Encounter Mara was an outstanding experience and ranks among my top travel experiences. I echo a previous comment that essentially stated "I splurged thinking it was a once in a lifetime trip and now want to plan my return." The guides are Masai who grew up in or near the conservancy, and their intimate knowledge and love of the land is obvious; their quality of guiding starkly contrasted that of tourism workers who are willing to guide in any park for income. There was no question about the animals, plants or stars that the guides couldn't answer - these are bright and well-trained individuals. The conservancy's land management strategies are not only good for the land/animals, but also mean you won't be running into other tourists very frequently; you feel like you are alone on the savanna. The quality of service back at the tented camp was outstanding while reflecting conservation values - a tough juggling act that they manage well. We traveled with our 6 year old and it worked just fine; it was hard to wake him up early for some of the AM drives, but I blame that on jetlag. And, once we roused him, he was always excited to go out for another drive. The guides were sweet with him. And, the number and variety of animals it made following safaris a bit disappointing (so consider scheduling Encounter Mara at the end of your trip, not the beginning). We also took advantage of a guided walk and a visit to a Masai village, and I am glad we did. Finally, I appreciated that it truly was all-inclusive (except a fee we paid the village, which I was happy to do, especially because that meant they weren't peddling souvenirs), making this not really that much more expensive than other places that mark up drinks or charge extra for walks, transportation, etc. Bottom Line: do what you need to do to spend time at Encounter Mara.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Recently voted Kenya's #1 Tented Safari Camp for the third year in a row, Encounter Mara is located in one of Kenya's premier game viewing areas - the Naboisho Conservancy. Built with a focus on conservation and complete sustainability, Encounter Mara offers luxury in twelve custom-designed, spacious tents, positioned for privacy as well as optimal game viewing. Located in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, guests experience unparalleled game-viewing in a low-tourism-density area and opportunities for night drives and walking safaris up to four hours in length. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Encounter Mara Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve