We saved a visit to the Masai Mara for last on our safari (Amboseli - Meru - Masai Mara) and I am really happy with the order of stops. Each wonderful in their own right but had we started in this location, we may have been disappointed since the amount of animals you see in MM is far more dense than elsewhere.
On arrival, we were greeted by Francis who would be our guide for our entire stay. We were pretty tired after flying into Nairobi from Meru, having to wait 3 hours before our afternoon flight and then a bumpy ride to MM but definitely felt refreshed once we arrived at the camp. If you are looking to stay in a bush camp but still want some comforts, this is the place for you. Patrick and Sophie and little Alexi are wonderful hosts with a wealth of information and you can tell they truly love what they do. The camp itself is hidden away amongst the elephant pepper trees and is not fenced. This was really great! Masai warriors escort you to and from your tent when it is dark so it is completely safe. Elephants, baboons and monkeys were our neighbours during our stay.
We were in tent 3 and it was closest to the dining tent although still very private. The tents are great! No running water, but they have a good system of providing you with cold and hot water that you can mix into your sink to wash up. They do a bucket shower so at the end of your game drive your guide will ask you if you would like your shower before dinner, they radio it in and by the time you reach camp and are back in your tent your shower is ready! I would advise running the water, shutting it off while you lather up and then turning it back on to rinse off or you may run out (my mistake the first night!). It's the perfect temperature. You will also find a hot water bottle when you turn in for the night - what a nice comfort and special touch!
For meals, this was the only camp where they did communal dining at the long table. Really liked this option as it was nice to get to know the others at camp. Before and after dinner you gather around the camp fire, share stories and enjoy drinks. Great way to end a full day out! Be sure to put on insect repellent, it could've just been me but I did get quite a few bites one night.
For drinks, there's a great stock in the lounge bar and fridge that you can help yourself to or often a staff member will come out to help you. All drinks (except the really high end stuff) are included and it's a casual environment.
For charging, camera batteries can be given to Patrick or the other staff and they will charge it for you in the office overnight. There are also charging ports in the game drive vehicles but since we have North American plugs, we found them a bit more loose in the sockets, others who had the right plugs didn't have this problem. There is also a USB charging station in the lounge which you can use.
Internet was surprisingly quite a good signal. They turn it off just before dinner until the next morning and while we were there they were upgrading their internet so the signal might be even stronger going forward.
Food wise, everything was excellent and just as good as we enjoyed at the other Cheli & Peacock camps we visited. Lunch is a buffet and dinner is plated. My favourite meal of the trip was our last night's dinner of osso bucco... amazing!
Game drives - excellent! Our guide Frances was really knowledgeable and diligent at finding all the animals for us to see. We hadn't seen a cheetah yet and although we were okay with this, he was determined and on our very last night we finally found one! This camp is located in the North Conservancy which is great because there are less game drive vehicles around so it feels less 'busy'. There is one day where they took us on a whole day game drive so we could drive out to the MM (takes about 1.5hrs to get there) so it's a long day 6:30am-6:30pm but it's well worth it.
We would've liked to also do a bush walk as we heard from Lucy at Elsa's Kopje that the one they do is excellent but unfortunately Patrick had to go to Nairobi and he is the one who does them. If you have a chance, do it!
I could say a lot more about Elephant Pepper Camp but I should probably stop here. If this is one of your options for your stay in the Masai Mara, don't hesitate!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Elephant Pepper Camp is situated within the Mara North Conservancy. Small and exclusive, the camp is located in the heart of the African Bush. Our spacious canvas tents are comfortably furnished, featuring en suite bathrooms with flush toilets and traditional safari showers. Nothing rivals sitting around the campfire enjoying the sounds of the African night. Elephant Pepper Camp brings people back to nature – no traffic, no permanent structures, just the sights and sounds of the African bush. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Elephant Pepper Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Elephant Pepper Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve