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Dreamily refined, artfully curated. This tented camp nestles in a gentle stream-cleaved valley bordering the magnificent Maasai Mara – a romantic retreat in one of the most spectacular backdrops in our atlas of spectacular backdrops. At Mara Nyika, serenity and privacy on the sublime African plains are yours; in order to achieve such ideal intimacy, the camp welcomes just 14 guests at a time. Under a canopy of umbrella thorn trees and with a shimmering vista over the plains of Kenya, the giraffes lope, the elies lumber, and a distant lion’s roar may even tinkle the ice in the cooling G+T by our side. From the bubble-inviting, stand-alone copper bathtub and the fine Belgian linen robes, to the well-stocked writing desk and generously provisioned explorer’s wet bar, it’s as if the Baroness of Out of Africa-fame herself were responsible. (In fact, we have Great Plains style-and-conservation maven Beverly Joubert to thank for each and every awe-inducing design element.) Safari-ing amidst such surroundings – vide, polished stemware and silky hand-woven rugs – is a life-affirming treasure – factor in the golden heat of the Mara summer or the cyclical joys the great migration when we see, hear, smell and truly live the thunderous transport business of some 200,000 wildebeest on the move and, well, what could be better?
Connected by meandering wooden walkways and laced with the gentle arc of noble acacia trees, Mara Nyika conjures a magical treehouse atmosphere. Recently redesigned to comprise three luxury guest suites and a sumptuously splendid two-bedroom family suite, each is splendidly private with lavish en-suite fitted with walk-in shower and elegant copper tub, secluded patio with plunge pool, elegant desk and grand poster king bed. Newly opened in 2023 is the two-bedroom butler-attended Sambuk Suite which includes a personal guide and vehicle, and is accessed by a private entrance. Meander down the walkway to the dining and lounge tent, where a superlative wine cellar matches tailor-made masterful meals, including a lavish afternoon tea service, all served in the warm and correct Great Plains’ tradition.
Children of eight years and older are welcome – and in for an unforgettable, unimaginably fun-fuelled experience, without a doubt. Young adventurers are well accommodated in the spacious two-bedroom family suite.
The animal-rich 50,000-acre Naboisho Conservancy defines exclusivity: just 14 guests explore this very great plain unfurled beneath the African skies. Rewarding game drives set out in the mists of dawn, gentle light of late afternoon and – particularly thrillingly – in the mysterious night when hyenas and cheetahs are high on the hunt. Perhaps a balloon flight across the mystical Maasai Mara topped with a celebratory Champagne bush breakfast on landing, or a visit to meet members of the local Maasai community? With the camp’s super-duper long-lens cameras for our complimentary use, all things great and small – from the largest bull elephant to the notoriously flitty Carmine bee eater – is within photographic grasp.