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The Mara River of Kenya bends itself around Neptune Mara, providing the camp with lush forests and a continual cavalcade of animals who come to the river for sustenance and sport; very near here, we once saw a large and frolicky group of elephants wait patiently as part of the herd bathed and played, then politely clambered up the riverbank so another group could plop in the water. A resident pod of hippos galumphs in the water, and each of Neptune’s 20 tents looks to the river from a private verandah, giving us a fine show during morning coffee or afternoon cocktails.
Neptune takes the fourth word in its name seriously: its tents are state-of-the-art (and, as we often say, resemble workaday tents like a Bentley resembles a Yugo). Each tent features a spacious bathroom and lounging area, all up-to-the-minutely modern with a bow toward safari traditionalism, and the entire riverside wall of the tents can be rolled up, opening to a glorious panoramic view and softly scented air. The camp’s common areas, linked by wooden walkways, include a well-thought-out Earth & Rain Spa, a welcoming bar, viewful dining areas, and a lovely little pool around which we can enjoy an evening barbecue followed by Maasai dancing and talks on the culture of these fascinating and eager-to-meet us people.
The Maasi Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is the undisputed world capital of the animal kingdom, and game viewing in the Mara, the northern, more verdant part of that Vermont-sized kingdom, is a joyous haven for animal-lovers, and a revelation for those of us who seek serenity and carefreeness in nature. Game drives with our Micato Safari Director, who knows these precincts intimately, will introduce, or happily reintroduce us, to the Big Five, who are at home here in abundance, along with scores of other mammalian, reptilian, and feathered creatures.