We stayed at Mara Explorer Camp in January for 4 nights. There are only ten tents and we stayed in Tent #7. All of the tents overlook a river that is populated with herds of hippos. The tents are spaced far enough away from each other that you have complete privacy from other guests.
The camp host, Steve, treated us like royalty our entire stay. He was gracious, knowledgable and wickedly funny. We felt as if we had known him for years within minutes of meeting him. Our tent was beautifully appointed, it was actually hard to remember we were in a tent with all the wood trim in the bathroom. The shower had hot running water at three intervals a day, better than a bucket shower because the water was unlimited, but you had to make sure you remembered to shower during the hours hot water was available. The tent had electrical plug ins for charging batteries which was convenient to have between game drives and at night. The one and only complaint I had about this camp is the quality of the beds and bedding. The beds are very hard, not just firm, but hard. We actually peeled back the sheets to check if we were sleeping on a boxspring rather than a mattress. It didn't detract from our stay overall but I would recommend asking them to layer a blanket or two under the sheets for some padding.
Each night the staff leaves a hot water bottle under the coverswhen they turn down the room. Such a treat! Notable for some, there is no internet or wifi access from the camp. However, there is a sister camp called Intrepids approximately five minutes away and a driver was always available to take you there if you wanted to get connected.
There was a menu with various choices for each meal and you were served as if you were in a five star restaurant. Warm towel to clean your hands, very proper service, several courses and excellent food. We arranged a breakfast in the bush day and were able to blend the two morning game drives together to get further away from camp. Highly recommend this experience (it was included free of charge), nothing like stopping for breakfast on the hood of your truck within a mile of seeing a pride of lions eating their breakfast! Unlimited beer, wine or gin is included and available any time and of course you can arrange a sundowner (again free of charge) in the bush which I highly recommend as well. The sunsets in the Masai Mara were spectacular. After dinner there is a bonfire with the sounds of hippos keeping you company.
Far and away the highlight of our stay at Mara Explorer was our guide/driver, Joseph. Not only was he excellent at spotting animals and providing detailed information about animals and the habitat, he was a great conversationalist with a great sense of humor which is essential when you spend 4-8 hours a day together in a truck. This was our second safari in Kenya and Joseph was by far the best all around driver/guide/spotter we encountered and we would insist on having him again if we return. He knows the Masai Mara like the back of his hand and knew exactly when and where to be to see certain animals.
The people that work at Mara Explorer Camp are friendly and sincere in their efforts to make your stay perfect. We expected to see animals and beautiful scenery on our visit to Kenya, what we didn't expect was to fall in love with the people. In contrast to Tanzania and South Africa, we hardly went 15 minutes on a game drive in the Masai Mara without seeing animals. Often, close enough to the truck you didn't even need a zoom lens on your camera. January is a perfect month to visit the Masai Mara, it was baby season - we saw baby lions, zebras, hartebeest, hippos, giraffe, elephant, cheetah and baboon. We also saw a cheetah stalk and run after her prey, a leopard in a tree with a recent kill and several prides of lions eating breakfast with hyenas circling. Even better, since it was off season, we often were viewing the animals without any other trucks in sight. Kenya is a spectacularly beautiful country with delightful people and we felt nothing but safe and welcome from the moment we landed in Nairobi.