The Masai Mara in Kenya is perhaps one of the most famous destinations in Africa. Defined by its sweeping savannahs, it is home to a wide diversity of wildlife, including the vast herds of the Great Migration. Every year 2.5 million wildebeest and zebra move en masse in search of the best grazing and safest birthing grounds to drop their calves. Beyond the migration, the Masai Mara is home to incredible predator populations including cheetah, lion, leopard, hyena. Large herds of elephants, towering Masai giraffe and a diverse array of other plains game roam about grazing on the fertile grasslands. The traditional homeland of the Maasai tribes, many villages still thrive on the periphery of the national reserve where they tend their cattle herds and continue their pastoral lifestyles.
As a classic safari destination that has long the been the must-go place for adventurous travelers, the Masai Mara has a wide variety of camps available. From intimate, luxurious camps perfect for honeymooners to trendy and stylish camps ideal for the jetsetting crowd and off-the-beaten track hideaways, there is something for everyone. The Mango Team has visited the Mara countless times - Teresa even named her daughter after this magical destination - so we know the best there is to offer. Below are our favorite camps and why...
This is an intimate and private camp set right along the famed Mara River in a quiet corner of the Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya. With just 4 tents, all with lovely views of the river, this is an ideal Wildebeest Migration spot in season. Beyond the standard game drive activities here, the camp also boasts a 4,000 acre private reserve which allows for some really interesting walking safaris. The private reserve also means hardly any vehicles, so you'll have sightings all to yourself. You can get exclusive use of a private vehicle with a guide and spotter at no additional cost. I also love the ‘Tree House’ they have for sleepouts under the stars. It's a special little experience that really adds a fun element to your safari there.
RICHARD'S RIVER CAMP
I love Richard's Camp because it's a small family run property that oozes that signature Kenyan hospitality that has made this country such a beloved destination. The tents are the perfect blend of stylish and comfy, complete with outdoor showers and hanging swing chairs. The family tent is also one of the best - my family absolutely loved our time there. Between game drives we had a blast playing lawn croquet out front of the main lounge area. The location is so fantastic too - right within striking distance of the main reserve during the wildebeest migration season but also home to plenty of resident game and no crowds for other days of bliss.
KICHECHE BUSH CAMP
This small and simple camp is just perfect in my opinion. The private Olare Motorogi Conservancy has wildlife that is absolutely off the charts and the guides to match. Not only do they know their stuff, they're also very experienced with working with photographers, so whether you're a pro or an amateur, they'll always set you up for the best shot possible. The in-camp experience is just as awesome with superb staff, service, food and rooms. Total A+ in my books!
MARA PLAINS CAMP
Mara Plains is an intimate canvas walled camp that delivers big on style and creature comforts. Think beautifully appointed interiors and oversized open-air copper bathtubs. Their guides are also some of the best in the industry, so your experience will be absolutely incredible. The private Olare Motorogi Conservancy where it's located has epic wildlife – lions everywhere! It's also situated right next door to the main Masai Mara Game Reserve, so it's easy for those day trips to the iconic Mara River migration crossings.
Tangulia Mara is the only camp in Kenya that's 100% owned and operated by the Maasai people themselves. Started by conservationist and businessman Dominic Nchoe and legendary guide Jackson Looseyia, they have hired an entirely Maasai staff, creating a wonderfully authentic experience. The guiding is world-class thanks to training from Jackson. The in-camp experience is super fun too - Maasai art is woven throughout the design and the camp offers the best view in the Masai Mara. The entire camp sits along a ridge overlooking a vast salt lick beside the Mara River. Wildlife abounds - be ready for some fantastic game viewing right in camp! When you're out on activity, you will also have direct access to the game-dense Musiara Swamps.