Mara Plains Camp
Maasai Mara, Kenya - Premier 5
Mara Plains Camp is a one-of-a-kind, seven tent camp located in the private 35,000-acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy, just on the northern boundary of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. This intimate camp blends the finest wildlife viewing with the absolute best of safari hospitality and guiding. No other camp offers the extensive traversing area of Mara Plains Camp, with access to a total of 100,000 acres of private conservancy land as well as the world-renowned Masai Mara, home to the Great Migration. Each guest at Mara Plains contributes considerably to the success of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy's flourishing ecosystem; conservation fees paid safeguard this habitat, while supporting over 1,000 Maasai families. This partnership agreement ensures the survival of an astounding volume and variety of wildlife.
The camp is nestled in lush forest on the meandering bends of the Ntiakatek River, and careful thought was given to every detail. The camp is not an imposition on the landscape, but rather a subtle refuge among the wild. Its presence does not detract from the visual beauty of the ecosystem, but incorporates it with sweeping views across the plains and careful position among the riverine forest. It is captivating on arrival. The camp's main area takes your breath away. After crossing the bridge, Africa is revealed. Positioned just so, the horizon lies ahead, punctuated by a single acacia tree. It's the Africa of the mind's eye. Flanking the main area is both a library and dining area, two places to enjoy life's finer things. Flowing fabrics, open-air spaces and strong teak structures ground the space.
Each of the seven tents has deep canvas canopied ceilings, rough hewn wood floors and accents of East Africa's rich safari history. Thick Lamu wood doors, deep purples, and brass accents - these small details transport guests to a time and land far away. The well-appointed en-suite facilities (including a deep copper bath) plus the extensive private verandah complete what is genuinely a stunning concept. These stylistic elements coupled with thoughtful environmental elements such as solar power and no cement make Mara Plains is a modern-day safari retreat. No two tents is the same, each named after the colorful Maasai people.
Olare Motorogi Conservancy is reputed to have the lowest vehicle density vehicles in the Maasai Mara region, while also having the highest concentration of big cats anywhere in Africa. There is only one guest bed per 350 acres, leaving the land unadulterated for the wildlife to roam and thrive, as nature intended. By day and night, the camp is a sanctuary for resident species, including many of the Masai Mara's 300 bird species. After dark, larger mammals frequent the camp and Maasai warriors escort guests to and from their rooms. Hippos snorting and leopards barking often provide the night's chorus.
But most of all, Mara Plains is a showcase for one of the world's most magnificent wildlife havens. And it must be done right. We believe in keeping the safari experience intimate and personal, so there is no set camp schedule or set meal times. The day's activities and dining arrangements are tailored around guest preference and the wildlife opportunities of the moment. Each guest tent comes equipped with a set of professional Canon camera and lenses. And to it the pair of Swarovski binoculars, and it is impossible not to see and capture the region's incredible wildlife scenes.
Game drives (day & night) take place in some of the Mara's most coveted vehicles. Each of the four Toyota Land Cruisers is open-sided, canopied and customised for photographers (fold-down screens, raised roofs, photographic bars, multi-plug invertors). With just four to six guests each, the Cruisers also have fully-stocked fridges stocked with drinks and snacks.
No two days are the same on safari. Game drives typically start at sunrise, returning for lunch and depart again in the mid-afternoon before returning just after sunset. However, very often we will go out all day, deep into the Reserve or Conservancy with pack breakfast and lunch. Very often, our safaris will continue into the night, a possibility because of our location on a private conservancy. Night drives are particularly prolific in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and while they take patience, sightings commonly include lesser known nocturnal mammals and even lion and hyena hunts.
Mara Plains also offers walking safaris. Feeling the soil of Africa beneath our feet is an enriching and invigorating way to safari, and we are lucky enough to be able to do this rare activity in Olare Motorogi Conservancy. Hot air ballooning is available, but should be booked in advance and is subject to availability and additional cost. Departures are very early in the morning to allow time to transfer to the nearest launching point.
If a chance to learn about the Maasai is of interest, then cultural visits to a nearby Maasai village (locally known as an "enkang") are also a highlight. Locally produced crafts are available for purchase at the camp, all proceeds of which go toward the community, and particularly the women's groups and schools.
Each of Mara Plains' guest tents has a professional Canon camera set, including a Canon 7D camera body and Canon 100-400mm and 24-70mm lenses. Photos will be downloaded to a DVD on guest's departure. Each tent comes with a pair of Swarovski binoculars for guest use as well. Photographic tuition is available on request, either on company cameras or own guests' personal cameras.