A Kenya safari is not just a vacation. It is an odyssey. A trip into the unknown. And that is what makes it so exhilarating!
At the heart of the Maasai Mara, as one hops aboard a hot-air balloon at the crack of dawn, you can’t help feeling the crisp African air, pregnant with the drama of the AFrican Savannahs that is about to unfold. Gently, the balloon drifts up, hovering over the vast Maasai Mara.
All across, sprawling grasslands seem to gradually shake off the last vestiges of darkness to embrace the promising warmth of a spectacular sunrise.
Gradually, the expansive sky dons golden amber hues as the seductive rays of the morning sun kiss the ground and stir the animal kingdom to life. It is a revelation.
You notice a tower of giraffes nearby, gracefully sashaying around nibbling on some tree leaves;
There’s also a couple of agile Dik-Diks dashing playfully about, full of morning energy. For a split second, you wonder what those Dik-Diks are high on.
As if in answer, a grumpy rhino grudgingly grunts as he lumbers forward, his head held down, unamused by the early morning circus.
Unknown to most of these players, a pride of lionesses linger stealthily not far away, vigilant eyes fixated on the Dik-Diks, no doubt planning their family breakfast.
Kenya’s luxury tours to Maasai Mara feel like a real-life version of the movie ‘Lion King,’ a premium season ticket into wildlife theatre with pavilion seating, just for you.
In this guide, experts from MasaiMarasafari.in share tips on how to plan a luxury Maasai Mara safari from India and make the most of your adventure.
Planning a Luxury Masai Mara Safari from India.
Decision-making is the most vital aspect of planning a successful luxury tour to Masai Mara. I mean, which travel agent are you going to book your safari with? How many days will you be in Masai Mara? Where will you stay and how much will it cost you? The following are the critical areas that you need to consider.
Choosing a Travel/ Tour Agent.
On a Kenyan safari, tour agents play a critical role.
These are the guys who help you plan your itinerary, schedule visits, organize your accommodation, domestic flights, provide tour guides, and take care of everything else you need for a successful safari in Kenya.
A reliable tour company is, therefore, a staple on any Maasai Mara safari.
But out of a sea of tour agents, how do you know which one will be the right fit for you?
First, professional tour agents are duly licensed, registered, and have official offices and websites.
One nifty way of knowing whether a tour company can deliver on its promise is by looking at their past customer reviews and testimonials.
Good user ratings on more than one digital platform reveal an outfit that is well versed in their trade, meaning that your safari will be in good hands.
Also, look out for tour companies with well-maintained vehicles. Reliable transport could mean the difference between a joyous bush safari and be stranded in the wild.
Figure 3Ajkenyasafaris one of Kenya’s reliable tour operators.
Ideally, the Maasai Mara tour company you opt for should also have native guides who know when and where to find the action.
Native guides make it easy to understand the local communities such as the Maasai and the Samburu.
These are some of the intriguing people you will undoubtedly encounter while on a safari in Kenya.
Professional tour agents are particularly indispensable when planning your itinerary. An additional way to weed out fake agents is by conducting a comparison of their itineraries and pricing.
Incredibly low prices are a definite red flag and indicate that the agent might be promising beyond their delivery capacity.
Hot Tip: The best tour agents offer you bespoke luxury tours to Maasai Mara. Here, you get to tailor your safari itinerary according to your budget and preferences.
- Preferred Activities.
Do not be afraid to conduct your research into the destinations and activities you wish to indulge in while on safari to the Maasai Mara.
There is hardly ever a dull moment during travel to Maasai Mara. That is more so if you are on a luxury tour to Maasai Mara, as it gives you unfettered access to everything the Mara has to offer.
The main activities we highlight in this write-up are by no means exhaustive. There are many more complimentary activities available, depending on your schedule.
- Hot-Air Balloon Rides
One of the premium exciting ways to begin your day in the Maasai Mara is by going on a quiet hot-air balloon ride.
Like a gentle wind, drift over the Mara savannah and enjoy an aerial view with just a few meters between you and the wildlife on the ground. Here, you get to see it all.
Figure 5Hot Air balloon and Herd of Zebras in the Mara
Remember, the Mara is home to the Big Five (Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, and Leopard) and has the world’s densest population of predators.
During the annual Wildebeest migration, witness tons of Wildebeest stampede across the Mara River as Lions, Cheetah, Crocodiles, and other predators lie in wait.
- Game Drives
During the day, you can go for a more leisurely introduction to Kenya’s wildlife through driven game drives and walking safaris.
These let you enjoy your safari in the Maasai Mara differently, as they provide a more intimate encounter with the animals.
You also get to see smaller species of animals up close, such as the bat-eared Fox, Caracals, Mongoose, Warthogs, Monkeys, and Baboons.
- Maasai Village
The heartbeat of the Mara is palpable in the wildlife and the Mara people. The Maasai are Mara’s indigenous people and have a rich heritage just like the animals themselves.
On any luxury tour to Maasai Mara, a visit to a Maasai village is a must. Including it in your itinerary gives you a rare chance to encounter these colorful people firsthand.
Hot Tip: Opt for accommodations at the heart of Maasai Mara, preferably close to the animal’s water sources (the Talek and Mara rivers). That will enable you to view a greater quantity of wildlife even from the comfort of your tent.
Figure 6Elephants quenching their thirst
- Booking your Maasai Mara Safari.
Now that you have identified your tour agent and your preferred activities, it is time to book your trip.
Contact the tour operator and ask any questions about their tour packages. This information will prove invaluable in your decision-making process.
For example, what is their average price for a regular Maasai Mara safari? Is the price any different when it’s a luxury Tour to Maasai Mara?
What of the ideal time to visit? What are the things you should expect to see at different times of the year?
Also, most tour companies have pre-set items that are included or excluded from their trips.
Remember to enquire what is included or excluded from a particular trip.
That will help avoid misunderstandings or unnecessary expenditure on things that are otherwise covered.
During this exchange, the kind of trips offered also matter. For example, do they do family safaris? Business safaris? Solo excursions etc.
Once you have decided on the ideal Maasai Mara safari, request a copy of the itinerary and the company’s trip quotation.
Most reputable companies such as Ajkenyasafaris.com will happily compute these for you.
Hot tip: When booking your travel to Maasai Mara, you could consider combining two types of safaris under one visit. A business safari could double up as a romantic safari once you are done with the business meeting! Double the joy for a one-off trip.
- What to Pack.
With all the logistics taken care of, it is time to prepare for take-off.
When getting ready for your long-awaited safari, knowing what to leave behind is just as important as knowing what to pack.
Kenya is a tropical country with moderately warm weather for most of the year. It would be best if you thus opted for light clothes when packing.
Also, since you are headed for a bush safari, it is best to go for tan and green-colored clothes as these are less threatening to animals than bold reds.
Tan clothes help you blend with the natural environment and are less likely to spook the animals into running away.
Other important things to include are mosquito repellent creams, sun hats, binoculars, comfortable sports shoes or hiking boots, and a warm jacket or two for those chilly evenings.
Hot Tip: The Kenyan government requires all inbound travelers to have a Yellow Fever certificate and COVID-19 medical clearances. Contact your physician for this vital certification before booking your flights.