1 Day Trip Masai Mara National Reserve (5 Hours Game Drive - See the Big 5)
1 Day Masai Mara National Reserve Safari is perfect for budget travelers and families who want a Big Five safari adventure. It’s a short and easy Kenya safari, with Masai Mara lying a 4.5-hour drive from Nairobi. This is an action-packed day safari in Masai Mara National Reserve, starting and ending in Nairobi. On safari in the Masai Mara, you can expect to see the Big 5, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and more. There are thousands of antelope from tiny dik-diks to gazelles and eland intermingle with zebra, wildebeest, and other large herbivores like giraffes, buffalo, and elephants.
For bird watchers, the Masai Mara is home to around 450 resident species including large species like ostriches and kori bustards, almost 60 species of raptors including the impressive bateleur, long-crested eagle, and vultures as well as a plethora of smaller colorful and diverse species like lilac breasted rollers and violet-backed starlings. Please sit back and relax while your experienced guide takes you on exciting game drives in search of the Big Five and more, sharing his or her knowledge as you explore. A lunch stop is also included in your Full-day Masai Mara Safari.
1 Day Maasai Mara National Reserve Safari is a wildlife adventure for those pressed for time and spontaneous. Maasai Mara is one of the best wildlife safari destinations in Kenya to do a day trip. It has been said that even an hour in paradise is a rewarding experience and this can also be said to be true of Africa’s greatest wildlife park, the Maasai Mara.
An hour is rewarding, but a whole day is a life-changing experience. Game viewing from open safari vehicles in the Maasai Mara has to be one of the ultimate safari experiences in Africa and being able to do this in a day is ideal for those with limited time available. Maasai Mara National Reserve is a 5-hour drive from Nairobi.
Please note: our 1 Day Maasai Mara National Reserve Safari includes 6 hours of game-viewing in the park, a lunch break at a scenic spot, and round-trip road transportation from Nairobi (each way takes about 5 hours).
1 Day Masai Mara National Reserve Safari Highlights
* Picnic lunch in scenic spots by the Mara River
* You will be in the company of a knowledgeable local guide
* Encounters with amazing wildlife, and natural beauty of the Maasai Mara
* Best chance of seeing all the members of the Big 5 – Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo on a single safari
1 Day Masai Mara National Reserve Safari Itinerary
0400 Hours: Depart your hotel/ residence in Nairobi (with picnic lunch box) by road to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
0900 Hours: Arrive in Maasai Mara. The driving time from Nairobi is about 5 hours (270 km). Game drives start from the Sekenani gate. The Maasai Mara is well-known for its boundless opportunities to spot the famous African Big Five – Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino, and of course Lion. The famous wildebeest migration also takes place at the Mara.
The Mara is also home to the richest concentration of wildlife, including zebras, antelope, gnus, Oribis, hyenas, giraffes, warthogs, gazelles, hartebeests, hippos, crocodiles, and others. The park has the largest concentration of African lions, including the black-maned lion. For bird lovers, the Mara birds come in every color and size.
More than 400 bird species have already been recorded, including birds of prey. You can enjoy a colorful view of birds such as vultures, ostriches, long-crested eagles, pygmy falcons, secretary birds, marabous, owls, bustards, and many others.
With so much on offer, our 1 full-day Maasai Mara National Reserve Safari is the best way to experience the Mara if you have limited time and want to learn more about the park from a knowledgeable guide.
1300 Hours: You will enjoy your packed lunch at the picnic site before proceeding with your game drive
1600 Hours: Depart the reserve for your return journey back to Nairobi
2100 Hours: Arrive back in Nairobi and transfer to your hotel/ residence
1 Day Masai Mara National Reserve Safari Prices
1-Day Masai Mara National Reserve Safari Prices Include:
Picnic Lunch box (choices of protein, vegetable, fruit, etc) + Relevant Government Taxes + Park entrance fees (worth 80 US Dollars per person) + Drinking bottled water in the safari vehicle + Services of our English-speaking safari driver/ guide + Round trip transportation from Nairobi to Maasai Mara and back to Nairobi & 6 Hours game-drive in the Masai Mara Game Reserve (+ visit to the Mara River) & Safari departs at 0500 Hours and returns at 2000 hours)
|Dates From||Dates To||Price Per Person||Children Aged
3 to 11 Years
|1st January 2023||31st December 2023||Request for rates||Request for rates|
* Additional information confirmation will be received at the time of booking
* You will have an opportunity to visit an authentic Masai village (at an extra cost of 20 US Dollars per person payable to the chief in the village)
* You could also opt for our flying-in 1-Day Maasai Mara Flying Safari Package from Nairobi: at 0915 Hours Depart Nairobi in the morning by air to the Maasai Mara. Meet your driver guide, enjoy a 6-hour game drive + picnic lunch, and later at 1615 Hours board the evening flight for Nairobi to arrive at 1745 Hours. Click Here for Full Details
1-Day Masai Mara National Reserve Safari Prices Exclude:
* Visa Fees
* International flight
* Personal Insurance
* Expenses of a personal nature such as; drinks, tips, laundry, telephone, cigarettes, accommodation & meals not indicated in the itinerary, and optional activities
Important Safari Information
A 1 Day Masai Mara National Reserve Safari is indeed short, but it can be done and you will get to see the Big 5. If you’re coming from Nairobi, taking an internal flight direct to Masai Mara would be ideal, as this takes just 50 minutes if your budget allows for it.
