Karen Blixen Camp
The Camp is situated in southern Kenya on the north-western border of the famed Masai Mara Reserve in the Great Plains Masai Mara North Conservancy. Set on the banks of the Mara River on 700 Acres piece of private land leased from a Maasai Landlords. With the impressive escarpment in front of the Camp, and the great Mara plains behind the Camp where the Mara River provides the focal point – the location is spectacular. The river, runs the length of the property and provides a constant source of water for the thirsty plains game that come to drink throughout the course of the day including zebra, impala, elephant, giraffe and many more, whilst the resident hippo pod in front of the restaurant provide hours of entertainment as they spend their day frolicking in the river.
Karen Blixen Camp is accessible either by regular scheduled flights from Nairobi Wilson airport, Samburu, Lewa Downs and Nanyuki or by short private charter flights. The nearest airstrip is Mara North buy also accessible through Kichwa Tembo/Shikar/ Musiara/ (approximately a 45-minute drive from the Camp) all which are serviced by the twice daily schedule flights from Wilson operated by Air Kenya, Safari Link and Mombasa Air. For those wishing to visit Karen Blixen from the coast – Blue Sky and Mombasa Air also operates daily flights into the nearby airstrips. The Camp is also accessible by road, where the drive from Nairobi takes approximately 5 hours. STYLE Karen Blixen Camp offers an authentic ‘yesteryear’ experience for visitors wishing to gain that little extra from their safari, where one can obtain a sense of the exiting explorer days when such areas were seldom visited and sometimes after months of traveling – elaborate and comfortable camps were set up providing a luxurious and stylish retreat to come back to at the end of each days adventure. Most of the Camp furniture has been specifically designed and made for Karen Blixen Camp to fit in with this exciting era where one can sit back and relax with a gin and tonic overlooking the river.
The Camp comprises 22 spacious en-suite tents (4.6m x 8m) set on large mahogany platforms (5m x 13m) – each with a spacious veranda complete with a cozy cushion filled day bed from which one can enjoy the perfect afternoon siesta or simply relax taking in the wonderful surroundings watching the throng of thirsty animals coming to the waters edge to drink as well as the spectacular scenery. Tents can be configured for either double or twin occupancy, where under prior arrangement 3rd and even 4th beds can be added for children/adults. Each of the tents is en-suite and has a w.c., twin wash hand basins and an outside starlit shower with hot and cold running water.
The tents have all been appointed with solid, comfortable furniture so that you have the ultimate in camping-luxury to come back to after exciting game drives or walks in the conservancy. 19 tents – including our family unit which comprises two tents with a shared balcony/veranda are placed along the river bank, whilst 3 tents are on raised platforms offering incredible views of the surrounding area. GUEST AREAS The open plan ‘mess’ area is beautifully located on the banks of the Mara river overlooking a resident hippo pod who definitely take center stage, providing our guests with endless entertainment.
Built on a raised mahogany deck the mess area has a reception area (decorated with accurate copies of Karen Blixen’s own furniture) as well as a lounge area with a home style bar, where the comfortable sofas provide a welcome retreat for the weary to relax and enjoy the sounds of the wilderness, whilst the camp fire in front of the mess provides an inviting spot for pre-dinner drinks in the evening where one can enjoy the incredible African starscape. The dining area also offers breathtaking views over the river, where the dramatic escarpment provides the perfect back drop. Meals are made from the finest fresh ingredients prepared by our experienced chefs, where we offer Pan-African, Italian and Asian fusion cuisine served alongside a comprehensive selection of wines.
Dinner is served either in the main mess area or under the stars, whilst breakfast and lunch may either be served in the Camp or as a picnic during a morning of game watching. For those that want a little exercise, or to simply relax there is a swimming pool with sun-beds and umbrellas which is located in a quiet corner behind the mess. Facts at a Glance Number of rooms 22 Children Allowed Triple and quarto Possible Minimum stay 2 nights Activities Day and night drives, nature walks and cultural visits. Massage Yes Air condition/room fans No Mosquito proof tents Yes Flush toilets Yes Shower Yes Hot water Yes Hair dryers Yes Safety box Yes Personal bar No, 24 hours room service Pool Yes Telephone Satellite phone Internet access Yes Suitable for disabled guests Yes Check out 11 am Power 240v AC (Solar) Private 4×4 vehicle At extra cost, subject to availability Credit card Visa/MasterCard .
