Hi, just sharing a bizarre and unbelievable kind of fraud running into crores for wildlife trips to Antarctica, Svalbard, Arctic, Masai Mara etc being by a known tour operator. The fraud's name is Suman Desarker and his mode of scamming is like a perfect crime. Posting it here so fellow photographers are aware. The same has been posted by multiple people
#fraud #suman #desarker #sumandesarker #masaimara #svalbard #antarctica

Thumb lion bw

Travelling to Masai Mara on Budgets
Masai Mara National Reserve is a dream to many. While there are a lot of Indians now taking it up and making it to Mara, there are still many who just dream of making it there one day.
So, what does it cost to do safaris in Mara and how you get the best experience, even keeping the cost lower?
1. Park Fee : This is the fee that you have to pay to the park authorities - same like permits in wildlife destinations. This cost 70USD per adult per 24 hours if you stay inside the park and 80USD per 24 hours if you stay outside the park. You could calculate the total easily by just multiplying the number of nights you will spend in Mara with the cost. Say for 5nights, you will be paying $350-400 per person.
2. Safari vehicle - There are majorly 2 options available for safaris in mara. the safari vans and the extended land cruisers. I have done enough safaris in mara to tell you, don't don't compromise on this one. GO WITH EXTENDED LANDCRUISERS. The cost of landcruisers can vary between $150 - $300 per day and can accommodate upto 6 people. This cost is based on the company that you work with and majorly on the quality of the guides. A good range to consider is 170-200 band. You will be paying this for the number of days. So for a 6 day trip, the vehicle cost could be USD 1020 - 1200. Split this among the number of people in the vehicle.
There is possibility to get LCs at lesser than 150, but I would not vouch for those as well, as your whole experience depends on the guide that you work with.
If you are going there for photography, depending on the lens and space requirement, you can say share it with 2-4 people max. Don't do 6, when with cameras.
3. Stay and Food - A million dollar question – Where should one stay in Masai Mara? Inside or Outside the park? What is the right cost to pay? And is it a good time to stay at a particular camp that you choose based on the season of the year?
My Honest take, almost all the safari camps and lodges in masai mara will offer you an amazing experience. Some have luxury facilities, while some basic. The choice of cuisine varieties, in whatever camp you choose, will be catered to suit your taste buds, whichever part of the world you are from.
Time of the year does matter with the choice of accommodation. If you choose to prioritise cost and stay at place which is slightly far off from the movement of animals, then yes, the safaris could have a compromise – especially for the photographers.
While almost all would recommend staying on the mara river, it is not the only place that can offer you the best experience. For example, staying at camps in Talek can save you a lot of money, yet allow you enter the park early and exit slightly late - just like how you can with camps inside. And Talek is very famous for its Big Cats.
You can find a place to stay at as low as USD65 per person per night with all meal plan, where as this pricing is just not possible with camps on mara river - atleast not to the first timers and not so regular guests. The costs of camps on mara river can fluctuate quite a lot based on the season and also based on your capacity as a solo traveller, frequency of visits or travel agents.
4. Travel from Nairobi - You can choose to travel by road or by air into mara. By air, consider safarilink or air kenya. they have an online reservation system, where you can book your tickets. return ticket cost varies from USD260 - USD375 depending on the season.
Going by road takes about 6-7 hours depending on the conditions at the time. The first half is a comfortable drive on well laid tar roads and the 2nd half is all mud off road. The cost of one way drive is about 170-200USD a vehicle - depends on which one and can go up to 300, again depends on the company.
Open landcruisers for safaris can't be used on the country, if you do wish to hire one and still keep the cost lower, hire one directly at mara and ask your driver/guide to pick you at Narok. And you can go on the tar roads to narok in any car service. This is the most affordable option of all.
Overall, if you are paying anything more than USD1300-1400 for a 6 days 5 nights trip, you should highly consider doing it yourself - if cost is the significant factor.
Do leave your comments or message me, i ll be happy to address your questions.
Link to source articles:

Arun Ahuja thats quite accurate info, thanks for sharing. staying inside the reserve just saves you some travel time i feel, helps catch some sunrises and sunsets, could you share some 65$ places to stay, thanks

over 3 years

Koushik Vaidhinathan Arun, yes staying inside saves time. but it also depends where inside. And staying outside necessarily doesn't mean you are far off. Talek is an ideal place to be when you wish to do mara on budgets and you can play around with the time to catch up with early rises and late sets.

over 3 years
Thumb 10301282 10152094383306962 725971536520614052 n

Kenya Safari | Awareness Post shared by a friend
A lot of us keep contemplating an African trip, and most of the times it seems way beyond our budgets. So we keep postponing it for later. It took me 4 years of yes / no / later to finally go for the Mara migration in August 2015. Unfortunately I was not on Safarist then so did the trip myself and it cost be 2200 USD for a 4x4 all to myself and a very decent stay for a 5 night / 6 day safari ex-Nairobi. I then went to Serengeti, Tanzania next year through a sharing trip on Safarist and it cost me 1500 USD only.
The trick is to negotiate and plan the travel well. Know the market. As my friend says "Picking a ground handler in Kenya who has good working relationships with nice camps is always important and is the first step (and often a difficult one given there are thousands of ground handlers in the region), and once that is in place, it is relatively easy to find a lodge/camp/hotel with fantastic hosts and great wildlife guides within your budget. For example, it is possible to do a 1 week bespoke safari (guided safaris are a different ballgame) to the wildlife capital of Kenya- Masai Mara, in well under 2000$ per person all the while using top notch 5-star luxury camps. Some examples are Sanctuary Olonana, Mara Intrepids, Tipilikwani Mara Camp, etc.
The key is to travel at the right time, to the right camp, and in the right location within the park. November-December, and April-June are periods of the year when it is possible to make full use of green season rates while still barely compromising on the wildlife experience you will have". Also monsoon is shifting in the Mara so often crossings start in June itself.
As of yesterday a deal from the uber luxurious Sanctuary Olonana was for US$ 1,800 for a 5 night/6 day flying safari with everything you can think of included in the price, valid between November 1st and December 20th this year.
So plan, bargain and go :)

Tanmay Keshav Hello Anil, welcome to the community. Look forward to your posts from Uganda in the coming days!

over 3 years

Shabnam Siddiqui @Anil I will come to Uganda next year :)

over 3 years
Thumb 416

This year I am doing a trip on 19th August t0 26th August with like minded wildlife enthusiast. We have planned this trip directly with the best local naturalists. We have booked our stay at Aashnil Mara Camp and Mara Sarena Camps which are one of the best camps in Masai Mara. Ex-Nairobi trip cost is USD 2860.
1. Two people in a room
2. Unlimited game drive, 04 people in an extended [7 pax capacity, middle row seats removed] 4x4 land cruiser customized for photography with charging points, WiFi, and English speaking naturalist.
3. Drop and pick up at Nairobi Airport included.
4. Tips and other expenses are not included.
For Tips and details, any one can contact me on my cell no. 9825022099 for further details .

over 3 years

Vineet Kurien Thanks for the info. Have a successful trip to Mara!

over 3 years