Activities in Masai Mara National Reserve (Best Things To Do)
The Masai Mara is home to a wide variety of activities, from more expensive bush lunches and nature walks or animal excursions to more affordable bush experiences like hot air balloon flights over the plains where wildlife can be spotted below. The most well-liked activities include quick excursions to a Maasai tribal hamlet, where visitors may get an incredible look at these nomadic peoples’ distinctive way of life. Visitors to Masai Mara can reserve the following activities before their trip to Kenya.
5 Top Things To Do in Masai Mara
Things to do in Masai Mara National Reserve
Safari Game Drives
What exactly are “game drives” in the Masai Mara or on an African safari, because anyone considering booking a safari in, say, Kenya will have noticed that game drives are mentioned frequently throughout the itinerary? An adventure excursion by car into a wildlife area, such as a national park or reserve, like Maasai Mara, with the goal of touring the park and viewing a range of wild animals in their natural habitat is what is meant by a safari game drive.
As for how long a safari game drive lasts, in Kenya, the drives typically last 2 to 3 hours each in the morning and afternoon, with the morning timings typically scheduled from 6.30am to 9am and the afternoon timings being 3.30pm to 6.30pm. However, travelers may occasionally choose to go on a full-day game drive, which is typically scheduled from 10am to 4pm, in which case the excursion will include a packed picnic lunch to be eaten inside the Masai Mara reserve. Prices for game drives in the Masai Mara start at USD 75 per person every game drive, and if you want to rent a private car from the camp for a full day of driving, the cost will range from USD 350 to USD 650 per vehicle, depending on the camp.
Booking all-inclusive Masai Mara safari packages that include numerous game drives, lodging, food, and flights from Nairobi, however, generally results in lower overall expenses.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
Flying in a hot air balloon above the Masai Mara grasslands is an unforgettable experience that you may have as part of any Maasai Mara safari. It is certainly a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Early in the morning, at around 6am, the balloon lifts off and flies silently over the savannah grasslands below, where you might see a variety of species. The hour-long flight is followed by a “Champagne Bush Breakfast” at the remote balloon landing site. The balloons are typically constructed by Cameron, a specialized hot air balloon manufacturer in Great Britain, and are flown by a fully licensed and experienced pilot. As space is normally limited to a maximum of 16 passengers per balloon, often less if flying with a smaller basket, it is essential to reserve the ride in advance. The basket sizes vary. Photos provided by Governors Balloons.
The cost per person for the 2023–2024 season varies depending on whatever camp or lodge you fly from in the Masai Mara and ranges from US$ 465 to US$ 550. Children under the age of 12 may be eligible for child rates in several circumstances.
Maasai Village Visit
A different way of life / Visiting a real Maasai Village
The Maasai, who inhabit large regions of Southern Kenya and are arguably the most recognizable tribal group in all of Africa, are the predominant ethnic group in the area surrounding the Masai Mara. The Masai Mara region is home to this warrior, nomadic tribe that previously controlled a sizable portion of pre-colonial Kenya. They continue to practice many of their ancient customs. Therefore, why go to a Maasai village and what will you see there? It is possible to connect with Maasai people during this hour-long visit to a Maasai community, learn about their culture and distinctive way of life, and observe some of their customs and practices firsthand.
A few hours are made aside for this quick interactive visit to the community, which is often on the periphery of the main Mara game reserve limits, which is typically included as an excursion as part of a lengthier multi-day Masai Mara safari tour. How much does it cost to visit a Maasai village? is a question that many tourists ask. The cost of a village visit, which includes a fee paid to the village and round-trip transportation from your Masai Mara lodge or camp to the village, ranges from USD 25 to $50 per person. When you go on a road safari with your own Driver-Guide, who will pay the entrance fee, the cost is frequently lower.
