On the contrary to a recent previous review we found our stay here brilliant. (But yes we are British Colonial Wannabes). Seriously though that is the kind of feel the camp has and being over 30 years old it's not too surprising.
We arrived for Lunch - being 2 minutes from their own airstrip. We had a table waiting where our waiter Moses introduced himself. They serve an excellent 3 course lunch out in the open Mara and yes there are a few flies and bees but what would you expect?? If you prefer they will move you into the bar area or dinner tent but we stuck it out. They do have food nets over you sugar etc again contrary to the previous review.
After lunch we witness two elephants and a calf appear over the other side of the river. From our table we watched them make their way down the bank to the Mara river to drink which was a great surprise! The camp has a bar and viewing deck also but we didn't spend much time there!
The tent we had (no. 23) was great. Good beds, a large en-suite bathroom and overlooking the river where we saw crocs swimming on more than one occasion!
Yes they could probably do with renewing the tents but it was clean and added to the 'camping experience. Our first night we were surrounded by animals - elephants, hippos and wart hogs. We awoke (not that i slept much) to find elephants had pushed over the wood fence at the top of the bank - metres from our tent! Was great to listen to at 4 in the morning! We were told 'visitors' are regular but have never attacked a tent. It really gave something to the whole experience. Don't be scared, they have 'rangers' working through the night and after dark you are escorted to and from your tent - very exciting. The second morning an elephant was still hanging around behind our neighbours tent and a ranger was waiting outside our tent to take us safely past!
We went for our first game drive at 15:30 - 18:30. The next morning you're up early, awaken with tea or coffee for a 6:30 leave, back for a barbecued English breakfast, then back out at 10:30 back for 12:00 lunch.
All the drives were great and we let the guide (Gideon) show us the sights. He was really helpful - would find animals on request and gave a lot of info on each animal. Our only issue was the two Italian ladies we had to share with - asking if they could stroke a lion and screaming loud enough to scare most animals off but we couldn't do much about them. If you have the option take the drives with just your party, would be worth the extra expense. The land rover we were in would take 4 so was still good to be a small group compared to some other vehicles we saw! Our biggest surprise was how independent the driver acted - no walkie talkies between drivers so most of the time we were the only vehicle around each animal occasionally bumping into others. The river crossing was a spectacle but also were the 30 or so vehicles from all over. No croc kills but saw them all munching on a dead buffalo. We saw lots of lions - the marsh pride from BBC Big Cats, Cheetahs, a Cheetah kill, lots of elephant, buffalo, giraffes, zebra, eagles, vultures, BIG crocs, hippos, foxes, hyenas, and all the antelopes and of course zillions of wildebeest. It takes just one to make a move and in five minutes there's a line of them all thundering off for miles.
We were disappointed not to see leopard or Rhino but think we ticked off most other animals that aren't entirely nocturnal. That will be our mission next time.
Dinner is served in a large tent, again a surprisingly excellent quality 3 course - better than our hotel. The staff are excellent, most of them Masai people. After dinner we tended to take a well deserved early night ready for our next early morning. In the evening they bring in gas lamps and hot water bottles - not that it was cold but a nice touch.
We pre booked through a local Kenyan company close to our hotel on Diani Beach. The company was called Kenyan Adventures and Beyond Safaris and i cannot recommend it enough. We paid 600 USD each for our 3 day trip flying in from Diani. I think many spent thousands getting here booking through big tour companies. The only difference was that 'Doc' the company owner drove us to the airstrip himself. All the park taxes were paid and we received the same treatment as everyone! Please book through a Kenyan company so they get some money rather than paying into the pockets of international businesses!
I would definitely return here and were surprised by how well organised it was and how much you were were pampered. There is a small shop for gifts, a battery charging room and balloon rides available - again something we will do next time.
Overall if a 'camping' experience is what you want - this is the place, the best camp with the best location - minutes from the action. Be aware other camps may have to drive you 30 - 60 minutes to get to animals. Having no fences really adds to the excitement so now you've done your research - book it!!
- Also Known As:
- Governor`s Camp Hotel
- Governor`s Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Governors Camp
- Governor's Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Governors' Camp nestles on the banks of the Mara River in the heart of the most prolific game viewing area of the Masai Mara. One of only a handful of camps located within the Masai Mara Game Reserve the setting is magical. Half of the tents overlook the rolling grasslands of Africa, with views of elephant, zebra and gazelle; the rest are tucked away in the forest lining the banks of the Mara River. ... more less