Surrounded on three sides by the Mara River, and on the edge of the world’s Seventh “New” Wonder of the World – the Masai Mara - Fairmont Mara Safari Club is the epitome of tented luxury.
The main lodge at the center of camp hosts an indoor restaurant, bar and library with Internet access to keep the relatives up to date with safari adventures. A spacious outside deck overhangs the river and leads to a heated pool, complete with bar and private massage tents.
With four poster, pillow-top beds and a veranda overlooking the hippo and crocodile-filled river, each of the 50 tents at Fairmont Mara Safari Club is superbly furnished with its own private, three-piece bathroom, including a number of “outdoor showers” in select tents.The larger-sized accommodations also feature expanded decks which allow for private dining, a new service. Outdoor dining is enhanced with the creation of a boma, a structure influenced by traditional homesteads, where guests can enjoy a cultural dinner reflecting not only African cuisine but also rich musical accompaniment.
Guests can choose from a wide range of activities at Fairmont Mara Safari Club, including game drives and balloon safaris over the Mara plains capped with a champagne breakfast on the savannah or a stroll in the footprints of the hippo-trodden path escorted by a Maasai Moran. The location provides a perfect base for visiting the Masai Mara, one of the world’s richest wildlife reserves, and home to an astounding array of animals including zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests, gazelles and of course the “Big Five”.
Mara Safari Club is what is referred to as a “tented” facility. But, campers be warned, these are not your typical KOA-style tents. Each tent consists of heavy canvas sides and roof mounted to a concrete foundation. Like most tents, you enter and exit through a zippered slit on the front of the tent. Each tent also has a large front porch with a view of the Mara River where hippos and crocs tend to hang out and wallow in the muddy waters.
While the tents look pretty plain from the outside, once inside they reveal all the comforts of a 5-star hotel including a roomy walk-in shower, separate toilet room, vanity and plush towels. The queen-sized bed was very comfortable with nice down pillows. If this is roughing it, you can count us in! There is even a mini-bar/refrigerator inside a beautiful leather covered trunk. We are in tent 47 which is one of the newest ones that also has an outdoor shower (in addition to the indoor shower). It is about a 7-minute walk to the lobby on the stone tree-lined path.
The open air lobby is only rustic in its decor. The property looks brand new and everything is pristine, just as you would expect from Fairmont. There is a small library off the main lobby with two computers where Internet access is available. However, connection speeds out here in the wilds of Africa are pretty slow. No, they are EXTREMELY slow. But, who comes on a safari for the Internet? You will also notice there are no televisions in the safari camps. Thank goodness.
Game drives are included in the room rates and depart from the lobby each morning at 6:30 am. Afternoon game drives depart at 3:30 pm. Game drives usually last 3 to 4 hours. In the mornings, you will return back in time for breakfast and in the evening, you will be back in time for dinner. Mara Safari Club also offers several optional excursions such as hot air balloon rides, bush breakfasts and Maasai Village Tours.
I think it is safe to say that our stay at Mara Safari Club is one of the most memorable experiences in our personal or professional lives. This is a truly magical place and no Kenya safari would be complete without a stay here. Our only regret is that we did not plan at least four days at this amazing property.
For more information, go to Fairmont Mara Safari Club website