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The Best of Kenya—Custom Safari

Maasai Mara Private Conservancy, Kenya

Learn more about Traditional, Distinctive and Premier camps & lodges.
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Encounter Mara
Location
Maasai Mara, Kenya

Set in the private 50,000-acre Mara Naboisho Conservancy, award-winning Encounter Mara offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa all year round from the understated yet lavish comfort of this superb eco-camp. The innovative conservancy model is a partnership between landowners and tourism companies in an effort to protect the precious ecosystem while improving the lives of the communities in the area. At the same time, it provides guests with an exclusive and uncrowded experience of one of the most renowned slices of wild Africa. 

Sheltered under the canopy of an acacia forest, Encounter Mara blends so seamlessly with its natural surroundings that it's not unusual to see zebra or giraffe wandering through camp. The camp enjoys glorious views of the sprawling savanna, while at closer range a salt lick attracts a range of animals throughout the day, from plains game to big cats. As a result, guests may be inclined never to leave camp! Though of course we do, taking advantage of superb wildlife viewing on 4x4 game drives in the region. Species frequently seen on the camp doorstep include lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hippo, Nile crocodile, klipspringer, striped polecat and pygmy falcon. Because of Encounter Mara's location on a private conservancy, guests can also enjoy activities not available to visitors in the adjacent national reserve, such as bush walks and night drives in search of nocturnal hunters like serval and caracal. 

This classically styled safari camp offers 10 spacious, comfortable and airy tents, furnished in neutral tones, and each with en suite bathroom with flush toilet and hot-water safari bucket shower. Outside, private verandas open out to the limitless plains: relax here on a day bed and soak up the inspiring views. Enjoy delicious, freshly made cuisine in the canvas dining tent in the center of camp, against the sensory backdrop of the bush. Meals are also served outside whenever the weather allows. Picnic-style breakfasts are an option during a morning game drive, and packed lunches are available for full-day outings. Sundowners and snacks welcome you back to camp at the end of the day as the sky slowly turns to orange, followed by a gourmet dinner in camp. Retreat to the cozy lounge area, furnished in a simple yet contemporary style that allows views of the Maasai Mara to take center stage—or gather round the campfire beneath a sky crowded with stars. 
 
Kicheche Bush Camp
Location
Maasai Mara, Kenya

Kicheche Bush Camp is an intimate luxury tented camp that is completely unfenced, accommodating a maximum of just 12 guests. Accommodations consist of six spacious, fully insect-proof custom-designed tents, equipped with twin or double beds, high-quality linens, bedside tables, luggage racks and rugs. Bathrooms are en suite and equipped with a dresser, flush toilet and traditional safari bucket shower with a view. Private verandas include comfortable chairs with a view over the plains. One tent can be converted into a triple on request. Public spaces include a large, well-furnished lounge and dining tent, although we prefer to dine al fresco if weather permits.

Kicheche Bush Camp is located in the Maasai Mara within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy bordering the national reserve. The Olare Motorogi Conservancy, through its strict limit on bed numbers, offers an incomparable wildlife-viewing experience without crowds. The camp is located in a prime wildlife area, and game viewing starts right from the camp itself. The location is ideal from which to experience the wildebeest migration.
Naboisho Camp
Location
Maasai Mara, Kenya

Secluded within the private 50,000-acre Mara Naboisho Conservancy, this intimate tented camp is surrounded by all the natural wonders of the Maasai Mara ecosystem without the crowds. The conservancy, established in 2011, is already making a name for itself as a place to experience the Mara’s spectacular wildlife in peaceful seclusion, and Naboisho is one of just a handful of camps located within its bounds. As a permanent camp, Naboisho allows for a coveted level of luxury in the wilderness. Its eight luxurious tented suites are set well apart from one another to ensure privacy. All have king-size beds, with large screened windows opening onto the sights and sounds of the Kenyan wilderness. En suite bathrooms have flush toilets and both indoor and outdoor bush showers. Each tent also has a private veranda with day bed for relaxing after game drives, and is attended by a personal butler.

The name Naboisho means “harmony,” and the camp’s design reflects a sensitivity to its natural environs, from low-impact canvas suites to the organic construction of the main lodge. Sustainable operations include recycling rainwater and all waste products.This thatched main area has wooden decks that provide an exciting vantage point over a watering hole. After a full day of the exciting wildlife viewing Naboisho is famed for, guests will enjoy the warm, personalized hospitality that is the camp’s hallmark, savoring dinners by the fireside and relaxing in the stylish lodge before turning in amid the lullaby sounds of the bush as you drift off to sleep. In addition to regular wildlife drives, guests staying at Naboisho Camp may also participate in guided bush walks and night drives, neither of which is permitted in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Naboisho and its guests support the local community by donating books and equipment to a local primary school through the Pack for a Purpose initiative.
Ngare Serian Camp
Location
Maasai Mara, Kenya

"Ngare" means "by the river" in the Maasai language, an apt name for this secluded, intimate camp on the banks of the Mara River within the private 1,500-acre Mara North Conservancy. To reach the camp, guests must walk across a rope bridge over the rushing waters that are often frequented by hippos. Waiting on the other side is an eager team of staff members who tend to every detail of your stay with a warm smile and helping hand. Just four spacious tents—ideal for a private group of family or friends—are set on hardwood decking with scenic views over the river and Oloololo Escarpment. Interiors feature glossy hardwood floors, Zanzibar-style four-poster beds with crisp white linens, luggage stands, campaign chairs, carved tables, oriental rugs and vases filled with fresh foliage. The tents open on three sides, bringing the outdoors in. Each tent has an adjoining bush bathroom with hot and cold running water, flush toilet and a shower. Luxurious bathtubs are built into the veranda decking, overlooking the river. Twenty-four-hour electricity is provided with a combination of solar and generator power.

