Best Maasai Mara Lodges and Safari Camps

Join us as we unveil the best Maasai Mara lodges and safari camps that promise an unforgettable safari and taste of opulence amid nature’s grandeur. Whether you seek close encounters with the Big 5 or a tranquil retreat, these establishments offer exceptional experiences in one of Africa’s most iconic wildlife destinations.

The Maasai Mara is undoubtedly Kenya's most remarkable and revered reserve

The Maasai Mara is undoubtedly Kenya’s most remarkable reserve

Mara’s National Reserve vs. Private Conservancies

But first, let’s unravel the wild beauty that defines the Mara ecosystem. While the Maasai Mara National Reserve stands as Kenya‘s foremost wildlife haven, it’s crucial to acknowledge the adjoining private Mara conservancies.

Africa is home to the Great Migration among many other incredible experiences

Kenya is home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, among many other incredible experiences

The Maasai Mara National Reserve

Situated at the very core of the Mara ecosystem, the Maasai Mara National Reserve essentially facilitates the primary routes of the annual Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya. Its marvellous landscapes, including the Mara, Talek, and Sand Rivers, play a pivotal role in this process.

Staying at Maasai Mara lodges and safari camps within the reserve bestows a substantial advantage upon visitors, especially those seeking to fully immerse themselves in the epicentre of the Great Migration’s thrilling spectacle.

The Mara, Talek, and Sand Rivers have become famous for the Great Migration river crossings

The Mara, Talek, and Sand Rivers have become famous for their Great Migration river crossings

The Mara’s Private Conservancies

However, the private conservancies boast their own unique set of advantages. They strictly limit guest numbers based on tent-to-acre ratios and don’t permit day visitors, creating a very exclusive atmosphere.

Furthermore, the lodges and camps offer a more flexible approach to safari activities – this often allows for closer wildlife encounters and a greater variety of experiences. Staying in a conservancy also allows you the flexibility of making daily visits to the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Elephant sighting on a bush walk

A more exclusive safari with unique experiences, Image Credit: Elewana Collection

1. Bateleur Camp – Maasai Mara National Reserve

Looking for Maasai Mara lodges and safari camps that harken back to the explorers of the 1920s and 1930s? Well, look no further than &Beyond Bateleur Camp. With hardwood floors, leather-buttoned Chesterfield sofas, and polished silver and copper bathtubs, this extraordinary camp offers the perfect blend of luxury and nostalgia.

Main lounge and bar area

Opulent interiors exude an old-world ambience, Image Credit: &Beyond Bateleur Camp

Why we love it

As drivers of Sustainable Tourism, the camp is deeply committed to its neighbouring communities, actively employing locals and supporting the Africa Foundation in education and healthcare initiatives. They also source the freshest vegetables from their garden and honey from a Maasai women’s group.


Game drives, bush dining, walking safaris and activities for children. A hot air balloon safari in the Maasai Mara and community excursions can be arranged in advance at an additional cost.

Perfect for

A romantic getaway or families with children (all ages welcome with their WILDchild Programme).

Passionate chefs preparing food at one of the Maasai Mara lodges

Bateleur Camp uplifts communities by employing locally, Image Credit: Bateleur Camp

2. Rekero Camp – Maasai Mara National Reserve

If you want to see the world-famous Great Migration in action, we can only rave about the prime position of Rekero Camp! Situated along the Talek River within the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Rekero offers an exclusive vantage point at a key river-crossing point used by wildebeest during their annual migration.

With only a few luxury tents spaced along the river, Rekero Camp ensures an intimate safari experience. The camp’s décor is reminiscent of traditional bush camps, while luxury additions, like a personal butler, elevate your stay.

Couple enjoying the river views from an elevated wooden deck

Overlooking the Talek River migration crossing point, Image Credit: Rekero Camp

Why we love it

Rekero Camp is doing good by investing in vulnerable areas, transforming them into sustainable conservation economies that benefit local communities and the environment. They partner with many non-profit organisations such as The Maa Trust and Kenya Wildlife Trust.


