I visited Mara Plains with my family in early July. The experience at the camp and the conservancy (where we spent the majority of our time) was nothing short of amazing in every sense. Shaun and Amy, the two hosts, are exceptional and genuinely made us feel at home in this eco-friendly, luxury camp in the middle of the savannah. The staff was on top of their game at all times and hours of the day. The accommodations - luxury tents - are spacious and done with exquisite touch and feel. There are 7 or 8 tents in total and they all offer outside raised decks facing the river that the camp is situated around or the open savannah. They are true canvas tents with zipper entries so you get that jungle/outdoor feeling (particularly at night when animals are most active). But you get most of the luxuries you'd expect at a 5-star hotel in these tents other than a TV which was more than fine by us. The food was very tasty and I was impressed with the diversity of the offerings and the overall quality.
Now on to the animals. As an avid photographer I can tell you that this is a camp geared for photographers. I doubt it gets any better than this anywhere in the world. The jeeps - open Land Cruisers - are extremely comfortable and out guide affixed a platform on my side of the jeep to rest my large lense and even had beanie bags !! Combine this with the fact that this part of the Mara is reputed to have the highest concentration of big cats in the world (and I wouldn't dispute this based on out experience) and you have a photographer's paradise. We saw about 50 different lions in our 4 days at the camp- this figure includes lions outside the conservancy including the famous Marsh pride which we were fortunate enough to see in an early morning hunt that culminated in a wart hug chase and meal - this was no doubt one of the trip's highlights! We also had an intimate close range experience with the Monarch pride and 7 young lion cubs. We saw 4 cheetahs at very close range and were very fortunate to see a beautiful female leopard known as Fig on a tree.
Our guide and my sense is all of the guides at MP camp were in large part responsible for our amazing outdoor wildlife/nature/gaming experience. Ping, as our guide was known, is extremely knowledgable and passionate about what he does. His instincts for animals and familiarity with their behavioral talents - not just cats was a gift.
One final comment about he conservancy - there are only four other camps I believe in this large conservancy which covers several thousand acres - the implication of this is that the density of other jeeps and visitors is very low and you get some amazing experiences with animals at close range without the madness that we saw in the actual national park - as soon as a lion is spotted a dozen or more jeeps may show up there almost immediately. There is no stress in the conservancy and you do get what you are paying for.
We were very sad to leave and took away memories that were largely made possible by the exceptional hospitality that this fantastic jungle camp led by Amy and Shaun offered.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This is a small, high quality, seven tented camp under canvas, located within the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy and just a few hundred meters to the north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve boundary. Guests can game drive in both the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the private Conservancy away from the crowds. It is a fabulous wildlife reserve of 30 000 acres, rich in wildlife (with all the predators and big cats in particular), with the lowest vehicle density in the Mara, no mini-buses and only one guest room per 700 acres. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mara Plains Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Great Plains Conservation Mara Plains Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve