Encounter Mara, Mara Naboisho Conservancy

Set in the sought-after Mara Naboisho Conservancy, award-winning Encounter Mara is the stuff safari dreams are made of. Enjoy some of the best game viewing in Africa all year round from the low-key yet lavish comfort of this superb eco-camp.

Shaded by a thick acacia forest, Encounter Mara enjoys glorious views of the surrounding savannah, while closer at hand a salt lick attracts a range of animals throughout the day, from plains game to big cats. The sheer comfort of the traditional-style safari camp combined with the opportunity for bush walks and night drives mean that there are few more rewarding places from which to experience this slice of wild Africa.

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GPS:  01° 25.306′ S, 035° 19.779′ E

Snapshot of Encounter Mara:
  • Exclusive location in sought-after Naboisho Conservancy
  • Superb game viewing with a hide experience from camp
  • Incredible comfort with environmental credentials
Perfect for:
  • Active Safari
  • Classic Safari
  • Romantic Safari
Standard price per person per night:

$400 - $695i

Camp Experience

Built to the highest eco-standards, traditional safari-style Encounter Mara is hidden under a magnificent canopy of acacia trees – it blends so seamlessly with the bush that there is an excellent chance you’ll encounter giraffe or zebra strolling through camp.

‘Relax in camp for the day and let the animals of Africa – from plains game to 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 sights, sounds and smells of the bush. The cosy lounge area is furnished in a simple yet contemporary style that allows the views of the Maasai Mara to take centre stage. With the nearby salt lick attracting regular visitors from plains game to big cats, you would be excused for spending the entire day in camp, watching the wildlife come to you.

Meals

Our delicious homemade meals are served in the dining tent as well as outside in the fresh air whenever the weather allows. Picnic-style breakfasts are served out in the bush during your morning game drive, and packed lunches are available if you want to extend your game-viewing time. Sundowners and snacks are served as the sunset lights up the sky, followed by a gourmet-style dinner in camp. Please do let us know if you have any special dietary requirements so that we can cater for your needs.

Featured Wildlife

This camp has been specially designed to offer you an experience akin to living in an animal hide – it’s no accident that we’ve named it Encounter Mara. Special sightings to look out for on your doorstep include:

Lion
Cheetah
Leopard
Elephant
Buffalo
Hippo
Nile crocodile
Klipspringer
Striped polecat (zorilla)
Serval
Caracal
Pygmy falcon

A Typical Day on Safari

The very best time for rewarding game viewing is in the cooler 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, but the general 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.

05:30–06:00 Wake-up call with hot tea & coffee
06:30–07:00 Depart for a morning game drive or walk and take a picnic breakfast with you
09:30–11:30 Arrive back in camp after game viewing, followed by breakfast (if you are hungry)
13:00 Lunch
13:30–16:00 Siesta time: read a book or just relax
16:00 Afternoon tea
16:30 Depart for afternoon/evening game drive or walk with sundowners
18:30 Arrive back in camp
19:30 Drinks followed by dinner under the stars

Family Safaris

FAMILY SUITABILITY LEVEL
✓ GOOD
☐ BETTER
☐ BEST

Families with children aged five and older are warmly welcomed at Encounter Mara, however we do not offer special family tents or personal guides. Our guides love children and the 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 a separate 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.

Accommodation

Spacious, comfortable and cool, each of the 10 permanent tents has an en-suite bathroom with flushing toilet and hot-water safari bucket shower. Outside, private verandas open out to the endless savannah: relax here on a day bed in the seating area and soak up the captivating views.

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. Spearheaded by Asilia in 2010, 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, Asilia 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 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.

Activities

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
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.

Bush walks
In between the morning and afternoon game drives, explore the sights, sounds and smells of the African bush on a leisurely one- or two-hour nature walk.

Bush picnics
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)

Fly camping
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.