Game drives, Maasai Mara photo safari (with specially modified photographic vehicles). A hot air balloon safari in the Maasai Mara as well as conservation and community excursions can be pre-arranged at an additional cost.

Perfect for

Couples, photographers, enthusiasts of multifaceted-safaris, families with children (five years and older).

Maasai guide preparing a bush breakfast on the plains

Picnic in the bush after a game drive? Yes, please!, Image Credit: Asilia Africa

3. Naboisho – Mara Naboisho Conservancy

Based in the private Mara Naboisho Conservancy adjacent to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Naboisho Camp is a dream for wildlife enthusiasts yearning for a safari experience that goes beyond game drives. Explore the Mara on foot, test your camera skills on a specialised photographic safari, or even opt for a “fly camping” experience.

With an open-plan design, Naboisho Camp seamlessly integrates with the pristine Mara landscape. Whether you’re in the communal area or relaxing by the pool, you’ll spot abundant wildlife all around.

Guests relaxing by the camp's main pool

Designed to be as open as possible, Naboisho Camp takes full advantage of the Mara surroundings, Image Credit: Asilia Africa

Why we love it

Naboisho Camp is an Asilia-owned property and a founding member of the non-profit Mara Naboisho Conservancy. As such, Asilia funds the conservancy’s management and Maasai landowners’ leases, supporting the surrounding ecosystems and communities.


Game drives, guided walks and activities for children. Maasai Mara photo safari (with modified vehicles), hot air balloon safaris, community excursions, and fly camping can be pre-arranged at an additional cost.

Perfect for

Couples, photographers, enthusiasts of multifaceted-safaris, families with children (five years and older).

Guests on photographic vehicle observing a herd of wildebeest

Naboisho gives you access to Asilia’s specially modified photographic vehicles, Image Credit: Asilia Africa

4. Elephant Pepper Camp – Mara North Conservancy

Set in a forest of elephant pepper trees in the Mara North Conservancy, Elephant Pepper Camp boasts stunning views over the Mara plains where large herds of plains game, big cats, and elephants roam. It’s perfectly located for those wanting to witness the Great Migration river crossings, as the camp’s guides know all the best viewing spots.

As one of the original safari lodges in the protected Mara North Conservancy, Elephant Pepper Camp retains a classic safari feel. Did we mention that it’s far away from other lodges? So, you can enjoy the ultimate setting of solitude.

Maasai warrior waiting to welcome guests for a bush sundowner after their game drive

The private conservancies are an excellent choice for a secluded safari, Image Credit: Elewana Collection

Why we love it

Elephant Pepper Camp holds a prestigious “Gold Level” Eco Rating from Eco Tourism Kenya. It combines traditional safari expertise with cutting-edge tech for minimal environmental impact. Moreover, its removable tents run solely on solar power and LED lighting. Certainly an inspiration for other Maasai Mara lodges!


Game drives, guided walks, bush dining. Community excursions can be pre-arranged and at an additional cost.

Perfect for

Honeymooners, couples, and families with children (all ages welcome).

Honeymoon tent

Eco-camps still exude an air of luxury while leaving a minimal footprint, Image Credit: Elewana Collection

5. Sala’s Camp – Maasai Mara National Reserve

Sala’s Camp boasts one of the Maasai Mara National Reserve’s prime locations, nestled along the tree-lined banks of the Sand River at the southern tip of the reserve. Less than two kilometres from the border of Tanzania, it offers splendid wilderness vistas and distant views of the Serengeti National Park.

The camp harmoniously merges the timeless allure of a classic “under canvas” safari with contemporary luxuries, offering private plunge pools and elegantly designed glass-fronted tents. 

Forest honeymoon tent with outdoor deck and plunge pool

Sala’s Camp offers an unforgettable and magical Mara retreat, Image Credit: The Safari Collection

Why we love it

Sala’s Camp, under The Safari Collection’s stewardship, actively champions many initiatives in Kenya, spanning conservation, healthcare, and education. These endeavours directly protect animals in the Maasai Mara, preserve the wilderness, and empower local communities.


Game drives, guided walks, bush dining, activities for children, and riverbed games (dry season only). A hot air balloon safari in the Maasai Mara can be pre-arranged at an additional cost.

Perfect for

Honeymooners, couples, groups of friends, and families with children (all ages welcome).

Children and staff playing riverbed volleyball

Play volleyball with friends and family in the dry riverbed, Image Credit: The Safari Collection

6. Mahali Mzuri – Olare Motorogi Conservancy

Are you interested in Maasai Mara lodges with a view? Well, Mahali Mzuri, Swahili for “beautiful place”, perfectly encapsulates what Sir Richard Branson has crafted in his luxurious tented safari camp. Elegantly arched canvas canopies adorn the border of a lush valley cascading onto rolling plains, blending with the Olare Motorogi Conservancy.

The region is famous for its rich wildlife and diverse bird species. Moreover, the annual Great Migration ushers in up to two million wildebeest, along with gazelles and zebras, into the conservancy anywhere between July and October. 

Lions on an embankment outside Mahali Mzuri

Mahali Mzuri is your window to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, Image Credit: Mahali Mzuri

Why we love it

Mahali Mzuri proudly partners with Pack for a Purpose to support the Enkenju – Enkoirien Primary School, located 4km away, housing 120 students. Donations have provided essentials like solar lights, computers, and printers, while local communities and guests have contributed stationery, books and dictionaries.


Game drives, bush dining and activities for children. Community excursions can be pre-arranged and at an additional cost. 

Perfect for

Romantic getaways, groups of friends, and families with children (two years and older).

Large herd of wildebeest sighted while on a game drive

Safaris in Kenya offer up plenty of exciting wildlife sightings, Image Credit: Mahali Mzuri

7. Angama Mara – Maasai Mara National Reserve

Angama Mara is built on the same site where many of the iconic “Out of Africa” scenes were filmed. Inspired by the Swahili word for “suspended in mid-air”, it stands high above Africa’s Great Rift Valley floor and offers panoramic views that extend as far as the eye can see over the Maasai Mara, 300 metres below.

Designed to celebrate the golden age of safaris, each of Angama’s spacious tented suites has floor-to-ceiling glass spanning all along the front so you get the full effect of the dramatic views.

Woman relaxing on a rocking chair on her viewing deck

Relax and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul while on safari, Image Credit: Angama Mara

Why we love it

Angama Mara is built upon a core principle of running a successful enterprise to create a profound and enduring positive impact on the neighbouring communities, the surrounding wildlife and land. Therefore, when you choose Angama, you actively contribute to the region’s education, healthcare, and conservation efforts.


Game drives, Maasai guided walks, photographic studio, beading studio, Shamba (vegetable garden) visits, and activities for children. A hot air balloon safari in the Maasai Mara and the “run with a Kenyan experience” can be arranged in advance at an additional cost.

Perfect for

Romantic getaways, photographers, enthusiasts of multifaceted safaris, fitness fanatics, and families with children (six years and older).

Walking safari with Maasai naturalist

Discover the wonders of Kenya’s wilderness on foot with traditional Maasai naturalists, Image Credit: Angama Mara

8. Mara Plains Camp – Olare Motorogi Conservancy

Mara Plains Camp, one of Kenya’s rare Relais & Châteaux establishments, is ensconced within a verdant forest along the meandering Ntiakitiak River. It flawlessly blends with the natural beauty of the ecosystem, offering expansive views of the plains and a thoughtful placement within the riverine forest.

Every guest suite comes with a complimentary set of professional cameras and lenses, plus a high-quality pair of binoculars. This ensures that you’ll have the perfect tools to witness and capture the region’s remarkable wildlife.

