A safari in Kenya is a deeply satisfying, truly African experience that delivers on abundant wildlife, classic bush beauty and fascinating culture. In case you missed it, we’ve already covered the top five parks and reserves in this East African country as well as a travel guide with everything you need to know. In this blog, we explore some of our favourite safari lodges and camps, from the super luxurious to the more traditional and eco-friendly. Let your mind daydream as we visit our favourite spots…

Mahali Mzuri

Say the name Richard Branson and you’ll have most people’s attention, so at this point we assume we have yours! Mahali Mzuri is Branson’s Kenyan offering, a luxury tented camp whose name appropriately means “beautiful place” in Swahili. The camp lies along the edge of a lush valley in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy within the Greater Maasai Mara Reserve. Twelve en-suite tents prove that it is possible to both blend into the landscape and look like futuristic spaceships at the same time. They’re characterised by enormous windows and private viewing decks, while families can book two suites that are designed to take additional sofa beds.

The main communal tent features a 12m infinity pool, a large deck. a lounge with fireplace, games console and even iPads and iPod docking stations, because this is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio, after all. Highlights include a Little Warriors programme for kids aged 6 and over and the premium Nasaro spa for ultimate pampering. It goes without saying that your safari activities here are second to none. You’ll have front row seats for the Great Migration and exceptional game viewing from both the camp and the twice daily game drives.

Naibor Camp

Naibor is the Maasai word for ‘space’, so without much imagination you know what you’re getting when you arrive at Naibor Camp. The location space is a grove of riverine woodland on the banks of the Talek River in the Mara, while the dwelling space consists of expansive tents decorated in a contemporary style with discrete elegance, like One&Only in the bush. Pale canvas compliments king-sized beds made from local fig-wood, while wide cushioned sofas compete for comfort with wool rugs.

The communal Mess Tent overlooks the river with its resident pod of hippo, offering al fresco dining on the deck or underneath the shade of adjacent trees. You can also choose to enjoy a private dinner on your own deck. To bring home some locally crafted curios you need look no further than your front door, as the camp has its own boutique shop selling Maasai jewellery created by local tribeswomen. Game drives, bush walks, cultural village visits and bush meals complete your safari experience.

Angama Mara

With a name that means ‘suspended in mid-air’ in Swahili, Angama Mara delivers on the suspense, literally, with two intimate camps that seem to float between heaven and earth above the floor of the Great Rift Valley. Each camp has fifteen tented suites which have access to a private airfield, the Mara spread below them like a wildlife map.  The suites all have 11-metre wide floor-to-ceiling glass fronts, allowing you to view game from pretty much anywhere in your tent – the bed, the bath, the lounge, the shower and even the w/c.

Days at Angama Mara are action-packed or gentle and calm, often a bit of both. Choose from a romantic picnic at a viewpoint high above the Mara or a walk through the Great Rift Valley with a Maasai naturalist who will teach you about local legends, customs and the medicinal use of plants. Enjoy structured game drives that are tailored to your specific experience or relax on a ‘rocking chair safari’ from the comfort of your private deck.

Ilkeliani Camp

Ilkeliani is an eco-friendly, permanent tented camp on the Mara’s Talek River, in a shady glade that is a favourite with elephants who come to drink and cool off from the baking sun. The camp consists of 17 tents clustered under indigenous trees that combine traditional safari style with a modern and fresh feel. En-suite bathrooms, spacious interiors and a front verandah with a day bed and canvas safari chairs complete your living quarters

Ilkeliani lies on the edge of the vast plains of the Mara, with all the rich wildlife experiences that entails. A day here might go something like this: wake up to a steaming cup of coffee before heading out on an early morning walking safari or game drive, guided by expert locals from the surrounding villages – or perhaps hop into a hot air balloon and see the sun rise over the savannah. Tasty lunches are generally followed by a well-deserved afternoon nap or a visit to a Maasai village, or you can enjoy a half day picnic at Musiara Marsh. Afternoon game drives finish with a sundowner round the campfire and dinner by candlelight, before an askari guides you to your tent.

Mara Basecamp Explorer

Mara Basecamp staff call it ‘our own cradle of mankind, where our journey once began.’ The camp is committed to not only bringing you a peerless safari experience, but to immersing you in the culture and history of your surroundings. At the Basecamp Nature Forest you will learn about ongoing conservation efforts in the region. You’ll be introduced to community-based initiatives like the Maasai Beading Center, which promotes and preserves local culture and talent. Next to the camp is the Enjoolata Awareness Centre which provides a deeper understanding of the culture and region through exhibitions, movies and face-to-face meetings with the Maasai people.

The camp consists of 17 double riverside tents along the banks of the Talek River, the natural border to the Maasai Mara. All tents are fitted with bio-flush toilets, solar-heated safari showers and a private balcony that overlooks the heart of the Mara. Basecamp is very family friendly with specials rates for kids and safari programmes tailored to their age groups.

Speke’s Camp

From spaceship tents at Mahali Mzuri to back-to-basics at Speke’s Camp. This traditional safari camp on the eastern edge of the Mara is designed with privacy and nature in mind.  Nine en-suite tents lie under shady indigenous trees overhanging the Olare Orok River, each one with flushing toilets and traditional safari bucket showers. Families or larger groups can book the Family Pod; two separate tents set 3m apart. The large communal Mess Tent is filled with books on Kenyan history, safaris and the animal kingdom, while the Chill Out Tent with WiFi overlooks in the river, perfect for lazy days watching wildlife.

Speke’s is close to a number of prime game viewing locations including Musiara Swamp, Rhino Ridge and Paradise Plains. All guests have their own private game drive vehicle with a spotter and guide, giving you the ultimate flexibility in planning your safari. You can spend the whole day game-driving in the park, enjoying a bush breakfast and picnic lunch along the way, or you can stick to more traditional morning and late afternoon drives with plenty of relaxing at camp in between.

Take a look at our Kenyan itineraries and get in touch so we can plan a personalised, tailor-made version at your favourite lodge.