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Mara tented camps.

Rocky
Level Contributor
19 posts
14 reviews
Mara tented camps.

We are traveling to Kenya for a fly-in safari it's been recommended we stay in a tented camp. The travel agent suggested Mara Intrepids, Governors or Explorer. Can anyone make a suggestion please? Also how do they compare in price?

We are traveling in mid-September. We will be staying for 2 nights at Samburu Intrepids, 2 at the Lion Hill Lodge and 2 at Mara.

The travel agent also suggested adding another night in the Mara. Should we make this 3 nights considering we are also going to the other places?

USA
Level Contributor
718 posts
22 reviews
1. Re: Mara tented camps.

In Sept I believe any itinerary with less than 3 nights in the Mara is shortchanging the client, unless they have only 2-3 nights for travel. Stay 3 in the Mara. Do you have time for 4? I'll be there 8 in Sept.

Intrepids and Explorer are near each other & both by the same mgmt. Intrepids is a little bigger and more expenisve.

If you can get Little Governor's as opposed to Governor's I'd recommend it. Smaller (obviously) with a great location. I've stayed there and enjoyed the wildlife in camp and the lagoon that the camp overlooks. The boat on a pull-rope transfer into camp is unique.

Pricewise I think Explorer and Little Gov's are about the same. Governors and Intrepids are about the same. I'd go with Little Gov if possible.

Pricing can depend on specials and relationships you agent has with different mgmts. I'd ask for pricing on a couple of options.

Have a great trip.

nyc
Level Contributor
15,087 posts
2. Re: Mara tented camps.

Main Governor's w/ about 40/tents probably the least expensive (but not budget), located well on the west side of the Mara Triangle.

Intrepid's w/ 25/tents is sister property of Explorer w/ 10/tents both located on the east side of the Triangle; Intrepid's more expensive than Main Governor's and Explorer more expensive than Intrepid's.

Little Governor's w/ 17/tents nor far from Main is more intimate and will cost in the same range as Intrepid's.

But definitely during Sept, a minimum 3/nts in the Mara as this is the migration time.

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
Level Contributor
4,815 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: Mara tented camps.

In terms of price, I think the order would be Explorer as most expensive, then Governors' and Little Governors', then Intrepids. Location-wise (my turn to correct you 4sandi!) , Main Governor's is on the west side of the Musiara sector, not in the Triangle (the only Triangle properties are Mara Serena and Little Governors'). Intrepids and Explorer are also in Musiara, but on the east side, along the north bank of the Talek.

Hope this helps (if a bit pedantic, sorry!).

Richard

Rocky
Level Contributor
19 posts
14 reviews
4. Re: Mara tented camps.

Thanks everyone for your comments. We are definitely doing the 3 nights in the Mara. We are probably down to Intrepids vs Little Governors. I have read comments in tthe forum that the Governors is getting a little tired. Is this still the case - or have they updated? Also, on the Intrepids website it says that you can do cultural tours - is that possbile from Little Governors?

nyc
Level Contributor
15,087 posts
5. Re: Mara tented camps.

Asante Richard! :)

Whether Governors/Intrepid's more expensive than the other... Intrepid's rates have gone up quite a bit these past 2/yrs. As Intrepid's though does have a camp at Samburu and the Mara, they may offer a discount/special price if staying at both. Bidd0 should inquire.

Bidd0 - you can arrange cultural visits (Masai Manyatta/village) from any of the camps/lodges.

Rocky
Level Contributor
19 posts
14 reviews
6. Re: Mara tented camps.

Thanks for the information. I have checked Intrepids website and it is showing no vacancy for the dates we were looking at (but will still check with our agent).

Does accommodation fill up quickly during September?

I have read about overbooking and then people being transferred somewhere else. Is this a common problem?

Also we spent a bit of time trying to decide between Samburu Intrepids and Larsen's. Does anyone have a preference?

nyc
Level Contributor
15,087 posts
7. Re: Mara tented camps.

Both are lovely camps, Intrepid's larger with 25/tents, Larsen's with 17.

Larsen's gets excellent reviews but maybe a bit more expensive than the former. There's also Elephant Bedroom, still smaller than the two above, but also more expensive.

September is a peak travel month as many are visiting for the migration in the Mara, so properties throughout the country also fill-up.

If your agent confirms space at any of the properties, and your deposit is paid, Intrepid's is not known to switch locations on visitors. Serena, though is known to occasionally switch out. All the more reason during peak season, the sooner you have your accomm confirmed, the better.

USA
Level Contributor
718 posts
22 reviews
8. Re: Mara tented camps.

I don't know whether it is true or not that LG is tired. But I think it is important to know what you want out of your safari experience. How high on your list of expectations is "untired" decor and how much of premium are you willing to pay for it? Do you rank "untired" ahead of excellent guiding, good wildlife location, or camp ambiance? Knowing where your priorities are will allow you to make the best accommodation decisions--if there's availability.

Rocky
Level Contributor
19 posts
14 reviews
9. Re: Mara tented camps.

Ideally I like a place to neat, clean and tidy. It doesn't have to be "flash".

We are after: best location, great guides, comfortable accomm and then camp ambience.

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
Level Contributor
4,815 posts
9 reviews
10. Re: Mara tented camps.

Bidd0

In that case choose Intrepid's or Explorer (both owned by Heritage). At the last count they had three bronze guides and one gold. Governors' three Mara camps share two bronze guides between them (not nearly enough for a busy operation like theirs). I'm not saying they don't have more guides, just not qualified to bronze level. If you really want excellent guiding, personal attention and very high standards, then opt for Kicheche, Offbeat, or Porini, who are in a different league, and between them have dozens of bronze and silver guides, as well as paying serious attention to CSR and the local environment.

Richard

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