There’s a perception that the Mara is pricey, but there are a few mid-range and budget gems where you won’t have to economise on comfort. Here’s our pick of the best.
GOVERNORS, MAASAI MARA RESERVE
The slightly cheaper option to Governors’ other properties, this camp is long- established in the Mara, situated in an area of the reserve that is teeming with wildlife. Comfortable tents are erected along the river bank, and the bar is a popular spot for watching wildlife well into the evening with, if you’re lucky, a hippo passing through. Guiding here is particularly good, and it’s surely one of the better of the mid-range options.
Rates: Prices start at $177 per person, full-board, inclusive of game drives. Drinks are extra.
MARA NGENCHE, MAASAI MARA RESERVE
Classy riverside camp near Talek gate, with tents, set a decent distance from each other, furnished with four-poster beds, free-standing bathtubs and open showers. Each tent comes with its own plunge pool to cool down during hot days, particularly appealing if it gets too warm in the tents during the dry season.
Rates: Ksh14,000 per person sharing, full-board, excluding drinks. Game package costs Ksh19,000 per person. Children under five go free.
MARA INTREPIDS, MAASAI MARA RESERVE
This is a popular mid-range family option, and situated in a prime game-viewing area to the north of Talek Gate. It has a shadier, cooler feel to it than some, which isn’t to everyone’s liking, but it has pretty luxurious tents, including family accommodation, with hardwood floors and elegant furnishings.
Rates: Ksh9,500 per person sharing, full board, excluding drinks. A grand package with game drives starts at $175 per person. Children under two go free.
MARA SERENA, MARA TRIANGLE
This is one of only two lodges situated in the Mara Triangle, and guests can enjoy a slightly more exclusive feel to the game-drive experience. On first inspection, Serena’s pod-like structure seems a little otherwordly, and the inspiration is a Maasai manyatta, but it is magnificently appointed to overlook the plains below with a terrific viewing deck. The 70-plus rooms are designed to catch the best of the views, too.
Rates: Ksh11,000 per person sharing for full-board. They don’t offer a game drive package unless you book flights, too, so game drives are charged at Ksh4,500 per person per drive.
MARA SIRIA, OUTSIDE THE RESERVE
The real draw of this place is the quite staggering view. Perched on top of the Siria escarpment, it overlooks the vast area of the Maasai Mara reserve. The tented lodge is not in the reserve itself – but on its Western border – but guests there will truly get a sense of being in Africa. Tents of different classes come equipped with double beds and safari showers.
Rates: Full-board starts at Ksh10,950 per person sharing, or Ksh18,500 pp for the full package, including game drives.
SEKENANI, MAASAI MARA RESERVE
This cute camp is a big draw for budget groups, but don’t let that put you off. In low season, it’s a quiet and enjoyable place to spend a couple of days. It has small but comfortable safari tents, accessed via a rope bridge. Best of all is the camp fire ambience in the evening.
Rates: Full board starts at Ksh7,500 per person sharing. There is no game drive package, as most guests drive in, but a guide can be arranged.