Mara Intrepids Heritage Hotels, Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
On the vast savannah grasslands of the Masai Mara National Reserve with the Talek flowing past, Mara Intrepids Camp is set in deliciously wild country.
Few places on earth can rival the setting of Mara Intrepids on the vast savannah grasslands of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. This world famous reserve is the northern extension of the sprawling Serengeti of Tanzania and the two ecosystems make for the greatest wildlife spectacle on the planet – from the million or more wildebeest migrating with changing seasons between the Mara and the Serengeti to the flocks of birds from Eurasia; from the prides of black-maned lions to herds of elephants; from sparring hippos in the rivers to the insouciant crocodiles lying in wait of prey.
The Mara is home to the stars of BBC’s Big Cat Diary and Big Cat Live following Shakira the cheetah, the Marsh lions and Bella the leopard with their families as they try to raise them in a world defined by predators and prey; by the hunters and the hunted.
Built on the banks of the Talek River, which joins the Mara River and eventually drains into waters of the Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater lake and source of the mysterious Nile, the Mara Intrepids is for the intrepid traveler who wants to be away from the crowds and explore Africa’s wild kingdom.
The Luxury Tents
Every tent is raised on stilts, and opens to the Talek River with that signature view of the endless plains. Recently refurbished to accommodate the modern, discerning safari traveler, the tents are large and spacious with private verandahs to enjoy the river and the plains, giving infinite views of the Mara. It’s luxury in the wild.
In addition there are two family luxury tents, gorgeous homes under canvas. Beautifully decorated in stylistic African ethnic and modern pieces, the two bed-roomed family tents include a spacious lounge and an outside deck looking out at the river and the plains beyond. All have ensuite bathrooms and washrooms.
For quiet moments, you can escape to the high tower in the forest glade and scan the tree canopy of the riverine forest and the plains. It’s a great vantage lookout point for any wildlife that strolls by or stalks the prey.
Dining al fresco on the outside patio of the restaurant is a delight under the canopy of towering trees and untouched gardens. Every meal is a feast. The kitchen boasts its own vegetable garden where the freshest of homegrown herbs, fruits and vegetables are grown. Guests are spoilt for choice with a-la-carte menus and gourmet bar-be-ques under sunny blue equatorial skies or on the inner deck of the shaded thatched dining room. The food fare ranges from continental to traditional African and Asian foods. The desserts are to die for with chocolate mousses and cinnamon tarts, fresh fruits and cheeses presented on platters to wet anyone’s appetite. Nothings too hard for the chefs to turn out any dish ranging from vegetarian to seafood platters on request, including favourite recipes provided by you.
The resident genet and greater bushbabies drop in during dinner, sometimes shy and curious, giving many a newcomer their first sighting of these nocturnal animals. Diners are treated to Maasai dancing by the Maasai morans from the neighbouring manyattas and those daring enough can join in to challenge the Maasai leaps.
For the wild at heart
If dining at the camp proves a tad too tame, you can head out to wilder settings and enjoy sumptuous bush breakfasts and dinners in the bush including sundowners within sight of a lion or a herd of elephants or the hippos snorting in the river below. It’s the ultimate African appetizer.
Overlooking the Burrungat plains, drinks at the bar – alcoholic or non-alcoholic –can be exciting. The very eagle-eyed can catch sight of an elephant quietly slipping through the riverine forest or the occasional leopard making a kill. The bar is open all day till the last patron retires.
Enjoy the unique blend of bar cocktails like the Tides of Mara or the Migration Fever. If you’re concerned about safety, the river cuts across the bar and plains, so you can relax and toast a drink to Africa’s wilderness. A bonfire is lit every evening where stories of the day’s adventures are traded and on most evenings, the resident naturalist will give a power point presentation of Mara’s dynamic seasons, each bringing with it its own vibrant changes, forever drawing the Mara enthusiast like a magnet to its sprawling savanna. Guests are advised not to jump into the river from the suspended bridge that connects the plains to the bar – for the river is only reserved for the residents – that means the local hippos and crocodiles.
Take your vows in some of the world’s most spectacular wild country within earshot of the elephant’s trumpet or a lion’s roar. You can choose a traditional wedding according to your customs, or dress in the local finery of the indigenous people such as the Maasai. Everything from the smallest detail can be arranged – from the vows to the celebration party for family and friends – all you have to do is present your wish list – for your wedding in Africa.
Standard wedding – US$1,750
• Local legal fees (Legal requirements)
• Registrars/ministers fees
• Marriage licence and certificate
• Wedding ceremony
• Wedding co-coordinator
• Decorated location selected by the couple
• Bouquet for bride
• Button hole
• Bottle of sparkling wine(Moetet Chandon)
• Wedding cake
• Best man/maid as witness if required.
