Tanzania’s best luxury safari camps include Original Maasai Lodge, Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, Ol Sekis Hemingways, Karen Blixen Camp, Il Moran Masai Mara National Reserve, Governors’ Camp, Sand River Masai Mara, Porini Lion Camp, Mahali Mzuri.
Maasai Mara National Reserve is an area of preserved savannah wilderness in southwestern Kenya along the Tanzanian border. Enjoy the grassy savannah wilderness of the Masai Mara, home to the Big Five and the Great Migration. We focus on the best Maasai Safari Lodges with stunning scenery overlooking the mountains, plains, or perhaps busy waterholes.
1. Original Maasai Lodge
Original Maasai Lodge offers nature, culture, and relaxation with a view of Mount Kilimanjaro. Get to know the Maasai through stories around the campfire, throwing a javelin, or doing traditional dances.
Your stay at this lodge can generate income for the social, educational, and medical projects of Africa Amini Alama. Funds go to the medical center, schools, and orphanages to support local communities such as the Maasai or Meru.
Set high on a plateau between Mount Merial and Kilimanjaro, the rooms here are based on a traditional Maasai Manyara with wattle and daub walls, rustic furniture, comfy beds, and modern plumbing.
This Hillside Retreat consists of two different-sized holiday homes and a pool. The terraces with a view of Mount Meru are ideal for recharging your batteries, and with a little luck, you will spot the giraffes that walk by.
Cooks prepare excellent fresh meals, and a driver and guide are on call for excursions in the area. The pool, massage rooms, sauna, and relaxation areas ensure that you unwind, and with just 14 bungalows, you are guaranteed exclusivity, individuality, and authenticity.
Countless acacia trees surround each Nature Home. Days are filled with dancing and singing while you relax in a hammock and enjoy the serene landscape and views of the holy mountain Mukuru.
2. Cottars 1920’s Safari Camp
The stunning, multi-award-winning Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp lies right next to the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya in an unspoiled setting of its own 7,000-acre private Olderkesi Conservancy. Here, sunset views stretch to distant horizons of the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti plains.
Cottars were one of the first permanent luxury tented camps to take guests out on safaris in Kenya, and little has changed since the glory days of the 1920s. It remains a magnificent place to spot cheetahs, lions, leopards, elephants, and the annual Migration in refined luxury.
Spot the big five and choose your season carefully, as the camp is on the path to the great migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra. In the evening, bathe in your outdoor bathtub, and have a fantastic dinner under the stars (greens from the camp’s vegetable garden). There is also a lovely swimming pool to cool off in. The camp also offers massages at their spa, and internet access is available.
3. Ol Sekis Hemingways
Ol Sekis Hemingways sits on top of a rocky hill in the Naboisho Conservancy, part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, and a small number of luxurious and spacious safari tents make the most of the views.
This is where you share drinks and stories with fellow guests around a campfire, or if you want to escape, the camp will deliver food to eat in your lodge while taking in views over the tree-scattered savannah below. Romantic candlelit meals can also be arranged hidden away within the camp.
The tents are round and bright with plenty of privacy. At the hottest time of the day, the early afternoon, you will probably want to relax on your patio, cool off in the infinity pool, or try a massage in the spa.
To see the animals, you can join game drives with experienced guides with comprehensive knowledge of the area’s vegetation and fauna. Known for its lion prides, the conservancy sees far fewer vehicles than the main reserve, and only a small number can be present at a wildlife sighting. Other activities include walking safaris, Maasai village visits, dawn hot air balloon rides, and horse-riding safaris.
4. Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp in the Mara’s North Conservancy offers tents and lounges on the banks of the Mara River, where you will probably hear the snorts and splashes of the resident hippo pod.
There are 22 canvas tents in this exclusive camp with spacious decks overlooking the river, a large en suite bathroom, and an outdoor shower. Twenty-two canvas tents might sound like a lot, but this camp still offers great privacy and peace. Meals are served on individual tables in the dining area, in front of the river, or in the bush. In the evening, a campfire is lit, and you can share stories of your day with fellow guests.
