Best Masai Mara Safari Lodges & Camps: Our Top Picks

Best Masai Mara Safari Lodges & Camps: Our Top Picks

Named in honour of its ancestral inhabitants, the Maasai people, and their fitting description of the landscape when viewed from afar – ‘Mara’ means spotted in the Maa language, referring to how the country is dotted with acacia trees, indentations and craters – Kenya’s Masai Mara is without doubt one of the best safari destinations in the world.

Not only can visitors experience authentic cultural interactions with the Maasai people but also witness one of nature’s biggest spectacles: the Wildebeest Migration from about July to November. Throw in excellent year-round game viewing and a wide range of accommodation options for families, couples and honeymooners, and you’ll understand why Kenya’s flagship conservation area is one of Africa’s best-loved safari destinations.

Porini Lion Camp

1. Porini Lion Camp

 

Type: luxury tented camp

Head out on thrice-daily game drives in the private Olare Motogori Conservancy, renowned for its superb big cat sightings. Return to the authentic Porini Lion Camp in time for a refreshing cocktail while being entertained by the boisterous hippos in the adjacent Ntiakatiak River.

 

Solar power and no permanent structures mean that Porini has a tiny impact on the environment.

 

Highlights

  • Intimate and eco-friendly
  • Situated in exclusive and private Olare Motogori Conservancy
  • Excellent game viewing and guides
  • Notable big cat sightings of lions and leopards
  • Optional hot-air balloon safaris

Best for these traveller types

Couples, honeymooners, families and small groups

Sand River Masai Mara

2. Sand River Masai Mara

Type: luxury tented camp

Wake up to the sounds of the African bush and slowly make your way out of a snug 4-poster bed. Saunter across your spacious tent’s polished hardwood floors, step out onto a private veranda and be greeted by the gorgeous morning vista of the Sand River and its rolling flood plains.

 

Your elegantly decorated canvas suite at Sand River Masai Mara.

 

Highlights

  • Private riverside setting in the Masai Mara
  • Eco-friendly with glamourous 1920’s aesthetic
  • Private butler service
  • Superb Big 5 viewing year-round
  • Well-sited for the Wildebeest Migration

Best for these traveller types

Couples, honeymooners and families

Topi Mara Bush House

3. Topi Mara Bush House

 

Type: private villa

Sink into a comfortable armchair on the veranda right outside your room, observing elephant and giraffe amble by. Or stretch out on Topi’s lush lawns with a tipple and a good book under the shady canopy of an acacia tree. Don’t forget to chat to your chef about your next delicious meal…

 

A secluded farmhouse in a charming acacia tree forest on the border of the Masai Mara.

 

Highlights

  • Secluded farmhouse bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve
  • House manager, personal chef and wildlife guide
  • You decide your own schedule – dining and safari activities tailor-made around your wishes
  • Mara-inspired East African cuisine
  • Stone's throw away from annual Wildebeest Migration route
  • Visit the Koiyaki Guiding School for young Maasai men and women

Best for these traveller types

Families and groups

Saruni Mara

4. Saruni Mara

 

Type: luxury safari villa

Journey to the community-focused Saruni Mara, hidden in a secret valley of olive and cedar trees. Settle into your luxurious cottage boasting antiques, Persian carpets and wide cedarwood beds. Join Maasai warriors on a guided bush walk to explore the surrounding hills, followed by a relaxing spa treatment in the tranquil Maasai Wellbeing Space.

 

Saruni Mara's cottages offer comfort and closeness to nature.

 

Highlights

  • One of only ten lodges in a 74 000-acre private conservancy
  • Great base for a Wildebeest Migration safari
  • Game drives to exclusive, sole-use areas
  • Walking safaris guided by Maasai warriors
  • Spa treatments at the Maasai Wellbeing Space

Best for these traveller types

Families, couples and honeymooners

Sala’s Camp

5. Sala’s Camp

 

Type: tented camp

Set in the heart of the Masai Mara’s northern corridor, Sala’s is one of the first camps to witness the Wildebeest Migration from the Serengeti into the Mara. Keep an eye on the dark-haired gnus as they stroll past your tent and gather to drink at the confluence of the Sand and Keekorok Rivers.

