Masai Mara is the crown jewel of Kenya’s tourism industry, attracting visitors who are willing to pay top dollar from all over the world. If you’re on a budget but would like to see Kenya’s wild side, consider a Masai Mara safari sharing trip.
This allows you to join an existing safari to Masai Mara as an individual, couple or group of friends.
It is recommended to tag someone along for this trip so that you can share a room with them and bring your accommodation costs even lower.
This is because travellers joining the trip on their own will be required to stay at a single room and pay higher than per person sharing rates.
This should not discourage you. If your friends or significant other cannot make it for this trip, you will still enjoy huge savings on transport and game drives.
Masai Mara sharing involves group transport to and from Nairobi as well as daily shared game drives.
If you prefer to take a solo road trip to Maasai Mara, you’d have a lot to consider. First, you’d have to hire a suitable vehicle that would traverse the bumpy roads with ease.
The state of the road beyond Narok is poor and it’s easy to get lost once you get to the park.
You would also have to cough up more cash to hire a professional guide at the park’s gate – there are many rules to follow within the Mara and disobeying them will lead to hefty on-the-spot fines.
Chances are, your car will not have two way, long range radio communication as tour operators’ vehicles do, so the other guides will not be able to update you on where to get animal sightings.
This, combined with the absence of a pop-up roof will only deliver a sub-par safari experience at best.
Self-drive to Masai Mara is therefore not recommended. Consequently, group joining tours to Masai Mara have become increasingly prevalent.
Why Masai Mara Safari Sharing Is Becoming Popular
- You make new connections: Masai Mara safari sharing allow you to network with other like-minded travellers.
- You share the safari experience: Imagine going all the way to Mara, watching the savage savanna and not having anyone to discuss it with. Joining a group safari allows you to share your magical travel discoveries.
- You can easily view game and take amazing wildlife photos: Since a maximum of 6 people share a vehicle, a window seat is guaranteed. The pop-up roof also comes in handy for photography during scenic game drives.
- Your pick up & drop off is handled: Your tour van will pick you up in Nairobi and drop you off once your Masai Mara sharing experience comes to a close. This makes your road trip hassle-free because the driver deals with timekeeping, stopovers, refuels and other journey concerns.
- Your costs of travel go lower: Shared transport, driver and tour guide lowers your travel expenses compared to a self-drive safari experience. If you’re looking for a pocket-friendly weekend break, a Masai Mara safari sharing experience is the way to go.
- Your meals are on full board: A typical shared road safari starts with lunch at Narok just before you drive to your camp or lodge. Dinner and breakfast will be enjoyed at the camp and a picnic lunch will be packed for you on the second day of your trip. You will then have dinner and breakfast at the camp and opt for a picnic lunch or stop over at Narok on your way to Nairobi.
- You are accompanied by an English speaking guide: The driver who takes you to the Mara is also a professional guide. He knows where the wildlife hotspots are, where to settle down for your picnic lunch, best areas for photo opportunities and what rules to follow while in the park.
Cons of Masai Mara Safari Sharing
- It requires tolerance: You will be travelling with other strangers who may have peculiar habits such as poor timekeeping. Delays are bound to happen if you are all staying in different camps. The driver does his best to keep everyone and every activity running on schedule and most fellow travellers will be considerate enough to show up on time.
- Activities attract extra costs: If you would like to go out on a hot air balloon safari or visit a local Maasai Village, you will have to pay extra. Personal expenses, tips and gratuities are also excluded in the trip cost.
- Fixed travel itinerary: The itinerary is rarely changed. If you need to stop over for nyama choma along the way or want to take photos at an interesting site, your fellow travellers must agree to the suggestion.
Masai Mara Safari Sharing Itinerary
This experience is usually 3 days long. Here’s what to expect when you go on a shared Masai Mara road safari.
Day 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara
You will be expected to arrive 30 minutes before departure at an agreed upon location in Nairobi.
This will give you ample time to break the ice and introduce yourself to other travellers. You will also be briefed by the safari guide on the journey ahead. The safari van will then depart at 8:00 am.
You will see beautiful landscape views at the Great Rift Valley Escarpment View Point, where you will stop for 15 minutes.
