African Adventure Part 3 – What to expect on Safari

With the Masai Mara being one of the most iconic safari destinations, our African adventure has been hands down one of the best holidays we’ve experienced. Picnics in the bush to falling asleep to the sounds of the wild, it was just the perfect way to harmonise with nature.  Since this was our first Safari experience, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. So we thought it might be useful to share our itinerary for fellow first timers, like we once were.  

This is Part 3 of our 4 part series on our African Adventure which outlines what to expect while on Safari, including what to pack:

Part 1 – African Adventure –  Why Kenya

Part 2 – African Adventure – Accommodation & Costs

Part 4 – Day trip to Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe centre

Typical Daily Safari Itinerary

05:30 AM – A Masai guide would arrive at our tent with tea and biscuits and hot water to wash our faces and brush our teeth. Once we freshened up, we used our in room flash light (or mobile phone) to indicate to our guide that we were ready to be escorted to the main Camp “lobby”. Since there is no fencing in the Camp, a Maasai guide will escort each guest to / from their tent before dawn or after dusk.

06:00 AM – Left for our morning game drive.  These drives are meant to last about 3 hours, but our guides were fantastic. We often came back to the tent around 12.30 right in time for lunch.

10:00 AM – During the morning game drive, our guide would stop at a safe place and serve us a picnic breakfast in the bush. This included eggs, pancakes, cereals, tea, coffee, jams, toast etc.

13:00 PMBuffet style Lunch was served back at the Camp.  After lunch, we usually returned to our  fully serviced rooms to rest. We also had the option of relaxing in the Camp’s common room which had games, books etc.

16:00 PM – Set out for an evening game drive, which also lasted about 3 hours. We never got tired of the game drives…there was always a sense of hope and excitement on what we would encounter.

18:30 PMSundowners in the bush. Our guide would find a magical spot in the Mara and serve us drinks and nibbles as we watched the sun go down in the Mara.

19:30 PM – Return to the tent and freshen up for dinner.  On a couple of days, we sat around the campfire with our guide exchanging stories before dinner.

20:00 PMDinner was served in the dining room.  Most of the guests ate at communal tables, which was a great way to mingle.

20:45 PM – Set out for Night Game Drive which lasted about an hour.  Night drives usually offered if staying for more than 2 nights.

21:00 PM – we would return to the room to find a hot water bottle in our bed, which was blessing in the nights as the temperature dropped considerably.  Since we had really early starts each day, we opted to have showers after dinner.  We would normally inform our guide of the time we wanted our shower, so that the safari shower could be refilled. Also, safaris drives usually involve a lot of dust, so it is advisable to shower in the evenings.

Things to Pack 

The safari charter flights permit 1 small soft-case suitcase weighing no more than 15 kg each, so it’s important to avoid over packing. Things we found useful were:

  • Adapter – for charging phones and cameras.
  • Backpack – we carried a small one which was handy was keeping some items such as our hats, sunglasses, jackets etc.
  • Camera – we used our Nikon D5500 which was perfect for capturing spectacular shots.  Phone or small digital cameras will not do justice to your photos, so make sure you bring a good camera.
  • Cap / Hat – we hardly used ours but it pays to carry one just in case it’s needed for the bush walk.
  • Hiking boots – although we were in the vehicle most of the time, our hiking boots were every useful anytime we had to step out.
  • Light, breathable, neutral/khaki coloured clothing – to avoid drawing any attention to the vehicle.
  • Light jacket / sweater for those chilly mornings and nights. We were provided with Poncho type shawls to keep us warm.
  • Socks – we changed our socks at least twice a day and our feet thanked us for that.
  • Sunglasses – the sun is very bright and strong in the winter months so make sure you pack a good pair of sunnies.

Other useful items to consider

  • Insect repellent – we carried some however didn’t feel like we needed it. We don’t recall being bitten by mosquitoes or any other insects (possibly because our camp was fumigated every day).
  • Binoculars – not essential but good for spotting a camouflaged animal.
  • Extra camera batteries – we left our camera charging overnight and that lasted us the whole day. However, if yours has limited battery life, it is advisable to carry spares.

Breakfasts in the bush – overlooking the Mara plains

Breakfast overlooking a hippo pool

Young elephant suckling

Poomba (Warthog)

It was baby season in the Mara

Cat love

Chilling in the common room after lunch

Walking to the main camp “lobby” for our afternoon game drive

All set for our afternoon game drive

Sundowners in the Mara

Sundowners in the Mara. Our guides would pick a magical spot overlooking the Mara plains to watch the sun go down.

Perfect sunset

Sitting around the campfire with our guide before dinner

Have you stayed in a different Camp or visited a different National Park?  We loved our African experience so much, we can’t wait to go back and try a different Camp or National Park, so do let us know if your recommendations.

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