KAREN BLIXEN TREATS
We have a resident masseuse in Camp at all times for those that wish to indulge in either a massage, facial, pedicure or manicure, where all treatments are carried out in the privacy of your own tent.
The location of Karen Blixen Camp allows guests to experience wildlife from a prime position where this area is famed for the renowned migration of approximately 1 million wildebeest, zebra and antelopes on their annual trek between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in search of water and grazing. The migration is at its prime in this area between July and November, however being situated in one of the most densely populated wildlife areas in the world, the resident wildlife, including plains game, and the numerous carnivores who live in the area means that game viewing is never a disappointment. In order to optimize your visit, we suggest leaving the Camp early in the morning, returning for a hearty breakfast where one can then relax in the Camp before proceeding on an afternoon/evening drive, or for those that wish to venture further afield, then lavish picnic lunches can be provided where guests can then explore this vast and varied area for a full day returning in the late afternoon.
Walks with our knowledgeable and experienced guides and Maasai rangers are also very popular and allow for some really memorable moments and a chance to see the bush from a very different perspective. Animals often seen on game drives in the area include lion, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, elephant, rhino, giraffe, various antelopes, wildebeest, zebra, warthogs to name but a few. The birdlife is also excellent around the Camp and the surrounding environs. From Karen Blixen Camp we offer the unique opportunity to explore this quiet corner of the Mara ecosystem of the Great Plains Masai Mara North Conservancy which is also home to the famed Leopard Gorge which has provided the stage for numerous BBC, National Geographic and Discovery Channel documentaries including the Big Cat Diaries. Another ‘must do’ activity from Karen Blixen Camp is a night drive where we look for the less commonly seen nocturnal species, and maybe lucky to spot a lion or leopard hunting. Cultural visits to Maasai Village, school and/or church can also be arranged as can hot air balloon trips – where pre booking is advised due to limited availability.
CONSERVATION & COMMUNITY
With the utmost respect for this fragile environment, Karen Blixen Camp has been constructed in the most environmentally conscious manner. The Camp is fully powered through an elaborate solar system, water is heated using gas burners (in order to avoid burning fire wood or charcoal) and we have the latest zero waste water technology. All measures are taken to protect and conserve the invaluable wildlife of the Masai Mara and the Mara River, where Karen Blixen Camp also supports various local community projects and sponsors the local dispensary, as well as channeling part of the camp’s revenue to a maasai village. This support enables these rural populations to benefit from their natural resources in a sustainable and non-destructive way providing them with additional means to care for their families and improve their standard of living. As far as possible, we recruit camp staff from the immediate community and provide them with training and employment. In addition, we are hoping to be able to channel private investment and donations into micro-finance, health and education projects within the local area.
MASAI MARA NORTH CONSERVANCY
The world’s largest camp and community owned conservancy. Karen Blixen Camp is located in the Masai Mara North Conservancy, a conservancy, which has been created together with other camps in the area formerly known as Koyaiki Lemek Conservation Area. The conservation area covers more than 36,000 hectares and borders the Masai Mara Game Reserve – it stretches along the Mara River to Mara Safari Club across to Leopard Gorge and northwards to the Hills of Lemek. The main priorities of the Masai Mara North Conservancy are: to increase the protection of the Masai Mara Ecosystem with its vast and beautiful biodiversity and wildlife, increase direct and indirect benefits to the local community, implement a conservation plan for the area, establish a cattle grazing scheme, to implement a transparent ticket system and employ a professional management company. The 720 landlords of the area are from the 1st of January 2009 receiving a fixed income per hectares.
RECOMMENDED LENGTH OF STAY
To take full advantage of the different activities on offer, stays at Karen Blixen Camp should be a minimum of 3 nights.
GENERAL INFORMATION Climate:
The long rains generally start in mid-April and last till mid-June, whilst the short rains fall during the month of November. Even during these ‘green’ seasons it generally rains at night, with bright skies during the day. Temperatures: The hottest months tend to be October, January and February, whilst July and August can be quite cold – particularly during the evening and night when a warm sweater or jacket is required. Temperatures range from 15-35 C. Recommended equipment and attire: The Camp is informal so we recommend you pack for comfort. Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, camera & extra film/, sandals and walking shoes are essential. The Mara can get cold in the night and in the early mornings and evenings so we recommend you dress in layers. A light waterproof jacket is advisable. Malaria: The risk of malaria is not high but we recommend you take the necessary precautions and consult your physician before traveling.