Main area with opulent furnishings

One-of-a-kind luxury Kenya safari camp, Image Credit: Mara Plains Camp

Why we love it

The camp’s conservation education initiatives actively involve local youth, introducing them to the wonders of their natural surroundings. This fosters a deep appreciation for their unique ecosystems, nurturing generations of passionate conservation advocates.


Game drives and activities for children. Cultural experiences and hot air balloon safaris can be pre-arranged at an additional cost. 

Perfect for

Romantic getaways, those eager to get into photography, families with children (eight years and older).

Camera, lenses and binoculars

Each guest suite has a set of professional cameras and lenses, Image Credit: Mara Plains Camp

Your Maasai Mara Adventure Awaits!

Whether you seek a front-row seat to the Great Migration or a relaxing retreat in the heart of the wilderness, our selection of the best Maasai Mara lodges and safari camps promises exciting wildlife encounters, stunning landscapes, and warm Maasai hospitality. 

So, start planning today and immerse yourself in the wonders of the Mara.

Featured Image Credit: Elewana Collection

Maasai Mara Lodges and safari camps

A Guide to a Khwai Safari

You’re familiar with the famed Okavango Delta, right? Well, let us introduce you to another facet of its splendour – a Khwai safari. One of Botswana’s most picturesque and predator-rich areas, Khwai unfolds in the northeastern fringes of the Delta, nestled between the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park. And, with no fences separating Moremi and Chobe from the Khwai River, a myriad of species naturally saturate this safari hotspot.

Large elephant herd traversing the Khwai marshland and rivers

Explore this wildlife paradise between Moremi and Chobe, Image Credit: African Bush Camps

A True Showcase of Botswana’s Scenic Grandeur

Split into the Khwai Private Reserve and the Khwai Community Concession, this expansive area covers nearly 400,000 hectares. And, as massive as that may seem, we’ve explored every glorious inch of it!

As you venture into this wild land, you’ll uncover a captivating array of environments. From lagoons and flooded pans to grasslands, bushveld and woodland forests – there’s ample room for nature to flourish.

Seemingly boundless Khwai landscape with grassland, trees and waterways

Khwai is an ENORMOUS area boasting an array of environments, Image Credit: Little Sable

Not surprisingly, given the vastness of Khwai, we’re often asked: “Where’s the best place to stay to make the most of my Khwai safari?” To address this, let’s begin by highlighting the distinctions between Khwai’s Private Reserve and Community Concession…

We’ll help you decide on the best base to branch out on your Khwai safari, Image Credit: African Bush Camps

Khwai Private Reserve

The Khwai Private Reserve covers 200,000 hectares and benefits from abundant wildlife flowing in from Chobe and Moremi. It features diverse landscapes of open grasslands, waterways, mopane hinterland, and the Khwai riverfront. Exclusivity is its standout feature here, as you can only access the reserve when staying at one of its luxury lodges.

Elephant traversing through green marshes in front of one of the Khwai lodges

Elephant sightings are a frequent occurrence, Image Credit: Little Sable

These secluded lodges lie in the northern expanse of the region, where magnificent mopane trees thrive – the perfect setting to truly immerse yourself in nature. Further south, you’ll find the Khwai River, the primary hub for your safari adventures. It’s in this region that the terrain is most favourable for remarkable animal sightings.

Luxury tented room

Savour a Khwai safari in the lap of luxury, Image Credit: Sable Alley

While game drives are undoubtedly a Khwai safari essential, what truly distinguishes the lodges in the Khwai Private Reserve is their commitment to enhancing your experience with bespoke activities. Anticipate immersive walking safaris, mokoro (dugout canoe) journeys (when water levels permit), inconspicuous viewing hides, and more.

