Considering a camping safari in Masai Mara?
If you are on a budget and want to explore Masai Mara’s abundant wildlife, then Kambu Campers offers an unbeatable camping safari at a great price. Their camping safari packages include three nights of luxury tent camping in the heart of the Masai Mara with all meals included. During your stay, you will enjoy personalized game drives and nature walks to explore some of the most stunning scenery and incredible wildlife that Africa has to offer.
Camping in Mara has been used to loosely translate to both luxury glamping accommodations and cheap non-permanent tent accommodations. With the privilege of owning and operating a camp in Masai Mara, we offer both mid-tier (not really luxury) glamping safari and also offer our campground for our guests to pitch their tents. Read more about budget safari packages here.
If you are familiar with the Mara ecosystem including the campsites in the Mara Triangle, check out our guide on camping and campsites in Masai Mara National Reserve here.
How Many Days for a Camping Safari in Masai Mara:
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Masai Mara outdoors with our thoughtfully crafted 4-day/3-night camping safari package. We believe it will cater to the needs of all nature enthusiasts, ensuring an unforgettable adventure. You will start and end your safari in Nairobi and you’ll cover close to 800km for your trip from Nairobi, games drives in the Mara, and the drive back to Nairobi. Unless otherwise arranged in advance, you’ll be staying at our Kambu Mara Camp which is located just outside the main Gate to the National Reserve.
Glamping vs Camping in Masai Mara; which is better?
That’s a very personal question and everyone will have their own opinion. Both options are incredibly rewarding for different reasons.
Glamping in Masai Mara offers the opportunity to experience nature but with all of the comforts of home. Our glamping package includes three nights of luxury tent camping in the heart of the Masai Mara with all meals included. The tents are equipped with comfortable beds in a spacious luxury ripstop canvas with top PVC roofing. Plus you can expect a sumptuous breakfast, a well-balanced lunch meal, and delicious three-course dinners each evening.
Camping on the other hand has its unique charm that’s quite hard to beat; it allows you to feel truly in touch with the beauty of nature. Kambu Campers offers camping packages that provide a fully equipped campsite, including spacious tents and all necessary cooking utensils. We also provide experienced guides for game drives and walks through the stunning Masai Mara landscape, allowing you to experience one of Africa’s most iconic safari spots in an affordable way.
How Much Does a Masai Mara Camping Safari Cost?
The cost of our camping safari with access to spacious glamping tents in our Kambu Masai Mara camp starts from only $90 per person per night and includes all meals. This is an unbeatable price when compared to other safaris of similar quality and duration. The $90 price tag excludes transport costs from Nairobi to Masai Mara. Our all-inclusive package ranges from $250 to $300 per person per day and includes transport, accommodation, and park fees. However, this package excludes ‘optional’ activities such as hot-air balloon rides or Masai village visits.
If you want to pitch your tent in our campground, it costs $15 per person per day and this excludes meals. You’ll have to get your transport from Nairobi to Masai Mara and will pay for your entrance fee to the Reserve. An all-inclusive package with transport options from Nairobi to the Mara with tent camping gear game drives and Park fees is in the range of $150 to $200. You may be wondering why the regular tent camping package still exceeds $100 yet the camping fee is $15 per person.
In this separate article, I have shared details on all the affordable accommodations in Masai Mara you can choose from.
While Kambu Campers can significantly reduce the accommodation cost with the heavily subsidized campsite fees, the entrance fee to the Masai Mara Reserve is around $80 for non-residents which contributes significantly to the $150-$200 per day price tag. We strive to reduce costs by organizing shared transportation from Nairobi and game drives for groups. Please note that this option may not always be available, as it depends on the timing of your visit. Please indicate in advance if you’d like to opt for shared transport.
Your Masai Mara Camping Itinerary;
On the first day, you will meet your driver/guide, who will give you an overview of the entire trip. They will introduce you to the amenities in the car and familiarize you with what to expect in terms of departure times from Nairobi on the drive to Mara. Depending on your arrival time, you might have the opportunity to explore a bit of Nairobi on your first day. You could consider checking out Kambu Nairobi Camp, although it is optional. Alternatively, you can take the time to relax and unwind in the comfort of your hotel.
On the second day, you will depart early in the morning to Masai Mara National Reserve. The journey takes about 4-5 hours with scenic views along the way traversing the Great Rift Valley Escarpment. You will pass by a town called Narok which is the headquarters for the County managing the Mara Reserve. You have an option to grab coffee or water at Narok’s Java or Art Cafe before onward drive from Narok to Kambu Mara Camp.
Upon arrival at Kambu Mara Campsite, you will be welcomed by our friendly staff and shown your tented accommodation for the duration of your stay. After settling in, you can choose to relax in the camp’s lounge area and have lunch. You’ll go for your first game drive at around 3 pm and be back to the camp by 6:30 pm.
Indulge in a serene sundowner and unwind with a refreshing drink or two before enjoying a delightful dinner. Then, retreat to the cozy confines of your tent and marvel at the vast expanse of stars above (remember, stargazing comes at no extra cost!). You can also engage other happy campers in the lounge/common area or the bar area. You can also request a dedicated fire for yourself or your group to relax around and share stories of the day’s adventures.
You’ll have a very early start on the third day, as you set out for a morning game drive just after breakfast. Depending on your confirmed itinerary, you may embark on the drive just as the sun is rising. This is the perfect time to catch glimpses of elusive nocturnal animals and witness the sunrise over the vast savannah.
