The Ultimate Safari Getaway – Relais & Châteaux

Maasai Mara, Kenya is one of the best travel destinations for a…

The Ultimate Safari Getaway – Relais & Châteaux

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February 24 2020 / Travel Contributor
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Maasai Mara, Kenya is one of the best travel destinations for a safari holiday in Africa. The park is home to an inspiring mix of both large and tiny wildlife – predators and grazers, moving and hunting over the plains, the huge expanse of gently rolling grassland, and down at the Mara River, where hippos and crocodiles live in their natural habitat.

Apart from the big 5 of the animal kingdom, Maasai Mara is also grounds for one of the most phenomenal wildlife spectacle on earth, the Wildebeest migration. Each year, thousands and thousands of wildebeest, zebras and several species of antelopes migrate from Serengeti in Tanzania to Kenya's Maasai Mara in search of green grazing grounds and water.

The migration is one of the most wondrous and beautifully staged displays of nature at play. You can witness the drama unfold as predators lurk in the bushes waiting to pounce, and prey scampering for safety. The performance hits its peak when the animals navigate the crocodile-infested Mara River, each one trying to escape the deadly jaws of these predators. This site has attracted visitors from all over the world and even made it one of the wonders of the earth.

Mara Plains Camp (Relais & Châteaux)

This boutique tented camp is tucked in the quiet 35,000-acre wilderness of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and only a few hundred meters to the north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve boundary.

With only a few tents, Mara Plains is one of the smaller camps in Mara, creating for a more private, personal and intimate bespoke experience away from the crowds. It is an opulent world-class camp that blends beautifully with the surrounding nature with a conservative and relaxed atmosphere.

Photo: Relais & Châteaux

The Mara Plains design pays tribute to its natural African set up rather than upstage it. The traditional safari-style tents, which are pitched on elevated decks, feature a marquis ceiling and come with a wrap-around veranda overlooking the plains offering splendid views of the savannah; which the beds inside also face. The tents spaces are made of rough-hewn wooden floors protected with billowing canvas and filled with an exquisite collection of colonial-style furnishings.

Photo: Relais & Châteaux

All these are complemented with a decor that pays homage to the essence of East Africa; the large wooden doors draw their inspiration from Swahili heritage in the island of Lamu, and accents of red and other bright colours honour the great Maasai people. The artwork displays some of the best images of the animals roaming in the wild that is the background of the camp.

Photo: Relais & Châteaux

There are special family and honeymoon tents which feature private lounge and dining spaces, allowing for a little more privacy. The main common areas at Mara Plains consist of a large lounge and dining tent with open sides to serenade you with sweeping vistas of the wildlife. The furniture in the main area recalls the colonial influences of bygone centuries, with a rich, earthy, red-and-brown colour scheme. Weather permitting – dinner is usually served to guests in the open under the stars.

Photo: Relais & Châteaux

Dining

Dining at the Mara Plains is very flexible as there aren’t any set meal times; allowing you to have your breakfast packed for your early starts, full-day game drives where you can take your lunch with you and late dinners for when you are out on a late afternoon game drive and following lions hunting.

Getting There

To get to Kenya, you’ll need to fly in through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the country’s capital city, Nairobi. You can then choose to either charter a plane to the Mara or hire a luxury safari van to transport you 224km to the Maasai Mara Reserve. Great companies to charter a plane include Rainbow Air Charters, Private Fly and Safarilink.

Photo: Relais & Châteaux

Game Drive Safari

The Maasai Mara is one of Africa’s top wildlife destinations that offer year-round game viewing thanks to its diverse population of wildlife like elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, hyena, gazelle, and Mara’s famous big cats; lions, cheetahs and leopards. Mara Plains organizes both day-time and night safari drives with knowledgeable first-class guides.

To make sure you beautifully capture your African memories, vehicles come equipped with adjustable camera stands. The guides are also a major help in finding the best spots for photo opportunities as well as offering advice on when you can get close to the animals and when it’s not safe. The tour also affords each party of guest a loan of a pair binoculars and a camera fitted with the perfect lens for crystal sharp wildlife pictures.

Visits to Local Village or School

At an extra $500 per person, you can take a guided tour to the neighbouring Maasai village where you’ll get the opportunity to meet and interact with the Maasai people. From their beautiful enchanting singing and hop-dancing to their brightly coloured clothing fully embellished with beads and jingling silver, the customs and traditions of the Maasai have remained unchanged over the years.

Hot Air Balloon

One of the most tranquil ways to experience the magnitude and beauty of the golden Maasai Mara landscape is by floating leisurely above it in a hot air balloon. At an extra cost, Mara Plains organises for you to enjoy a breathtaking sunrise view as you fly above the vast plains in a hot air balloon before enjoying a champagne breakfast.

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