If you travel by road, you’ll have a long drive, however, you will arrive in time for two game drives and enough time to have your lunch and more. In summary, it is possible and indeed worth it, however, if you can commit more time, two or three days would be even better.
With one full day in Masai Mara, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore this iconic safari destination with a dusk-to-dawn game drive that will include lunch at one of the incredible picnic spots overlooking a wildlife watering hole.
Animals on a Masai Mara safari?
The reserve is home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and African buffalo) and has the highest concentration of Big Cats not just in East Africa but worldwide making the location a perfect research center for hyenas and Big Cats.
World famous for hosting the epic Great Migration, the Masai Mara welcomes 1.5 million wildebeests onto its sprawling savannahs each July through October. Other wildlife that visitors can expect to find include abundant elephants, buffalo, giraffes, lions, and cheetahs alongside the migratory animals and zebra.
With over 450 animal species, visitors can also have a clear view of animals catching them in action when on a hot-air balloon African safari early in the morning. Leopards are frequently encountered, endangered black rhinos hide in the dense thickets and large rafts of hippos and enormous crocodiles are found in the Mara River crossings.
Best time to go on a Masai Mara safari?
To avoid crowds, the low-season months of April to May and November to December see fewer visitors than the rest of the year. While this isn’t the best time for wildlife viewing, there are always animals around. April and May are the wettest months, but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular scenery and an abundance of baby animals.
Midsummer can get busy though, so come at the beginning or end of that period with its full-on wildlife without crazy crowds. Even during the high season, some areas of the Mara are busier than others, but for a really exclusive safari experience, you can book into one of the private conservancies bordering the Masai Mara.
Fly or drive to Masai Mara?
On a day trip safari, flying and driving to the Masai Mara are both viable options, with flying bringing obvious time savings (50 minutes from Nairobi) and incredible views of the wildlife and landscape. Flying also comes with a higher price tag. The drive to the Mara takes almost 6 hours, with the last 100km/62 miles of the road quite poor. Fly-in safaris usually include top-end accommodation and all your activities.
On a day trip tour of the Mara, you can easily break up the drive with a stopover. Lake Nakuru NP is the most popular option. This Rift Valley lake teems with birdlife, and this is the best place in Kenya to see rhinos, which are very difficult to spot in the Masai Mara, as well as the hustle and bustle of African countryside life.
Another great option is to spend a night at Hell’s Gate NP. The dramatic scenery is the main attraction and, as there are few dangerous animals, cycling and hiking are permitted in the park.
Will I get to meet the Maasai people?
Yes, meeting the wonderful Maasai people and getting to know all about their lives is a highlight of any visit here. Many lodges and safari companies employ Maasai as guides and drivers, and also as employees in their lodges and tented camps.
Most can also arrange visits to local Maasai communities if this is possible before booking your Kenya safari. It can be difficult to interact meaningfully with the Maasai on such occasions, although you can learn a great deal if you take the time to talk with those guiding you, serving your food, or cleaning your rooms.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is the best part of Masai Mara?
The best part of Masai Mara is the renowned and remote western section of the reserve, known as the Mara Triangle. It is managed as a non-profit conservancy run by the local Maasai and is considered one of the best areas for game viewing in the area.
2. What animals will I see on a day trip to Masai Mara?
Visitors on a 1 day Masai Mara safari will see the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo), hyenas, wildebeest, giraffes, cheetah, zebras, endangered black rhinos, hippos, crocodiles and much more.
3. How much spending money do I need for a 1 day Masai Mara safari?
Visitors should budget for approximately $300 for a Kenya safari per person per day, including food and accommodation. Kenyan safaris can be more expensive than their continental counterparts due to the higher costs of accommodation and food.