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13 Masai Mara Game Drive Rules You Must Stick to

masai mara game drive rules
Written by Teresa Mwangi

The Great Migration/Wildebeest Migration season is fast approaching and many safari enthusiasts are unaware of Masai Mara game drive rules.  July to October are the peak seasons for travel to Mara when the migration is in action.

At least two million wild animals cross over to the Serengeti in Tanzania for pasture and mating. Wildlife drama and breathtaking moments are certain and game drives give you a near-close-up wildlife experience. This year though, things have changed. Read on and find out how to best enjoy a game drive at Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Masai Mara Game Drive Rules 2024

As the 2024 Wildebeest Migration sets in, the Narok County Government has introduced new Masai Mara game drive rules. One of the major changes made this year – and in future – is banning game drives on private vehicles. The county government indicated that this ban is in line with its management plan of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

masai mara game drive rules

A game drive at Maasai Mara. Photo/Micato Safaris

In a signed memo, Alex Nabaala, the Masai Mara Chief Park Administrator said no private vehicle would be allowed into the reserve for game drives. Nabaala indicated that there are only three types of vehicles that will be allowed into Maasai Mara National Reserve for game drive purposes. They include the following:

  • Approved – design-wise – safari vans
  • Game drive safari trucks
  • Game drive safari land cruisers

Why Were Personal Vehicles Banned in Masai Mara Game Drive?

The government explained that personal vehicles with 4 x 4 capability were a recipe for disaster within the reserve.  Nabaala stated that some safari enthusiasts in these cars drove too close to the wildlife or to areas where they got stuck. Such scenarios threaten tourists as wild animals could stage attacks in reaction to encroachment.

Some drivers went against their appointed tour guides’ advice, which has been a headache for the reserve. Usually, interfering with the natural ecosystem of wild animals has dire effects seen years later.  Wildlife tends to push themselves further to inaccessible areas. Sometimes, they head out to areas too close to the human population leading to human-wildlife conflict. Now, the new rules intend to avoid such scenarios.

The Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Safari vehicle surrounded by wildebeest from the great migration. Photo/acaciasafari.co.ug

What are the Rules for Masai Mara Game Drive?

Masai Mara game drive rules are so much geared towards the safety of tourists and protecting the wild animals. They are reviewed and amended on a need basis. Below are the rules and regulations of a game drive in the Mara.

  1. Maintain a speed limit of 50kph to avoid accidents
  2. Always maintain not less than a 25-metre distance with wildlife failure to which you are fined
  3. No music and loudness aren’t allowed as it interferes with the routine working/reaction of wild animals
  4. The Mara River zone is a no-gone unless with permission from rangers
  5. Use binoculars for better views of animals rather than driving too close to them
  6. Only five game safari vehicles are permitted for a single wildlife sighting. If the cars are more than five, you only have 10 minutes for viewing 100m away.
  7. Tourists can only disembark from their vehicles at designated points within the reserve. Mostly, for picnics or special wildlife sighting
  8. Do not feed wild animals
  9. No littering
  10. Don’t engage animals by whatever means, either by cueing or making any sounds
  11. No one should or is allowed to carry any specimen of whatever kind while within the park
  12. Observe the allowed 12 hours between morning and evening for a game safari

What is the 12 Hour Rule for Masai Mara?

Beyond the Masai Mara game drive rules there is the 12-hour rule, ideally, enjoying your safari drive between 6 am and 6 pm. No tourist gains entry to the park before 6 am or after 6 pm for safety reasons. Some wildlife such as lions are night predators and having game drives at this hour is likely to interfere with their hunting. However, few of the allowed night game drives are unique and overly fascinating but it takes a deeply experienced tour guide to make it happen.

How Much is a Game Drive in Masai Mara Per Person?

masai mara game drive rules

Masai Mara dusk game drive. Photo/Masai Mara National Reserve

An individual game drive at Maasai Mara costs a minimum of $75 and between $200 to $300 for a single safari vehicle.  Further, park fees are categorized into two – peak and off-peak seasons for residents, non-residents and East African citizens.

Masai Mara park fee for non-residents

Season Park Fee for Adults (Per Person) Children (9 – 17 years)
January to June (off-peak) $100 $50
July to December (Peak) $200 $20

Masai Mara park fee for residents

Season Park Fee for Adults (Per Person) Children (9 – 17 years)
January to June (off-peak) Ksh3000 ($23) Ksh1000 ($7)
July to December (Peak) Ksh3000 ($23) Ksh1000 ($7)

Masai Mara park fees for East African citizens

Season Park Fee for Adults (Per Person) Children (9 – 17 years)
January to June (off-peak) Ksh4500($34) Ksh2000 (($15)
July to December (Peak) Ksh4500 ($34) Ksh2000 ($15)

Conclusion

The new Masai Mara rules 2024 are in good faith and are geared towards keeping the Mara ecosystem, tourists and wild animals safe. Game safari drivers adhere to a strict code of conduct that keeps all involved parties safe.

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About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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