Mara Toto was the final stop on our family safari. Travelling as a group of ten we took out the entire camp which suited us perfectly.
The new, spacious tented accommodation is breathtaking in the quality of luxury fittings, thoughtfulness and attention to detail. The uncurtained rain shower in the centre of each bathroom requires booking as the water is manually lifted into place - always done at the precise allotted time and frankly, a delight.
The unfenced location is beside a sub-tributary of the Mara with resident crocs and hippos visible from the deck and lions and hyenas clearly heard nearby. The attentive security team at the camp assured no nerves on the very short walks after dark.
The tents are compactly spaced and all meals are taken in a central bar and dining area with a firepit for later. The food here was the best of our safari - super soups, spicy curries, traditional kenyan food on our final night.
The outdoor picnic breakfasts were also a delight, in the shade of an acacia, looking down on the Mara plains, game everywhere.
Camp host Kim looked after us brilliantly, helped craft menus for us, flexed our schedule as required, and arranged a visit to a Maasai village on the final day. Her team could not have been friendlier.
And finally what can we say about the guides Duncan and Patrick. Firstly Mara Toto has the best vehicles for the job. Opensided, with shade, and beautiful fleecy ponchos for those early starts. Duncan and Patrick took supreme care on the many stream crossings, respected the game, took us up close with cheetahs and lions, solo, in groups and on the hunt. They were supremely friendly, patient and fun and our farewell at the airport was poignant for all of us but especially our kids.
Our safari holiday was brilliant, and Mara Toto was a complete highlight.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 'Toto' means baby in Swahili, and was often used as a term of endearment in reference to young safari staff in the days of early exploration. But today, in our context, it is simply meant out of respect to its sister camp, Mara Plains, which has developed a phenomenal reputation. We are certain Mara Toto will follow suit. Just a few kilometres downstream from Mara Plains, Mara Toto resides in a small bend in the Ntiakitiak River, where thick forest meets savannah, and we've made a home. A perfect blend of comfort, adventure and intimacy make this a gem in the otherwise confounding matrix of camps in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Mara Toto positions itself squarely in the heart of magnificent predator country, and the camp's traversing rights of both Mara North Conservancy and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve give guests the flexibility to explore far and wide in search of arguably the finest wildlife sightings on earth. This site was handpicked by National Geographic Explorers-In-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert. After searching tirelessly for hours in search of the 'perfect spot' for this magical camp,they ended up for a sundowner on the very spot where Mara Toto is located today. They looked around and realised 'this is the place'. And so Mara Toto was born. The camp itself consists of five custom-designed tents of light-colored flowing canvas open on the horizontal side with canopied ceilings. Set at ground level, and shaded by the riverine forest, this camp is designed for those who want the particulars of a Great Plains Conservation property but are willing to forgo some of the fancier amenities. Still, you will not want for much. En-suite facilities including flush loos, bucket showers and tapped hot/cold water ensure utter comfort. 24-Hour electricity, fine dining and exceptional hospitality round out what can hardly be called sparse. Each of the tents is decorated with a nod to the style of early exploration and discovery - an eclectic yet coordinated assembly of what early travelers may have carried - items such as brass chandeliers, old Indian chests, local natural materials - hand-picked by us at markets throughout Africa. The whole aura is refreshing - of romance and exploration. Mara Toto is, despite its romantic appeal, a place for the ardent safari-goer. One does not beget the other and in fact we believe they both make for a spectacular camp. Spend your days out - all day - exploring the 70,000 acre private Mara North Conservancy, shared with just an handful of other small boutique camps, or go in deep into the famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve to catch the river crossings or a foray around Paradise Plains in search of Notch & sons. You'll not have to look far for wildlife - the glade of trees surrounding the camp is prime leopard territory, and the camp is a superior location to witness the great wildebeest and zebra migration from your tent. The new open-sided vehicles are custom designed by Dereck & Beverly Joubert (National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, acclaimed filmmakers and Great Plains Conservation co-founders) allowing for the very best equipment for photographic opportunities. Mara Toto, in maintaining the caliber expected of a Great Plains Conservation property, offers among the widest range of activities anywhere in the greater Maasai Mara - extensive game drives, balloon safaris (at extra cost), local village visits (authentic) and unrivaled access to superior wildlife habitat as well as visits to local schools and Great Plains Conservation community projects in the surrounding area. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Mara Toto Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve