Kenyans will from next year, January 2024, have to dig deeper into their pockets to enjoy the beauty of some natural resources, including the world-famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, also referred to as the Masai Mara National Reserve.
This is after the Narok County Government, which manages the Maasai Mara, announced a significant increase in park fees, effective January 2024.
In the new pricing guidelines, adult Kenyans will pay Ksh3,000 per day to access the park, triple the current cost which is Ksh1,000 per day. Kenyan students will pay Ksh1,000 per day, up from Ksh300. The student rate applies to those who are not above the age of 23.
Kenyans residing in Narok County, however, will get some relief as they will pay Ksh2,000 per day per adult and Ksh500 per child above 10 years. Children below 10 will enjoy free entry.
Tourists visiting from East African member countries will now pay Ksh4,500 per day, up from Ksh1,200 they currently pay.
International tourists will also affected by the new prices, as the cost of the daily park fee for foreigners will hike from Ksh10,500 ($70) to Ksh30,000 ($200) during the peak season (July 1 - December 31st. This is the period when the wildebeest migration happens, the event has been recognized as one of the 7 wonders of the natural world.
During the offpeak season, between January 1st and June 30th, foreign non-resident tourists will pay Ksh15,000 ($100) per day, up from Ksh10,500 ($70).
The entry fees are exclusive of the car entry fees which have been increased for cars that have 5 seats and below. The cost will go from the current Ksh400 to Ksh500 per day. Vehicles with 6-12 seats will still pay Ksh1,000 per day, while those with 12-24 seats will pay Ksh3,000 while the rest will pay Ksh4,000 per day.
The new park fees come into effect a few months after the Narok County Government announced a change in the validity period for all access ticks from a 24-hour cycle to a 12-hour validity.
“A 12 (twelve) hour ticket validity is to be effected. Some of the points to note are that guests staying outside the reserve will be required to pay a daily entry fee wherein the ticket will be valid from 6 am to 6 pm,” the county government said in a statement in July 2023.
Tourists staying in camps that are inside the Maasai Mara National Reserve are allowed to stay until 10 am on the following day. Any extension beyond this timeline requires a new entry ticket.
With the changes, an adult Kenyan, driving a 4-seater car to the Mara for a weekend (Entry Friday afternoon, Exit Sunday noon) will see the cost of accessing the park change as follows:
2 Tickets @Ksh,1000 = Ksh2,000
2 Car Entry Tickets @400 = Ksh800
Total cost Ksh2,800
3 Tickets @Ksh3,000 = Ksh9,000
3 Tickets @Ksh500 = Ksh1,500
Total new cost = Ksh10,500
For an international tourist visiting the Mara during the peak season, the changes will be as follows:
August 2023 Prices
3 Tickets @Ksh10,500 = Ksh31,500
3 Car Entry Tickets @400 = Ksh1,200
Total cost Ksh32,700
3 Tickets @Ksh30,000 = Ksh90,000
3 Car Entry Tickets @500 = Ksh1,500
Total cost Ksh91,500
These changes have not factored some of the costs that are independent of the entry fees including hotel accommodation, fuel, air tickets, and auxiliary services such as air balloons.