The Mara North Conservancy (MNC), is the largest conservancy in the Masai Mara National Reserve and comprises an area of over 28 000 hectares. The conservancy shares a border with several other conservancies and in itself is one of the greatest conservation successes in history.
With an incredible diversity of plants, birds, mammals and reptiles the conservancy is a vital area of land that has shown how wildlife, communities and tourism all benefit from a shared vision of unique conservation.
- Over 28 000 hectares are being actively protected
- 830 land lease agreements with local Masai
- Twelve safari operators pay $154 800 per month to the landowners
- Payments are unaffected by fluctuations in tourism numbers
- The MNC supports over 4 500 local Masai people
- The Bright Green project develops free educational resources to landowners
- Exclusive conservation model with 140 hectares per visitor
- Only 7 camps and 3 lodges in the conservancy
Access to the Conservancy
From Europe, the United States or Scandinavia fly in to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Swiss Air, Egypt Air, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways or Lufthansa. Read our Country Information for travel advice to Kenya.
On arriving at JKIA all guests with African Safari Experts are met by a safari representative and escorted to Wilson Airport, a smaller regional airport, where you will board a light aircraft for your flight into the Mara North Conservancy. If your flight arrives in Kenya too late we will assist you with booking accommodation in Nairobi. All road transfers with African Safari Experts are complimentary.
With the smaller aircraft it is vital to ensure that your luggage conforms to the weight and size specifications laid out for the aircraft you will be on. Additional weight can be booked and paid for however the type of luggage cannot. No hard shell suitcases can be carried as they do not fit into the pods under the airplane.
Seasons in the Mara North
The hottest months of the year are October, January and February when daytime temperatures can soar up to 95 Fahrenheit and evenings are quite warm. June, July and August have warm days however the temperature can drop significantly at night and early mornings can be cold. For your morning game drive, dress in layers so that as the temperature rises you can peel off clothing. In the evenings, make sure you have a warm coat or jacket and request a blanket before you leave – these make a big difference in keeping warm.
Between December and January the grass is very green and lush, this provides welcome food for lactating animals to produce milk for their newborn foals. It is also the height of predator action as Lion, Cheetah and Hyena take full advantage of easy prey. February is calving season when around 700 000 Wildebeest calves are dropped that make for easy pickings and ensure the survival of the vast majority with their sacrifice.
The big rains come in April, May and June and the transformation is a sight to behold! The water feeds the endless plains and grass shoots out almost overnight providing vast grazing grounds for the animals. In the area of the Lolita Hills tens of thousands of Wildebeest and Zebra come to feed off the new shoots making for incredible game drives and herds that stretch to the horizon and well beyond.
From June to November is the incredible migration! More than a million animals arrive in the area to feed, mate and care for the newborn foals. If the migration is on your “bucket list” then these months are the best to make that dream come true.
Where to stay in the Conservancy
With 12 safari camps to choose from there is a decent range of choice across most budgets. While the camps may not be on the budget side, bear in mind that you are paying for an exclusive safari experience where there are no “mini vans”, your safari is in a traditional 4X4 vehicle with excellent all round vision and you will likely be guided by a Masai warrior who has been in the conservancy all his life.
With both Kenya and Tanzania now open for tourism, there is still a good chance to witness some of the migration action this year. Many of the safari operators have frozen their rates for the next 12 months making this an ideal opportunity to travel now and save a good deal of money. The Mara North Conservancy has exclusive access to the the banks of the Mara River where you can watch Zebra and Wildebeest by their thousands make the perilous crossing.
Our expert knowledge of these camps has been gained over years of experience, we highly recommend these for an exceptional safari experience in the Mara North Conservancy.
Elephant Pepper Camp
Elephant Pepper Camp is a small tented camp that was originally built in the 1980’s and is named after the grove of Elephant Pepper trees’ in which it’s nestled. The camp is ideally located from which to explore the conservancy or to venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve itself during the Great Migration – roughly July to October. This is one of the few camps that is very remote, un-fenced and ideal for families with small children.
There are 8 suite tents and 2 honeymoon tents. All the tents can be made up as doubles or twins and can fit extra beds for those with small children. King size beds, mosquito nets and bedside tables made the tents very comfortable during our stay there.