You will enter through the Sekenani Gate and drive northwards towards the Mara Triangle. If you wish, you can even venture further north to the Olololo Escarpment in the Mara North Conservancy. Your guide will tailor the destinations based on the animals you are most interested in seeing. For instance, if lions are at the top of your list, the driver will likely take you towards conservancies such as Ol Kinyei where there is a high concentration of lions and other predators. Depending on your confirmed itinerary, you’ll carry a picnic lunch or you’ll head back to camp for lunch and some relaxation before the afternoon game drive. In the late afternoon, you’ll witness the peak activity of animals, making it the perfect time for spotting predators on the prowl. As the sun sets, indulge in yet another breathtaking sundowner before heading back to camp for a delightful dinner and a cozy night in your tent. An option of a warm fire is also available.
Note that this third day’s activities can be arranged so you go for a Masai village tour or a hot air balloon safari.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. On the fourth and final day of your budget camping safari, you will have a leisurely breakfast before going on one last early game drive which will last for about 3 hours. This is your last chance to spot any animals you may have missed during your previous drives. After that, you’ll head back to camp to pack, and leave for Nairobi.
Your guide will then drive you back to Nairobi, leaving behind the beautiful landscape of the Maasai Mara.
Where will I camp during the Masai Mara camping safari?
Kambu Mara Camp is situated around 8 kilometers from Sekenani Gate. Even though the camp is not located right at the gate, it is situated between Nasholai Conservancy and Naboisho Conservancies. Read more about our camp here.
You will be able to camp on a gentle slope overlooking the vast Nashulai Conservancy. Nashulai Conservancy is a 5000-acre conservation area set aside by the community – the only one founded and managed by the local Masai people. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) awarded the Equator Prize to this conservancy in 2020. This prize was given in recognition of the Indigenous communities’ nature-based solutions that address climate change and biodiversity loss.
What amenities can I expect at the Kambu Mara Campsite?
Below are the basic amenities in our campsite accessible for all budget travelers;
- Running water – We supply clean water for drinking and showers
- Hot showers in shared washrooms
- Safe campground with a fence around it
- Charging ports for electronics
- Shared kitchen and utensils
- Shared common area/working space
- Bar and lounge area
- A dedicated smoking area in the compound
- Comfortable canvas chairs and benches
- Wifi connectivity
- Fire pit
A few of our permanent glamping tents will have ensuite bathrooms and showers but most of them will have bathrooms and toilets outside the tents – shared bathrooms and toilets. As you make your booking, kindly indicate your accommodation preference and kindly ask any questions to avoid any surprises.
What’s Included in this Package:
An all-inclusive package in our budget camping safari includes;
- 3 nights of accommodation in the Mara.
- All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- Game drives/walking safaris with experienced guides.
- Park fees into Masai Mara National Reserve.
- Transport from Nairobi to Masai Mara and back (shared option possible in case you opt for a shared transport option).
- Internet access
- A basic amenity package (as listed above).
- English-speaking guide-driver who will assist you throughout your safari.
- Air evacuation insurance with Flying Doctors
- Bottled drinking water
- Visa fees
- Flight cost
- Health-related costs such as COVID vaccination, Yellow Fever vaccination, among others
- Access to a swimming pool – We don’t have a swimming pool
- Access to optional activities such as hot air balloon rides
What’s a camping safari in the Mara like?
Our packages offer the perfect combination of wilderness and comfort. We have included several amenities to enhance your experience without increasing the cost. Feel free to enjoy the great outdoors while still having a stress-free and comfortable trip. Our experienced guides will ensure you get the most out of your safari, from game drives to walking safaris into the reserve. Read more about walking safaris in Kenya here.
You will also have a chance to see animals such as zebra, antelopes, and giraffes from the comfort of your tent. Our campsite is located near a major watering hole and you can expect to see animals quenching their thirst while grazing and drinking. Read more about camping in Kenya’s national Parks here or specifically camping inside Masai Mara National Reserve here.
- Hot-Air Balloon Safari($450): Experience the Masai Mara from a different perspective. Get a bird’s eye view of the vast landscape and witness animals in their natural habitat while floating above.
- Masai Cultural Visit($20): Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Masai people by visiting their villages and learning about their traditional way of life.
- Night Game Drive($30): Witness the nocturnal animals come to life on this unique safari experience.
- Walking/Bush Walks($20): With our guides and security, explore the Mara on foot and discover hidden gems not accessible by vehicle.
- Watch the great migration – part of the game drive and included in the package if you visit from July to October. Check out our 3 special Great Migration Packages for 2024 here.
Remember, these activities are optional and can be added to customize your safari experience. Our packages already include all meals, transport within the reserve, and accommodation in our comfortable tents. Don’t forget to pack lightly as space is limited on our camping safaris. Please let us know if you are interested in any of the add-ons when you book your safari with us.
Porini Lion Camp, Sand River Camp, Saruni Mara, Sala’s Camp, Governors Camp, and Kichwa Tembo Tented Camps are among the top-rated safari lodges and tented camps in the Mara according to various blogs. I have personally been to Governors Camp located in Mara North Conservancy within the Mara Triangle and I had the best experience with its wide variety of Big cats including the famous Pride of Marsh Lions.
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