tailored safari specialists

Maasai Mara Secret Season


Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

from US$ 2,792 per person sharing

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Maasai Mara Secret Season

E-mail    +27 (0)21 701 1622

Indication Price (from): US$ 2,792 per person sharing *view all prices and dates

Length: 6 days

Group Size: Flexible – you tell us how many in your party

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Departure Dates: To suit you (Low season only)

INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Join Africa Geographic Travel as we explore the northern-most limits of the Maasai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem in search of the lion prides, cheetahs and leopards made famous by BBC’s popular Big Cat Diaries and Disney’s African Cats series – plus the elephants, plains game, birds, ancient acacias and insanely gorgeous sunsets – all key ingredients in the quintessential Mara experience.

This carefully crafted itinerary will use Sentinel Mara Camp as its base. The camp is perched on the high banks of the Mara River in a cool riverine forest filled with bird song and butterflies while hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and plains game are ever-present.

Beyond Sentinel Mara Camp lie Musiara Marsh and Paradise Plains – both terrific game viewing grounds and the playground of BBC’s Big Cat Diaries and Disney’s African Cats series.

This area is renowned for its excellent cat sightings with leopards, cheetahs and lions in abundance while other exciting creatures to keep an eye out for include spotted hyena, serval, aardwolf, side-striped and golden jackal. Elephants, buffaloes, and giraffes are also frequently seen while the lucky guest might even see a black rhino.

Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi

On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport you will be met by an Africa Geographic representative and transferred to Town Lodge Hotel in Nairobi. Should you wish to explore any of Nairobi’s popular attractions or dining venues, contact us and we will gladly arrange a programme that is tailored to your needs.

Overnight at Town Lodge Hotel.

Day 2: Fly into the Maasai Mara

Shortly after breakfast you will be transferred to Wilson Domestic Airport for your one-hour flight to the Maasai Mara Musiara Airstrip, which is within the national reserve and only a stone’s throw away from Sentinel Mara Camp.

The thrill of spotting your first wildebeest, zebra or gazelle as you come into land is a befitting ‘hors d’oeuvres’ for what you are about to see and experience in the Mara.

Enjoy a light lunch at Sentinel before heading out onto the Maasai Mara plains for your first game drive searching for the remnant plains game herds, the famous Marsh Pride of lions, local cheetah coalition and elusive leopards that reign in this area. A plethora of iconic game such as elephants, hippos, giraffes, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles, plains zebras, topis, warthogs and buffaloes are also common first sightings.

Your driver, a Maasai silver medal level guide, will be constantly reading the tracks while your guide will share with you his knowledge and passion of the Mara.

Overnight at Sentinel Mara Camp on full board.

Days 3 – 5: Sentinel Mara Camp, Maasai Mara

After a hot steamy mug of fresh Kenyan coffee you will head out into the plains of the Mara in search of species that may be returning from their nocturnal forays, or waking up and getting ready for the day.

Breakfast is normally packed into a basket and served during your morning game-viewing safari. Your time out in the field will be determined by what is happening on the day. There is no such thing as getting bored in the Mara, and every day spent here is more than duly rewarded.

The secret season in East Africa starts around October and runs intermittently through to April. It is yearned and enjoyed by locals at a time when the Mara is blissfully overlooked by visitors in preference of the migration. It is a period of recovery, resurgence and revelation. Starting in October, as the last herds of wildebeests trickle south in endless single files, the month begins hot and dry and ends with the arrival of the rains – hot, dry days with thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening. Slowly but surely, rain fills up the marsh, the ravaged savannah grasslands begin to grow and wild flowers, like fireball lilies and flame lilies, bloom throughout.

Most plains game have their calves in October in anticipation of the November rain. Thomson’s gazelles, impalas and warthogs tend to give birth at the start of the month, and the topis and Coke’s hartebeests mostly calve towards the end of the month.

During the next few months, big cats such as lions, leopards and cheetahs enjoy the easy pickings as they prey on the young topi, Thomson’s gazelle and impala calves. With grass cropped and recovering, sightings of bat-eared foxes, servals, jackals, and even aardwolves, are less rare, and one can often see them with their pups or cubs.

By December, breeding has subsided and by now the males have started rutting, their territories are being re-established and marking and scenting their territories is the order of the day.

January and February are the peak of summer and days start off cool, becoming hot by midday. There is sporadic rains in the afternoons making for stunning landscape scenes and sunsets. The grasslands remain fairly short, lush and green – ideal for the resident plains game in search of nutrient rich graze and perfect for local predators in need of a bite.

And for those that cannot justify high season rates, or cannot face sharing the herds with the hordes of tourism they attract, there is always the Loita. The Loita migration is a lesser-known migration of up to 250,000 wildebeest and zebra that pour into the Mara during March and April. They are on an annual journey from the Loita Hills, to the northeast of the Masai Mara – into the Maasai Mara itself – and its neighbouring conservancies. Even though the Loita never crosses the Mara River to go south into the Serengeti, it still provides an incredible migration experience at an incredible time of the year.

Those with more of a specialist interest, the green season is the best time to visit for bird migrations and anyone interested in butterflies and local flora, as many of the wild flowers around the Mara are in full bloom this time of year.

