you. While camping inside the reserve is a great experience, the campsites outside the reserve offer many more facilities. Some of the campsites are on lodge properties where you might be able to make use of lodge facilities, such as a restaurant, bar and even a swimming pool. Note that all campsites inside and some outside the reserve are unfenced and animals walk through freely. ”


How much do Masai Mara camping packages cost?

“Several variables determine the price of Masai Mara camping packages. Three-day camping tours to the Masai Mara range from US$300 per person to US$550 per person. Prices of 7-day Kenya camping tours, which include several nights in the Masai Mara, range between US$700 per person and US$1,500 per person. To keep costs down, many camping safaris are group tours, but you can book a private camping safari too. Just use the filters on to select your preferences. A good way to save some money is to travel in the low season. You’ll probably get a bit of rain if you do, but it’s a beautiful time of the year and it’s the best way to avoid the crowds. A camping holiday to the Masai Mara is a very special experience and it’s important to get your priorities right. So make sure to do your research and always get a few different quotes before making a booking. ”


Is a camping trip in the Masai Mara safe?

“As long as you stick to the reserve’s rules and regulations, camping in the Masai Mara can be considered very safe. When operators (or individuals) book a campsite in the reserve, they have to employ two rangers for the time spent at the site. As none of the campsites are fenced, the rangers will make sure no dangerous animals get close undetected. Your guide and camping crew will also look out for your safety. Camping inside the reserve is very special, but many operators opt to camp in one of the lovely campsites just outside the reserve. These have more facilities and, although wildlife might still walk past, the chance of encounters with big animals is much smaller. When traveling with small kids these campsites might be a better choice. Furthermore, there is virtually no crime inside the Masai Mara or the other main parks and reserves in Kenya – so there is nothing to worry about in that regard either. ”


What is the best time of the year for camping tours in the Masai Mara?

“The best time of the year for a camping tour in the Masai Mara is during the driest months from June to October. The dry weather is obviously great for the outdoor experience, but it is also the best time for wildlife viewing as animals gather around rivers and waterholes. Vegetation shrivels away as the Dry season progresses, and this makes spotting animals even easier. However, wildlife viewing in the Masai Mara is always good and as long as you avoid the wettest months (March and April), you can’t go far wrong. If you visit anytime from November to February you will probably get some rain, but it rarely rains all day long. The Wet season is great for birding and beautiful landscapes, and it is generally a lot less crowded than in the Dry (high) season.”


Masai Mara Reviews

4.6/5 398 Reviews
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for CNN 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...

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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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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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James Neils  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Feb 9, 2023

We saw the famed Big Six of Africa, but also, a family of ducks, a hippo alone in a water hole, a leopard trotting across grassland, the famed Mara River with its crocs and hippos and the landscape takes your breath away. We didn't expect...

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Butch  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Jan 25, 2023

Masai Mara is a superb safari destination. It's large expanses are home to plenty of wildlife. Driving through it is definitely back-country, with mostly off road trails. There are very few improved "roads" in the reserve, so it has a...

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