How to Get to Masai Mara (By Road or Air)

How to get to masai mara by road

Maasai Mara, one of Kenya’s top safari destinations, is a dream come true for many adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts. Located in the southwestern part of Kenya, it promises a breathtaking array of wildlife, stunning landscapes, and the famous Great Migration. But you must be wondering, how to get to Masai Mara?

If you are planning a trip to Masai Mara National Reserve; once you land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi you have two options for getting there: by road or by air.

Here is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best route for your journey.

How to Get to Masai Mara: The Options

1. To Masai Mara By Road: The Classic Safari Experience

Traveling to Maasai Mara by road is an adventure in itself. This option allows you to experience the diverse landscapes of Kenya, from bustling urban centres to the serene countryside. Here’s what you need to know:

Route by Road /Car

  • Nairobi to Maasai Mara via Mai Mahiu and Narok: This is the most popular route. This how to get to Masai mara by car, from Nairobi you will head towards Mai Mahiu and a have a brief stop over at the The Great Rift Valley View Point, then proceed to Narok.
How to get to masai mara by road
A 4×4 Jeep normally used by Tour Operators in Kenya for Maasai Mara

The journey from Narok to Maasai Mara takes you through picturesque scenery and gives you a glimpse of local life including chances to see homesteads of Maasai people (Manyatta).

Travel Time

  • The roadtrip journey from Nairobi to Masai Mara typically takes about 5 to 7 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic. It is advisable to start your journey early in the morning to avoid the Nairobi traffic and make the most of your day. The Nairobi to Masai Mara distance is 228 km by road.

Vehicle Options

  • Safari Tour Operator: Many travellers opt for a safari tour operator who provides transportation as part of their package. Kifaru Discover Safaris is a good tour operator to choose for the exemplary good services.  This option is hassle-free as it includes a guide who is familiar with the routes and wildlife spots.
  • Private Car or 4×4: If you prefer privacy and flexibility, hiring a private car or 4×4 is an good choice. Remember only 4×4 vehicles are allowed to enter Mara National Reserve.

Road Conditions

  • The roads to Maasai Mara can be rough and bumpy, especially the last stretch from Narok to the reserve. A 4×4 vehicle is highly recommended to navigate these terrains comfortably.

Stops Along the Way

  • Make the journey more enjoyable by stopping at scenic points such as the Great Rift Valley viewpoint or the town of Narok for a quick snack and rest.

If you are wondering how to get to Masai Mara by train, it is not possible without connecting with road. You can take the SGR train to Suswa then pick a taxi to Maasai Mara gate where again you have to get a 4X4 vehicle to access the park. It is a lot of hassle.

2. By Air: The Fast and Scenic Option

For those who prefer a quicker and more comfortable journey, flying to Maasai Mara is an excellent option and this is what is commonly referred to as fly-in Masai Mara Safari.

If you are wondering what airport do you fly into for Masai Mara, you first have to land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi for those coming from other cities like Delhi, London (UK), Mumbai, New York, Washington, Zanzibar etc.

Ypu will then do a car transfer to Wilson Airport (still within Nairobi) where the flights to Mara take place.  I had one international tourist ask me, How to get to Masai Mara from Kenya? Maasai is within Kenyan borders as a country so you will be traveling within one country.

Here is what you need to know:

Flight Options

  • From Nairobi: Several airlines operate daily flights from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to various airstrips in Maasai Mara. Some of the airlines include Safarilink and Air Kenya. The most common airstrips in Maasai Mara include Keekorok, Ol Kiombo, and Mara North. It is good to note these local airlines has a luggage limit of 15kg per passenger for both check-in and carry on luggage and the luggage has to be in soft duffel bags so if you have suitcases you have to leave them at a hotel or tour operator’s office.
How to get to masai mara by air via Wilson
A Local airline that does Maasai Mara Flights from Wilson, Nairobi
  • From Other Destinations: There are also direct flights from other Kenyan destinations such as Mombasa, Diani Beach, and Nanyuki, making it convenient for travelers coming from the coast or central highlands.

Travel Time

  • The flight from Nairobi to Maasai Mara takes approximately 45 minutes. It’s a swift and scenic journey, offering breathtaking aerial views of the Kenyan landscape including views of the Great Riftvalley from above and Kilimanjaro as well as Lake Naivasha and Elementaita.

Booking Flights

  • It is advisable to book your Nairobi to Masai Mara flight in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons (July to October, during the Great Migration). Popular airlines include Safarilink, Air Kenya, and Fly540.


  • While flying is more expensive than traveling by road, it saves time and is much more comfortable. Prices vary depending on the season and airline, so it’s wise to compare and book early.

Transfers and Accommodation

  • Most lodges and camps in Maasai Mara offer transfers from the Mara airstrips to their locations. Ensure your accommodation includes this service or can arrange it for you.

How to Choose the Right Option to Get You To Maasai Mara

Your choice between road and air travel to Maasai Mara depends on your budget, time constraints, age, and sense of adventure.

  • Road Travel: Ideal for those who enjoy road trips, scenic landscapes, and have time to spare. It is also a more budget-friendly option.
  • Air Travel: Perfect for those who prefer comfort (especially seniors), have limited time, and don’t mind spending a bit more for convenience.

It is good to remember that best time to visit Masai Mara is between June and October during the Great Wildebeest Migration. However, expect to pay more for services because this is the peak tourism season for this destination.

Closing Remarks

One can choose either road or fly-in to Maasai Mara from Nairobi. Regardless of how you choose to get there, Maasai Mara promises an unforgettable safari experience. From witnessing the dramatic river crossings during the Great Migration to enjoying the serene sunsets over the savannah, every moment in the Mara is magical.

So pack your bags, prepare your camera, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in the heart of Kenya’s wild paradise.


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