Rates at Elephant Pepper Camp start from $595 per person sharing and this includes all meals, your accommodation, local brand drinks, daily safari activities, walking safaris, bush breakfasts, airstrip transfers, laundry and VAT.
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp is famous for it’s association with the film “Out of Africa”, the camp is perfectly located close to the Oloololo Gate for quick access to the Masai Mara National Reserve. Sitting on the East bank of the Mara River in front of a wide loop, views stretch across the banks and beyond.
There are 22 safari tents at Karen Blixen Camp, raised on wooden decks they are spread along the banks of the Mara River and each has a small deck at the front where you can relax and enjoy the views. There is a family unit that shares the same raised deck with plenty of room for four.
Rates start from $623 per person sharing and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, unlimited game drives, one night drive, airstrip transfers and a guided eco walk.
Kicheche Mara Camp
Kicheche Mara Camp is located in an area of dense and diverse wildlife. This is a classic tented camp that’s been tucked into a valley of Acacia trees’ looking out over the Olare Orok stream, as there are no fences around the camp the experience is amplified by Elephant as they graze amongst the tents.
There are just 9 tents at Kicheche Mara that have great privacy from one another with views of the surrounding bush, An en-suite bathroom at the back of the tent is accessed through a flap and is simply yet tastefully decorated with great guest amenities. Four of the guest tents have been designed as triples and quadruples for either families or friends that wish to travel together. The family unit has two bedrooms that are connected by a common lounge. Tents are spacious and when compared with other safari camps we have found Kicheche Mara’s the best for families and friends.
Rates at Kicheche Mara start from $695 per person sharing and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, twice daily game drives, bush picnics, airstrip transfers, a Community Discovery excursion, bush walks and laundry.
Saruni Mara lies on a forested hill facing South in the far North of the conservancy, the camp has an elevated vantage point and each room has been built to extend out and over the bush for the stunning views.
The six cottages at Saruni Mara are on either side of the main reception. Each has been decorated with a theme of Writer, Artist, Observer and Photographer as well as a family villa. All the rooms have old four poster beds that are enveloped by a mosquito net and one of the rooms can be made up as a twin room. The en-suite bathrooms were the best we have ever experienced with showers and complimentary organic toiletries.
Rates at Saruni Mara start from $700 per person sharing and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, twice daily game drives, walking safaris, a limited laundry service, bush dinners, sun downers, picnic excursions, children’s program, airstrip transfers and VAT.
Offbeat Mara Camp
Offbeat Mara Camp lies in dense bush close to the Olare Orok River. The camp has been so well hidden in the bush it’s hardly visible, un-fenced it is a true tented camp with a local Lion pride that is both seen and heard quite regularly. The camp has a true wilderness feel to it that appeals to guests looking for an authentic African safari experience. The main guest area has been raised off the ground on a wooden deck and has both canvas and solid walls with an open front. There is a comfortable lounge area as well as a small curio shop selling locally made crafts whose profits go directly to the local community.
If you are staying for 3 nights there is a full day game drive into the National Reserve included. Wildlife viewing here is excellent and the manager is a professional walking guide.
Rates at Offbeat Mara Camp start from $515 per person sharing and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, morning and afternoon game drives, laundry, airstrip transfers, walking safaris,bush breakfasts, picnic lunches in the bush, local market visits, excursions to the Koyiaki Guiding School and exclusive use of a safari vehicle for 4 guests or more traveling together.
Ngare Serian has exclusive use of a 16 square kilometre section of the conservancy. The camp is located on the West bank of the Mara River with beautiful views both up and downstream with prolific bird life amongst the dense foliage.
The dining and lounge area here are all under a large thatched roof with a huge new deck that has fantastic views over the river. There is plenty of space to relax here, a small fire area for pre dinner drinks and a large communal dining table for dinners. Bush meals are the norm though.
All guests have a private vehicle, guide and spotter that is assigned to them for the duration of their stay.
Rates at Ngare Serian start from $1090 per person sharing and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, unlimited game drives, laundry service, sun-downers, bush meals and airstrip transfers.
For more information or advice on your safari to Africa and the Mara North Conservancy, get in touch with Pierre for expert safari travel advice.