Encounter Mara is built to the highest eco-standards and traditional safari-style. Encounter Mara sits beneath a magnificent canopy of acacia trees and blends seamlessly with the bush. There is an excellent chance you’ll encounter giraffe or zebra strolling through camp.
Relax in camp for the day and let the animals like plains game and big cats come to you.
Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the canvas dining tent in the centre of camp against a backdrop of the African bush. The lounge area is furnished in a simple style that allows the views of the Masai Mara to take centre stage. With the nearby salt lick attracting regular wildlife you could spend the entire day in camp as they wander past.
This camp has been specially designed to offer you an experience akin to living in an animal hide.
The best time for game viewing is in the early mornings and late afternoons when the animals are at their most active. Depending on the season your day may start slightly earlier or later as the days get warmer. The pace of life in camp is focused on giving you the very best possible game-viewing experience. If you have booked a private game-viewing vehicle do discuss personal schedule preferences with your guide.
How to Get There
Arriving at Wilson airport in Nairobi you will be met and assisted onto your light aircraft for the flight to Mara ol Seki airstrip. Here you will be met by the camp guide who will drive you to the camp, just 20 minutes away.
For assistance with flights from Nairobi to the camp please contact us, we will ensure your holiday is seamless.
Families with children aged five and older are warmly welcomed at Encounter Mara, and there is a custom family tent. The guides love children and together with them they will enjoy making bows and arrows, making traditional fires with sticks and elephant dung or going for fun walks in camp. Children are accommodated in the family tent or by adding a third bed to a tent; we strongly recommend that children below 12 always share a room/tent with an adult. Families of six or more are guaranteed a private safari vehicle at no extra cost in low season. In high season, families with children under 12 are obliged to use a private game-viewing vehicle at an additional cost.
The greatest luxury of the Mara Naboisho Conservancy is the exclusivity and freedom it offers. From Encounter Mara you can explore the world-famous Maasai Mara ecosystem on foot, by vehicle and at night – freedom that is just not possible in the Mara Reserve itself.
Game drives are offered twice daily and take in the Conservancy as well as the adjoining Maasai Mara Reserve. In the conservancy, off-road driving is permitted – this gives you the liberty to explore every hidden valley and secret corner. Also available is the opportunity to spot some of Kenya’s famous ‘nightlife’ on an evening game drive when darkness falls.
Short Nature Walks
In between morning and afternoon game drives, explore the area near camp on a short nature walk with your guide, taking in the smaller details of the savannah ecosystem such as birdlife and plantlife. (Note: These nature walks are not full walking safaris. We recommend that guests looking for longer, ½ day excursions on foot consider a stay at Naboisho Camp where guided walking safaris are available.)
Make every minute count: take along a delicious packed breakfast or picnic lunch in the morning to enjoy in the heart of the bush while the game roams all around you.
Cultural & community visits
The majority of Encounter Mara’s guides are drawn from the local Maasai communities and are landowners in the conservancy. They are always eager to share their culture and way of life with interested guests, and visits to nearby villages and homesteads are easily arranged.
Hot-air balloon safaris
This is a romantic and evocative way to experience the wilderness of East Africa. Nothing can beat the feeling of gliding silently over the game-filled plains on a balloon safari, as the early-morning sun rises over the horizon. (at an additional cost)
Spend the night in a simple fly camp in a quiet corner of the conservancy and enjoy splendid meals cooked over the campfire with only the sounds of the bush for company. (at an additional cost).
Encounter Mara Camp Location
The Mara Naboisho Conservancy is a 50 000-acre initiative located right next door to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The conservancy is an outstanding example of how tourism can benefit conservation and community. The project is a partnership between landowners and tourism companies in an effort to protect the precious ecosystem while improving the lives of the communities in the area.
‘The Mara Naboisho Conservancy has a higher density of game than Maasai Mara National Reserve, and one of the highest lion densities in the world’
By working closely with the 500 landlords and contributing a portion of each bed-night to local communities ensures that the benefits of ecotourism trickle down to the Maasai families that have lived on the lands for generations. In fact, it is many of these Maasai landowners themselves who interpret the bush during game drives, bush walks and night drives, and who provide meaningful insight into the local communities that live in harmony with the land and the wildlife it hosts.
A true wildlife haven, the Mara Naboisho Conservancy has a higher density of game than the adjacent Maasai Mara National Reserve, and – with 100 lions living in the vicinity – one of the highest lion densities in the world. Impressive numbers of elephant, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra can be seen and sightings of the rare and elusive African wild dog are frequent.
In addition to the abundance of resident game, the Mara Naboisho Conservancy serves as a vital corridor for the little-known Loita Migration, which sees up to 5 000 wildebeest and 1 000 zebra move though the area annually from the Mara Reserve to the Loita Plains in the east in an ancient and undisturbed migratory cycles.
However, the real magic of the conservancy is its sheer exclusivity. With only a handful of lodges in the area, you are ensured a level of safari solitude simply unheard of in the busy Serengeti and Maasai Mara reserves, where up to 20 vehicles have been known to huddle around a kill. Here in Mara Naboisho, it is unlikely that you would even find four.