Maasai Mara to Serengeti, Nairobi and others

If you are considering a safari to the Mara, it is important to understand how your transport options from or into the Mara National Reserve. Over the past decade, the Kenyan Government has made significant strides in investing in infrastructure and making transport more reliable and accessible.

Where is Maasai Mara located?

Maasai Mara National Reserve is located in southwestern Kenya, on the northern fringe of the Great Rift Valley. It covers about 1,510 square miles and borders Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. The Mara River cuts through the reserve and is home to a vast array of wildlife.

Below are distances to some other destinations from the Mara:

  • Mara to Serengeti: 25 miles but will need to use the official entry point in Namanga
  • Mara to Nairobi: 232 miles
  • Mara to Mombasa: 308 miles
  • Mara to Kisumu: 225 Miles

Masai mara to ngorongoro crater:

Masai mara is located some 287 kilometers north of Ngorongoro Crater and according to Google maps estimates, it will take you about 6 hours to drive from Maasai mara to Ngorongoro.

By Air

You have to fly from Maasai Mara to Nairobi in order to leave Kenya and enter Tanzania. Only then can you fly domestically within Tanzania, like from Manyara to Ngorongoro (which is about an hour’s drive away).

By road:

If you choose to drive from Mara to Ngorongoro, you have 2 options. You could go west, which would take you around Lake Victoria, and then head east to Ikoma after crossing the border. Or, you could go east toward Nairobi and then down to Arusha via the Namanga border post before heading west again to Manyara and finally to Ngorongoro.

Masai mara to serengeti:

It is possible to drive from Maasai Mara to Serengeti, although it takes around 4-5 hours. The route involves heading east from the Mara until you reach the Namanga border post. Once in Tanzania, you will need to head south towards Arusha and then turn west towards Ngorongoro before finally heading north towards the Serengeti.

By Air:

The fastest way to get from the Masai Mara to the Serengeti is by air – you can fly from Nairobi Wilson Airport directly to any of Serengeti’s airstrips such as Kogatende, which is located near the northern border of the Serengeti National Park. The flight from Mara to Wilson takes 54 minutes while the second leg from Wilson Airport to Serengeti takes about an hour. The flight from Mara to Wilson costs about $240 – $270 and from Wilson to Serengeti, it costs about $300 and a few airlines such as SafariLink and AirKenya operate daily flights;

It takes an hour to fly from Mara to Wilson and about an hour to from Wilson Airport to Kilimanjaro Airport. From Kilimanjaro to Seronera Airstrip in Serengeti takes less than 30 mins. Serengeti has a total of four airstrips; Seronera,Kogatende (ULX), Sasakwa, Lobo and Ndutu LDZ)

If you want to fly during the peak tourist season, one option is to take a flight to Migori Airstrip on the Kenyan side of the border near Isebania. After crossing the border at Isebania, there will be a car waiting for you on the other side that takes you directly to Tarime airstrip. From there, finally, you can take a Serengeti National Park-bound flight.

Masai mara to Nairobi flight:

The best flight to take from Mara to Nairobi is using Safarlink which operates 3 daily flights from Mara’s Angama Airstrip to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. Other airstrips in the Mara that you can board your Safarilink flight bound for Nairobi include Keekorok, Musiara, Kichwatembo, Mara North, Serena, Siena, among others.

If you book your Mara-Wilson flight a month ahead, you will be as low as $240 but last-minute booking may cost you upwards of $300.

Safarlink flights leave the Mara daily at 8:15 am, 11 am and at 3:15 pm.

There are daily flights from Masai Mara to Nairobi Wilson Airport, operated by several airlines such as AirKenya and Safarilink. The flight takes approximately 54 minutes depending on the plane type.

As you can see from the table in the snapshot below, it takes about an hour to fly from Mara to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. See more on Safarlink’s site here.

If you are flying from Mara to Wilson and have to drive to Jomo Kenyatta Airport to catch another international or domestic flight, you can hire a taxi or Uber from Wilson to JKIA. The drive from Wilson Airport to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport takes about 20 minutes and costs between $20 – $30 depending on the time of day and traffic conditions.

The road is smooth all the way from Nairobi to Masai Mara’s Sekenani, Talek or Oloolaimutia gates. The distance is about 225-275 km (140-170 miles) and lasts about 6 hours. If you’re coming from the west side of the Reserve such as Bomet, it’ll take 30 minutes extra if you use the B3 highway instead of turning right at Narok town. The road conditions are pretty bad in some places too- especially the last 75 kilometers leading up to the reserve which is all gravel.

Masai mara to Amboseli flight:

Currently, Mombasa Air Safari is the only airline operating non-stop flights from Maasai Mara (Mara North) HKR to Amboseli National Park ASV. The 179 miles (288 km) distance from Mara to Amboseli takes an hour and costs about $430 as per estimates on this website.

Mombasa Air Safari operates one daily flight for 7 days a week which leaves Maasai mara North airstrip at 2pm for Amboseli National park, ASV arriving at 3 pm.

The Amboseli Airstrip (ASV) is located close to Ol Tukai Lounge situated inside the Park and is about 20 kilometers from Kimana gate and takes you about 42 mins to drive.

If you take this daily afternoon flight from the Mara to Amboseli and are staying at lodges in Amboseli such as Serena or Ol Tukai, most lodges provide airport pick-up. If you booked a lodge outside Amboseli Park such as AA or Tawi Lodge, it will take you about 47 mins (21km) to drive from the airstrip to the lodge.

The main disadvantage of using road instead of air to get to Amboseli from Maasai mara is that Mombasa Road which connects Nairobi to Mombasa is a single-carriage highway that is usually crowded with slow-moving vehicles. Passengers have previously witnessed journey takes about 5 hours of driving, depending on traffic conditions.

Masai mara to Zanzibar:

Zanzibar is located some 441 miles away from Maasai Mara and only one flight currently operates 5 daily flights from Maasai Mara’s Serena Airstrip to Zanzibar International Airport. Check prices on Expedia here.

Hahn Air operates flights between Maasai Mara and Zanzibar with its daily flight leaving the Serena Airstrip (SEV) at 9:90 am with stops in either Kisumu or Nairobi. You can get a one-way ticket for around $475 to $650, but this will fluctuate depending on booking time and availability of seats. With the stopovers, the flight takes 5 to 15+ hours.

Masai mara to Mombasa flight:

There are no direct flights from Maasai mara to Mombasa. Available options have stopovers in Nairobi or Kisumu and cost between $300 to $400 as per Expedia’s estimates. The fastest option with only 2 stops takes about 5 hours as it has a stopover in Kisumu and leaves Mara at 9 am arriving in Mombasa at 2 pm.

Maasai Mara to Kisumu:

As per Expedia’s estimate, you can use a Hahn flight to travel from Mara to Kisumu and will cost you about $266. This is perhaps the shortest flight as it takes only 15 mins leaving Mara North Airstrip at 9:05 am and arrive at Kisumu International Airport at 9:20 am.

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