Renowned as a luxury safari destination, Masai Mara offers prime game viewing with the incredible Great Wildebeest Migration of millions of wildebeest, stunning scenery and beautiful beaches, reflected in the excellent safari experience visitors have come to expect.
Correspondingly, safari prices tend to be high here compared to other parks and African countries. Visitors often wonder about the approximate cost of a Masai Mara safari and whether an affordable Masai Mara safari package is possible.
Below, we have listed the various elements that impact Masai Mara safari costs and detail the price averages for each.
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Elements that influence Masai Mara safari costs
The flight to Kenya
Kenya is well connected with international flights from Europe, Asia and North America however flight distances are typically long to the capital Nairobi, thus adding to the overall cost.
For Kenya safaris, safari lodges and beach holidays, visitors can travel to Kenya by flying into Nairobi (NBO), Mombasa (MBA), Kisumu (KIS) and Eldoret (EDL). From there, visitors will need to connect onwards to Masai Mara, flying into the Angama Mara Airport (ANA).
Due to the length of travel, flights to Masai Mara can be expensive. The prices of flights from the U.K. or U.S. can vary according to the dates of the stay and the chosen airline.
Several transport options are available in Masai Mara but not all offer the same experience and speed of connection visitors want when travelling between parks and reserves.
Arriving into Kenya will typically involve taking a connecting flight from Johannesburg in South Africa, Harare in Zimbabwe, Cairo in Egypt, Entebbe in Uganda, Accra in Ghana and more international connections via Dubai-UAE, London-UK with British Airways, Amsterdam-Netherlands and Mumbai-India.
International flights arrive via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) for visitors wondering how to get to Kenya. Most tourists will have to obtain a Kenya visa including citizens of the U.S, U.K, EU, India and Canada.
Due to this, private charter flights are commonly used to quickly access isolated private reserves and concessions, sometimes the only way to access parks such as Masai Mara.
Others choose to go on self drive safari tours and rent their own cars/4×4’s and use the roads of the national parks. This is a more affordable option and offers visitors the comfort of staying as long as they wish in each location.
The quality of accommodation options available in Masai Mara and in Kenya in general is quite high. There are many luxurious lodges available, some of which can only be accessed by plane transfer however, thus adding to the costs.
More budget friendly accommodation options include camping options, of which many parks have at least 1-2 designated areas.
Most lodges will typically have some or all of the breakfast, lunch and dinner options included in the overall lodge and safari tour package.
Masai Mara park entry fees
The per person entry fee is US$ 80 per adult per day (24 hrs). Visitors staying at a safari camp or lodge within national reserve boundaries pay US$ 70 per person (per 24 hours).
Best activities near Masai Mara
Many visitors will also be interested in other activities beyond the main safari and wildlife excursions including walking safaris, mountain biking or quad biking adventures, all of which add to overall costs. Comparable to Europe, these prices are lower.
A one-hour chartered scenic flight over Mount Kenya can be purchased from $490 per person.
Guests will enjoy incredible views of the peaks of Batian, Nelion and Point Lenana and lunch at Lake Michelson. Visitors often combine trips to Masai Mara with the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania which adds to the overall price.
Safari trips can result in unfortunate events happening, like contracting an illness from contaminated water or falling ill from a mosquito bite.
Visitors may need medical attention while abroad so it’s important to ensure an adequate travel insurance policy is in place which will cover you in the event of an accident or injury.
Visitors should check to see if they have already paid through their credit card company and workplace benefits. If not, it is recommended to ensure travel insurance is purchased prior to travel to cover:
- Medical expenses and hospital benefit
- Personal accident and liability
- Cancelling and cutting short your holiday
- Covid-19 specific cover
- Abandoning your trip
- Delayed departures
- Accommodation cover
- Personal belongings and baggage
- Personal money, passport and travel documents
- Legal expenses
Kenya vaccines are another expense which may need to be taken into consideration prior to the safari trip, especially if visitors are planning to visit Mombasa, an area with an increased risk of malaria.
Visitors are recommended to consult with their local doctor before arrival and consider antimalarial prophylaxis as recommended.
