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Camps & Lodges

Encounter Mara

Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya

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Situated on the edge of the savannah under the shade of acacia trees, Encounter Mara is a 10-tent camp within the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, bordering the famed Masai Mara reserve in southwest Kenya.

About encounter mara

The conservancy is known for its prolific wildlife and award-winning sustainability model that balances the needs of local communities, wildlife and tourism. It has an even higher density of animals than the neighbouring Masai Mara National Reserve and one of the world’s most concentrated lion populations. 

  • Calendar

    Open: June to April
    Closed: May

  • Airplane

    Closest airstrip: Mara Ol Seki, 45 minutes drive from camp

  • 1 Families

    Families: children aged five and older

About Encounter Mara

Accommodation AT encounter mara

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Accommodation

Accommodation & Amenities

From the camp’s outdoor viewing deck, guests can watch zebra amble to the nearby saltlick, see giraffe strut right past camp, glimpse a mongoose running down the path right in front of you or even spot cheetah prowling the plains. Over sundowners around the campfire, listen for lion calling to each other as they start their night of hunting. From Encounter Mara, guests can soar across the plains in a hot-air balloon.

  • Tents

    10 tents (including 2 family tents and 2 triples)

  • 3 En Suite Bathrooms

    En-suite bathrooms

  • 24 Flushing Toilets

    Flushing toilets

  • 13 Shower 2

    Plumbed hot water showers

  • Complimentary Laundry Service

    Complimentary laundry service

  • 6 In Room Safe

    In-room lockable box

  • 26 Solar&Generatorpower 2

    Solar & generator power

  • 22 Battery Charging Facilities

    Battery-charging facilities

  • Suitable For Disabled Guests

    Suitable for disabled guests: please contact us

accommodation

Rooms

Encounter Mara offers 10 spacious and comfortable tents, all with en suite bathrooms with double vanity basins, flushing toilets and plumbed hot water showers. Spend lazy afternoons on your tent’s shaded veranda, chilling on your daybed with a good book or just enjoying the Mara views. 

Rooms

LOCATION

Location of Encounter Mara

Located in the southwest of Kenya, the 20,234-hectare Mara Naboisho Conservancy sits alongside the famous Masai Mara National Reserve. Not only does the conservancy have the benefit of being private (with just eight camps sharing the land), but it also has a higher density of wildlife than the busy Masai Mara National Reserve. There are a particularly high number of lions and you’ll also spot other animals like giraffes, elephants and zebras.

Encounter Mara Game Drive Scenic

Experiences

Magical Mara wildlife

Situated on the edge of an open plain in a forest of acacia trees, Encounter Mara is the perfect place to experience this wildlife-rich corner of Kenya

The camp is designed to be as open as possible, so guests can take in the sights and sounds of the Mara during meals or afternoon siestas. From the outdoor viewing deck, watch lions visiting the nearby saltlick, and see gazelles and giraffes stroll right past the fence. Mornings are greeted by a chorus of birdsong. After dark, you might hear lions roaring or hyenas whooping. 

Magical Mara Wildlife

ExperienceS

A typical day on safari at Encounter Mara

Game drives depart in the early morning and late afternoon to take advantage of the cooler temperatures when animals are more active. While specific times for game drives may change with the seasons, if you have a private vehicle you can plan your personal schedule with your guide, but the below is a good example of what to expect. 

Generally, you'll start your day bright and early with a wake-up call and tea or coffee. Enjoy breakfast before you depart for your morning game drive (or have it packed as a picnic to take with you). You'll arrive back in camp mid-morning, with a chance to freshen up before lunch.

After a leisurely lunch, enjoy siesta time. Read a book or just relax and enjoy the views from your tent or our viewing deck. Refuel with afternoon tea, then depart for your afternoon/evening game drive with sundowners. You'll be back in time for drinks at the bar and dinner under the stars – the perfect chance to unwind after a long day in the bush. 

Image8

Experiences

Game drives

We run game drives twice a day, around dawn and dusk when animals are more active. As we are in a private conservancy, we can drive off-road to get a closer look when we spot something in the bush. We are also able to drive after dark, which means better chances of spotting nocturnal animals.

Elephants Mother Baby Encounter Mara HR

Experiences

Cultural and community visits 

Most of our guides are from the local area and are more than happy to talk about their culture with guests. We can organise visits to local villages to extend that learning opportunity. 

Cultural And Community Visits

Experiences

Hot-air balloon rides 

As dawn breaks, glide over the Masai Mara National Reserve in a hot-air balloon and watch the landscape change colour beneath you. Hot-air balloon excursions are not to be missed, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion. Balloon flights are at an additional cost and subject to weather conditions.  

A Balloon Sunrise

Experiences

Night drives

A night safari gives travellers the chance to see nocturnal animals in action. Our vehicles are equipped with special spotlights so you can have the thrill of watching predators such as lions, leopards and caracals as they stalk their prey. 

Night Drive

Experiences

Family safaris

We welcome families with children over the age of 5. We have two tents specifically for families, plus twin tents for kids over 12 (we strongly recommend younger children share with adults and can add an extra bed to your tent upon request).  

