Masai Mara National Reserve is a quintessential safari destination with stunning wildlife attractions including the Big 5, the lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo. Even with just 3 days, visitors will get more than a glimpse into these incredible creatures and the more than two million wildebeest, zebras and antelopes that make up the famous Great Migration.
One of the best wildlife destinations in Kenya and Africa and a premier conservation area is why the Masai Mara is so important to the world and is one of the few places on earth where wild animals and their ecosystem exist in a highly protected environment.
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The best 3 day Masai Mara Tours
Price of a 3 day Masai Mara safari?
Budget tours start at $250 per person whilst mid-range tours start at $350 per person, while luxury tours start at approximately $500 per person.
Safari packages to the Masai Mara span a wide price range, influenced by several variables. The biggest factor determining the price of a safari is the level of accommodation. This will ultimately categorize tours as being budget, mid-range or luxury. Shared tours are usually cheaper than private tours.
This is especially the case for single travelers. On a 3 day trip you might want to consider a fly-in safari, but these are considerably more expensive than road safaris. Check out the seasons too; low-season prices can be favorable and while you’ll probably get some rain at this time, it’s when the scenery is at its best.
Tour breakdown for a typical 3 day Masai Mara
Safari tour highlights
- See the Big Five including the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo in an iconic world-famous game park
- Private tour guide in English and other languages
- All-inclusive tours including lodging, entrance fees, meals, and transport
- Game drives in comfortable, open top safari vehicles
- Unforgettable savannah vistas
- Experience the Maasai people and culture
- Unique accommodation including safari lodges and tented camps
- Optional activity add-ons including hot air balloon safaris
The following details typical tour inclusions and exclusions on the best 3 day Masai Mara safari package:
|Tour inclusions||Tour exclusions|
|Game drives per the itinerary as well as pick-up and drop-off||Visa fees, laundry services, drinks including mineral water at the hotels|
|Experienced english-speaking guide and driver||International/domestic flights|
|Transport and park entrance fees||Cultural visits to Maasai villages (15 USD p/p)|
|Accommodation (full-board safaris)||Tips to the driver guides, waiters and porters|
|Breakfast, lunch, dinner and bottled water|
Safari essentials and information
Is a 3 day safari in Masai Mara sufficient?
3 days is plenty to see, hear and experience the incredible wildlife and sights of Masai Mara. The number of days needed to properly do a Masai Mara safari can range from 1-2 days to 1-2 weeks, depending on how much time and budget a visitor has.
A longer period of time would be better, however each day consists of an early morning game drive and a late afternoon game drive, certainly sufficient time to view the big 5 and incredible scenery. On a 3 day trip you can even break up the drive to or from the Masai Mara with an overnight stay in Lake Nakuru National Park or Lake Naivasha, with the option to visit nearby Hell’s Gate National Park.
Alternatively you can spend all of your time in Masai Mara. With full days at the reserve, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore this iconic safari destination including a full-day dusk-to-dawn game drive that will include lunch at one of the picnic spots.
Morning and evening game drives are rewarding as well, but on a full day you can get further into the reserve, away from the more-crowded areas. Overall, 3 days is a good amount of time for a safari in the Masai Mara if it is part of a larger Kenya tour, but if not, allocating a few more days to your safari would be ideal if possible.
Accommodation offered on a 3 day Masai Mara safari?
After a long day surveying the incredible wildlife on offer, guests can look forward to the very best safari accommodation Kenya has to offer. The accommodation here is excellent with numerous options from tented camps, luxury lodges to camping grounds.
From camping in the bush with amenities to mid-range and luxury lodges located inside the reserve, there’s something for everyone. The very luxurious accommodation is rustic and offers few mod cons, with the trend leaning towards a minimal carbon footprint with eco-friendly materials and construction that can be dismantled without leaving any trace.
Styles vary but chalets and old-school tented camps are popular options for the smaller, more intimate camps. The level of luxury is more in the details; the exclusivity, service, food and guiding offered is superb. In contrast with these boutique lodges are the bigger hotels. While they might lack character, they offer a more conventional level of luxury in regular rooms that have air-conditioning and, in some cases, even TV.
Animals on a Masai Mara safari?
The reserve is home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo) and has the highest concentration of Big Cats not just in East Africa but worldwide making the location a perfect research center for hyenas and Big Cats.
World famous for hosting the epic Great Migration, the Masai Mara welcomes 1.5 million wildebeests onto its sprawling savannahs each July through October. Other wildlife that visitors can expect to find include abundant elephants, buffalo, giraffes, lions and cheetah alongside the migratory animals and zebra.
With over 450 animal species, visitors can also have a clear view of animals catching them in action when on a hot-air balloon African safari early in the morning. Leopards are frequently encountered, endangered black rhino hide in the dense thickets and large rafts of hippo and enormous crocodiles are found in the Mara River crossings.
Best time to go on a 3 day Masai Mara safari?
To avoid crowds, the low-season months of April to May and November to December see fewer visitors than the rest of the year. While this isn’t the best time for wildlife viewing, there are always animals around. April and May are the wettest months, but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular scenery and an abundance of baby animals.
Midsummer can get busy though, so come at the beginning or end of that period with its full on wildlife without crazy crowds. Even during the high season, some areas of the Mara are busier than others, but for a really exclusive safari experience you can book into one of the private conservancies bordering the Masai Mara.
Fly or drive to Masai Mara?
On a 3 day safari, flying and driving to the Masai Mara are both viable options, with flying bringing obvious time savings (50 minutes from Nairobi) and incredible views of the wildlife and landscape. Flying also comes with a higher price tag. The drive to the Mara takes almost 6 hours, with the last 100km/62mi of the road quite poor. Fly-in safaris usually include top-end accommodation and all your activities.
On a 3 day tour of the Mara, you can easily break up the drive with a stopover. Lake Nakuru NP is the most popular option. This Rift Valley lake teems with birdlife, and this is the best place in Kenya to see rhinos, which are very difficult to spot in the Masai Mara, as well as the hustle and bustle of African countryside life.
Another great option is to spend a night at Hell’s Gate NP. The dramatic scenery is the main attraction and, as there are few dangerous animals, cycling and hiking are permitted in the park.
How much spending money do I need for a 3 day Masai Mara safari?
Visitors should budget for approximately $300 for a Kenya safari per person per day, including food and accommodation. Kenyan safaris can be more expensive than their continental counterparts due to the higher costs of accommodation and food.
What animals will I see on a 3 day Masai Mara safari tour?
Visitors on a 3 day Masai Mara safari will see the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo), hyenas, wildebeest, giraffes, cheetah, zebras, endangered black rhinos, hippos, crocodiles and much more.
What is the best part of Masai Mara?
The best part of Masai Mara is the renowned and remote western section of the reserve, known as the Mara Triangle. It is managed as a non-profit conservancy run by the local Maasai and is considered one of the best areas for game-viewing in the area.