One of the main reasons we embarked on exploring and ultimately constructing our Kambu tented camp in the Mara was the scarcity of affordable accommodation options for tourists visiting the Maasai Mara reserve.
I was personally taken aback by the fact that the majority of lodging choices start at a steep $100 per night per person. This exorbitant price tag proves to be excessively high for budget travelers and even those seeking mid-range accommodations. In contrast, comparable options in Narok County range from a more reasonable $20 to $30 per night for two people sharing a room. This stark contrast sheds light on the exorbitant costs of tented accommodations, lodges, and hotels in the Mara.
What is affordable/cheap accommodation in Masai Mara?
The best option for budget-conscious travelers is to stay in campsites and mid-range tented accommodations. These are typically located near the game parks, offering excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. They range from basic camping sites with shared bathrooms to luxury glamping tents with air conditioning and private bathrooms. Prices vary from as little as $20 per night per person, depending on the amenities offered.
I personally consider anything that’s less than $50 very reasonable for an overnight stay in the Mara- a price that is still far cheaper than most of the lodge and hotel options.
Another great option to consider is budget guesthouses and lodges near Masai Mara National Reserve’s main gates such as Sekenani and Talek. These small towns offer per-night rentals at significantly lower prices, making them a great option for budget travelers.
Finally, if you’re looking for something even more affordable, hostels are the way to go! There is an increasing number of hostel options in Maasai Mara that offer beds and shared bathrooms at very reasonable prices. This type of accommodation can be perfect for backpackers looking to explore the MasaiMara on a budget. However, bear in mind that some of them have limited services and amenities, so it’s best to do your research before booking.
So, are there budget accommodation options in Maasai Mara?
The answer is yes but there are very few. You can find hotels and guesthouses for as low as $40 to $70 per night with two people sharing a room. However, the quality of these budget hotels might not be up to the standards you expect. Some hotels provide basic amenities such as bedding, a bathroom, and hot water but don’t have other services like Wi-Fi or air conditioning. In addition, the majority of budget hotels are located away from the Gates of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
If you’re looking for a slightly better experience, you can go with mid-range options which start at around $100 per night. These hotels generally provide decent rooms and amenities such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning, hot water, etc. Some even have swimming pools and other recreational activities. The main drawback is that they’re usually located away from the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, there are plenty of options ranging from $250 to $400 per night depending on what services and amenities you need. These hotels generally offer world-class service and amenities such as spas, gyms, swimming pools, bars, and restaurants. They’re also located close to the Maasai Mara National Reserve which allows you to easily access it at any time.
Which hotels are cheap and affordable for budget travelers in Maasai Mara?
- Mara Siria Camp – Less than $100
- Royal Mara camp – Less than $100
- Elerai Camp – Less than $100
- Kandili – Less than $150
- Sarova mara Club tent – $80
- Tawi Lodge – $155
- Emaiyan Guest House – less than $50
- Mara Olodare – Less than $100
- Miti Mingi Eco-camp – Less than $100
Comparing Costs: Which ones are the cheapest?
Tented camps are generally more rustic and provide basic amenities such as bedding, a bathroom, and hot water. They’re usually located away from the Maasai Mara National Reserve but still provide some great views of the surrounding area. Hotels on the other hand offer world-class services and amenities such as spas, gyms, swimming pools, bars, and restaurants. They’re also located close to the Maasai Mara National Reserve allowing you to easily access it at any time. On the other hand, a lodge is usually located in the middle of the reserve and provides an experience closer to nature than a hotel. Lodges generally provide basic amenities such as bedding, a bathroom, hot water, and sometimes meals. They’re also usually located away from the main road or tourist areas so you can enjoy more privacy and tranquility during your stay.
Should I choose a cheap hotel or cheap lodge or cheap tented camp?
The choice between a cheap hotel, lodge or tented camp depends on your budget and what kind of experience you’re looking for. Hotels generally offer better services and amenities than lodges or tented camps so if you want a more luxurious stay then go with a hotel. On the other hand, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature then a lodge or tented camp is the way to go. In terms of cost, tented camps are usually cheaper than lodges and hotels so if you’re on a tight budget then this might be your best option. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you want out of your stay in Maasai Mara.
