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Masai Mara Luxury Safari Tours

You can't go wrong with a Masai Mara luxury safari. The Mara is one of the best places on the planet to see wildlife. This is wild Africa at its most expansive, the place that documentary filmmakers go to for guaranteed action. It’s also the scene of the annual wildebeest migration, one of the natural world’s most extraordinary spectacles. More than a million wildebeest (with zebras and predators in tow) stage a mass movement on a scale that has to be seen to be believed. For those looking for luxury, there’s an added bonus. The collection of luxury lodges and tented camps, spread across the Masai Mara National Reserve and the surrounding community-run conservancies, is almost as impressive as the migration.

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1-20 of 417 luxury tours, packages and holidays to Masai Mara National Reserve

8 Questions About Masai Mara Luxury Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

Why should I choose the Masai Mara for a luxury trip?

“The answer is simple: this is one place where world-class wildlife viewing and world-class luxury come together in one unforgettable holiday. If you’ve seen the BBC’s Big Cat Diary, you’ll need no introduction to the Mara with its big horizons, big wildlife herds, and, yes, big cats. The rolling grasslands are classic East African savannah, and they’re simply too big to be contained within the boundaries of the Masai Mara National Reserve. So they spill over into the private or community concessions and conservancies that surround the reserve. These concessions are the high points of the Masai Mara luxury safari experience. They have some of the densest concentrations of big cats in Africa There is also a policy of only allowing overnight guests at one of the luxury lodges or tented camps within the conservancies. Their mix of quiet exclusivity, wildlife-rich terrain and proximity to the reserve and its many charms is difficult to beat anywhere in Africa. ”


What is included in a luxury safari in the Masai Mara?

“For most travelers on a luxury safari to the Masai Mara, everything you need should be quoted in what is called an all-inclusive rate. All meals and accommodation are included, as are other essentials for a memorable safari trip. Most game drives, walks, village visits and Maasai encounters, as well as fees to the national reserve, are routinely covered. However, you’ll need to pay extra if you want a guide and vehicle all to yourself. There are some extras, although they tend to be the icing on the cake for a perfect holiday, rather than safari essentials. These include sunrise balloon trips over the Masai Mara followed by a champagne breakfast, and spa treatments and massages where available. Tips (gratuities) to safari, lodge or camp staff are additional to the quoted price. Also extra may be conservancy or conservation fees that go towards local community and environmental projects.”


How long do I need in the Masai Mara?

“As long as you can possibly manage. Three days would be a minimum here if the Masai Mara is just one leg on a larger pan-Kenyan, or pan-East-African safari. But remember that so little time will only allow you to get a taste that will leave you longing for more. A week would be much better. A Masai Mara luxury safari is the sort of experience that people look back upon as the holiday of a lifetime, and the Masai Mara deserves as much time as you can give it. A longer stay can work, too, if you move from one area of the Mara to another, from one tented camp to the next, working your way around the conservancies. The Mara is one place that’s large enough to warrant a much longer stay than most people can manage.”


What is the difference between a drive-in or fly-in on a Masai Mara safari?

“Most luxury safaris to the Masai Mara will be of the fly-in, not drive-in variety. With a fly-in Masai Mara safari, you generally fly from Nairobi to a remote airstrip. The airstrip will be close to your lodge or tented camp in the Masai Mara National Reserve, or in one of the neighboring conservancies. During your stay, you’ll be driven around in a lodge or camp safari vehicle. When it’s time to leave, you’ll fly to your next lodge or camp, and so on. It’s a more expensive way to travel, but it does make the most of your precious time and you’ll get to see a lot of the country by air along the way. With a drive-in safari, you drive the same route but, obviously, take more time (and pay less) to do so. You will see more of the country and have far more opportunities to meet the locals as you go. A greater proportion of your trip will be taken up with getting from A to B though.”


What is the difference between a game reserve and a conservancy in Masai Mara?

“If you’re on a luxury safari, you could end up in either the main game reserve or on a private concession, but the latter is generally a more exclusive overall experience. A game reserve, such as the Masai Mara National Reserve, is a protected area run by a government body. A certain proportion of its revenue goes to the government. As with Kenya’s national parks, there are strict rules about what you can and can’t do inside the reserve. Driving within the park after sunset is prohibited, and off-road driving is prohibited at any time of the day. In contrast, a private conservancy is under the control of the local Maasai community. They grant leases for lodges and tented camps to set up within each conservancy, and collect fees that go back into maintaining the conservancies with profits going to each community member. The community runs conservation and sustainable projects within the conservancy. In most of the conservancies that surround the Masai Mara National Reserve, night drives are permitted, as is off-trail driving. The concessions or conservancies also have far fewer visitors, allowing you to enjoy the wildlife without the crowds.”


