How to Book a Safari in Masai Mara?

February 9, 2024

Booking a safari in Masai Mara can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to plan ahead and consider a few key factors. Here are some tips to help you book your dream safari:

Research and choose a reputable tour operator

Start by doing thorough research online to find a well-established and reputable tour operator based in Kenya. Look for operators who are members of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) to ensure you get value for your money.

Determine your travel dates

Decide when you want to visit Masai Mara. The reserve offers great game viewing year-round, but if you want to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration, plan your trip between late July/early August to mid-October. Keep in mind that prices tend to be higher during the peak season, so consider visiting during the low or shoulder season for lower prices and more availability.

Consider your group size and room plan

Let your tour operator know how many people will be traveling with you, including the ages of any children. This information will help them plan your safari accordingly. Specify your preferred room plan, whether it’s a single room, double, twin, triple, or family room.

Choose your level of luxury

Masai Mara offers a range of accommodation options, from budget camping to mid-range tented camps to luxury lodges. Consider your budget and preferences when selecting your accommodation. Luxury tents and lodges provide a high-end experience while being close to nature, while mid-range camps offer superior comfort at an affordable price. Budget camps are a great option for price-conscious travelers.

Add optional activities

Enhance your safari experience by including optional activities such as a hot air balloon safari, Maasai village tour, nature and bush walks, or bush meals and sundowners. These activities come at an additional cost but can make your safari even more memorable.

Request a quote

Provide all the necessary information to your tour operator and request a quotation based on your itinerary. Make sure all your requirements are included in the pricing, and confirm whether accommodation is full-board, half-board, or bed and breakfast. If you’re booking a road safari, check the type of vehicle provided, such as a safari tour van or a 4×4 Land Cruiser Jeep.

Book your safari

Once you’ve received a quote you’re happy with, book your safari by following the booking conditions provided by your tour operator. Typically, a deposit is required with the balance due a month prior to your trip.

Make the payment

Safari operators in Kenya usually accept payment through credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) via secure online payment systems or PayPal. Debit card payments are also accepted, but bank transfer fees may apply. Keep all payment receipts for your records.

Gather your documentation

After making full payment, ensure you receive all necessary documents, including receipts, hotel vouchers, itinerary, and terms and conditions. Check that your travel documents are in order, including a valid passport.

Entry Requirements

As the final stage of planning your safari in Masai Mara, it is important to familiarize yourself with the entry requirements to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. Here are the key requirements you need to consider:

Tourist Visit Visa

To enter Kenya for your Masai Mara safari, you will need to apply for a tourist visit visa. The process can be conveniently done online through the official evisa portal. Here’s how you can apply:

  • Access the evisa portal and create an account.
  • Select the single entry visa option.
  • Fill out the application form and make the payment using a valid credit card.
  • Wait for the approval notification via email.
  • Download and print the eVisa from your eCitizen account.
  • Remember to carry a printed copy of the visa for presentation at the immigration upon arrival.

It’s important to note that the processing time for the eVisa is at least 2 working days, so make sure to apply in advance.

If your safari extends beyond Kenya to include countries like Uganda or Rwanda, it is advisable to apply for an East African Tourist visit visa. This visa will grant you access to all the listed East African countries, simplifying your travel arrangements.

Valid Passport

Ensure that you have a valid passport with at least two blank pages and a minimum validity of 6 months. This will be checked during the immigration process, so it’s crucial to have all the necessary documentation in order.

Health Requirements

Prior to your departure, it’s important to consider any health requirements that may apply. Depending on your travel history and the countries you are visiting before Kenya, you may need to obtain a yellow fever certificate.

To determine whether you need a yellow fever certificate, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centres for updated information. If required, make sure to carry the certificate of vaccination with you upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.