We chose Mara Explorer 'cos my sister had stayed for 10 days at the Intrepids camp and had a fantastic time. She strongly recommended the driver/guide who showed them around and I too wanted to Safari with him. We weren't disappointed. Our driver made us feel welcome right away..... and shared in our excitement to be on safari in equal measure, showing us animals, including a very pregnant giraffe, on our way from the air strip to the camp itself.
The camp is beautifully located right on the banks of the Talek River, a permanent home for some very boisterous and amusing hippos. If you are lucky you might even see Olive (the leopard) make a kill on the banks of the Talek River, just across from the dining area. The tents are beautifully done up..... they are truly luxurious with every amenity. The tents even have an outdoor tub and running hot water (contrast this with some other camps like Kicheche Mara Camp that offer only one bucket of hot water daily for your bucket shower between two tent occupants). After a full day of safari, when you return hot and covered in sand, a hot running water shower is just what you need.
The staff at Mara Explorer was very warm and friendly..... even the Masai who saw us to our tents had a smile and a story about which animals had visited the camp overnight. The food was fantastic.... we couldn't believe that such good quality food could be consistently offered in the middle of a wildlife reserve. There was always a choice of 2-3 for every course of the three course menu. This meant that if you weren't partial to say pineapple, you weren't stuck with eating pineapple upside down cake for dessert. For vegetarians or people who don't eat red meat, such a menu would be even more welcome. We have no dietary restrictions, but were happy to indulge ourselves with the choice offered. On the occasions the camp had few guests, they showed us the menu in advance and we made our picks, to avoid wastage in the kitchen. The packed breakfasts (we did breakfast every day on the go on safari and one lunch on the go too) and lunch were fantastic. There was always too much, and we could never finish what was packed, and we did not regret missing the camp breakfasts and lunch.
Our driver was the best. He gave us so much information on the animals and their behaviour and even told us anecdotes about the animals. By the time we left I knew of all the various prides of lions resident in the Mara (had seen almost all the prides) and was well versed in the local lion political scene. Before each safari our driver would explain where he was taking us and to see what. For example he would begin a safari by saying that he planned to travel east to try and find the male lions, Notch and his sons.... and we did find them, mating with lionesses. In this manner we covered all directions of the Mara. The migration had just about started when we were there, so our driver organised a full day of safari, and drove us down to the Sand River (the border of the Mara and Serengeti), to see the early migration and animal crossings. We were the first jeep there, and it was an amazing feeling when on the way we were surrounded by the migrating animals and not another human soul besides us.
We even got to see the elusive Rhino.... again with not another jeep in sight. Our driver had a knack of finding animals. Once we were passing a bush with no visible sign of animals and a few jeeps looking lost a couple of kms ahead, and our driver took a turn and we found an entire pride of lions behind the bush. We saw so many special sights.... animals feeding on a zebra kill, cheetah with cubs feeding on a kill, Malaika the cheetah on the roof of the jeep and her cub waiting below. Olive, the leopard, out for a morning stroll with her cub, baby elephants and teen elephants showing off. With multiple leopard, lion and cheetah sightings.... we counted ourselves very lucky. We even saw the relatively rare sight of two Serval cats. We enjoyed watching and photographing the birds of Mara too. Our driver was very sensitive to my interest in photography and would angle the jeep, entirely on his own initiative, to get the best shot.
The jeeps of the Mara Explorer came equipped with a fridge ..... so the long safari days were made comfortable with a supply of cold water, soft drinks, beer etc. For the chilly mornings there was always the thermos of coffee and tea.
We had such a fantastic time and we cannot wait to go back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the world famous Masai Mara, Mara Explorer Camp is set on its own private peninsula, with each of its ten luxurious tents opening to the Talek River and the stunning savanna. The tents, equipped with all mod cons are set on wooden decks opening out to a private verandah where you can enjoy time alone in the wild away from it all. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mara Explorer Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Mara Explorer Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve