Olare Mara Kempinski
Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Olare Mara’s classic safari ambience is felt in details large and small: in its attentive 24-hour butler service; its homey, yet elegant tent and lodge design; in its rooted sense of community; and especially in its celebration of Africa’s endlessly golden joys, from the birdsong that greets us every morning from our canopied beds, to the soft, pure air that we savor along with our morning coffee on our tent’s balcony overlooking the savannah; and game drives which reveal giraffes “floating across the plains,” as Isak Dinesen wrote, or a herd of elephant, “delicate and mighty,” as Peter Matthiessen saw them, “awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.”
Few African camps give us a better experience of one of Africa’s subtle, but immemorially powerful experiences, the comforting sensation of—as Hemingway put it—being in “a country made to be as we found it.”
Olare Mara’s spacious tents, perched on handsome mvuli wood decks, feature lovely extra-roomy canopied beds, separate bed and living rooms, a classic safari writing desk, modern bath and powder rooms, and a terrace from which to catch the Mara’s endless cavalcade of animals. (And of course, they are tents in about the same way that the Hope Diamond is a bauble.)
Dining at Olare Mara is enriched by ultra-fresh ingredients from the camp’s organic garden (and its cheerful chefs are quite happy to let us pick our own ingredients for a one-of-a-kind meal). We can dine on our terrace, on the lodge’s library deck, in the camp gardens, or in the main dining area—not to mention bush breakfasts with hippos in attendance, sundowners that showcase some of the planet’s most theatrical sunsets, and game drive picnics beneath cooling acacia trees. And after a day in the bush, we’re ready for a swim in the camp’s pool, perhaps followed by an expert massage.
Olare Mara is set in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy’s 35,000 acres, prime Maasai Mara territory, with vast grasslands, riverine forests, and acacia-dotted woodlands to explore. So our game drives with our Micato Safari Director, who knows the Mara encyclopedically, are peerless. Leopard, elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, and lion (the famous Big Five) roam freely, along with their slightly less celebrated but no less fascinating fellow citizens of this northern portion of the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem, a natural extravaganza quite a bit larger than all the Hawaiian islands combined.
Few world cultures are as proudly traditional and interesting as that of the Maasai. We’ll have a chance to pay a respectful visit to a Maasai village, where our Safari Director is greeted as a valued friend, and we’re greeted in the African tradition as honoured guests who quickly become friends, too.