Day 6: Sentinel Mara Camp to Nairobi

Leaving camp after a late breakfast, you will be transferred back to Musiara Airstrip for your flight back to Nairobi. On arrival at Wilson Airport, an Africa Geographic representative will transfer you to JKIA Airport where you will check in for your return flight home.

Add an additional beach break to your safari – Spend some time in Tanzania’s Spice Islands or nip over to Rwanda for a bucket list mountain gorilla tracking experience.

Indication Price (from): US$ 2,792 per person sharing (see below for further pricing where relavant)

Departure Dates: To suit you (Low season only)

 

2020 + 2021 Secret Season: 04 Jan – 30 Apr | 01 Jun – 14 Jul | 16 Oct – 19 Dec
Per person sharing US$ 3,057
Single participant US$ 3,852
SADC member – per person sharing US$ 2,792
SADC member – single participant US$ 3,488
One child under 12 (sharing with adult) US$ 2,158
Per child under 12 (sharing with another child) US$ 2,083

Please enquire about our FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND GROUP SAFARIS:
No minimum age, family rooms available, camp can be booked exclusively if 8 rooms are confirmed

Price includes: 

Meet and greet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, transfers to Nairobi hotel and Wilson Airport the following day. Charter flight to the Maasai Mara, as well as airstrip transfers, and a final transfer back to Jomo Kenyatta from Wilson.

Full board accommodation at Sentinel Mara Camp. Bed and breakfast accommodation at Nairobi hotel. This includes all drinks (except French champagne and premium wines) at Sentinel Mara Camp, all entrance and conservation fees, laundry, all transportation in the reserve, a driver and the services of camp staff, local trackers and professional game viewing guide, guided nature walks, spear/rungu throwing or bow and arrow lessons from Sentinel staff, and 24/7 office support.

Price excludes:

International flights, visas, airport departure taxes, personal items, telephone calls, premium wines and French champagne, guided walks, travel and medical insurance, tips, excess baggage charges, and any activities not specified in the itinerary.

INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

COVID-19

Visa – Can be applied and paid on arrival, but it can only be paid by credit card and it is preferable that you apply in advance for an eVisa via http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html

Curfew – Nationwide curfew (9pm – 4am) to continue until 30th August.

Requirements for travel to Kenya

  • Passengers must have a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, issued no more than 96 hours before departure
  • Fill out a “Travelers Health Surveillance Form” online for contact tracing
  • There will be health screenings on arrival
  • Depending on the country of origin, some travellers may be required to quarantine. A list of exemptions can be found here
  • Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival will be required to quarantine in their accommodation for the first 14 days. Passengers seated on two rows surrounding anyone on a flight displaying symptoms will be traced and required to quarantine for 14 days.

Restrictions in Kenya
There are a number of COVID-19 safety measures in place throughout Kenya:

  • There is a nationwide curfew from 9 pm to 4 am
  • Face masks must be worn in public places
  • Social distancing rules apply when using private vehicles – anyone driving a car must fill only 50% of the vehicle’s seat capacity.

Quarantine Exempted Countries.
This Health Registration Form must be submitted.

Accommodation: Sentinel Mara Camp

Nestled on the banks of the Mara River, inside the Maasai Mara National Reserve lies the elegant and comfortable Sentinel Mara Camp. This non-permanent, eco-camp enjoys a secluded and idyllic location and an abundance of wildlife visits the camp.

Sentinel Mara Camp consists of seven large tents along the Mara River. Each tent is furnished with twin or queen beds, a writing desk and chair, bedside tables, canvas wardrobe, laundry basket, luggage rack, large wooden chest, canvas chairs and butlers trays on the tent’s verandah. There are en-suite facilities with hot showers and porcelain flushing toilets, as well as solar lighting in all tents, with the opportunity to charge phones and cameras in the lounge tent and vehicles.

Additional activities

For those keen on exploring the many facets, angles and dimensions of the Maasai Mara we can also arrange a number of activities at an additional cost. These include a balloon safari, visit to the Maasai Village, morning walk on the Serian escarpment, and a morning visiting a nearby cheetah conservation project. Please enquire with us should you wish to add any to your itinerary.

Other Sentinel Camp activities such as walks within their property, archery or spear-throwing/rungu can be pre-booked at no extra cost, or arranged in situ with the camp manager.

General information

When to go:  December through to April are all spectacular months to visit the Maasai Mara as it is lush and there are many calves being born. Game viewing opportunities are phenomenal during these periods, even if the occasional thunderstorm may briefly disrupt your afternoon. The drama of a storm building up over the Mara is a powerful lure for photographers. Secret season dates enjoy a reduced presence of tourism giving a park slowly drains of tourists.

July and October are considered the best wildlife viewing months in the Maasai Mara because it’s the dry season and visibility is enhanced. The wildebeest migration reaches the Maasai Mara around the end of July and remains until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania.

Difficulty: This safari is vehicle-based with very little walking or strenuous activity involved.

Flight details: All safaris begin and end at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. You should make your own international flight bookings to coincide with the start and end of this tour.

Booking and payment details: Once you have decided to join this safari, you will need to contact us for a booking form, which will include details relating to deposit and final payments etc. As our groups are small they fill up quickly.

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" Make a real difference for African conservation - come on safari with us. We support sustainable, ethical tourism that benefits wildlife and communities. "

Simon Espley, Africa Geographic CEO