Basecamp Mara, Mara Reserve: The Lowdown

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Basecamp Masai Mara is a simple atmospheric eco-camp just outside the main Mara Reserve. And by just, we really do mean just. A quick scamper over the suspension bridge which spans the Talek River and you are in the reserve. Animals also do not acknowledge the line on the map which marks the boundary of the reserve and giraffes and zebras regularly pass by camp.

What’s Basecamp Mara really like?

With Basecamp, as with so many safari camps that we love, it’s all about matching the right person with the right place. Its soul and sustainable credentials would be genuinely hard to beat, even amongst the stiff competition elsewhere in the Mara. It’s not the fanciest camp in the area, and it’s not the most remote (there is a Maasai village a short walk away), and the food is probably not going to match the 10 course tasting menu your reviewer had at that Michelin-starred restaurant that time. But likewise- who goes to Kenya looking for that? What Basecamp delivers in spades is authentic, sustainable, Kenyan magic. 

There are 17 characterful tents, all with beds and ensuite bathrooms with bio-flush loos and heated showers (tip from us- please give the hot water a few minutes to come through as it can take a while). One of the showers is inside and the other is open-air, a properly magical experience. Outside there is a small deck to relax on with a book between game drives and listen to the sounds of the bush all around. Over in the main area there’s a restaurant where there is wifi, and outside on the lawn there’s a campfire for evening drinks.

What can I do at Basecamp Mara?

Game drives are (of course) a vital part of your safari experience. You’ll do shared game drives in the Masai Mara Reserve, normally using the footbridge over the river to access the reserve. If water is really high (this does sometimes happen) there is an alternative route driving through the nearby Maasai village of Talek. Although the village isn’t far off, you generally tend not to really notice it too much as your game drives are over the river. It’s around a 10 minute walk from camp, and is a great way to see a bit more about life on the edge of the Mara and the challenges that people living here face.

Giving back at Basecamp Mara

Long before conservancies were born, Basecamp was a project created with the local community at the forefront. The land is rented from the Taek family, who also work in camp. The camp has planted nearly 200,000 trees and beadwork from local Maasai ladies is sold in the camp shop.  When communities see the benefit from wildlife tourism, the animals benefit and the elephant population increased by 74% between 2014-2017.

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