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“One of my top vacations EVER in the world!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cottar's 1920's Camp

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Cottar's 1920's Camp
4.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Olderkesi Private Reserve | P.O. Box 44191 Nairobi Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00100, Kenya   |  
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Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“One of my top vacations EVER in the world!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

I was blown away by Cottar's 1920's Camp on my recent trip to Kenya. It was everything you could want on a high-end safari. Courteous staff, private butlers, amazing guides, cats spotted on EVERY drive, beautiful pool, great attention to detail. It is perfect for families, groups or definitely romance. I HIGHLY recommend spending the money to do it. You won't be disppointed. I can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Spring for the honeymoon tent. It was amazing in every way. And closest to the pool.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank katsjourney123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 reviews from our community

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Axbridge
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

We had a lovely tent with excellent bathroom (I was very relieved to
see), with fantastic views over the Mara. In the late afternoon
gazelle, zebras,warthogs and monkeys come to graze within arm's
length. On safari we never expected to such see large prides of lions so close, almost at arms length and a special treat was a cheetah with 2 small cubs, elephants and buffalo added to the experience.The 'mess tent' is full of interesting artefacts from the
early days of Safaris as Cottars has been in existence since 1920. We
had fantastic service, including tea in bed at 5.30 am (We put our laundry in a bag and it magically returns clean that evening and we had lovely food at a big table with
the owners and other guests by candlelight. Guests came from USA, Russia, UK, Brazil and India, so it made for interesting conversations. The infinity swimming pool adds to the feeling of superiority in the fantastic surroundings. Our hosts were generous and hospitable and the service from all the staff couldn't be bettered.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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Helpful?
2 Thank SusanAxbridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stuttgart, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

We have been there now for the second time (first time was in spring 2010) and were back then and still are absolutely content with Cottars. The first time it was the whole family of 5 and in Feb 13 it was a Father/Son trip. This time, we stayed for 5 nights and had 4 full days in the Mara for game drives and even two bush walks.
We were really looking forward to get to know Calvin on our game drives, unfortunately he had a medical emergency situation in his family, so he couldn't be in the Camp. Due to that incident, GG (i hope this spelling is correct) was assigned to be our guide for the game drives. And he as well was an excellent guide and it was a pleasure to meet him. He always had everything perfectly under control, even on our bush walks. And safety is for us the first step to being able to enjoy the holiday. We really hope to see him again next time in the camp and wish him all the best.

As you just read, we are definitely coming back to Cottars, probably in Fall 14 to have the opportunity so see the migration. Next time we will definitely book the house outside the camp, which will probably be an even more private experience.
There is nothing to criticize about the tents, the service, the staff or the food. Everything in the same top condition as years before.

Looking forward to seeing all of you again,
Best regards N.R.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
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Helpful?
1 Thank michael w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pinehurst, North Carolina
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

My wife and I are in our 70's and have been married over 50 years. We have had a wonderful marriage and have enjoyed many adventures around the world. An African safari was not on our bucket list but we joined some firends on a trip to Kenya. My wife now calls it "a trip of a lifetime" and one of the real highlights that made it so special was our stay with Calvin Cottar at Cottars 1920's Safari Camp. Calvin was our host and guide for three days. We had read that Calvin was regularly voted the best guide in Africa and we can tell stories to support this claim. We think he is a lion "whisperer" as well as one of the best hosts in Africa. We could not get enough of his stories about the Cottar family history in Africa and Calvin's committment to protect and preserve the wilderness and wildlife.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
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    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jon D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Prior to arriving at Cottar’s Camp 1920’s, we thought we had experienced perfection during our almost two week safari through Tanzania and Kenya, staying at 4 other camps and lodges. Every camp and lodge did not disappoint us and in fact surpassed expectations.

But Cottar’s Camp 1920’s proved to be the ultimate and authentic experience, a wondrous place to celebrate our final days on safari.

Its history alone makes it unique; owner Calvin Cottar’s great grandfather was a pioneer, an American big-game hinter who escorted fellow hunters around Africa in search of the big 5 (lions, buffalo, leopards, elephants, and rhinoceros). Now the fourth generation Cottar is running the family business, offering gracious hospitality with a warm dedicated staff, luxurious tents, delicious meals, and expert guides all in an impressive setting.

We were fortunate enough to have Calvin Cottar, himself, as our own private guide (worth the extra expense) for 3 days. His experience in sighting animals and safari management, coupled with his knowledge of animal behavior were invaluable. His expertise in conservation/preservation debates provided exceptional insight to current problems facing Africa’s political and economic approaches to its natural resources.

Our daily game drives, which could have become somewhat repetitive, were always singular adventures remote from safari vehicles from other camps. Each day, we embarked on a game drive as the sun rose and returned long after darkness fell with thrilling memories and great photos of very close encounters with lions, elephants, leopards and cheetahs.

