Camping in Masai Mara National Reserve
Camping in Masai Mara reserve is an outdoor form of accommodation which brings the tourists closer to the wild during their safaris. Masai Mara National Reserve is located in the south western part of Kenya. This reserve has both public campsites and private campsites for tourists who visit the reserve to explore the different attractions and engage in various activities.
Tourists who prefer staying alone and enjoying the wild usually choose to go camping during their safaris in the Masai Mara reserve.
Comparison between public and private campsites
Private campsites in Masai Mara reserve require tourists to make prior bookings and make a booking fee in order to reserve the campsites while the public campsites generally do not require prior booking by the tourists.
There are 8 private campsites in Masai Mara National Reserve where 5 campsites are open for use by the public while the remaining 3 campsites are used by professional tour operators. The campsites used by tour operators include kampi ya mungu, kijito and kishanga.
Other campsites in Masai Mara reserve include Kiboko and Ndovu campsites. There is also a campsite available for tourists at Oloololo gate and at Serena hotel with facilities such as showers, toilets and great views of the plains of the reserve as well as protection of rangers.
Oloololo campsite also provides tourists with a chance to interact with the local community of the Masai people and to learn more about their culture, livestock, way of dressing, visit the “manyattas”, watch traditional dance performances, see local arts and crafts among other cultural activities.
Camping fees and charges
Rates for both public and private campsites are charged according to different factors such as nationality which looks at Kenyan citizens, residents and nonresidents. The camping charges can also depend on the age of the tourists where adults are charged differently from children.
There are fees which are paid for these campsites to the authorities in charge of the reserve. Students who go camping during their safaris in Masai Mara national reserve are also charged differently. Campers are charged per person per day.
Some of the Camping equipment which can be used by tourists who visit the Masai Mara reserve includes a tent, folding foam mattress, table and chairs, cool box, gas tank and burner, cups, plates, bowls, cooking pots and frying pans, cutlery, cutting boards, headlights, solar table lamp among others.
Tourists can also choose to hire a cook for their camping adventure in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Some of the Companies in charge of providing camping equipment for tourists visiting the Masai Mara reserve include Roving rovers. Tour operators in Kenya also organize camping trips for tourists and provide the necessary camping equipment.
Safety during camping
The safety of tourists in Masai Mara reserve is handled by the District Security Committee which ensures that the tourists are safe since the campsites are not fenced. The rule of hiring two rangers in private campsites in the reserve was also passed on by the District Security Committee.
For security purposes during camping, it is mandatory for all campers in the private campsites in Masai Mara national reserve to have two rangers for security during the night. Tourists who stay in public campsites are not restricted from hiring a ranger and they can choose not to have any rangers during their safaris.
The rangers are paid the ranger fee directly and they issue a receipt to the tourists following the payments for their services. The ranger fee is per ranger per night and the Trans Mara county council is in charge of setting the ranger fee.
The necessities for the rangers who provide security for the campers staying in the private campsite sin Masai Mara reserve such as transport, food and accommodation are provided by the Mara conservancy.
Some of the campsites in the Masai Mara reserve require tourists to bring their own water and to take their rubbish after their camping adventures. This promotes conservation of the environment since littering at the campsites is regulated.
Conditions put in place at the campsites which provide booking for professional tour operators include the following;
- Campsites can only be booked for a two weeks’ period.
- Reserving campsites under different names or leaving a booked campsite empty is prohibited.
- Block booking is prohibited and will result into cancellation of all bookings.
- There are non-refundable booking fees for each booking made for the campsites.
- Additional clients or change in clients will be considered a separate booking and will be charged an additional booking fee.
- The booking made for the campsite is valid for the time the campsite is occupied and this includes the time for the camp staff to put up and take down the tents.
- Bookings which are cancelled 6 months prior to the trip incur a cancellation fee.
Best time for camping
Tourists who prefer to camp during their trips to Masai Mara reserve can do so during the months from June to October which is the high season. Tourists can also witness the wildebeest migration during these months.
Advantages of camping
There are many benefits associated with camping in Masai Mara reserve during trips and they include the following;
- Tourists who choose to go camping save money during their safaris to Masai Mara National Reserve.
- Another advantage of camping is that it encourages a connection and appreciation for nature by the tourists.
- Camping also increases knowledge about plant life in the surroundings of the tourists
- Tourists are also able to increase their self-awareness during camping in the Masai Mara reserve.
- Camping provides many outdoor adventures for tourists and exposes them to new challenges and the tourists also engage in more activities.
- Camping is also relaxing and helps tourists to relieve themselves from stress as they enjoy the nature surrounding them during their trip to Masai Mara reserve.
Other forms of accommodation in the Masai Mara National reserve include luxury accommodation, midrange accommodation and budget accommodation. These accommodation facilities can be inform of tented camps and lodges.
How to get to Masai Mara National Reserve
Tourists can access the Masai Mara National Reserve by road and air or flight means. By road, tourists can drive from Nairobi to Narok and then proceed to the entrance gates located in different parts of the reserve such as Oloololo gates, Oloolaimutia gate, Musiara gate, Talek gate and Sekenani gate.
By flight/ air, flights are available to any of the airstrips within the reserve which provide domestic and charter flight services for tourists visiting the Masai Mara reserve.
Visit the magical Masai Mara reserve and experience the beauty of nature during a camping expedition in the reserve as you see the various wildlife species and explore the attractions and carry out different activities on a safari.