Mara Plains Camp

Masai Mara National Reserve
Mara Plains Camp is a one-of-a-kind, seven tent camp located in the private 35,000-acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy, just on the northern boundary of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. This intimate camp, one of Kenya’s only two Relais & Chateaux properties (other being sister property ol Donyo Lodge), blends the finest in wildlife viewing with the absolute best of safari hospitality and guiding. No other camp offers the extensive traversing area of Mara Plains Camp, with access to a total of 100,000 acres of private conservancy land as well as the world-renowned Masai Mara, home to the Great Migration. Each guest at Mara Plains contributes considerably to the success of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy’s flourishing ecosystem; conservation fees paid safeguard this habitat, while supporting over 1,000 Maasai families. This partnership agreement ensures the survival of an astounding volume and variety of wildlife. The camp is nestled in lush forest on the meandering bends of the Ntiakitiak River, and careful thought was given to every detail. The camp is not an imposition on the landscape, but rather a subtle refuge among the wild.
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Its presence does not detract from the visual beauty of the ecosystem, but incorporates it with sweeping views across the plains and careful position among the riverine forest. It is captivating on arrival. The camp’s main area takes your breath away. After crossing the bridge, Africa is revealed. Positioned just so, the horizon lies ahead, punctuated by a single acacia tree. It’s the Africa of the mind’s eye. Flanking the main mess area is the library, an area to enjoy a quiet afternoon passing the time reading books or editing your photographs. Flowing fabrics, open-air spaces and strong teak structures ground the space.

Each of the seven tents has deep canvas canopied ceilings, roughhewn wood floors and accents of East Africa’s rich safari history. Thick Lamu wood doors, deep purples, and brass accents – these small details transport you to a time and land far away. The well-appointed en-suite facilities (including a deep copper bath) plus the extensive private verandah complete what is genuinely a stunning concept. These stylistic elements coupled with thoughtful environmental elements such as solar power and no cement make Mara Plains a modern-day safari retreat.

Olare Motorogi Conservancy is reputed to have the lowest vehicle density in the Masai Mara region, while also having the highest concentration of big cats anywhere in Africa. There is only one guest bed per 350 acres, leaving the land unadulterated for the wildlife to roam and thrive, as nature intended. By day and night, the camp is a sanctuary for resident species, including many of the Masai Mara’s 300 bird species. After dark, larger mammals frequent the camp and Masai warriors escort you to and from your room. Hippos snorting and leopards barking often provide the night’s chorus.

But most of all, Mara Plains is a showcase for one of the world’s most magnificent wildlife havens. And it must be done right. Your safari experience is intimate and personal - there is no set camp schedule or set meal times. The day’s activities and dining arrangements are tailored around your preference and the wildlife opportunities of the moment.

Game drives (day and night) take place in some of the Mara’s most coveted vehicles. Each of the four Toyota Land Cruisers are open-sided, canopied and customized for photographers (fold-down screens, raised roofs, photographic bars, multi-plug invertors). With just four to six guests each, the Cruisers also have fully-stocked fridges stocked with drinks and snacks.

No two days are the same on safari. Game drives typically start at sunrise, returning for lunch and depart again in the mid-afternoon before returning just after sunset. However, very often you will go out all day, deep into the Reserve or Conservancy with a packed breakfast and lunch. Very often, your safaris will continue into the night, a possibility because of your location on a private conservancy. Night drives are particularly prolific in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and while they take patience, sightings commonly include lesser known nocturnal mammals and even lion and hyena hunts.

Hot air ballooning is also available at an additional cost. Departures are very early in the morning to allow time to transfer to the nearest launching point. If a chance to learn about the Maasai is of interest, then cultural visits to a nearby Masai village (locally known as an “enkang”) are also a highlight.

AT A GLANCE

  • 7 luxury tents approximately 700 ft² with private verandah of nearly equal size
  • Desk and dressing area as well as small lounge
  • Overhead ceiling fan
  • En-suite bathroom with flush loo, indoor shower, copper bath tub and double basins
  • Hot and cold running water
  • Fly netting on all tent sides
  • Main guest area includes lounge and library on raised decks
  • Dining room and bar
  • Outdoor fire pit with seating
  • Situated on private 35,000 acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy
  • Exceptional wildlife sightings thanks to the wide open spaces and the openness of the Mara
  • Wildebeest, kongoni, topi, large herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, black-maned lion, cheetah and massive crocodiles in the Mara River
  • Twice daily game drives
  • Hot air ballooning available at an additional cost
  • Use of professional camera and lenses, and binoculars
  • Wi-Fi in guest tents
  • All Inclusive: 3 meals daily, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beer, safari activities, laundry
  • Solar farm provides 24 hour 220v electricity
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