5. Il Moran, Masai Mara National Reserve
Il Moran is located on the Mara River, near grunting hippos and noisy baboons. Vultures eye you up from the top of the trees around this camp and lion are also in the area.
Il Moran has ten tents with a spacious stone veranda facing the river. Inside are king-sized beds, hand-carved wardrobes, luggage chests, and wicker chairs. The spacious en suite bathroom offers a shower, claw-footed bath, twin basins, and a flush toilet (hurrah!).
The main dining room and living room offer comfortable sofas and rugs on the floor. Meals are delivered here by lanterns and candlelight as there is no electricity in the camp.
6. Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve
Bateleur Camp is located just outside the Olololo gate to the park, in a Maasai concession area. This small, luxury camp is hidden within dense vegetation connected by windy paths between tall trees that house blue monkeys. The plains by the camp attract warthog, zebra, and wildebeest.
This camp is split into two camps, Bateleur North and Bateleur South, each with a private lounge and dining areas and an electric fence that runs around the boundary of the whole camp. A shady pool area joins the two camps, perfect for cooling off.
Each tent is raised with a wooden deck and has a four-poster bed and a large en-suite bathroom. The lounges have leather sofas, rugs, and an open fireplace. The glamorous atmosphere is perfected with evening drinks around the campfire.
While at the camp, you must take advantage of the morning and afternoon 4WD game drives, nature walks, and night drives.
7. Governors’ Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve
Governors’ Camp was the first tented camp to be established in the Masai Mara National Reserve. It first opened in 1972 on Teddy Roosevelt’s Mara Camp site.
Although Governors’ is one of the larger camps in the Mara, it feels tranquil as the 38 tents are hidden away in the bush. Your tent will be located on the high banks of the looping Mara River, with views of the river or the vast plains of the Mara. Larger animals sometimes wander into camp, and it is quite normal to enjoy hippos feeding on the grass outside your tent.
The bar lounge is open on three sides and is truly inviting, with its bar built of logs. Nearby is a spacious decking area that overlooks the river, an ideal spot for breakfast and lunch. The camp also offers a range of massage and spa treatments.
8. Mahali Mzuri
Designed almost entirely for the views, the situation of the 12 luxurious tents at Mahali Mzuri in the majestic Maasai Mara, means you have a large viewing deck perfectly appointed for an exceptional front-row seat of the annual Great Wildebeest Migration.
Mahali Mzuri is Sir Richard Branson’s East African ultra-exclusive property in Kenya’s Maasai Mara ecosystem. Cool down in the beautiful 12-meter-long infinity pool between game drives, and then stargaze at this gorgeous property until late into the night.
9. Porini Lion Camp
The award-winning, eco-friendly Porini Lion Camp offers a unique opportunity to take guided walks with Maasai Warriors and experience day and night safari game drives within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy – a pristine and exclusive 33000-acre wilderness set aside for wildlife conservation and low-impact tourism.
Porini Lion Camp is in a unique and stunning setting on the banks of the seasonal Ntiakatiak River. This large area borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve and is home to many animals, including the Mara’s renowned Big Cats.
The high-quality, spacious tents are tastefully furnished, and each has solar-powered lighting, ensuite facilities (with hot shower and flush toilet), and a private veranda. Porini Lion Camp is an ideal base to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration.
10. Sand River Masai Mara
Located on the banks of a river from which it has taken its name, Sand River Masai Mara is located within the Masai Mara National Reserve, close to the Tanzanian border.
Situated on a secluded and picturesque site, Sand River Masai Mara replicates the heyday of exclusive permanent tented camps of the late 1920s. The interior fixtures and furnishings mirror this period perfectly, reminding all who visit of those countless Hollywood movies that have paid homage to a classic era of African adventure.
Sand River Masai Mara is an ideal destination for those wishing to enjoy exceptional game viewing at any time of the year. The National Reserve is best known for its large concentrations of big cats, such as leopards, cheetahs, and lions. Even the dramatic arrival of the Annual Migration merely adds to an already abundant resident wildlife that awaits discovery.
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