Guests at Ngare Serian enjoy exclusive use of a 4WD safari vehicle with private guide and wildlife spotter. Because the camp is on a private conservancy, guests can enjoy night drives, fishing in the river, and guided walks to enjoy nature away from the hum of a vehicle—activities that are not permitted in the adjacent national reserve. Between July and October, the annual wildebeest migration is in the area—a highlight of any stay during this season. 

Saruni Mara
Location
Maasai Mara, Kenya

Lying within 1,500-acre Mara North Conservancy, a private wildlife concession bordering the world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve, this exclusive boutique lodge emanates warmth and hospitality while maintaining a strong commitment to protecting the environment, wildlife and local communities. Five double cottages and two larger villas comprise the lodge's village-style layout. 

Each luxurious cottage has an individual theme, and all have en suite bathrooms and private verandas. Choose The Observatory for a celestial focus, with a moon map and vintage brass telescope, or indulge your passion for safari photography in The Photographer's Studio, where you'll find antique camera equipment and stunning prints on the walls. In the Literary Room, read from classic and Africa-themed books and write your own safari story at a writing desk complete with quill pen, vintage typewriter and brass reading lamp. The Love Shack, featuring elegant white decor, is the perfect honeymoon hideaway or romantic retreat, while the Artist's Studio is a sanctuary for the creative soul, with paints, brushes and palette for when you're feeling inspired by the dramatic landscapes in full view.

Saruni Mara's family villa has a natural history focus, ideal for all generations to learn about the wonders you'll discover on safari. The decor features a selection of antique and vintage prints, and you'll find reading material on Africa's mammals, reptiles, birds and flora. The suite includes two large bedrooms each with spacious private bath, an expansive living area, and a veranda. The stylish new villa has two en-suite bedrooms, a large lounge complete with dining area and big, welcoming fireplace. There is also an impressive large veranda overlooking the magnificent scenery of the Masai Mara. 

Nyati Villa is Saruni Mara's most private accommodation, an elegant wilderness outpost with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a lounge and dining room, kitchen and large veranda. Nyati House, located five minutes' drive from the main lodge in a secluded valley, is booked on an exclusive basis for the ultimate private experience. It's perfect for a small group or family wanting to experience the Maasai Mara on their own schedule and from the comfort of their own home. The villa comes with its own safari vehicle and private guide. Meals are also served privately in the villa's own dining room, ensuring the utmost in personalized service. The view of the Mara plains is outstanding, and there is a large front garden where children will enjoy playing.

Guests are encouraged to work closely with the experienced guides and staff members to choose from a plethora of pre-designed itinerary options, or to create their own. Awaken each morning with fresh tea and hot biscuits as you anticipate an exciting day. The range of activities include game drives, bush meals, bird watching, hiking, hot-air balloon flights, and bush walks with Maasai warriors who share their ancient wisdom of the ecosystem that surrounds you, as well as elements of their rich, traditional culture. You're even invited to participate in Maasai tribal dances, which your guides enjoy sharing with you around the fire at night. 
Mara Plains Camp
Location
Maasai Mara, Kenya

Imagine an intimate safari camp set in the very heart of some of the greatest predator country in Africa. That is Mara Plains, located just over the northern border of the famed Maasai Mara Game Reserve in the private Olare Orok Conservancy. As the only camp in the area with access to both the Olare Orok (30,000 acres) and Mara North (80,000 acres) conservancies, as well as the Maasai Mara (375,000 acres) itself, Mara Plains offers the most comprehensive wildlife experience in the region. Superb sightings of predators are a regular happening here. Rarely a night passes without lion roaring nearby, while leopard are frequently found wandering through camp and cheetah have established territories on the savannah off the main area.

Opened in 2008, Mara Plains Camp is small and highly personal. In every respect the camp is designed to maximize luxury while minimizing its ecological footprint. It features just seven canvas tents on raised decks with panoramic vistas across Kenya’s legendary savannahs. Each is shaded by riverine forest, to keep temperatures comfortable in the heat of the day. Tents are octagonal in design with high ceilings, dressing area, flush toilet, double basins and shower. The camp’s main area consists of three tents on raised wooden decking with library, lounge, dining and bar area.

As one of just three camps currently operating within the Olare Orok Conservancy, which boasts the region’s lowest vehicle density, guests will encounter no mini-buses and a visitor density of just one guest room per 700 acres. At Mara Plains, it is possible to find the best game-viewing in Kenya while avoiding the tourist crowds of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve proper – an idyllic combination. The camp offers the widest range of activities anywhere in the Mara region, including game drives, superb night drives, nature walks with armed guides, balloon safaris (extra cost), and visits to authentic local Maasai villages.
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