Many of our guides are also parents and love hosting families. These are some of the child-friendly activities available at Encounter Mara:  

• Bow-and-arrow shooting with Maasai
• Starting a campfire with elephant dung and sticks
• Educational bush walks around camp

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 required to book a private vehicle at an additional cost. 

16. Family Safari Walking Safari

Experience

Meals and refreshments

We serve homemade meals in our dining tent or outside, depending on the weather. If you’ve opted for a longer game drive, we’ll pack you a picnic breakfast or lunch to enjoy in the bush. Enjoy sundowners and snacks during your late-afternoon game drive, then take your time over dinner back at camp. 

We can cater to most dietary requirements and allergies – please just let us know ahead of your arrival.  

10. Encounter Mara Chefs Cooking Delicious Food 6R1A4132 Highres

When to go

What to expect during the year

The Mara is a year-round destination, but when you travel will depend on what you want to see. The wildebeest migration season is from July to October, when guests can witness the famous river crossings. July and August are the busiest months; we recommend travelling at a different time of year if possible. When visiting from December to June there are far fewer people in the Mara and great wildlife sightings.

  • January - March

    Why travel at this time

    This is an ideal time to travel, with fewer tourists in the Mara and a break between the rains. Clear skies and lush landscapes make for excellent photographic conditions and sightings of big cats, giraffes, elephants and even black rhinos. This is also when many animals drop their young and migratory birds are in the region. 

    Climate

    The long rains start in March, though January and February may see the odd shower. The average temperature peaks at 28°C/82°F in February, the hottest time of the year. The average minimum temperature is 13°C/55°F from January to March. 

    • Min Temp Range

      Low temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High temp: 28°C / 82°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 124mm / 4.9in

  • April - June

    Why travel at this time

    For fewer crowds and the more budget-conscious, visit the Mara from April through June. April and May is rainy season, so there is a chance of some roads being closed (usually in May). June is relatively dry and a great time to visit before the bulk of tourists arrive in July and August.

    Climate

    April and May are when the long rains fall. By June, it’s fairly dry. In April, the average high is 26°C/79°F, falling slightly to 25°C/77°F in May and June. The average low is 13°C/55°F. 

    • Min Temp Range

      Low temp: 12°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High temp: 25°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 169mm / 6.7in

  • July - September

    Why travel at this time

    July and August are the busiest months in the Mara. This is the dry season and also when the Great Migration wildebeest herds arrive in the Masai Mara from the Serengeti.

    Climate

    July is the driest month of the year, with relatively cool conditions: a maximum average of 25°C/77°F and an average low of 11°C/52°F. There may be some showers in August and September, when the maximum average is 26°C/79°F and the minimum is 12°C/54°F. 

    • Min Temp Range

      Low temp: 12°C / 54°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High temp: 26°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 53mm / 2.1in

  • October - December

    Why travel at this time

    The last of the wildebeest herds make their way back to the Serengeti during October, so it’s possible to catch the final river crossings of the season. This is when the migratory birds begin to arrive to the region and when the short rains turn the land green again. It’s also a quieter time of year to visit.

    Climate

    The short rains fall in November and December, with temperatures rising to an average of 27°C/81°F in October and November, cooling off a little in December, with an average low of 12°C/54°F through the final three months of the year.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High temp: 27°C / 81°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 99mm / 3.9in

Guest reviews

Encounter Mara is the place dreams are made of. The camp is gorgeous, the food is exquisite, the staff is welcoming and kind. Every person went above and beyond to make sure we were looked after and cared for. The guides are knowledgeable and the drives are exhilarating. Encounter Mara, its staff, and the Naboisho Conservancy must be protected at all costs!
RodiannaK
Tripadvisor 1
I couldn’t recommend this place more , it’s fantastic! The staff are perfect and the experience is out of this world - I’ve never been anywhere like it. Robert was just the best - everyone was! The rooms are also beautiful
aliceshawingham2
Tripadvisor 1
The team at Encounter Mara are fantastic. It was an amazing safari experience with fantastic wildlife sightings and the staff and service at the camp was excellent. They accommodated all our requests and were very friendly and helpful. Would definitely recommend!!
Freddy
Tripadvisor 1

Special offers

Special offers now available

• Special Offers •

Rates

When would you like to go?

The Mara is a year-round destination, but when you travel will depend on what you want to see. The wildebeest migration season is from July to October, when guests can witness the famous river crossings. July and August are the busiest months; we recommend travelling at a different time of year if possible. When visiting from December to June there are far fewer people in the Mara and great wildlife sightings.

Below, choose your travel dates for an estimated accommodation cost per person sharing, or scroll down for a table of high and low season rates.

Additional information

  • Rate includes

    Full-board accommodation, house drinks (except champagne), game drives, night drives, transfers to/from the nearest airstrip, limited laundry service.

  • Rate excludes

    Park and concession fees, Asilia conservation charge, cultural visits, balloon safaris, transfers other than to/from nearest airstrip, flights and airport taxes, gratuities and items of a personal nature, private vehicles.

