4 beautiful days in Masai Mara. Tips to plan a great African Safari.

Updated: Sep 12, 2018

Little over a week ago we made our way to Kenya. It was also our very first time in the continent.

If you have been following me on Instagram, you know this year has been about continents. We went to Asia, North and South America earlier this year. Naturally Africa wasn't going to be far behind. After doing plenty of research about the best places in which to see the migration, I zeroed down on two options - Masai Mara and Serengeti. After doing some more reading, I found Masai Mara to be the more commercial option. Considering we had only 4 days to do this trip, I chose Mara over big-league safaris like Serengeti, Botswana or Zambia.

Did you know that the Masai Mara and Serengeti actually share an un-fenced border of sorts and are both part of East Africa?

Best time to visit

June - October, you can avoid the peak rainy season and hope to catch the wildebeest migration.

Pick your Tour Guide We almost never do tours. I knew Africa would have to be an exception. Yes, you can self-drive inside the park but for a short trip, it wasn't worth the trouble of researching.

if you opt for a tour like we did, there are over a 1000 safaris to choose from in different categories from cheap, mid-range and luxury. The best way to narrow your search is by getting on SafariBookings.com.

Once you are on the website, just choose your destination, date of travel, number of passengers and voila. The website will give you the details of tour operators. All you need to do is pick 3 to 4 and shoot them emails with your requirements. I found that almost all of them responded to me within a few hours, which was fantastic. I finally went with Right Choice Tours and Safari, owned by George who was exceptionally quick in responding to all my silly queries and last minute requests. Flights and Visa

We flew Ethiopian Airlines into Nairobi with a layover at Addis Ababa. The Addis Ababa airport is a cattle house - one of the worse airports we have ever been to. Hardly any places to eat, unsanitary toilets, all around nasty. If you are flying with Ethiopian, I recommend leaving at least 3 hours before you have to board your next flight. The flight was actually pretty good with comfortable legroom for seats, decent service and entertainment. Vaccination, Travel and Medical Insurance Yellow Fever vaccination is not mandatory if you are traveling from countries that haven't had a history of yellow fever - like U.A.E, USA, Europe or UK. We still took it as a precaution since a lot of other African countries do require it. The vaccination has a lifetime validity, so no harm taking it. Travel Insurance mandatory for your visa or travel to Kenya but I would recommend it - no matter where you travel.

Visa is on arrival for Indians. It was $50 per person, paid in cash at the immigration.

Where we stayed Most of the Safari tours include accommodation for the duration of your safari, full board meals, water, pick and up from Nairobi by an experience guide as well as the entrance fees to Masai Mara. Depending on when your flight arrives, you might need to stay for a night in Nairobi. We stayed at Best Western Meridian Hotel before heading to Masai Mara.

You will start your drive to Masai Mara around 8 in the morning. The drive takes around 5 to 5 1/2 hours. You will be driving past the incredibly scenic rift valley.

The vast and beautiful drive past Rift Valley

We arrived just past noon in Masai Mara. Checked in to our cottages at the Aa Lodge Mara.

Our cottage from the outside...

The cottage was well laid out with a huge comfortable bed, wood finished floors and a walk-in closet. The lodge was about 2 kms from Masai Mara, about a 10 minute drive.

and the inside!

Keep in mind that electricity is still an issue in Africa. There may not be power during the day (which is alright since you will be out anyway). They try not to use generators all day long and the power comes back around 6 p.m. Also, the internet was only available in the lobby, and even then it was real patchy. Apart from that it was a lovely place in the middle of the jungle.