Since moving to South Africa, I’ve fallen in love with safaris. When it comes to safaris in Kenya, it’s all about the Cottar family. These guys are known as the “first family” of the safari business. In fact, it’s been almost 100 years since the family started its safari company, and it has earned ample bragging rights since then.
The Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp has 2 accommodation options, the luxurious Bush Villa and beautiful, unique tents, within the 1920s-themed camp. I love old-time charm and another African safari was on my list, so I was invited to check out the camp for a few nights.
Oh, and for those that are traveling in Tanzania, Cottar’s is right on the border between Tanzania and Kenya and would make a fabulous addition to any itinerary.
Here’s my experience at Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp!
Getting to Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp
The easiest way to get to the Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp in Kenya is by the Cottar’s private airstrip, which is just a ten-minute drive from the camp. Two airlines, Fly 540 and East African Safari Air Express, fly here twice a day during the low season and three times a day during the high season.
You’ll also find a range of airlines that fly into Keekorok airstrip, which is a one-and-a-half-hour drive from the Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp.
One of the trademarks of Cottar’s Camp is its proximity to the Maasai community, a famous local tribe that is seen by many as the embodiment of traditional Kenyan culture. While they’ve been well exposed to modern life, the people of the Maasai tribe have remained true to their traditional way of life. Visiting the local Maasai village was definitely one of the highlights of my visit to Kenya.
I spent four days with a Maasai guide who told us tales of his childhood growing up in the bush.
He shared so many of the beautiful lessons that the Maasai pass down through generations. On the morning of our departure, he took us to visit the village where he grew up. Children approached us in curiosity, smiling as they saw their likeness in the LCD displays of our cameras. We were welcomed into their humble homes and shown a much simpler way of life, which they hold dear.
It was a profound experience that I will never forget.
The Safari Camp
The Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp is set on 6,000 acres of gorgeous landscape. There are two main tents there dedicated to eating, drinking, and being merry. They are the places to connect with other travelers or just unwind with a good book.
Far from roughing it, this luxe camp has a swimming pool and spa area that will keep you feeling pampered throughout your glamping experience.
I stayed in the Bush Villa, which is essentially a private, luxury home within the camp.
It has a breathtaking view over the savannah and the Olderikesi Hills. Guests of the villa have a staff of 8 at their service, and can enjoy privately guided game drives, night game drives, bush walks, swimming and fishing. The villa was seriously impressive and overwhelming (in a good way!). It is over 10,000 square feet in size, and features a large living room, dining room, a magnificent viewing deck, and 5 en-suite bedrooms, all with stunning views.
In addition to the villa, there are ten tents in the camp– a deluxe honeymoon tent, five double tents, and four family suites. They all have en suite bathrooms and feel ultra-private.
In my opinion, this would be a great option for larger families or groups that want to travel together. The family tents hold 2 ensuite bedrooms with a shared veranda, a dining room and a living room with fireplaces! I loved that the entire camp is situated in a way that the tents are private and quiet, whether for the honeymooners or families with children.
While it’s a good place to disconnect, you don’t actually have to unplug. There is Wi-Fi in the camp, and you’ll find a good phone signal in many spots. There’s also a cell phone available in the office that you can use anytime if you’re having trouble getting connected.
It’s not just about tourism for the Cottars. The family has set up the Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust to help preserve local wildlife habitats while protecting animals from poachers. The money that you spend at the safari camp helps to support the Cottar’s 6,000-acre Olderikesi Wildlife Conservancy that is a refuge for threaten Kenyan animals.
Activities & Safaris
Located just under one mile from the Maasai Mara game reserve, this is the perfect spot to take in the incredible nature and culture of the region.
The Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp organizes day and evening drives to the Masai Mara game reserve so that you can see the animals in their natural habitat. There are also guided bush walks, river swimming, and fishing excursions as well as cultural visits with the local Maasai people.
Hotel: Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp
Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Accommodation: Luxury, Safari
Price Range: $$$
Thank you to Cottar’s Camp for hosting me during my stay. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.