Ashnil Mara Safari Camp – Masai Mara, Kenya
Ashnil Mara Camp is perfectly located at the confluence of the Mara and Olkeju Rivers in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
This new camp offers discerning travelers 30 luxury tents which sit alongside the riverbank. This is the most important place for wildlife spotting and is close to the action during the annual wildebeest migration.
The Masai Mara is often described as the World’s finest wildlife reserve; its abundant flora and fauna and the gentle rolling grasslands ensure the animals are never far from sight.
Accommodation at the Mara Ashnil Camp is in 30 twin/double tents which are beautifully designed and carefully crafted, with shower, wc and a safe.
Facilities at Ashnil Mara Camp include a restaurant that serves buffet meals, while the open-air bar serves a wide selection of beers, cocktails and liqueurs. Nearby is a modern lounge decorated with a special African touch which is a great place to pass time and relax, enjoy the breathtaking sunset and discuss the day’s wildlife sightings. There is also a beautiful, inviting swimming pool and a souvenir shop.
The Camp is located in a special Leopard spotting zone of the Maasai Mara. It is just a short drive from the Mara River, where over a million wildebeest and zebra make their perilous migration crossing every year. Besides the migration period, the camp still offers some of the world’s finest game viewing, with large local populations of plains game including, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and all the Big Cats.
The camp is run on strict eco-principles, with hot water generated by burning used coffee husks, biodegradable waste mulched for compost, and all wastewater recycled through our own on-site constructed wetland.
Mara Intrepids is 298 kilometers from Nairobi and is served by an all-weather airstrip that enables guests to be at the camp within 45 minutes of leaving the capital city of Nairobi. Daily scheduled flights are available from the Wilson airport and other safari destinations on your itinerary.
Mara Intrepids has 30 luxurious tents that are widely spread across a large riverside site to ensure you the optimum of privacy and peace. Each tent is well furnished in the classic style of the grand African safaris, with large four-poster beds and handsome reproduction furniture, offset by modern en-suite bathrooms with hot showers, flush toilets and all modern amenities. Each tent sits on a shady raised platform, with a sweeping view over the riverbanks where a large variety of animals come to drink.
In the night, the restaurant is usually visited by wide-eyed bush babies some of which are melanistic. A separate dining area is sometimes used for a large number of groups travelling together, and bush breakfast, sundowners and bush dinners can also
Game drives are always enjoyable here as they don’t get much better than in this central triangle of the Maasai Mara. Lion, cheetah, buffalo, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox and various antelope are conspicuous in the plains that divide the rivers, whose confluence lies close to the main crossing point used by tens of thousands of wildebeest during the annual migration. This part of the reserve receives fewer visitors than the eastern part and as such it is possible to drive long periods without seeing another vehicle.
The lodge also offers nature walks and cultural visits to local Maasai villages. They can also arrange hot air balloon safaris, leaving before dawn.
Mara Intrepids is recommended for families on safari with children. There is also an Adventurers Club for children which offers a special family programme at no extra cost designed for children accompanying their parents on safari. This provides the chance for children to learn about the wilds from Maasai naturalists who specialize in plants, wildlife and survival skills. Children participate in various activities at the camp including an obstacle course that portraying the challenges faced by wild animals.
For children aged under 12 years’ activities includes:
- Build your own mini Maasai homestead
- Have a close brush with a toothbrush tree
- Learn to make a fire with a pair of sticks
- Catch and study the brightest butterflies
- Plant a tree to help bring back the rains
- Make friends quiver with your own bow
- Learning on how to identify birds of all feathers
- Stalk victory in the bush treasure hunts
- For older children (aged 12-17 years) activities include:
- Bush orienteering
- First aid
- Snake and bird identification
- Tree identification
- Mammal behavior studies
- Guided bush walks
Mara Intrepids in the Community
As one of the Mara’s most established camps, Mara Intrepids enjoys a very close relationship with the local Maasai community, from which most of the camps staff hail. Together with a sister camp, Mara Explorer, Mara Intrepids channels part of income into local community initiatives, including environmental awareness training, the establishment of medical clinics, and financial support for primary schools, churches and women’s groups.