Masai Mara Safari
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya is arguably the best National Park in Africa, with numerous awards from World Travel Awards. No one can ever get enough of Masai Mara Safari. I have gone to this reserve countless times and every time I always get a new experience.
It is located in Maasai land (Maa Land) this is in the South West of Kenya. It covers 583 Square Miles (Around 1510 Square Kms. These undulated lands full of wonders delivers many attractions. This Maa Land host all kind of species you can ever think of, from the Big Five to all kinds of bird species. It is arguably the best National Reserve in the world, tourists travel thousands of miles just to come and see the beauty this Maa land hosts.
To add ice to the cake, this reserve is the 7th wild wonder, the Great wildebeest migration, more than 2 Million wildebeest mixed with Antelopes and Zebra have a seasonal round migration from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and The Masai Mara National Park. The drama happens in Masai Mara River, while the wildebeest are crossing the river, they get attacked by these huge crocodiles, it is usually a feast for the Hippos, Crocodiles and other preys like the Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, hyenas, wild dogs etc.
NatGeo, BBC and other wildlife powerhouse broadcast camp here all year long, this park is incredibly and unbelievably how it can get all together in the same place. It is a Photographers dream, no better place than in Masai Mara. Every Tourist coming to Kenya Should never miss a game drive in this National Reserve. It is one of the best experiences you will have in a long time.
The 7 Mistakes to Avoid while Booking
Don’t make the following mistakes while booking for a Safari in Masai Mara National Reserve.
7.) Avoid overcrowded Months
The easiest way to avoid the crowds is to plan your Masai Mara safari to avoid the period when the migration is in full swing. If that’s not an option, it is almost impossible to shake off the convoys of safari vehicles that surround the Mara River crossings – you might just have to grin and bear it if that’s why you’re here. That said, while all of those vehicles line up along the riverbank, much of the rest of the reserve can be surprisingly quiet.
Another option is to stay outside the reserve on one of the private or community conservancies that surround the Masai Mara National Reserve to the north and east. Some of these – Mara North, Naboisho, Olare Orok and Olderikesi, in particular – have some of Africa’s highest population densities for Big Cats and, though expensive, are only accessible for those staying in one of the conservancy’s small lodges or tented camps. And if you’re staying here, you can always enter the reserve to see the migration, and then return to the relative quiet of the conservancy when you’ve had enough.”
6.) Book Early
A safari to Masai Mara needs early planning, you might have saved your money for this particular destination but I have seen many people miss out the best hotels as many hotels are already fully booked by the start of the year. It is advisable to start engaging your travel agent early enough to avoid the last-minute rush. This can mess you up big time. It is even crazier you may miss out flight tickets. If possible, plan or book your Safari six or seven months earlier especially if you are coming in peak season, i.e. July 1st to 30th October. During the low season (1st April – 30th June) you can even do a last-minute booking and get a good deal.
When you book early you stand a chance to bargaining power and probably compare two or three tour operators. You will get a good deal.
5.) When the deal is too good.
I see many tourist rush booking their Safari because they have gotten good deals online from unscrupulous cartels parading as Tour Operators, it is peak season (1st July- 30th October) and everyone in Kenya knows it is time for tourist to flock in, what would prevent me masquerading as a tour operator?
This is what you should do to differentiate cartels and real Tour Operators.
Do due diligence of the company you want to book with, you can check their reviews on Trip Advisor or Safaribookings.com. Have they been operational? How are the previous clients saying? You can even contact them and ask how the services of the particular Company. Well, some of the companies might not have reviews but according to Kenyan law, all tour companies must be registered and should have an operative license from Tourism Regulation Authority (TRA LICENSE) if you are sceptical ask for it. Last but not least you can book with tour operators who are members of Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) is one of the key tourism trade associations in Kenya, representing the interests of over 400 of the most experienced professional tour operators in Kenya. Members are bound by the Code of Conduct to provide the highest possible quality of service to their clients.
4.) Book with Local Companies
Yes, book with local Tour Operators, this comes with numerous advantages.
Local Tour Operators are cheaper as opposed to international companies, this is where with the local operator you get a direct booking but with an International Operator there will always be a third party and this goes without saying the cost will shoot high to cater for the third party and the company to remain with something.
Local tour Operators will give undivided attention, they will do their best to give you an incredibly surreal experience. They will want a good review, good recommendation to your friends and family and they cannot afford to mess you up.
3.) Book at least 2nights 3Days.
Many tourists combine Masai Mara Safari with other destinations, for example, the most famous route is, Safari Starts in Nairobi- Amboseli – Naivasha – Masai Mara. Now Masai Mara is around 300Kms (186Miles) on a good road doing 180Km/h this should be a 5hrs Drive at most but the roads to Masai Mara offer what we refer as African Natural Massage and this can add up to 3 or 4hours depending which tour vehicle. Lastly, I was there the roads are almost done, however, if you do Masai Mara less than 3Days it will mean you will spend most of your time on the road. Even when the roads will be up and running, you should consider maintaining the rule as Masai Mara is so huge, you can`t do it within a day and then it is so satisfying you will always want to stay longer.
2.) Use Tour Agent
As much as you could be tempted to book on your own it is not advised.
First, it is more expensive, tour operators (Incredible Kenya Adventures a KATO Member is My designated Tour Company) always have good deals. They will give you a personal touch, from welcoming you at the Airport to seeing you off during departure. You will get numerous information that you could not have gotten on your own. You will be culturally enriched. It is such a hustle to do it all on your own, finally but not least you will have fed a family to say the least.
1.) Chose the right Tour Vehicle.
There are three types of tour vehicles: The 4wd Land Cruiser popularly known as a (Jeep), Tour Van and an Overland Truck.
Toyota Land Cruiser (Jeep)
This is a full-time 4wd, it is highly recommended for a Masai Mara Safari, especially during the rainy season, it is more expensive than the Tour Van but worth every coin. It also gives you a wider view and a more comfortable ride. It has a capacity of 8 to 9Pax
If you are on a tight budget but still you need this safari, the tour van is the right choice especially during dry seasons it is the most ideal. They all have a pop-up roof for wildlife viewing just like the jeep. It has a capacity of 8 to 9Pax
This is the most ideal vehicle for a group. It has a capacity of, from 20 to 28Pax. It gives you a good view thanks to the elevated ground clearance.
Nothing more exciting and fulfilling than a good, remarkable and satisfactory Safari. Some save a lifetime just to do this, so it is a big deal and no chance to mess your Safari, you need a lifetime experience. No matter what you decide at the end of the day you want to feel the worth of every single coin, you want a service beyond expectations and be willing to tip your guide because you enjoyed every single minute.