At this point, you could purchase a souvenir from the curios around and relieve yourself before boarding the van.
Your drive will continue on the Maai Mahiu- Narok road enjoying views of Mount Suswa and the rolling wheat farms in Narok. You will then stop over for 1 hour in Narok for a buffet lunch with your new friends.
Shortly after lunch, your bumpy ride to Masai Mara will continue where you pass through Maasai villages and arrive at your camp just before 4:30 pm.
Camp attendants will welcome you with a refreshing glass of juice and a wet face towel to wipe off the dust. They will then check you into your tented camp where you can freshen up before the evening game drive.
At 5:00 pm, the guide will pick you and your safari mates and head to the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The park fees will be included in the trip cost so you’ll only have to present your Identity Card to the rangers.
They are very strict with ticketing, so if you forget your ID you will not be allowed into the reserve. This will be a huge inconvenience to the driver and fellow travellers if they have to drive you back to the camp. Alternatively, they could leave you at the gate and pick you up at 6:30 pm when their game drive comes to an end.
Day 2: Full Day Game Drive
The second day offers all you can see wildlife – game viewing is unlimited if you maximise your hours so your lunch will be packed so that you don’t come back to camp in between your game drives.
You will be required to wake up very early so as not to inconvenience the rest of the crew, so make sure that you’ve taken your breakfast and are ready to go by 6:30 am.
Your guide will take you through the Mara in search of the Ugly 5 (Marabou Stork, warthog, hyena, vulture and wildebeest) and the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo)
Herbivores such as topis, elands, gazelles, giraffes, wildebeests, zebras and numerous birds can also be spotted. You will also enjoy kilometres of savanna speckled by acacia trees and trampled on by millions of wildebeests.
At 1:00 pm, the driver will stop on the banks of the Mara River where you’ll settle down for a delicious picnic lunch after which you could take a short hike through the banks.
The park rangers are the only ones who are authorised to guide you through the hippo and crocodile infested banks. This will be an additional cost to you although the amount depends on how well you can negotiate with the ranger.
Shortly after the guided tour, you will drive to the Tanzania-Kenya Border where you can take some amazing photos with wild game in the background.
The driver will then continue with the game drive and head back to camp as the sun sets over the Mara plains. This will be followed by dinner and hours at the bonfire with other camp guests until bedtime.
Day 3: Early Morning Game Drive & Trip to Nairobi
The game drive on the third day is optional and those who are eager to see the wild will be required to get ready and have breakfast by 6:30 am.
The driver will guide you through the Mara where you can enjoy this premier wildlife park one last time.
Alternatively, you may visit a Maasai village before departure where you will be expected to part with KSh 2000 for the village chief
At 9:30 am, you will begin your drive back to Nairobi and stop over at Narok for a quick bite. You will then arrive in the city shortly before 4:00 pm.
Masai Mara Safari Sharing Accommodation
Enkorok Mara Camp is one of the best safari sharing camps and is located 2.5km from Oloolaimutiek Gate. It offers luxury accommodation at affordable rates which is perfect for those who want a budget-friendly safari without compromising on their comfort.
Its tented accommodations are spacious and feature Maasai decor and come fitted with private bathrooms with 24/7 hot shower, toiletries, clean fluffy towels, charging panels, mosquito nets, comfortable beds and balcony with wooden seats.
From here, you can enjoy delicious cocktails as you watch the sunset over Oloolotikoshi Hills, which can only be interrupted by elephants, zebras and other foragers who visit the tented camp.
The staff are extremely warm making sure that you are well taken care of from arrival to departure.
Honeymooners will enjoy the double tent and romantic bush dinner while families will find spacious accommodation in the family tent.
Groups sharing a safari may opt for single rooms or a triple room.
How to Book a Masai Mara Safari Sharing Experience
The safest way to join a safari sharing trip to Mara is to book with a reliable tour operator such as Vacay Holiday Deals by sending a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot afford this safari sharing trip right away, you could trip now and pay later.
A safari sharing experience will not only allow you to see all that Kenya has to offer, but it will also give you the opportunity to meet amazing people who care about travel as much as you do.