- Excellent wildlife
- Mara North Conservancy
- Swimming Pool
- Beautiful river-side location
STAY 3 PAY 2. Stay 3 nights and only Pay 2 (excludes Mara North Conservancy fees per person for the free night and entry fees to Masai Mara National Reserve)
FAMILY OFFER - Children less than 5 yrs free of charge ; 6-12 yrs pay 50% of child sharing rate; Teens 13-18 yrs pay 50% of pps rate; family of 4 get exclusive use of vehicle
Both offers valid from 5th Jan 2016 - 30th June 2016 & 15th Oct 2016 – 20th Dec 2016
Karen Blixen Camp is a good mid sized camp located in the Mara North Conservancy with a lovely setting on the bank of the Mara River. Wildlife in Mara North is excellent with excellent chances of seeing lion and leopard. The Camps location on the river means guests can enjoy views of the hippos from camp. Unusually for a smaller bush camp, Karen Blixen also has a swimming pool for down time between game drives.
Karen Blixen Camp has 22 large luxury canvas tents – each set on a wooden platform with a spacious verandah. Each tent is en-suite and furnished with a large comfortable bed, Persian rugs and a cozy armchair. The private bathroom has a flush toilet, twin wash hand basins and outside shower. Tents can be configured for either double or twin occupancy, where under prior arrangement a 3rd and even 4th bed can be added for children below the age of 12. The family unit consists of two tents with a shared verandah. The tents are strung along the banks of the river with undisturbed views of the river and Oloololo Escarpment beyond.
The heart of the camp is the open plan ‘mess’ area, built on a raised wooden deck, which overlooks a resident hippo pod in the Mara River. There is also a small pool in the garden with sun beds for downtime between game activities.
Activities center around the morning and afternoon game drives within Mara North Conservancy. Mara North Conservancy adjoins the Masai Mara Reserve (unfenced) and due to the lower vehicle density, usually has excellent game viewing. On request and during the migration, game drives can be organised into the Masai Mara National Reserve. Limited alternative activities are also available including, game walks, nature walks, balloon safaris (extra cost) and community visits to the local Maasai Manyatta (village), school, market and church.
The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!
William K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018
Speke's camp was absolutely ideal - small and personal, with great hosts. We'd definitely recommend the "tented safari" experience to others. The kid's didn't miss having a pool (too interested in Safari). Speke's camp give you your own landrover and driver/guide, which gave us great flexibility (much better I suspect than what is offered by some of the larger camps). Our guide was brilliant. See below for the review we just posted on rip Advisor.
I think the only negative of the trip was getting through Nairobi airport (multiple security checks, and they ask you to "board" two hours in advance, which in fact means going into crowded transit lounge with no facilities), but there's not anything anyone can do about that
It's also worth saying that Peponi really is a unique experience. It's a proper East African institution, with all the locals dropping into the bar. It's the perfect antidote to anyone wanting to get away from the soulless all inclusive resorts which could be absolutely anywhere in the world (which seem to be a bit of a feature of Zanzibar). Lamu is still amazingly undeveloped.
We stayed at Speke's camp for 4 nights in August 2018 - a family of two adults and two children. For us it was the perfect location to experience the Mara. The camp is only a short drive outside the main Mara reserve and is in an amazingly picturesque location, set by a small river in the shade of trees. Wildlife roams near (and sometimes through!) the camp. You get to feel very close to nature when you have a buffalo rooting up grass just outside your tent in the middle of the night!
The camp itself is small and has a very personal feel to it. There are only eight or so guest tents, so you get to meet everyone passing through. One of the great pleasures was getting to chat to other guests over the evening meal or round the camp fire, swapping stories of the day's sightings. If you do want a little more privacy, then it's absolutely fine to eat in your own group.
Whilst you do sleep and eat under canvas, it is an extremely civilised experience: the beds are comfy (with hot water bottles provided to ward off the chill of the evenings); there are bucket showers which sound much more primitive than they really are; the communal area is very elegantly laid out; tea is brought to the tent before setting out on early morning game drives, and the food was fantastic.
What really makes the experience however are the wonderful hosts. Both Adrian and Veronique made a real effort to get to know us and ensure we were well looked after; and it's certainly worth picking Adrian's brains on the history of the region (it's not called Speke's camp for nothing)
The final word must go to our wonderful guide/driver Ambrose and our Masai spotter Marco. It was a real privilege to have our own land-rover and to be shown the reserve by such knowledgeable and charming individuals. Ambrose is a proper naturalist, can identify a lilac breasted roller at 200 yards, and knows where to see the best wildlife without simply following other trucks. On our final afternoon, with 30 minutes before we had to leave the Mara Triangle, we had seen every animal and bird that was on our wish list (including a live Cheetah kill), but had not seen a rhino. Marco saw a speck on the horizon, Ambrose drove like the clappers and as a parting gift we were able to see this most elusive animal up close. Notwithstanding all the awe-inspiring nature, I think my wife's personal highlight was driving the land rover back to amp along the dirt track through herds of zebra and ambling giraffe. A truly amazing experience all round.
Jonathan I reviewing Laikipia & Masai Mara Safari on 24 August 2018
Everything was exceptionally well arranged and the whole trip, from checking in on line and printing out the outward journey boarding cards from home, until return to Heathrow, was completely seamless.
Although arriving slightly earlier than scheduled, we didn't have to wait before being collected at Nairobi by Elijah, our guide and Samuel the driver. On being told that we had hardly slept at all on the outward journey, they took us to a small B&B place they use (sorry, I've forgotten the name of the place) and we were able to rest/sleep for some 3 hours before setting off on our adventure. This was very much appreciated by us as that first day was full on after that.
They looked after us really well and both were very knowledgeable and good company and were flexible to our needs, with nothing being too much trouble for them.
The accommodation you picked for us was spot on. We were particularly taken with Sunbird Lodge (I could have spent the whole week there if it were not for being on the move due to the nature of the trip), which was quite informal and extremely friendly. We then moved on to the Maji Moto Eco Camp, where again everything was fine. Having stayed in similar places before, at my age now, the one night suited well and I was surprised when Dan was so taken with the place that he would have liked to stay another night! I think the camp fire might have had something to do with it. The visit to the school was also well worth it from Dan's perspective.
On then to Ilkeliani and I concur with what you say about it being so well priced for what it offers, that it is a good recommendation. This was slightly more formal at mealtimes than Sunbird Lodge but nevertheless, the staff were equally friendly. As adults, both my husband and myself enjoyed the food although the feedback I provided on their customer satisfaction questionnaire was that perhaps the evening meals could possibly have slight variations for children. We didn't see any signs of the suspended footbridge and as we didn't ask about it, I don't know whether it's still there or not.
I have to say that the beds in both Sunbird and Ilkeliani were very, very, comfortable.
The Mayfair Southern Sun was again a good choice although I think the room we had was perhaps a standard twin room. There were two what I call "three quarters" sized beds, i.e. larger than a single but not quite a double bed size, which meant it was a bit of a squeeze for 2 persons in one bed.
Both the Giraffe Centre and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Sanctuary were ideal additions to the itinerary. We had a 10 year old who was reluctant to leave Kenya!
Martha Ann Eileen C reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 14 May 2018