Night game drives in the Maasai Mara are an exhilarating experience that provides a unique opportunity to see a completely different set of wildlife, as many animals are more active during the cooler, quieter hours of the night.

It is similar to a daytime game drive but takes place after the sun has set, typically starting around dusk and lasting for a few hours into the night. It offers the chance to witness the African bush’s nocturnal side and see creatures that are rarely active during the day.

The Experience

During a night game drive, you’ll venture out into the darkness with your experienced guide, using a spotlight to scan the landscape for signs of wildlife. The drive can be an atmospheric and thrilling experience, as the African bush transforms under the cover of darkness, and sounds become more pronounced.

Night game drives offer a chance to spot nocturnal animals such as aardvarks, bush babies, bat-eared foxes, and nightjars. It’s also a unique opportunity to witness predators like lions, leopards, and hyenas on the hunt, as many of them use the cover of darkness to stalk their prey. The sights and sounds of a night game drive offer an entirely different perspective on the Maasai Mara’s wildlife.

The success of a night game drive largely depends on the skill of your guide. These experienced professionals are trained to navigate the challenging terrain in the dark and to spot animals from a distance using only the beam of a spotlight. They’re also a wealth of knowledge about the different animals’ behaviors, helping to enhance your understanding of what you observe.


For a night game drive, it’s a good idea to dress warmly, as it can get chilly after sunset. You should also bring a camera with a good low-light mode if you hope to take photos. Some operators provide blankets and hot drinks to keep you warm during the drive.

Booking and Cost

Not all areas of the Maasai Mara National Reserve allow night game drives, which are restricted to certain private conservancies. Therefore, you’ll need to check whether your lodge or camp offers this activity. If they do, it’s often an optional extra and not included in the typical game package, meaning there will be an additional cost.

The price for a night game drive can vary depending on the operator, the duration of the drive, and the specific conservancy fees, but it generally ranges from $50 to $100 per person. Always confirm with your lodge or safari operator when booking your stay.

Here are a few camps and lodges known to offer night game drives:

  • Porini Lion Camp: Located in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Porini Lion Camp offers night drives in addition to daytime game drives.
  • Asilia Africa: Asilia operates multiple camps in the Mara, such as Naboisho Camp and Encounter Mara, both located within the Naboisho Conservancy, which allows night drives.
  • Elephant Pepper Camp: This camp is located in the Mara North Conservancy and is known to offer night game drives as part of their safari activities.
  • Kicheche Bush Camp: Also located in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kicheche Bush Camp includes night game drives in their activity offerings.
  • Mara Bush Houses: Located within the Mara North Conservancy, the Mara Bush Houses (Acacia, Mara, and Topi houses) offer night game drives.
  • Saruni Mara: This lodge is located in the private Mara North Conservancy and also offers night game drives.

A night game drive in the Maasai Mara is a unique safari experience that you won’t soon forget. It’s a chance to see a different side of the African bush and witness the fascinating behaviors of nocturnal wildlife.