Where do I stay in Masai Mara when I visit?
When it comes to finding a place to stay, you’ll be spoilt for choice with over 100 accommodation options to choose from when you come on a safari to Masai Mara. Whether you prefer the comfort of an AirBnb, the adventure of tented camps, the convenience of lodges, the familiarity of hotels, or the charm of traditional campsites, there’s something for everyone. The best part is that you can tailor your choice to suit your budget. If you’re watching your wallet, you’ll find plenty of affordable hotels and tented camps that offer great value for money. On the other hand, if you’re looking to indulge in luxury, you can opt for one of the many world-class lodges or hotels located inside the Reserve. With such a wide range of options available, you can find the perfect accommodation that suits your preferences and makes your stay truly unforgettable.
5-star hotels in maasai Mara:
- The Mara Serena Safari Lodge
- Mara River Camp
- Ashnil Mara Camp
- Keekorok Lodge
- Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
- Mara Simba Lodge
- Kilima Camp
- Enkewa Mara Camp
- Basecamp Explorer Masai Mara.
4-star hotels in Maasai Mara:
- Fig Tree Camp
- Tipilikwani Mara Camp.
- Osero’s Luxury Tented Camp
- Tortilis Camp
- Mara Safari Club
- Loyk Mara Lodge
- Mara Bushtops Conservancy
- Miti Mingi Eco-Camp
Luxury Hotels in the Mara:
- Mara Serena Safari Lodge
- Elewana Sand River Mara
- The Governor’s Il Moran Camp
- Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
- Naboisho Camp
- Saruni Mara
- Mara Intrepids Club & Tented Camp.
What makes a good hotel when traveling to Maasai Mara?
When traveling to Maasai Mara, there are certain factors that can help you determine if a hotel is good.
- Location: Location is one of the most important factors – it’s best to stay in hotels located close to the main tourist areas and national reserves so you can easily access them.
- Amenities: Another factor is amenities and services – make sure the hotel offers all the necessary amenities such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning, hot water, etc.
- Activities they offer: It’s also a good idea to check if the hotel offers activities such as game drives, bush walks, swimming, etc.
- Game drives: Check to see if the hotel offers game drives – some hotels even offer private game drives that allow you to explore the reserve without the crowds. This can be a great way to experience the Maasai Mara in all its glory.
- Picnics: Also, check to see if the hotel offers picnic lunches and dinners – this can be a great way to make your stay more enjoyable.
- Safety: Finally, it’s important to ensure the hotel provides good security measures so you can feel safe during your stay.
- Price: Finally, price is also important – make sure the hotel isn’t overcharging you for amenities and services. Customer reviews: It’s always a good idea to read customer reviews before choosing a hotel in Maasai Mara.
How to find a cheap hotel/lodge in Maasai Mara:
Book through a tour operator:
Budget tour operators such as Kambu Campers are able to get discounts from hotels and lodges in the Maasai Mara. Through them, you can book a lodge or hotel for much less than what is advertised on their website. For example, we get as low as 50% of the prices advertised on booking.com and pass the discount along to our budget travelers. The caveat, however, is that most tour operators do not pass the cost saving to travellers so you have to be specific to work with budget tour operators. In all our packages, we are almost 30 to 50% lower than our peers.
It’s always best to book directly with the hotel/lodge instead of going through third-party websites such as Booking.com or Expedia because they charge additional fees which add up. You can usually get better deals by contacting the hotel/lodge directly and getting a quote for a specific number of days or making an offer.
Go for camping options:
Camping is a great way to save money. You can get camping packages from as low as $20 per night which includes accommodation and meals. It’s usually the cheapest option in Maasai Mara and you also have the chance to bond with other people around the campfire.
Book during off-peak season:
Prices are generally much lower during the off-peak season which is usually during the rainy months (April to June). You can also get package deals from tour operators or hotel/lodges that can save you a lot of money.
Book accommodations outside the park:
There is a proposal to charge a park entrance fee per 12-hour period making those hotels and lodges inside the park more expensive as you’ll be paying park fees even during nighttime. This adds your accommodation fee by $80 for non-residents. It is prudent to book accommodation outside the park so you only pay for daytime presence in the park. Also, if you’re visiting Mara for a long period, you can avoid paying park fees even when you want to stay in the hotel and not go for game drives.