Gasoline, tips, souvenirs can also impact a visitors budget.
Budgeting for a trip to Masai Mara
For a flight to Kenya from the U.K, it will cost around £800/$1,060 per person, and more from the U.S. Prices can change and are certain to increase during the summer months.
If on a budget, visitors can save two thirds of their daily expenses on transport costs by opting for a car/4×4 rental compared to plane transfers.
Car rental costs start from £90/$115 for a package with basic insurance. Prices increase if visitors book a 4×4 safari vehicle or campervan.
Guests staying at lodges should note the lodges will likely pick up guests and drive them to the lodge, with prices often included in the accommodation.
Accommodation and food
This will vary significantly depending on the type of accommodation selected. Guests can budget £15/$20 a night and upwards for one night camping and can purchase groceries at local supermarkets.
For lodges, nightly rates will cost several hundred dollars, typically with meals included.
Is a cheap Masai Mara safari possible?
Safari prices in Masai Mara are expensive in general, especially for accommodation. However, visitors can be smart and take measures to keep their bank balance in check including:
- DIY organize your own safari
- Sleeping in a campervan/van with a rooftop tent
- Drive yourself around the country
- Prepare your meals and limit eating out at restaurants
- Limit your activities other than the main safari excursions
Visitors looking to avail of a cheap Masai Mara safari on a lower budget should travel in the low season which is January to March. Low season travellers save up to 15% on vacation costs.
Travelling in March to Kenya’s top destinations like Maasai Mara, Diani and Samburu means lower accommodation costs, uncrowded swimming pools and a chef hovering around your table to serve you the best food that there is in the kitchen.
Affordable lodging options
If budget is the primary concern, and visitors don’t mind camping, then there are some overland camping trips (called mobile safaris) available as well as budget Masai Mara safari packages.
Excluding international flights and plane transfers:
- Visitors planning a 6 night safari staying at two different tented camps can expect to pay around $3,600 – $4,300 per person
- Visitors planning a similar 6 night mobile camping safari can expect to pay around $2,200 per person, prices can vary
Affordable Kenya safari packages tend to be for longer safaris (7+ nights) whilst higher cost safaris are typical of a shorter 3 or 4 night safari.
Summary: The average cost of a safari in Masai Mara
Estimating the cost of an average safari isn’t straight forward, given the range of factors noted above that can impact prices. However, two examples are provided below to give visitors an idea of average costs to expect.
Affordable Masai Mara safari prices
The cost of an affordable safari in Masai Mara includes:
- International flights
- 4 × 4 rental with a tent on the roof
- Campsite accommodation
- Parks entry for game drives
Based on the above, we can estimate prices of at least £340/$450 per person based upon a 10 day stay.
Luxury Masai Mara safari prices:
The cost of a luxury safari in Kenya includes
- International flights and transfers
- Transfers by plane and/or private drive
- Lodge accommodation
- Guided game drives
Based on the above, we can estimate costs of at least £940/$1240 per person based upon a 10 day stay.
This trip includes visiting the Masai Mara National Reserve and Tsavo East National Park, during peak season. Prices are indicative only and may vary depending on travel conditions.
The following is a pricing summary of the main costs a safari visitor in Masai Mara can expect:
|Minimum price per person||Average price per person|
|Accommodation per day||£20/$27||£230/$300|
|Transport per day||£50/$65||£150/$200|
|Parks per day||£36/$50||£36/$50|
|10-day safari||£186/$250 pp per day||£540/$730 pp per day|
How much does a safari cost in Masai Mara?
Masai Mara is an expensive destination to go on safari, however it is possible to go on a safari budget friendly trip to Kenya. Average prices are difficult to calculate given the various elements of the trip to take into account.
Are credit cards and debit cards accepted in Masai Mara?
You won’t necessarily be able to use your card everywhere you go in Kenya. In large cities and tourist areas, credit and debit cards are likely to be accepted. Visa is the most commonly accepted, with Mastercard/Maestro/Cirrus and Amex also.
When to go on a safari in Masai Mara?
Overall, June to October is the best time to visit Masai Mara during the dry season for a safari trip to any of the national parks.