Optional extras at a cost:
• Maasai Dancers and Guard of Honour – US$ 160
• Complete Maasai wedding attire for bride & groom plus necklace and ornaments – US$ 350
• Champagne (per bottle) – US$ 150
We have different locations from which the couple can choose to host their ceremony:
• Hippo pool
• Lounge observation tower
• Lounge gardens
• Masai Manyatta
• Sundowner site
Activities for Young and Old
Three game drives everyday in the reserve – the early morning from 6 am to 9 am; the midmorning after breakfast and finally the late afternoon from 3.30 pm returning to camp at sunset. Or you can indulge in a full day game drive to the Mara River with a packed picnic breakfast and/or lunch. kindly view the month by month activities highlights from the wildlife section as you plan your visit with us.
The Adventurers’ Club
Recommended for children accompanying their parents on safari this family program provides an fun and exciting opportunity for the kids to learn about the wild from our Maasai naturalists who specialize in plants, wildlife and survival skills. Children will be edu-tained through various activities and facilities on-site including an obstacle course that portrays the challenges wild animals face, don’t be suprised if you child comes out looking like Mowgli from Rudyard Kipling’s all time favourite Jungle Book. more the Heritage family programs
Balloon Safaris (upon request)
Enjoy the thrill of an early morning hot air balloon ride where you can enjoy the spectacle of the Masai Mara sunrise and the arial view of big game scattered across the rolling plains of the reserve.more on Balloon Safaris
Photographic Safari (upon request)
Led by our trained guides, some of whom are active photographers themselves we are able so ensure that your safari goes beyond your expectation. The 4×4 safari jeeps are specially modified to allow for more legroom and roof racks open for the best game viewing and photography, with accessories such as beanbag mounts for cameras available upon request. The vehicles are also fitted with mini-bars for cold beverages to ensure your comfort. kindly view the month by month activities highlights from the wildlife section as you plan you visit with us.
Fly day trip – Mfangano Island, Lake Victoria (upon request)
Take a 40 minute flight from Mara Intrepids Camp to Lake Victoria crossing over the expanse of the Mau forest – one of Kenya’s biggest indigenous forests – and the famed green tea plantations of Kericho to Mfangano Island sitting on Lake Victoria. more on Mfangano Island day trip
A two-hour nature walk with our Maasai naturalist will see you identify more than 30 species of plants, spot a variety of birds and pick up some survival tips like knowing how to behave in the presence of wild animals.
Guests at Mara Intrepids can visit the Maasai manyattas or kraals where a local Maasai guide will give you an intriguing account of the Maasai people and the traditions that have stood the test of time and still prevail on the plains.
Take a detailed tour of the African sky with our expert guides at Mara Intrepids. The Equator slices Kenya almost in half making it one of the very few places in the whole world where you can observe both the northern and southern hemisphere skies from one location. more on star gazing with Heritage
A visit to the Masai Mara isn’t only about seeing the “Big 5″, the game reserve also boasts a bird list of over 450 species. These range from the large and highly conspicuous Common Ostrich, to the small (but still conspicuous) Cardinal Quelea. A bird walk is a must for every bird lover or simply someone curious to see the rich profusion of birds, keen birders can record more than a hundred species in a day.
Big Cats of the Mara
Over the last few weeks, the Ridge Pride was seen roaming around the southern base of Rhino Ridge, Mara Intrepids and the Mara River area. There is one female with three-month-old cubs and one with two-month-old cubs. The females made easy kills when the wildebeest were all over their territory, which meant the cubs were well fed.
Olive, our star female leopard and her three-month-old cubs are still around the junction of the Talek and Olare-Orok Rivers. They have lately been moving between this place and the little forest between Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps.
Binti and her daughter are downstream from where Olive is. They also took the opportunity to hunt the wildebeest when they were streaming down south through their territories and we saw a few young wildebeest’ carcasses up in the trees along the river.
Shakira, who for the past two years has been our star female cheetah, is still around with her three daughters. She has had some easy hunts because of the many gazelle fawns born in the past three weeks.
Honey’s three male cubs, continue to roam far and wide from Musiara to Paradise Plains and south to Burrungat Plains. There is another cheetah between Talek and Olkiombo airstrip with three very tiny cubs. This is not Alama, who we reported earlier. In general cheetah sightings have been the best this season.
Wonders of the Mara
“Between May and June, the plains are full of long grass,” says Paul Kirui, the head guide at Mara Intrepids. “It makes it difficult for the smaller animals to browse. It’s mostly the big animals like giraffes and elephants and the bigger antelopes that you can see around.
And it makes hunting difficult for the cats so they come up with strange strategies. You’ll see lions and cheetahs trying to climb trees and anthills to get a high vantage point.
Cheetahs don’t usually climb trees because their claws do not retract like those of the other cats’ but because they need to locate prey, they’ll try anything, even hunting zebra.”
Cheetahs are not strong so they hunt smaller antelopes, which they chase to exhaustion. This helps the diminutive cat to go for the jugular of the exhausted prey to make a quick kill.” Full article – (Daily Nation, June 5 2009)