Opt for self-drive transport option:
By opting for self-drive transport, you can save a lot of money on expensive transfer fees. There are rental car services in Nairobi and many affordable packages that provide transport from the airport to the Maasai Mara. This also gives you more flexibility to explore the park as you please. Read about our self-drive car hire here.
Rent a campervan:
By renting a campervan with bedding and a kitchenette, you can save a lot of money on accommodation and also have the flexibility to move around as you please. It’s great for budget travelers and those who want a more adventurous experience. Kambu Campers is currently the only tour operator with rental campervans in Kenya.
Cheapest Hotels in Maasai Mara:
According to listings on Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and Expedia, the cheapest and most affordable accommodations in the Mara are small independent tented camps and lodges that are mostly located outside the park or within a few conservancies. From our research, you’ll have better luck finding cheap accommodation around Talek Gate with our favorite being Greenwood.
Kambu Camp, nestled just outside Sekenani Gate, is dedicated to offering the most competitive rates for tented safari camps. Our focus is on budget clients, and we pride ourselves in providing affordable accommodation options without compromising on quality. With rates that often range from $70 to $110 per night, we ensure that every guest experiences comfort, convenience, and an unforgettable wildlife adventure.
What amenities are there at cheap hotels in Maasai Mara:
Budget hotels in Maasai Mara vary in terms of amenities. Most will have basic amenities such as bedding, bathrooms, and hot water but don’t have other services like Wi-Fi or air conditioning. Some mid-range options may provide Wi-Fi connections and swimming pools. The more expensive ones offer world-class service and amenities such as spas, gyms, swimming pools, bars, and restaurants.
Below are the basic amenities to expect:
- Bed – Mostly king-size although some such as Greenwood have even smaller beds which explains their less than $50 price
- .Towels – mainly for showering and not for the pool or beach. Bathroom – Commonly shared bathrooms but some like Elerai Camp have private bathrooms.
- Wi-Fi connection – Most budget hotels don’t provide Wi-Fi in their rooms but they offer free access in common areas or public spaces such as the lobby or restaurant.
- Laundry service – It’s uncommon to find budget hotels with laundry services but some may offer it upon request for a fee.
- Swimming pool – This is generally only found in mid-range and up hotels, not budget ones.
- Air conditioning – Rarely available in budget hotels in Maasai Mara due to the consistent cooler temperatures in the region.
- Restaurant/Bar – Most budget hotels don’t have these services, although they may provide a simple breakfast.
- Activities – Budget hotels may organize activities such as game drives or Cultural visits but it’s not very common to find one that includes them in their rates.
How do I book affordable tented camps in the Mara?
Booking affordable tented camps in the Maasai Mara is quite easy. You can book directly with the camp or lodge, contact a tour operator like Kambu Campers, or go through third-party websites such as Booking.com and Expedia. We recommend going through a tour operator for better discounts and more personalized services.
How much is the cheapest hotel in the Mara?
The cheapest hotel in the Mara is currently Greenwood which charges $45 per night for a double-person tent. This price includes breakfast and all taxes. Other budget hotels such as Elerai Camp, Kambu Campers, and Talek Safari Lodge charge anywhere from $50 to 70 depending on the time of year.
How Kambu Campers can get you Cheap place to Stay:
When you book your Masai Mara safari with Kambu Campers, you can rest assured that you are getting the best deal possible and staying in some of the most affordable, yet comfortable hotels in the area. We work with our partners to secure discounts on tented camps, lodges and hotels that offer hot showers and delicious meals. With Kambu Campers’ expert knowledge of the Masai Mara region, we can help you find a place to stay that meets both your budget and comfort level.
Whether you’re looking for a luxurious camp with all the amenities or just something simple, Kambu Campers has you covered! We believe in creating unique experiences, without compromising on quality or service. That’s why we strive to make sure that our clients don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on their Masai Mara safari.
So, if you’re looking for a great way to explore the Masai Mara on a budget without compromising quality or service, book your trip with Kambu Campers today! We’ll make sure that you get the best deal possible and have an unforgettable experience in this majestic region.
You can contact us for a free quote regarding a stay in the Mara during your visit.