  • Budget factors

    Special offers may apply. Contact us for the best available rates. Last minute offers and long-stay rates may apply.

Rates and Seasonality

  • Low season: 01 Jun 2024 - 30 Jun 2024 Rate: US$633

    What to expect

    • Green and lush

    • Many baby animals being born

    • Best time to avoid crowds

    • Good wildlife viewing
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 12°C / 54°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 25°C / 77°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      56mm / 2.2in

  • High season: 01 Jul 2024 - 31 Oct 2024 Rate: US$835

    What to expect

    • Shorter grass, good for spotting predators

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 12°C / 54°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 26°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 53mm / 2.1in

  • Low season: 01 Nov 2024 - 19 Dec 2024 Rate: US$633

    What to expect

    • Best time to avoid crowds

    • Good wildlife viewing

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 27°C / 81°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 99mm / 3.9in

  • High season: 20 Dec 2024 - 05 Jan 2025 Rate: US$835

    What to expect

    • Fewer crowds
    • Good wildlife viewing
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 26°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 112mm / 4.4in

  • Low season: 06 Jan 2025 - 31 Mar 2025 Rate: US$633

    What to expect

    • Best time to avoid crowds
    • Chance of afternoon showers
    • Good wildlife viewing
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 28°C / 82°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 124mm / 4.9in

  • Green season: 01 Apr 2025 - 30 Apr 2025 Rate: US$412

    What to expect

    • Green and lush
    • Harder to see cats, but great wildlife viewing overall
    • Fewer tourists
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 26°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 169mm / 6.7in

  • Closed: 01 May 2025 - 31 May 2025 Rate: US$0

    Seasonal camp closure

  • Low season: 01 Jun 2025 - 30 Jun 2025 Rate: US$660

    What to expect

    • Green and lush

    • Many baby animals being born

    • Best time to avoid crowds

    • Good wildlife viewing
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 12°C / 54°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 25°C / 77°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      56mm / 2.2in

  • High season: 01 Jul 2025 - 31 Oct 2025 Rate: US$880

    What to expect

    • Shorter grass, good for spotting predators

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 12°C / 54°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 26°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 53mm / 2.1in

  • Low season: 01 Nov 2025 - 19 Dec 2025 Rate: US$660

    What to expect

    • Best time to avoid crowds

    • Good wildlife viewing

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 27°C / 81°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 99mm / 3.9in

  • High season: 20 Dec 2025 - 05 Jan 2026 Rate: US$880

    What to expect

    • Fewer crowds
    • Good wildlife viewing
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 26°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 112mm / 4.4in

  • Low season: 06 Jan 2026 - 31 Mar 2026 Rate: US$660

    What to expect

    • Best time to avoid crowds
    • Chance of afternoon showers
    • Good wildlife viewing
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 28°C / 82°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 124mm / 4.9in

  • Green season: 01 Apr 2026 - 30 Apr 2026 Rate: US$450

    What to expect

    • Green and lush
    • Harder to see cats, but great wildlife viewing overall
    • Fewer tourists
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 26°C / 79°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 169mm / 6.7in

  • Closed: 01 May 2026 - 31 May 2026 Rate: US$0

    Seasonal camp closure

Awards AND RECOGNITION

Don't just take our word for it

Encounter Mara consistently achieves top ratings on TripAdvisor. The camp lies within the Mara Naboisho Conservancy - a groundbreaking eco-tourism initiative benefitting both conservative and the local Maasai community. 

WILDLIFE

Great Masai Mara wildlife

  • Lion

    Ruaha National Park Lioness With Cub Down Eric Frank MR
  • Leopard

    George Turner Ruaha 22
  • Cheetah

    Cheetah Cub
  • Elephant

    Ruaha 24
  • Buffalo

    Buffalos Serengeti Safari
  • Giraffe

    Giraffe-Ruaha-National-Park-Marius-Swart-LR-copy.jpg
  • Hippo

    Hippo
  • Nile Crocodile

    Crocodile Serengeti Safari
  • Klipspringer

    Klipspringers Serengeti Eric Frank MR
  • Serval

    Serval
  • Wildebeest

    Wildebeest

Encounter Mara ITINERARY

13 Day East Africa Itinerary: Safari and Zanzibar 

Experience some of East Africa’s highlights, combining safari and beach. Begin in the Masai Mara searching for cheetah and learning about Maasai culture before flying across the border to the Serengeti, staying in a tented camp that moves around the park following the Great Migration. Fly south to the lesser known Ruaha, watching herds of elephant dig for water in dry riverbeds and leopards lurking in the trees. Finally unwind on the white sandy beaches of Zanzibar, swimming in the warm Indian Ocean.

2. Encounter Mara At Night 6R1A4297 Highres

 

eBook Guide to the Great Migration

Learn everything you need to know about planning the ultimate Great Migration Safari in our eBook guide.  Inside the guide you'll find: a month-by-month summary; a detailed map of how the migration moves; a selection of the best places to stay on safari; and expert tips for an unforgettable safari.

Great Migration

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I see the migration at Encounter Mara?

    Encounter Mara is located along the migration route and is visited by herds of wildebeest from July/August to November.

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