Camps/ lodges in the Mara with a waterhole (best for night game viewing) Image courtesy of Mara Bushtops
23 July 2014 Written by 

Camps/ lodges in the Mara with a waterhole (best for night game viewing)

You are going on a safari and are looking for a place to stay that will combine rustic simplicity with unquestionable luxury, a place with a waterhole, especially one from which animals regularly drink. At the camps and lodges mentioned below, you step into a world of 'civilised' wilderness living where nature and contemporary comfort blend into one, read on and find one that suits your needs.

Mara Bushtops

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This is an oasis of five-star luxury. It blends peace with adventure, luxury with tranquillity, and first-class comfort with unforgettable sights and smells, sounds and sensations.

It is perched on the side of a hill, directly bordering the awe-inspiring Masai Mara and set amongst the Bushtops private Conservancy, which allows for off-road and night game drives. It is an exclusive tented camp with twelve lavish tents and one suite/family-friendly tent for up to six. Each tent has expansive natural wooden decking that links the sun-drenched outdoors to cool interiors, fine furnishings that reflect the elegance of African culture, a wildlife-watching telescope, as well as a romantic outdoor sunken bathtub providing the perfect spot to relax after a day on safari.

All dining is à la carte. There is an underground wine cellar with a fine selection of wines. In addition, with a salt lick at the waterhole, varieties of animals visit the camp day and night. Game drives accompanied by experienced rangers and local Masai spotters are available. The camp's daily itineraries are flexible. You might opt for a morning game drive on day one, returning to the camp for lunch before a night drive in the conservancy, while on day two you could embark on a full day drive right into the heart of the reserve and to the Mara River.

Little Governors' Camp

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Surrounded by forests and open plains, one approaches the camp by a boat ride across the Mara River, followed by an escorted walk through the riverine forest teeming with both birds and wildlife.

This is an intimate camp with seventeen luxury en-suite tents spread out under the forest canopy. Each tent has an open-sided living area that looks out over the Masai Mara plains towards the escarpment in the distance. The tents additionally have wooden decks with large verandas for guests to enjoy the constant game activity that takes place around the natural marshy watering hole at the camp. The property is unfenced, and animals such as warthogs, giraffes, antelopes, elephants and a host of other animals trickle past oblivious to human presence.

Dining is an exquisite combination of haute cuisine with a dramatic setting beneath the African night sky. Game drives are available – morning, afternoon and evening – and take you through classic breath-taking East Africa scenery.

Elephant Pepper Camp

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Located in the heart of the Masai Mara ecosystem, the Mara North Conservancy, Elephant Pepper Camp is the perfect base from which to explore the wonders of the Mara.

This small, elegant and private bush camp with a Gold eco-rating offers a private game viewing deck next to salt lick and waterhole and eight deluxe en-suite tents and one honeymoon/family tent. The tents come with private verandas, close lying hammocks and the seclusion of the African bush to ensure moments at the camp provide a quiet interlude during life on safari. Upon waking, tea and freshly baked biscuits ease guests into mornings of game drives, bush walks or cultural visits across the conservancy in the company of highly experienced local guides and wildlife rangers.

The camp offers a delicious original Northern Italian cuisine that includes a mouth-watering combination of homemade pastas, fresh baking and sensational salads that complete the rustic luxury sensation. Guests usually dine communally and share the daily adventures with each other.

Keekorok Lodge

keekorok-lodge

Keekorok means "place of black trees" in the local Masai language. The lodge is set in the southern region of the Masai Mara, surrounded by an area of lush grassland and permanent springs, and in the direct path of the incredible Great Wildebeest Migration.

There are 101 en-suite guest rooms in the lodge, all with private balconies. The tastefully furnished rooms either are within single-storey blocks or are individual bungalows. A short stroll along a wooden platform takes you to the Hippo Bar for the unique experience of observing hippos wallowing in the watering hole whilst you enjoy a relaxing drink. Alternatively, follow the path through the trees to the Elephant Deck for a wonderful place to observe the surrounding wildlife.

All meals are buffet-style with a huge choice of freshly prepared options including fresh salads, a pasta bar, a choice of meat and non-meat hot entrees and a tempting dessert selection. Guests have a choice of venturing into the Masai Mara for thrilling morning and afternoon game drives or lounging at the attractive pool or terrace provides the ideal place to unwind. Other activities (optional and at a supplement) include hot air ballooning, bird watching, cultural tours and fishing.

Mara Serena Safari Lodge

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Located at the very centre of the famous 'Mara Triangle' this lodge is set high on the saddle of a bush-cloaked hill, overlooking vast plains, forests, and down winding coils of the hippo filled Mara River. The lodge stands centre stage to one of Africa's most dramatic wildlife arenas, with a ringside seat for the legendary migration of the wildebeest.

Styled to echo the circular motif of a traditional Masai manyatta, each room is stand-alone and en-suite; uniquely presented in swirling patterns of savannah yellow and bush tones, featuring Masai inspired design-motifs. The rooms offer uninterrupted views of the famous Mara River and a private balcony and spacious seating area. The central bar and dining areas decorated with traditional scarlet Masai cloaks and spears similarly enjoy spectacular views, as does the rock-surround panoramic swimming pool.

Activities include three daily game drives in custom-built traditional safari vehicles, 'sundowners' in the bush, breakfast by the hippo pools, balloon safaris and exotic Masai bush suppers. The lodge is the only such property in the Mara Triangle - one of the world's richest wildlife sanctuaries - and as such, its guests can be assured a high degree of privacy when enjoying their safari experience.



Esther Gacheru

Esther Gacheru is an aspiring Business Analyst in Nairobi who is currently nurturing an agribusiness project. Her most indulged passions include listening to music, giving back to the society, travelling and writing about her travels.
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xplorato-aboutWith a strong emphasis on sustainable travel practices Xplorato Ventures can provide you with anything from classic to luxury safaris.
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