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From Nigeria to Kenya - How We Planned Our 4 Day Maasai Mara Safari

  How we went about planning a safari to Kenya’s Maasai Mara. What you can expect on a Maasai Mara safari and the best way to go about it. M...

 

How we went about planning a safari to Kenya’s Maasai Mara. What you can expect on a Maasai Mara safari and the best way to go about it. My experience on a mid-budget Kenya tour and what made it so thrilling

My daughter had recently graduated with a doctorate degree. Being the proud Nigerian mother I am, I wanted to gift her (and myself) with the most memorable vacation I could afford.

After some bit of research, I decided to go with a 4-day long Maasai Mara safari. Just the mention of a park with millions of wild animals, and I was sold!

Lion, Cubs, Lion Cub, Young, Baby

Next was the planning part. Since I had no idea how to plan a Kenya safari from Nigeria, I looked into some of the available agencies that could help me in this regard. I must admit, I was a bit skeptical because as far as travel agents go, they can be pricey about their services.

Nonetheless, I reached out to a few of the ones that seemed to have moderately priced Maasai Mara safari packages.


Picking a travel agent


Among the agencies I spoke to, AjKenyasafaris struck me as the most likely to bring me the kind of Kenya tour I was after. 

My decision may have been informed by the fact that they proved most willing to answer any questions I had and advise me on all areas free of charge. All I had to do was contact them via a free skype call and all my queries about the various attractions were duly addressed.

That made it far much easier for me to decide on the areas we would visit, know what we were likely to see there and what time of the year was best to schedule my visit.

The agency was also instrumental in helping me come up with a customized itinerary that only included the stuff I wanted. 

I also realized that most travel agents tend to stick to pre-structured itineraries which sometimes might include activities that may not appeal to you. Learning that I had the liberty to dictate where I wanted to go and the activities I wanted to engage in was a welcome surprise.

Additionally, the agent enlightened me on the country’s visa/ immigration requirements, including the vaccinations I needed to have before travel.

By the time we were done polishing up my itinerary, I could not wait to jet into the country. 

It was also settling to know that our Kenya tour was being handled by natives who knew the country well. 


Itinerary


On our maiden tour in Kenya, we would be focusing on a Maasai Mara safari and our itinerary revolved around activities in the reserve.

Our Maasai Mara safari package included game drives, a hot air balloon safari, visit to a Maasai village, accommodation in a 4-star lodge, meals, and more as we shall see shortly.

Our 4-day Maasai Mara safari began with our arrival to Nairobi from Lagos, following a 5-hour trip that felt like a half hour journey given our anticipation levels.

At the arrivals gate, we were pleased to find a representative sent by our tour agent to fetch us from the airport. Talk about feeling like VIPs! I am happy to say that all the domestic travel within Kenya was fully catered to as part of our Maasai Mara safari package.

The agency had availed a comfortable 4x4 Toyota Land cruiser for our trip from Nairobi to the Mara. The vehicle was specifically designed to give us the most panoramic views during travel. Those on budget can use cheaper alternatives such as Honda Vezel, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester and more. 

Along the way, Peter, our designated driver, had plenty of interesting stories to share about Kenya. One of these that fascinated my daughter to no end concerned the Great Rift Valley which we had the opportunity to view at a stopover on our way to the Mara.

Apparently, the cavernous gorge was formed more than 25 million years ago as a result of movement of the earth’s crust and stretches across several continents. Standing on top of the valley presents you with breathtaking views.

Later on, we also learnt a little about Kenyan cuisine when we took a lunch break at Narok town before heading into the Mara. 

Among the foods we tried out were ugali (which is maize meal prepared pretty much like our Nigerian fufu. It is eaten with greens or meat and tastes fantastic!

We then proceeded to the Maasai Mara where we were booked at the phenomenal Mara Serena safari lodge.

Our second day began on a high note with an awe inspiring tour of the Mara on a hot air balloon. We could barely contain ourselves as the humongous airship took off, gently lifting off the ground and quietly drifting across the vast savannah.

Since it was at dawn, the air was cool and plenty of animals were up and about. Some lionesses and leopards were keen on making an early morning kill.

The thrills of the Mara spilled over to the game drives we went on over the course of the next day, when we watched the thunderous crossing of the Mara River by thousands of wildebeest.

The annual wildebeest migration has to be the most underrated wildlife event on earth, for nothing quite prepares you for the first-hand experience of such a mass exodus.

On the last day of our Kenya tour, we also had an opportunity to visit a Maasai village and meet the illustrious people who inspired the reserve’s name. I especially fell in love with their unique style of dressing and intricate beadwork.

smiling man standing and facing his right side

Naturally, I had to carry as many souvenirs from them as I could carry for they were incredibly beautiful.


Trip cost

On average, I would say that a mid-luxury Kenya safari from Nigeria costs $1,400 per person. The cost does not include international flights, hot air balloon safari or tips.

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