Encounter Mara, Mara Naboisho Conservancy
Set in the sought-after Mara Naboisho Conservancy, in the Masai Mara Kenya, award-winning Encounter Mara is the stuff safari dreams are made of. Enjoy some of the best game viewings in Africa all year round from the low-key yet lavish comfort of this superb eco-camp. This is one camp you need to visit on your next Masai Mara Safari.
Shaded by a thick acacia forest, Encounter Mara is a Mara tented camp that 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.
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
- Active Safari
- Classic Safari
- Romantic Safari
Encounter Mara Rates
Accommodation & Amenities
Built to the highest eco-standards, traditional safari-style Encounter Mara is tucked away beneath 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, a true Maasai Mara Safari. 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.
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.
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:
Striped polecat (zorilla)
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)
13:30–16:00 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 SUITABILITY LEVEL
Families with children aged five and older are warmly welcomed at Encounter Mara, and we have a custom family tent. 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 the family 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Short Nature Walks
In between morning and afternoon game drives, explore the area near camp on a short nature walk with your guide, taking in the smaller details of the savannah ecosystem such as birdlife and plantlife. (Note: These nature walks are not full walking safaris. We recommend that guests looking for longer, ½ day excursions on foot consider a stay at Naboisho Camp where guided walking safaris are available.)
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)
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. (at an additional cost)
They say four legs are better than two, so what better way to experience the bush than on horseback? Ride out across the open plains with the wind in your hair and watch dazzles of zebra and towers of giraffe from atop your stallion.
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.
Our 2018 Rates
Encounter Mara rates include: Full board accommodation, conservancy bednight fee, all drinks (except premium), game drives, night drives, walking safari in Naboisho Conservancy, transfers to/from nearest airstrip and to/from Encounter Mara, laundry service.
Rates below exclude: Conservancy fees and other applicable fees not mentioned above, cultural visits (US$ 30 per person), fly camping ($275 per person), balloon safaris, transfers other than to/from nearest airstrip or Encounter Mara, flying doctors/medical evacuation insurance, flights & airport taxes, gratuities, items of personal nature, additional lunch (picnic or in house) $25pp
1 – 30 April: US$ 315 per person per night based on 2 people sharing accommodation
1 – 5 January; 1 July – 31 October and 20 – 31 December: US$ 640 per person per night based on 2 people sharing accommodation
6 January – 31 March; 1 – 30 June and 1 November – 19 December: US$ 485 per person per night based on 2 people sharing accommodation