When you arrive by plane on a package safari, the higher fee of USD 50 per person usually applies, and the camp will then bill you for the fee for the village visit. In this case, the price can again vary from USD 30 to USD 50 per person depending on which camp you are staying at and which village they take you to visit. It should be noted that after paying the entry charge, you may be expected to purchase a souvenir or curios from the villagers, while this is not required. Be prepared, though, for some Maasai villagers to make persistent attempts to sell you what are typically low-priced handcrafted goods. However, overall we believe this is a small drawback that has become a part of the experience and that the positive aspects of the trip outweigh the drawbacks. For some people, this can be an unpleasant part of the expedition.
Walking Safaris & Bush Walks
With the aim of observing wild creatures in their natural habitat without the use of a vehicle, participants in a bush walking safari embark on leisurely, guided walks in a wildlife conservation area.
While in Masai Mara, there are two different kinds of nature walks available. Both inside and outside the main reserve, there are nature walks. The cost for these camp walks ranges from USD 50 to USD 75 per person and the length is roughly 45 to 1 hour. The duration of walks beyond the main reserve is roughly 2 1/2 to 3 hours, covering a distance of 9 to 15 kilometers. Depending on the timings, the walks also include a packed breakfast or lunch, as well as wildlife drives to and from the walking safari location. The cost per person ranges from USD 90 to USD 150. It is best to do these natural strolls in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not too scorching.
With the exception of Hells Gate National Park, almost all Kenyan national parks forbid walking inside them. Both on the Narok county side and the Mara Conservancy side of the main Masai Mara National Reserve, the situation is the same. A well-planned and supervised walking safari may be possible in the private conservancies that surround the main reserve, while camps and lodges inside the main reserve provide shorter nature walks, frequently lasting no longer than an hour, in the area right around the safari site.
Horse Riding Safari (This is the BEST THING to do in KENYA)
Exploring Africa’s untamed wilderness on horseback is one of the most thrilling safari experiences, not least because places like the extended regions of the Masai Mara Game Reserve are abundant with wildlife, and the thrill of getting up close to magnificent animals while on horseback is a special attraction.
Masai Mara horseback safaris are only available outside of the main Reserve, which includes private conservancies and game ranches, due to the fact that horses are not allowed inside the main Reserve itself. Accommodations for horseback riding In Kenya, safari frequently takes the form of movable camps that follow the itinerary. These camps offer more amenities than simple camping, such as freshly prepared meals and assistance setting up camp, as well as comfortable bedding within tents that may range from premium type camps to more basic 2 or 3 man tents.
Bush Meals & Sundowners
Some Sundowners after a busy day with Mara Engai
Eating among the untamed savannahs of Africa has a certain almost primitive appeal, especially if you choose Masai Mara where it’s likely that you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking scenery and impressive wildlife. Due of this, special lunches are a common activity while a safari in the Masai Mara, with specific alternatives given below.
Picnic Lunch: The meal itself is in the form of packed lunch boxes that are provided by your camp or lodge by prior arrangement the night before to give them enough time to prepare the meal boxes. This is typically arranged during a full day game outing in the reserve so that one does not have to go back to the lodge or camp for lunch. The traditional dinner is straightforward but satisfying, but the frequently picturesque setting in the wild makes this a genuinely memorable supper. Instead of lunch in-house, the majority of Masai Mara resorts offer this meal at no additional expense.
Bush Breakfast & Dinners: a more lavish meal, which, in the case of a Bush dinner, might also be an event in and of itself with entertainment like light music or tribal dance performances, would be served around a bonfire. In the Masai Mara, bush lunches are organized at specially designated locations that are typically found outside of but relatively close to the corresponding Lodges or Camps. Price ranges for these special meals fluctuate greatly, starting at USD 40 per person and going up to + USD 100 per person for more opulent bush feasts. Menus can range from multi-course gourmet cuisine to more casual bush BBQ meals.
Sundowners: Given how special it is to end a day on safari with your favorite drink in hand, the company of friends or loved ones, and a stunning sunset playing out right before your eyes, many upscale hotel properties in Masai Mara now offer sundowners as either a pre-included amenity or as optional add-on activities.