Explore Masai Mara game reserve in a camping safari from Nairobi. Exploring Masai Mara will see you view the big five animals and the wildebeest migration in July to October. Immerse yourself in this amazing wilderness staying in some of the most comfortable lodges or tented camps. The tented camps of Masai Mara can be either luxury camps or budget tented camps.
8 Steps to Booking a Masai Mara Safari in Kenya
For some people, booking an Masai mara safari is as easy as walking into a travel agency and picking a holiday off the rack. While this is the easy way to buy a package, it is also the most expensive. You can use this article to do your own research and find a local operator to book with hence saving hundreds of dollars.
For example, if you want to book a Masai Mara safari, you generally should;
- Do your research
- Use a local tour operator company
- Check their tripadvisor reviews
- Request for tailor made Itinerary
- Bargain on the prices
- Pay a down payment of not more than 40%
- Request for proof of payments
- Pay the Balance on tour cost
While this may look hard, its pretty easy to follow these steps and get a fairly priced local tour operator in Nairobi Kenya. Follow this step by step article and you may save some good money in booking your next tour to Masai Mara.
1. Do your research
You will need to do some research for find a good local agent to book a Masai Mara camping safari with. A quick search online will give you a sample of good tour companies in Nairobi Kenya. Based on the prices, you can tell which company is making an effort to give you discounted rates. You can look for group joining safari packages so as to save money by sharing the vehicle. You will find that many Nairobi tour companies offer daily departures from Nairobi. Depending on the number of days you want to go on safari, you will get a very good idea on what is the range between budget and pricy packages.
2. Use a Local Tour Operator Company
Local tour operator prices generally tend to be cheaper than prices from foreign travel agents. The reason is simply the fact that, by the time packages get to the international agents, the prices will have been marked up at least twice. So you are likely to get better Masai Mara safari deals from local operators if you deal directly with them. You can get many of the local tour operators listed on Online Travel Agents (OTAs) websites like Safari bookings, Viator, Expedia among others. It’s also possible to simply Google the package you want like 5 days Masai Mara safari in Kenya, and check the prices and deals being offered by the various local tour companies.
3. Check the Operator Tripadvisor Reviews
Trip advisor is a destination and tour company review platform where travellers can look up what past customers are commenting about a company. Trip advisor also provides a forum where travellers can ask questions to past visitors about a certain destination they want to visit. It’s a highly respected website in the travel industry. A good local tour operator will have some good reviews posted by their past clients. You can easily tell a not-so-good company by the frequency and number of negative reviews they have received as compared to the positive ones. Make sure to check out your selected companies before you can engage them.
4. Request for a Tailor-Made Itinerary
Once you have selected the local tour company you want to work with, you can now request them for an itinerary based on your number of days available. Make sure to ask them to make a tailor made itinerary and not necessarily buy off the shelf from their website. Try and explain in great detail, what you are interested in terms of number of days of safari, places you are interested to visit or animals you would like to see. The tour operator will go to great lengths to try and make a perfect-fit itinerary for you. This tailor-made maasai mara itinerary will also depend on your group dynamics including age, family, lifestyle and interests. You will have a back and forth with the tour operator until you have an itinerary that suits your needs in price and places included.
5. Bargain on the Prices
Local tour operators are usually fairly priced and you should be able to get a good deals when booking directly. However, you can always try to bargain for discounts on the quoted price especially if you feel your tour group is large enough to justify it. Most of the local Kenyan tour operators will be able to offer you a small discount especially for the lodge based safari packages to Masai Mara. However, masai mara budget tour packages are mostly fixed in price due to their already reduced pricing points. So unless you feel that a tour package is overpriced, the budget Masai Mara safari packages are usually take-as-is.
6. Pay a Down Payment to the Safari
Once you have agreed on the safari itinerary content and prices with your tour outfitter, you can proceed to pay a down payment on the safari. In most cases, the safari operators in Nairobi will request you to pay 40% deposit on the tour and the balance at least 45 days to arrival date. This is more so important if you are booking within the peak season between July and October. During this peak season, rooms are scarce due to demand and you should make an effort to book your safari as early as possible. This will help the tour operator to secure your rooms in lodges well in advance.
7. Request for Proof of Payments
Your local tour operator in Nairobi will furnish you with proof that your lodge has been booked. This will help you to know that some part of your safari has already been confirmed. Kindly note that any cancellation from this point onwards will come with cancellation fees. The hotels usually charge between 25% to 100% of any payments if your booking is cancelled anywhere between 45 days and a no show.
8. Pay the Balance of Tour Cost
For bookings during peak season, make sure you have paid the balance of 60% of the tour cost at least 45-30 days before your arrival date. Most hotels insist that full payment of the booking should be done 45 days before arrival especially in the peak season. In case you are paying at last minute, 100% payment for the tour may be requested of you as a 1 off payment. Rooms are seriously scarce during the months of July to October and any chance you get to secure your masai mara accommodation should be taken as quickly as possible.