The legendary Masai Mara is the most visited wildlife reserve in Kenya and it’s very easy to know why. The Mara packs all kinds of animals from six-tonne elephants to tiny dik-diks and squirrels. Cheetahs patrol its open grasslands and leopards haunt the shady forests beside the Mara and Talek rivers.
Lions roam freely in this vast park and crocodiles swim lazily in the Mara river waiting for that thirsty prey. The Mara is so full of life that Disney and BBC chose to film African Cats and Big Cat Diaries in the Mara respectively.
Visiting the Mara is no cheap trip. You need to save appropriately to get a proper and satisfying visit but here are crucial tips that will help you cut costs when visiting Maasai Mara.
1. Join an Organised Tour
A list of many travelling companies in Kenya offers budget trips of two or three nights from Nairobi, with discounted accommodation options. Others, such as Jumia Travel and Bountiful Safaris to name just but a few also offer discounted lodge rates. You should be on the lookout for such budget trips to the Mara to cut costs.
2. Low Season Travel
The best time to travel when rates are low is January to March when the season is low. During this time, lodge rates in the Mara are usually slashed by almost half across the Mara. Peak seasons like during the great wildebeest migration around July and August and other peak seasons like Christmas and Easter are times you should avoid the Mara if you want to cust on costs at the Mara.
3. Shop For The Best Deals at Travel Fairs
Travel fairs such as the Magical Kenya Travel Expo which happens in October can help one to find the best deas from hotels and lodges. During off-peak seasons, you can alternatively shop for other cheaper deals from lodges/hotels websites and choose the one you see as the cheapest.
4. Self-Drive and Camp
Even when hiring a car, going for a self-drive is cheaper because you don’t pay for a driver too, the same thing happens here. If you love camping, then you are in for luck as this will be the cheapest way to explore and experience the majesty of the mighty Mara. It will be important to hire rangers for security when camping in the Mara and guides too but these two will push up your travel costs but they are necessary. Going into the park with your car will be an uphill task for it suits better if you hire one but self-drive.
5. Book Earlier
If you want to visit the Mara, then you can book earlier. This way, you will get a discount for an earlier booking which will go a long way as far as cutting costs is concerned. You can book with your favourite travelling company online and wait for the day of travel.
6. Stay Outside The Park to Reduce Park Fees
The logic here is vivid. If you stay longer in the park, then you will pay extra park fees. This means that when you are done with your visit, stop roaming and get out of the park to avoid the extra park fees.