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Great Migration, Travel Tips, Accommodation

Luxury Masai Mara safari lodges and camps

 

Written by  Julie Graham

The legendary Masai Mara National Reserve is the shining emerald in Kenya’s crown, and considered to be its flagship park. Situated in the southwest of the East African country, the Masai Mara serves as one of the world’s most iconic stages for Africa’s wildest theatricals to play out, including the Great Wildebeest Migration – an annual act of predator and prey showcasing one of the greatest nature events on the planet. 

Ker & Downey® Africa’s expert team of LuxVenture® Designers have put together a list of some of the top luxury lodges and camps of the Masai Mara for the discerning wildlife aficionado who wishes to experience this pristine wildlife wonderland firsthand, while contributing to preserving its future.

About the Masai Mara

Leopard in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, photo credit | Mara Plains

Scenically, the Masai Mara is easily one of the most breath-taking places on earth with stunning landscapes that range from iconic savannah grasslands studded with acacia trees, and dramatic plateaus, to rolling grasslands, riverine forests, woodlands, and rocky hills. It is a vast land with strong ties to the semi-nomadic regal Maasai tribes, who can be seen clad in striking red, following the ancient grooves of cattle paths used by their ancestors.

It is a vast land with strong ties to the semi-nomadic regal Maasai tribes, who can be seen clad in striking red, following the ancient grooves of cattle paths used by their ancestors.

Local Maasai warrior, photo credit | Sanctuary Olonana Camp

From a wildlife perspective, the 1,510 square km (583 square miles) of pristine land is home to an astounding concentration of animals including the Big Five, as well as heaving migratory herds of plains game, wildebeest and zebra, giraffe, cheetah, and over 450 species of bird. Enormous crocodiles and large bloats of hippos are also found in the world-famous Mara River, patiently waiting for the Great Migration herds to embark on the treacherous annual river crossing from the Serengeti. If you want action, you’ve come to the right place!

Our recommended Masai Mara safari lodges and camps:

andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

Secluded Superior Tent at andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

Set along a river on the edge of the 400 meter high Oloololo escarpment, overlooking riverine forests and the iconic sweeping plains of the Masai Mara, andBeyond’s Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp redefines a classic Kenyan safari into a blend of contemporary and timeless luxury. 

Elephant sighting with andBeyond Kichwa Tembo
Simple, yet ultra-stylish, the camp provides the perfect base from which to enjoy abundant wildlife all year round.

Simple, yet ultra-stylish, the camp provides the perfect base from which to enjoy abundant wildlife all year round, while basking in high-end luxury Kenyan hospitality. Set on a private concession directly in the path of the seasonal Great Wildebeest Migration, it also offers guests front row seats to the Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth – the Great Wildebeest Migration. 

Highlights

  • On the path of the Great Wildebeest Migration 
  • Set in private concession with abundant wildlife year round
  • Guided bush walks, hot air balloon safaris and game drives
  • Cultural experiences with Maasai Tribes

Virgin Mahali Mzuri

Mahali Mzuri guest tents

Situated within the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy, covering an area of 13,500 hectares, Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri is a luxury safari camp in the heart of the Kenyan bush, set right in the path of the Great Wildebeest Migration.

It is also home to a large number of lion territories and other abundant wildlife making it an unforgettable experience all year round.

Wildebeest herd spotted on a game drive at Mahali Mzuri

The area is also home to around 150,000 Loita wildebeest that don’t make the migration south and instead, seem to loiter all year round. It is also home to a large number of lion territories and other abundant wildlife making it an unforgettable experience all year round. All this action combined with style and luxury that is out of this world, puts Mahali Mzuri in a league of its own and one of our top recommended Masai Mara safari lodges.

Highlights:

  • Set in a private conservancy 
  • On the path of the Great Wildebeest Migration 
  • Nasaro Spa on the valley floor
  • Maasai community experience

Sanctuary Olonana

Aerial view of Sanctuary Olonana

The breath-taking Sanctuary Olonana is a luxury eco-lodge situated in the heart of the Masai Mara on a private stretch of the dramatic Mara River – world-famous for the treacherous annual crossing of the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Female solo traveler relaxing at Sanctuary Olonana Camp

Luxury Suite private deck
Featuring 14 tents that blend seamlessly into the pristine environment, guests can enjoy soothing interiors, organic materials and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that fold open to reveal magnificent river views. 

Featuring only 14 tents that blend seamlessly into the pristine environment, guests can enjoy soothing interiors, organic materials and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that fold open to reveal magnificent river views. The lodge offers epic game drives, cultural visits, bush dinners, and hot air balloon safaris to enjoy the abundance of wildlife in the region all year round.

Highlights:

  • Located on a private stretch of the Mara River
  • Set in private concession with abundant wildlife year round
  • Bush dinners, scenic flights, hot air balloon safaris and game drives
  • Cultural experiences with Maasai Tribes

Mara Plains Camp

Exterior view of Guest Tent at Mara Plains Camp

Another exclusive camp (one of only five) located within a forest in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Mara Plains Camp is perfectly positioned to put guests in the middle of the Great Wildebeest Migration action making it one of our top recommended Masai Mara safari lodges and camps.

Mara Plains camp offers guests exclusive access to the private conservancy, as well as greater Masai Mara Reserve and guarantees an abundant, rich, and exciting game-viewing experience.

Front row seats to the Great Wildebeest Migration

Situated on a bend in the Ntiakitiak River, the camp – comprising only seven luxury tents – is secluded and intimate, with understated stylish finishes paying homage to classic safari elegance. Mara Plains camp offers guests exclusive access to the private conservancy, as well as greater Masai Mara Reserve and guarantees an abundant, rich, and exciting game-viewing experience in one of the most iconic wildlife destinations on earth. 

Highlights:

  • Set in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy
  • Intimate camp for just 14 guests
  • Vehicles designed for avid photographers
  • Game drives, hot air balloon safaris, and cultural excursion offered

Whether it’s the ultimate in adventure, front row seats to the Great Wildebeest Migration spectacle, ultra-exclusive luxury, or all of the above, we’ve got a Masai Mara safari lodge to suit you. The team at Ker & Downey® Africa will ensure that your bespoke trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will showcase the Masai Mara at its very best!

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