Lion and lion cub playing

From felines to fowls, enjoy all kinds of animal sightings, Image Credit: Sable Alley

Our Top Accommodation Picks – Khwai Private Reserve

Sable Alley exterior

Sable Alley’s lagoonside setting makes for sensational wildlife viewing, Image Credit: Sable Alley

Khwai Community Concession

Encompassing 180,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, the Khwai Community Concession stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of local Khwai villagers, expertly overseen by the Khwai Development Trust.

While it may draw a slightly higher number of tourists, owing to its accessibility to the public, this extraordinary sanctuary remains a popular choice for those seeking a fulfilling Khwai safari.

Rooms private view deck complete with hammock and telescope

The Khwai Community Concession will be sure to impress, Image Credit: Belmond Khwai River Lodge

But don’t be misled by its “public” status; our admiration for Khwai Community Concession remains steadfast! It’s a place where wildlife movements are aplenty, unencumbered by imposing barriers. So, just like its private counterpart, the community concession basks in the bountiful game that flows from the Moremi and the Chobe National Park.

Lion pride sighting while on a game drive on a Khwai safari

The lodges inhabit an area highly populated with plains game and predators, Image Credit: Little Machaba

Within this splendid region, a plethora of lodges and campsites await, catering to a diverse range of preferences, from budget-conscious travellers to connoisseurs of luxury. Moreover, our recommended lodges offer not only exceptional comfort but also unparalleled proximity to the Khwai River.

Lodge viewing deck with private pool and view of the waterways

Stay at sumptuous lodgings closer to the river and waterways, Image Credit: African Bush Camps

Although the focus of safari activities in this public concession leans toward land-based activities like game drives and nature walks, some lodges extend the excitement to visits to local communities as well as mokoro safaris if the water levels permit.

Bird's eye view of a mokoro safari

Search for Africa’s most sought-after wildlife on a peaceful mokoro safari, Image Credit: African Bush Camps

Our Top Accommodation Picks – Khwai Community Concession

Pool deck overlooking the wilderness

Enjoy traditional-style safari camps in the game-rich Khwai area, Image Credit: Machaba Camp

Wildlife of Khwai

The Private and Community sections of Khwai are widely considered the best game reserve in Botswana. This is thanks, in part, to the density and diversity of its wild inhabitants. Here, you’ll find a wealth of wildlife and, in particular, hordes of elephant herds meandering through Khwai to get to and from Moremi and Chobe. 

Elephants in the Khwai River

Large herds of elephant are drawn to the Khwai River in the dry months, Image Credit: Tuludi Camp

Moreover, majestic big cats like lions and leopards share their territory with a wide array of antelope species, including sable, roan, kudu and many more. Additionally, the elusive African wild dog makes momentary appearances while on the move, and the waterways are the haunt of hippos and crocodiles.

Pack of wild dogs in green grass

You could possibly spot the endangered African wild dog while on your Khwai safari, Image Credit: Sable Alley

Birdlife of Khwai

On a Khwai safari, you’ll find that the birdlife is prolific to boot – offering a spectacular display of species. Raptors reign supreme in the treetops, while saddle-billed and marabou storks elegantly wade through the shallows.


Birdlife is excellent and varied, Image Credit: African Bush Camps

During the wet season, the concession’s limited permanent water source along the Khwai River attracts an even greater variety of aquatic birds. Keep an eye out for a flourish of fish eagles, kingfishers, and the radiant lilac-breasted roller, alongside a multitude of other feathered creatures.

Kingfisher in the reeds

Khwai is a bird-lover’s paradise, Image Credit: African Bush Camps

Craft Your Ultimate Khwai Safari

Equipped with our first-hand knowledge, you’re now poised to embark on a Khwai safari that transcends the ordinary. Our recommendations are not mere suggestions but insights drawn from our own experience. 

Contact our Travel Experts and explore Botswana’s wilderness like never before – a world of raw beauty and thriving wildlife.

Feature Image: African Bush Camps

A Khwai safari