Kenya Safari Travel Guide: How to Plan a Maasai Mara Safari from Nigeria
The great wildebeest migration, named one of the eight wonders of the world in 2007, is only a few months away. And as a Nigerian planning to go on a Kenya safari in Masai Mara, you are probably wondering where to start. However, planning a Kenya safari from Nigeria isn’t a complicated affair. In this article, James Gatheru, a safari director for ajkenyasafaris.com, discusses the key factors you need to consider when planning your Kenyan safari from Nigeria.
Where you want to go and what you can expect to find
A perfect Kenya safari is only as good as your choice of destination.
Kenya has a rich wildlife buffet, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by what is on offer. That is why it is critically important that you look into what different destinations have in store before making any reservations.
One of the most iconic places to visit is the Maasai Mara. It is the arena for the annual wildebeest migration, also known as the eighth wonder of the modern world.
Visiting the Mara between July to October guarantees you an action-packed safari with a front row seat to this annual spectacle.
More than two million wildebeests make a synchronized death-defying crossing from the Serengeti into the Mara Reserve during the annual wildebeest migration.
While at it, they, alongside an assortment of other herbivores, are plagued by predators making it one of the most dramatic and yet largest overland animal migrations on earth.
Aside from the migration, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve is also home to scores of the Big Five (Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, and Leopard). As well as an assortment of other animals and birdlife.
It is one of the parks with the broadest range of animals globally.
Therefore, you can expect to see these species as well as lesser animals such as the bat-eared fox, caracals, hyenas, mongoose, Thompson’s gazelle, cheetahs, and many more.
Consider Your Travel Party.
Since most vacationers travel in pairs or groups, it is essential that when planning to travel to the Maasai Mara from Nigeria, you keep in mind who your travel party members are and their preferences.
Booking a trip whose activities are unappealing to some members of your group will dampen your holiday. And nobody likes that.
But with proper planning, you can avoid all that unpleasantness.
How? You can still book the same destination but schedule different activities according to your individual preferences.
The good news is that Maasai Mara tours are more than just one thing- there are dozens of things to do in the Mara.
Why not consider booking an early morning hot-air balloon ride across the Mara savannah for lovers of flying?
Hot-Air balloon rides are like a luxurious preview of what is to come later in the day.
As you glide over the vast expanse of the savannah at dawn, with the gorgeous African sunrise on the horizon, you genuinely get to appreciate the majesty of nature.
Hot-Air balloon rides are a must for every luxury tour to Maasai Mara. It’s also a fantastic romantic gift you can enjoy with your significant other.
Some deluxe tour packages to the Mara even include a bottle of champagne for your enjoyment while aboard, followed by a leisurely breakfast once you land.
It is a romantic statement like no other. For families and groups, there are balloon rides for those as well.
And all this just before your day has even begun!
Other activities include day game drives, night game drives, walking safaris, and camping safaris.
Consider including a tour to a Maasai village on your to-do list as well. The Maasai are the indigenous people of the Mara and are imbued with a rich culture.
From their carvings to elaborate and colorful beadwork, they are works of art onto themselves.
The Ideal Time to Visit.
The time of your visit is not only essential to the attractions you hope to catch on your Maasai Mara safari but also on the kind of accommodations you hope to secure.
Therefore, you must pay keen attention to what happens when and which accommodations avail to your particular tour package.
For example, if you intend to do a luxury tour to Maasai Mara, most luxury cottages can accommodate up to 20 individuals at a time.
Again, a safari in the Maasai Mara can be as luxurious and lush as you want it to be or a low-budget affair.
As you ponder over the time you wish to visit, consider making your booking as early as possible to secure the best Maasai Mara safari deals.
Scheduling your visit at least one month ahead of time also allows you to comply with whatever governmental prerequisites may be thrown your way.
One such requirement is the mandatory Yellow fever vaccine and COVID-19 clearances that every visitor has.
Other important medical and safety considerations include taking out travel insurance and consulting your physician for anti-malaria medication.
All in all, early reservations are critical for visitors hoping to visit during peak seasons. That is even more so if they intend to do group travel or hope to secure deluxe packages.
Selecting a Tour Agent.
Whether you are planning a self-guided safari or a guided safari, the advice and input of a reliable tour company are invaluable.
This is especially true for new travelers who may not know how to navigate the country’s wildlife circuit.
Kenya has several professional Maasai Mara tour companies who can make your planning and decision-making process much more manageable.
For starters, depending on the time of year, these experts will suggest what areas and activities are best.
For self-guided safari enthusiasts, such information is critical. The tour agent might also suggest to you where to find reliable transportation etc.
Nonetheless, for a more hassle-free experience, going for a guided tour is best as all the domestic transport and accommodation logistics are handled on your behalf.
Not only will you get the most competitive accommodation, transport, and other amenities for that package class, the professional tour company will be sure to get competitive rates too.
Tour companies also avail native, professional, and experienced tour guides as part of the package.
These are people who understand the Maasai Mara and its inhabitants like the backs of their hands; they will make your safari in the Maasai Mara a breeze.
They also come with well-serviced vehicles for reliable navigation of the Mara savannah.
Aside from the Mara, professional tour agents will also advise you on how to go about the visa process, what vaccinations are required of you, etc.
Should you wish to have your return flight bookings handled by the agent, they do this as well.
Before making any commitments, shop around and compare prices.
Decide on the kind of safari you wish to go for. Is it a budget Maasai Mara safari? A luxury tour to the Maasai Mara? Is it a solo excursion, a romantic safari, a business safari, or a group safari?
How much cash do you wish to spend?
A good rule of thumb is to isolate the flight expenses and consider the cost of the safari independently.
That gives you an easier time when comparing tour package prices.
Bear in mind that flights, tips, personal shopping, and the cost of souvenirs are not included in the Maasai Mara safari packages.
These are extraneous costs borne by the traveler.
Therefore, after you have a rough idea of the package cost, you will also need to consider how much the flight is likely to cost during the time of year you wish to visit.
When contemplating the budgetary requirements, remember to ask your tour agent what is included or excluded from the package deal.
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