The camp itself, while providing all modern amenities, was reminiscent of a setting for a Hemingway novel or an “Out of Africa” experience. The knowledgeable staff made us feel at home as a welcomed guest rather than a paying customer. One minor suggestion is to request an accommodation tent close to the main tent to take advantage of easy viewing of the animals that graze on the front lawn during the night. Sweeping a flashlight across the lawn and seeing the pinpoint reflections from the eyes of dozens of animals is truly amazing.

Although not inexpensive, we found Cottar’s Camp to be a true value. We highly recommend Cottar’s Camp for people seeking a safari experience evoking the golden age of travel, albeit with all the up to date comforts. If you contemplate staying at multiple camps we recommend saving Cottar’s Camp for last so as not to experience your highpoint early on your trip. If you are choosing only one location to experience your safari, choose Cottar’s Camp 1920’s - you won’t be disappointed. We look forward to returning.

Room Tip: One minor suggestion is to request an accommodation tent close to the main tent to take advantage of...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Millecf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Europe
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

After many and varied experience with East and S. African safari camps, in Cottars we have found the most complete, satisfying and exciting of all. They have well earned their many accolades. We spent a week there in the privately rentable house above the tented camp...9 of us. We were there in January....the Mara is well known for its migration period and rightly but there are crowds of 'vanebeests' to view the wildebeests. In the early part of the year the Mara is green and beautiful and empty...as we viewed as much wildlife as anyone could wish for, we saw not a single other vehicle on many days...we had the great park to ourselves.
We were guided every day by Enoch and his other Masai guides, whose knowledge of their craft is impressive, as is their understanding of all of our needs. Often he would join us for dinner with one or more of his colleagues, including Calvin Cottar, the 4th generation of the (originally American) family that have been advising and running safari camps in East Africa for longer than any.
There is no pressure to do anything other than relax and enjoy the extraordinary views across the Mara.....and then go exploring when when one wants.
Cottars is an East African houseparty in the bush with a wonderful team to look after one.
the big news is that they have now secured in negotiation with the local Masai their own private concession of 4000 acres around the camp.... so the wild life will be even more plentiful and private.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank billcolegrave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

Cottars 1920 Camp is unique it has history, real history spanning 100 years and sits in its original site surveying the Masi Mara and on the horizon of Tanzania and the Serengeti. The vista you view from the owners beautiful home is the natural migration route of the game and whilst we were not in residence for the migration that did not detract from the pure magic that Cottars manages to weave around you. To say we were spoilt by a small army of staff would be to understate the experience, we were cooked delicious meals by our extremely talented Chef and team, poured fine wines, pampered by beauty thearpists for aching bones after game rides and treated to 'Yes' for every whim.
We were on Safari and after a brief consultation with our incredible Masi guides we were whisked into our Land Cruisers with two guides, one to drive, one to spot and then the adventure unfolded. A safari of this quality is not scripted, animals do not pop up at request, but our guides seemed to have an uncanny ability to locate a mind boggling array of beasts from lion to wielderbeast, exotic birds, insects, flora and forna - making us smile with their wonderful expressions such as 'A Dazzle of Zebra', 'A Journey of Giraffs', 'A Tail of Crocodiles', A Charger of Elephant' and so on. We saw the sun rise over the Mara and the pure majesty of it made me cry, we ate a bush breakfast served by our splendid Masi, we crossed the border to Tanzania and tracked a Rhinocorous all day finally seeing him, albeit by binocular, at the end of a long day - he was magnificent.
I could, as you can tell, go on and on, I hope I have managed to give you a flavour of our experience and the many more that are too long to go into. Giving Cottars a recommendation is easy, Calvin Cottar and his team simply make the dream a reality, that is a trick very few can actually do.

Room Tip: The Master Suite
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bennettWindsor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cottar's 1920's Camp

Address: Olderkesi Private Reserve | P.O. Box 44191 Nairobi Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00100, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:4 star — Cottar's 1920's Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Cottar Safari tradition began in 1919. Nearly 90 years on, we continue to provide an unparalleled safari experience to discerning clients in Africa. Extending an era of luxury and quality, we return to the original spirit and essence of "safari", reminiscent of a golden era; an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. Situated in the Masai Mara, in an untouched exclusive concession bordering the Serengeti and Loliondo reserves, the area guarantees privacy and an abundance of wildlife. The camp accommodates up to 28 guests in authentic white canvas tents, which are spacious and luxuriously furnished. The Cottar's Homestead is a private villa with 5 en suite bedrooms, amazing views and private chef and guides. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cottar`s Camp 1920`s Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Cottar's 1920's Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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