 

Sala's is one of the first camps to see the Wildebeest Migration into the Mara.

 

Highlights

  • Watch wildebeest herds pass your tent
  • Excellent wildlife sightings on game drives and guided nature walks
  • Romantic hot-air balloon safaris
  • Babysitting service for children of all ages
  • All tents have private plunge pools overlooking the Sand River and northern Serengeti

Best for these traveller types

Families, couples and honeymooners

Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

6. Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

 

Type: tented camp

Kichwa Tembo is a much-loved safari lodge in Kenya. A wonderful home from home with incredible staff, expert guides and front-row seats to the Wildebeest Migration from about August to November.

 

Views of the Mara's sweeping vistas from your bed.

 

Highlights

  • Beautiful location in a private concession within the Masai Mara
  • Directly in the path of the Wildebeest Migration
  • Day and night game drives
  • Guided walks and bush picnics
  • Sensational swimming pool with a view

Best for these traveller types

Couples and families

Mara Intrepids Camp

7. Mara Intrepids Camp

 

Type: tented camp

Mara Intrepids is a fenced camp on the shady banks of the Talek River, the perfect escape for families with children. This secure camp offers a unique game-viewing experience with early and mid-morning, and late afternoon game drives.

 

Mara Intrepids Camp recreates the romance and charm of a vintage safari experience.

 

Highlights

  • Romantic and old-charm safari experience
  • Fenced camp – children can walk about safely
  • Thrice-daily game drives (early morning, mid-morning and late afternoon)
  • Educational family outings with the Adventurers' Club
  • Cultural tours to neighbouring Maasai villages

Best for these traveller types

Families and groups

Angama Mara

8. Angama Mara

 

Type: ultra-luxe safari lodge

Perched in the gorgeous hills of the Mara Triangle escarpment lies one of Kenya’s most exclusive safari lodges. Angama Mara is famous as the location of Robert Redford and Meryl Streep’s romantic picnic scene in the movie, Out of Africa. Everything about this lodge exudes elegance.

 

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls maximise the endless views from Angama.

 

Highlights

  • Exquisite and romantic setting high above the Mara
  • Luxurious lodge with outstanding décor
  • 20 minutes from a Wildebeest Migration river crossing hotspot
  • 'Garden-to-table' dining experience in the shamba (garden)
  • Photography studio
  • Exclusive-use safari vehicles for outstanding game viewing

Best for these traveller types

Couples and honeymooners

Cottar’s 1920s Camp

9. Cottar’s 1920s Camp

 

Type: luxury tented camp

Journey back in time to a golden era of safari, to an elegant tented camp straight off the pages of Hemingway’s safari diary. Decorated in an authentic historic style, Cottar’s offers its visitors unrestrained adventure and romance, as well as game drives in an original wood-panelled vehicle from the 1920s.

 

Cottar's white canvas tents feature fabrics, antiques and artefacts that align with its 1920s theme.

 

Highlights

  • Exclusive setting in a private concession bordering the Serengeti
  • Perfectly placed to witness the Migration between about May and October
  • Authentic and historic décor that emanates a golden era of safari
  • Private butler
  • Game drives in a vintage wood-panelled 1920’s car
  • Fantastic year-round game viewing, especially of predators like lion, leopard and cheetah

Best for these traveller types

Couples, honeymooners and families

Rekero Camp

10. Rekero Camp

 

Type: seasonal tented camp

Head out on expertly guided game drives in search of animals like lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant and hippo. Watch the dramatic thrills and spills of the Wildebeest Migration as the herds traverse croc-infested waters. Return to camp after an action-packed day and relax with a sundowner drink as you take in the gorgeous views over the Talek River.

 

Lovely views over the Talek River, accompanied by a glass of wine.

 

Highlights

  • Intimate eco-camp overlooking the well-frequented Talek River
  • Three regular wildebeest river crossing points in the area during the Migration between about June and October
  • Excellent game drives accompanied by some of the Mara’s best guides
  • Visit to the Maasai cattle market

Best for these traveller types

Couples and honeymooners

Naboisho Camp

11. Naboisho Camp

 

Type: tented camp

A classic and intimate safari camp originally established as a community initiative, Naboisho is situated in a private conservancy that limits the number of vehicles allowed. Enjoy exciting game drives during the day, in search of Africa’s Big 5 and to witness the Wildebeest Migration between about July and November. Being in a private conservancy means that you’re able to head out on night drives to discover the Mara’s elusive nocturnal creatures.

