Mara Bush Houses: The Lowdown

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We’re lucky enough to have stayed in many of the finest safari camps and lodges in Africa, and yet the Mara Bush House Houses would certainly be high on our list of places we’d choose for our own friends and family. They’re phenomenally good value, if not the fanciest places to stay in the Masai Mara, still incredibly comfortable, warm, and welcoming.

What’re the Mara Bush Houses really like?

There are three Mara Bush Houses- Acacia House, Topi House and Mara House. Each house can sleep up to 6 guests in three bedrooms. There’s one room tucked up on the mezzanine at Acacia house that is not ensuite, but otherwise each bedroom has its own bathroom. Topi House sits close to the Mara Reserve on the border of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and Acacia and Mara Houses sit next door to each other in the Mara North Conservancy and share a small swimming pool so are ideal for larger groups traveling together.

The style of the houses are similar- cosy and quite rustic, with white washed walls, gnarled beams made from tree trunks, the occasional flash of bright colour and a very natural feel overall. Each house comes with its own verandah, dining room, sitting room and kitchen, where a chef will cook meals according to your own schedule. If you have any special requests please just let us know in advance- the chefs can work absolute wonders, but the Masai Mara has a lot more lions than supermarkets so advance warning helps!

What can I do at the Mara Bush Houses?

The beauty of the Mara Bush Houses is that they all come with their own private game drive vehicle. This means that activities run according to your interests-whether you want to head out for the full day with a picnic or do shorter game drives to stop children getting bored. As well as game drives, each of the Mara Bush Houses can arrange visits to the local Maasai Community- this comes with a small fee that goes to the community who are your hosts and landlords of the Mara North Conservancy. At Mara and Acacia House, because you’re out in the conservancies, you can do night drives and walking safaris, whereas the proximity of Topi House to the main Mara Reserve means that you can add on hot air balloon flights (at an extra cost).

Families at the Mara Bush Houses: these are absolutely ideal for a family safari– each house has a private safari vehicle so your activities run on your schedule, not that of a safari camp. Game drives are fun, though younger guests can also try a nature walk or learn to track, making plaster casts of footprints or learning to identify different types of animal dung. Children can learn to make a toothbrush from a tree,  help with evening milking in the local village, build a fire without matches or help the chef out in the kitchen.

Giving back at the Mara Bush Houses: The Mara Bush Houses themselves are really part of a pioneering wave of community-based tourism in the Masai Mara to ensure that those that live near the reserve are the ones who benefit from tourism. The conservancy concept protects the land for wildlife whilst ensuring that local communities receive income as landlords, whilst the houses themselves are a project created by two Kenyan families to bring local communities and visitors closer together. The owners of the Mara Bush Houses work to support three local schools in the area, providing educational supplies. You are welcome to visit the local community during your stay. In addition, if you are interested in learning more about conservation, we can book a talk for you with one of the scientists from the Mara Lion and Cheetah Project.

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