Luxury meets wild in the Mara

Unique cottages at Mahali Mzuri in the Mara. PHOTO | FILE 

The holiday season is upon us and rather than go to the French Riviera or Dubai as preferred by the wealthy, it is time to dine in the bush amid the sounds of big game and stargaze late into the night in Kenya.

There is something brazenly luxurious about sleeping in a bush, in a safari tent or a lodge. BDLife has picked a few bush escapes where you forget the luxuries of the city but still find them in the wild.

From the stunningly-styled The Sanctuary at Ole Lentille located in Laikipia, Finch Hatton where history meets luxury, Cottars 1920s Camp, Sekenani and Spirit of Masai Mara, Elsa’s Kopje and Leopard Rock Lodge in Meru, Ashnil Samburu Camp, Tortilis Camp in Amboseli to Elephant Bedroom Camp, you can never visit the many lodges hidden in off-the-beaten paths in Kenya that will make your wildest dreams come true.

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Luxury meets wild in the Mara

By Stellar Murumba

A tower of Maasai giraffes walk down the hill in our full view towards a seasonal stream. It is lunch hour and this is where they come to water.

A few minutes earlier, herds of wildebeests, zebras, impalas had thundered down the same route with four lions in pursuit.

An excitement is in the air and every khaki-clad traveller is darting for a binoculars on their lunch table. Everyone wants to capture the moment of nature in its pristine form in the wilderness.

Betty, a tour guide says that some tourists break down when they come to Maasai Mara and cannot sight wild animals; especially the elderly tourists.

Under a huge cactus tree, there are a few elephant families, others are at the waterhole. At the sighting of “big mama” elephant— the dominant female elephant in the parade— the lions slow down and their plans of having a wildebeest dessert is thwarted.

Bush travel is a growth market increasingly capturing the imaginations of those who want to wind down and escape the city life, its chaos and its luxuries.

Beyond the big five, the great wildebeest migration has boosted tourist arrivals to Maasai Mara. With more than 100 camps, lodges, the destination has morphed into the safari equivalent of Disneyland.

The migration spectacle happens every year and Betty says the wildebeests at the Mara now are residents.