 

Your tent's covered veranda features a day bed, perfect for an afternoon siesta.

 

Highlights

  • Located in a protected and private conservancy
  • Excellent Big 5 game viewing
  • Guided bush walks
  • Night drives in search of big cats and nocturnal animals
  • Fly-camping for the more adventurous

Best for these traveller types

Families, couples and honeymooners

Elephant Pepper Camp

12. Elephant Pepper Camp

 

Type: tented camp

The very spacious canvas tents at Elephant Pepper Camp feature en suite dressing rooms and bathrooms, and private pit fireplaces for dining under the stars. Also expect little extras like hammocks, hot-water bottles and beautiful brass fittings from India. Sip on a pre-dinner drink around the campfire or enjoy a game of croquet before savouring a delicious Italian recipe.

 

Game are often seen strolling past the tents at Elephant Pepper Camp.

 

Highlights

  • Traditional northern Italian-inspired cuisine
  • Spacious tents with views of the Mara plains and the wildlife that ambles past
  • Set away from other lodges in a private conservancy
  • Game drives in the greater Mara and exclusive areas

Best for these traveller types

Families, couples and honeymooners

Sanctuary Olonana

13. Sanctuary Olonana

 

Type: luxury safari lodge

Romantic and secluded, Olonana is hidden within a forest along a private stretch of the Mara River. It’s a popular choice for honeymooners but also offers first-class family-friendly accommodation. Between about July and October, you’ll enjoy a grandstand view of the Wildebeest Migration’s treacherous river crossings.

 

Olonana's lounge, bar and dining areas walk out onto a large terrace overlooking the Mara River.

 

Highlights

  • Located on the famed Mara River – front-row seats to the Wildebeest Migration
  • Incredible and intimate Big 5 sightings all year round
  • Cultural tours to Maasai villages
  • Hot-air balloon safaris
  • Treatments and therapies in the mini-spa

Best for these traveller types

Families, couples and honeymooners

Little Governors’ Camp

14. Little Governors’ Camp/h2>
 

Type: tented camp

Hop on a boat to be transferred across the renowned Mara River, before strolling through a gorgeous riverine forest to discover an intimate tented camp hidden beneath the vegetation around a waterhole. Head out on a game drive or hot-air balloon ride at dawn to discover the Masai Mara during this magical time of day.

 

Little Governor’s bar area is a great place to relax after a day of game drives.

 

Highlights

  • Intimate and remote location, only accessible by boat
  • Tents overlook a waterhole where resident elephants and warthogs drink
  • Bush dinners in the wilderness
  • Game drives and guided walks in the Mara
  • Early morning hot-air balloon rides

Best for these traveller types

Couples and honeymooners

Governors’ Il Moran Camp

15. Governors’ Il Moran Camp/h2>
 

Type: luxury tented camp

Arguably one of the premier safari camps in the Masai Mara, Il Moran’s forest setting is a wonderful retreat for honeymooners. Ten luxurious tents are dotted along the Mara River beneath the shady canopy of evergreen trees. Inside you’ll find super king-sized beds, beautifully constructed from fallen olive trees. Bathrooms are en suite and equipped with double vanities, showers and classic Victorian bathtubs.

 

Each tent's super king-sized bed is constructed from fallen olive trees.

 

Highlights

  • Romantic setting in a forest beside the Mara River
  • Intimate and private with only 10 tents
  • Game drives and walking safaris in an excellent game viewing area
  • Terrifically skilled guides
  • Romantic candlelit dinners in the wilderness
  • Early morning hot-air balloon safaris

Best for these traveller types

Couples and honeymooners

More Inspiration on Where to Stay in the Masai Mara

The Mara is a pretty big area – about the size of London – and although we’ve mentioned a notable amount of our favourite safari lodges and camps above, there are still many fantastic accommodation options available in and around this superb reserve. From safari lodges and family-friendly hotels to authentic tented camps and even mobile camps – click here for more inspiration on where to stay in the Masai Mara.