Masaai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Updated: Jun 11
On an otherwise normal Monday in February, I got a phone call from an old friend. After we excitedly exchanged pleasantries she uttered a sentence I wasn't quite expecting from someone I hadn't seen in a couple of years; "Can you fly out to Kenya in ten days?"
She had caught me at a time when I was making an effort to say yes to things more often and so forcing myself to throw caution (and all my responsibilities) out the window, I said "Kenya in ten days sounds great!"
While this differs from region to region, if you're from the Middle East then you'll need to take shots for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Meningitis and Yellow Fever. You will also be given Malaria pills that you will need to start taking 2-3 days before your trip. I rushed out of the office thirty minutes after the phone call to drown my body in the aforementioned glorious cocktail I called at the time the "please don't die in Kenya" series of injections.
We found that the most convenient trip was through Qatar Airways to Nairobi and then you would need to take a 45 minute long internal flight from Nairobi to Masaai Mara through the Nairobi Wilson Domestic Airport (which about 20 minutes away from the International Airport you will be arriving in).
The internal flights travel to dozens of small strip airports around Masaai Mara so contact your hotel and ask which airport is the closest to them and book your trip for that airport. Arrange for pick up from the hotel as well as there are no taxis (you'll literally land on a dirt road with no signs around you).
If you don't plan on spending time in Nairobi, then arrange to arrive early in the morning as domestic flights usually fly on a fixed schedule from 10am to 2pm.
Pro Tip: Practice your cute nausea face before you jet off because that plane with those malaria pills... let's just say it won't be your finest moment.
Fairmont Mara Safari Club ($750/night) is our somewhat budget friendly option for the ones that want to spend more on the experiences than the stay.
Olarro Plains ($1,300/night) for the ultimate tranquil spa retreat with a heavy side of Safari.
Mahali Mzuri Reserve ($3,000/night) for those who want to spare no cost who should also give me a call next time they plan a trip because as we've learned from all of this, I will say yes!
Day & Night Game Safaris: (wildebeest migrations are extra exciting and happen between July and October). If your hotel is like ours and they tuck you under warm blankets in the jeep and serve you hot chocolate on chilly mornings then you will start fantasizing about moving there permanently and becoming "one with the wild, hashtag Mama Africa". Make sure your friends talk some sense into you before you try to run away with the village chief's son (Hi Robert, call me!)
Other activities include sunrise hot air balloon rides over the plains, visiting a traditional Masaai tribal village, souvenir shopping, and of course, spa treatments in outdoor tents!
If you're staying longer and depending on your hotel, day trips can be organized to visit other destinations.