I love Africa, having spent 6 months backpacking from game park to game park from South Africa to Uganda (including Kenya) back in the early 90"s. So was very picky about where I should take my wife and 2 girls (aged 8 and 10) for a short 5 night safari.
And was worried that 5 nights would not be so short with children (would they get bored)? I mean, this is not cheap, so it has to be perfect.
So booked Governors for 3 nights and Little Governors for 2 nights (for variety).
It was great, on day 2 the girls were saying that this was their best holiday EVER, and they are very lucky to have had plenty of holidays all around the world.
By day 3 we had seen everything you would want on a safari (big 5+), including spectacular leopard, rhino and hyena kill (admittedly relatively traumatic for children - but that is nature).
So days 4 and 5 were more of the same, but in greater depth. I reckon 4 days is probably the sweet spot, as leopards are very elusive.
Our host Philip and his fantastic and attentive team (bar, restaurant and tent hospitality and guide - Moses) were so good that we cancelled the 2 days at Little Governors and stayed for the 5 nights at Governors Main Camp. We did the balloon ride from Little Governors so know what we were missing out on.
We were grateful for the Nintendo DS by days 4 and 5 to keep the girls riveted between exciting game moments.
The tent was perfect, large double bed, 2 single beds, bathroom with shower, toilet, basin etc. The food was fantastic (still kilos heavier), the service was special, the location is the best in the Mara (right where everyone else in the park comes to, and where the BBC films The Big Cat Diaries).
What would make it perfect would be a salt water pool to add some variety over the heat of the day. The camp does 3 games drives a day, the most productive being morning and evening - so if you are doing more than 3 nights a dip in the middle of the day would not take anything away from the game experience, and help to break it up. The downside being, more people would choose Governors Main Camp, making it hard to find availability.
We went in early April - the green season. It was perfect - thunderstorms in evening was no hardship in fact it added to the experience. And having a green backdrop to photos is actually better than the usual dry savanna. Yes we missed the wildebeest migration, (i have seen it before but still choose this time to visit) and we have already booked a 3 day return trip to Governor's over the migration season (mid August for a couple of months depending on rains).
As to tipping, the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy recommends. Tip 5% of the cost of the holiday, 50% goes to your guide (dedicated and personal guide and landrover), 25% to your 3 personal waiters (bar, restaurant and room service), and 25% into the tip box for general staff. You don't need much luggage - washing done every day as a complimentary service (except for underwear) - so fill your bags with childrens clothing to give if you wish (in addition to tip).
This kiwi family are going back, and hope the above helps readers to decide likewise.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Governor`s Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Governors Camp
- Governor's Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve