Kenya: Relive the original spirit of an African safari in a way reminiscent of Hemingway and other adventurous souls who fell in love with the majesty of Kenya’s Maasai Mara and the Serengeti, with its magnificent wildlife and the nearby local Maasai community.
At Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, visitors experience a Maasai Mara far from the madding crowd of tour bus and van congestion so prevalent at the big brand name game sites. Run by fourth-generation owner Calvin Cottar, the safari camp boasts the highest number of gold professional standard guides in any Kenyan camp, every one of them handpicked by Cotter himself.
To quote from Cottar’s dazzling website, “The landscape is high altitude (6000 ft) rolling savannah, with no fences or man made structures to corrupt the wilderness, and with pure wildlife that has not been trans-located or manipulated by man. We have some of the highest success rates of Big Five sightings in the business - although our focus is never on ‘ticking off’ the check list of species; rather we focus on the quality and privacy of the viewing, the interpretation and capturing the moment.”
At Cottar’s, guests relive the romance of a bygone era in elegant 1920s-style cream-colored canvas tents. Tents are decked out with nostalgic claw foot tubs, faded antique carpets, butler’s trays in the sitting areas and a verandah for taking in the stunning views. Four- poster beds are festooned with billowing mosquito nets and covered in crisp cotton linens. (Thankfully, because of the altitude, malaria is not an issue.) Ten tents in all include one for honeymooners, five doubles and four family suites, each with an en-suite bathroom. Family tents have living rooms with fireplaces.
Reliving the camaraderie of the past, guests gather around an evening campfire where after dinner drinks and tales of the day’s game sightings are shared. Even more memorable are days spent out on the land. Guided bush walks with one of the camp’s dedicated guides are a highlight while evening night drives add to the drama.
A newly built private house has recently opened. Called “Cottar’s Private House,” the homestead has views of the Olderekesi Hills and of the savannah plains along the route of the annual wildebeest migration. With five en-suite bedrooms and a dedicated staff of eight, the home is ideal for guests who desire a remote safari experience in a homey environment. As with the safari camp, bush walks and night drives are led by some of the most experienced and charismatic guides in Kenya.
The camp has its own 6,000-acre conservancy with easy access to the Maasai Mara game reserve for day and night game drives, game walks and interaction with the Maasai community. The Cottar family takes its caretaker role seriously by working in partnership with the local community towards sustainable ecosystem management through conservation. Every effort is made to conserve resources with the use of wind and solar power, tents made on site and a homegrown organic vegetable garden. Visit the Cottar’s Safari Camp’s dramatic website at www.cottars.com where you will find inspiration and planning advice.
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