Camp Story

Encounter Mara joined Asilia Africa in 2015 to become our second camp within the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, a groundbreaking cooperative development model. We are proud to be one of the driving forces behind the conservancy, the creation of which saw over 500 Maasai landowners coming together to contribute their land to conservation.

The conservancy fees provide the Maasai community with a sustainable livelihood and ensure the conservation of the wildlife in this vital corridor of the Maasai Mara ecosystem. It also provides steady and sustainable employment, which we hope will lead to an improved standard of living for the community as a whole. The conservancy offers additional benefits like healthcare, clean energy and empowerment of the local people through education and skills training. All our guides are trained at Koiyaki Guiding School, which runs on charitable donations and aims to provide conservation livelihoods for members of the communities around the Naboisho conservancy.

With our increased footprint in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, we intend to continue to build stability in the conservancy, as well as turn our attention to the neighbouring Pardamat Block, a vital corridor for the Loita Wildebeest Migration as well as a suitable elephant habitat that is currently not protected.

Accommodation & Amenities

  • .  10 tents (including 2 triples)

  • En-suite bathrooms

  • Hot-water safari bucket showers

  • Flushing toilets

  • Complimentary laundry service

  • In-room lockable box

  • Solar & generator power

  • Battery-charging facilities

  • .  Children: aged 5 and up (below 5 on request)

  • Suitable for disabled guests: please contact us

Activities

  • .  Guided morning and evening game drives

  • .  Night drives

  • Bush walks

  • Community & cultural visits

  • Hot-air balloon safaris (at an additional cost)

Closest Airstrip

  • Mara Ol Seki: 45 minutes’ drive from camp

Camp Dates

  • .  Camp open 1 June to 30 April Closed 1 to 30 May

  • Low season 6 January to end March; June; November

  • Green season April

  • High season July to October; 20 December to 5 January

Migration Season

  • .  July/August to November

Child Ages

  • .  Families with children aged five and older are warmly welcomed at Encounter Mara.

Enquire about staying at Encounter Mara

Experiences and activities to enjoy at Encounter Mara:

  • Big Cats & The Big 5

    Let Asilia show you the Big 5 and magnificent apex predators of the ecosystem for memories that will last a lifetime.

    • Camps in Big 5 hotspots
    • Unrivalled predator sightings
    • Extraordinary conservation initiatives

    View more
    Big Cats & The Big 5
  • Cultural Experiences

    Discover Africa's rich culture.

    View more
    Cultural Experiences
  • Romantic Experience

    Mysterious, exciting and remote, Africa is the perfect choice for a romantic holiday of a lifetime.

    View more
    Romantic Experience
  • Active Safari

    Experience a different kind of safari.

    View more
    Active Safari
  • Classic Safari

    witness nature’s greatest wildlife spectacles.

    View more
    Classic Safari
  • Hot Air Ballooning

    Glide over the vast plains.

    View more
    Hot Air Ballooning
  • Walking Safaris

    Experience the African bush on foot.

    View more
    Walking Safaris
  • Night Drives

    Spot unique nocturnal animals.

    View more
    Night Drives
  • Fly Camping

    Sleep out deep in the bush.

    View more
    Fly Camping

Featured itineraries at Encounter Mara

  • The Great Tanzanian Walking Adventure

    Explore Tanzania’s parks.

    View more
    The Great Tanzanian Walking Adventure
  • The Best of Kenya & Tanzania

    A flying safari to the iconic parks of the continent.

    View more
    The Best of Kenya & Tanzania
  • Best of Tanzania

    Visit some of the best parks Tanzania has to offer.

    View more
    Best of Tanzania

Guest Reviews

Further Reading

Asilia Co-Founder tells us about Encounter Mara

Bas Hochstenbach, shares with us his views on why we decided to add this exceptional camp to the Asilia Africa portfolio.

Read more

The greatest show on earth – The Great Migration

The earth trembles with the thundering of a million hooves, this is the Great Migration.

Read more


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