How does a typical day on a luxury safari in the Masai Mara unfold?

“At various points of your day while on a luxury safari, you’ll be treated like royalty. You will feel as though everything from your morning wake-up call to the food and wildlife viewing is tailor-made to your wishes. You’ll be woken before sunrise by an attendant. After a hot drink and carefully prepared breakfast snack, you’ll be sent on your way in a safari vehicle to see the wildlife. By mid-morning, you’ll be back in camp for the main breakfast. Alternatively, you may be out in the wild in a beautiful spot for a luxury bush breakfast where nothing is too much trouble for the waiters. You then have until mid-afternoon in camp to relax, swim in the pool, have a massage, and otherwise enjoy camp life. Wherever you choose to relax will be a good choice. The public areas are invariably magnificent, and your private lodgings likewise. Lunch will be your only scheduled distraction, and the quality and presentation of the food will have you eating whether you’re hungry or not. Around 3:30 PM, it’s afternoon tea, then out on another game drive or walk. This will meander towards sunset and that great rite of safari life: the sundowner (nursing the drink of your choice while watching the sunset from a lovely vantage point). If your accommodation is in a private conservancy, a night drive is possible before (or after) dinner, the main meal of the day and a chance for the chef to show off their talents. To finish you will spend time around the campfire before bedtime.”


What type of accommodation can I expect?

“A Masai Mara luxury safari usually centers around luxury lodges and tented camps. The former are hotels out on the savannah of the Masai Mara. Tented camps are a safari mainstay, with between six and (rarely more than) 12 tents in a quiet corner of the wilderness. The tents are large and lovely, with one or two beds, a writing desk, large wooden trunks and elegant rugs, and a shower and toilet out the back. Some combination between lodge solidity and a tented camp’s oneness with nature are quite common. You’ll generally be allowed to wander alone around the camp during daylight. But an escort is required after dark to ensure you don’t surprise a wild creature wandering along the path.”


How much will this safari cost?

“The per-person per-day cost rarely goes above US$490, though packages and prices vary greatly. If you’re traveling alone, as opposed to a twin-share basis, the price of a single supplement is customarily around 75% of the price for two people traveling together. It is, of course, possible to pay less per person per day. However, the less you pay, the less lavish your accommodation will be. The essential elements of a luxury safari (the game drives and three meals a day) are unlikely to change though.”


Masai Mara Reviews

4.6/5 463 Reviews
Brian Jackman  –  
United Kingdom UK

Brian is an award winning travel writer, author of safari books and regular contributor to magazines such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa.

Big Cat Heaven

No wonder Disney chose to film ‘African Cats’ in the Mara. This is Kenya’s finest big game reserve, 5,000ft above sea level and home to all kinds of animals, from 6-tonne elephants to tiny dik-diks. Cheetahs patrol its open grasslands...

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

Ilunia  –  
Estonia EE
Reviewed: May 6, 2024

It was amazing! If we had known - we would have stayed one extra day in Masai Maara and 2 full days of game drive. The best park!
I would have skipped Hell's gate and Naivasha, and gotten one extra day in Masai Maara.

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Brenda  –  
Kenya KE
Reviewed: Apr 12, 2024
Exceptionally amazing

My visit to Maasai Mara National Park was spectacular. It is a paradise where the spirit of the wild thrives.The park's expansive grasslands and rocky outcrops, provided the perfect unforgettable adventure. The majestic lions, graceful...

Full Review

Andre L (The Hague)  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Mar 17, 2024

+ good access + lots of animals, we saw Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Rhino, cheetah, hyena, lions and many deers. + Amazing views over Savanah + Crocoldile river-centre + walking trail - limited facilities in the parc such as...

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Moira  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2024

We had strong rain on 1st afternoon, which was fantastic for the unique atmosphere and my boyfriend even took fantastic pictures of animals in the rain. The other days we saw hunting cheetahs and lion, huge herds of giraffes and much...

Full Review