No matter how many times you go on a safari, it is always a magical experience and each experience is unique, leaving you with absolutely amazing memories to last forever. If you love wildlife photography, or if a safari is on your bucket list, then this is for you!
On one of our visits back home to Kenya, we decided to stay at the luxury 5 star eco-resort Olare Mara Kempinski, located on the banks of the Ntiaktiak river, in the Olare Orak conservancy in an uncrowded part of the Masai Mara Reserve. We flew from Nairobi to the conservancy from Wilson Airport. This is a much quicker way to get to the Mara and as we were going for 2 days we were keen to maximise on our time there. Driving is also an option, but it takes a long time.
When we landed in the conservancy, after a short one hour and extremely scenic flight, we were picked up by a guide from Olare Mara Kempinski, and before heading to the lodge, he took us on a game drive in the lodge’s private 4×4, which had open windows and was super comfortable. The fact that it had open windows meant we could take clearer photos and was a much more exhilarating experience when we were close to the animals, especially the lions!
We were thrilled to see a lion up close straight away and the driver was so knowledgeable and knew where to find all the animals, making it such a fantastic experience. He gave us lots of information about the reserve, which has the largest number of animals in Africa. The guides all have KSPGA qualifications, and only 3 vehicles are allowed at a time so not to disrupt the animals too much.
It also means it is not overrun with cars blocking your views of the animals, which I have experienced on other safaris so you can get good photos and see the animals from a bigger space.
As he drove through the breathtaking grasslands, it was just phenomenal and I was glad we got to go on a game drive first thing.
We also saw a zebra and lioness with her cubs and after more scenic drives we soon arrived at the lodge, where we were given a very warm welcome from some local Masai.
The conservancy has a co-operative relationship with the local Masai, where the conservancy leases land from the Masai, enabling them to earn an annual income, as well as retain ownership of their land.
Olare Mara Kempinski has 11 luxury en-suite tents and 1 honeymoon suite, which features its own plunge pool. We chose to stay in the Honeymoon suite as it had breathtaking views and was ultra dreamy.
Kempinski are known for their amazing style and touches of luxury, and this lodge is no exception. In the tents, which are more like massive rooms, have king-sized beds, indoor and outdoor showers, a huge bathroom with double vanity and a door which leads onto a wooden deck. Our wooden deck had a plunge pool, which was the sole reason we picked the honeymoon suite.
You can see animals while lying in the bath from a massive window too and it all feels so surreal. A total out of Africa experience!
This is actually the most amazing glamping experience ever and I was blown away by how amazing and spacious the room was! It was MASSIVE and so not what I expected the tent to look like. The canvas around the room was thick and sturdy, and we had electricity throughout and a dreamy tub.
The lodge grows its own vegetables and fruits, and the food, which is outstanding is prepared using fresh, natural produce.
Once we had settled in and freshened up, we headed to the main lodge for some food and to check it out. The lodge has wifi (very good wifi) throughout so you can send your amazing holiday snaps to your family and friends.
The lodge has a very Ernest Hemingway feel to it, and a colonial touch too, with bookshelves, a library room,and amazing african decor throughout.
There are lots of places to relax and read a book, or enjoy a cocktail or a bottle of wine. The staff are incredibly friendly and make the stay just perfect.
We chose to eat alfresco, before heading for our 2nd game drive later in the evening. The food was just amazing, and presented beautifully. Dining in the sunshine is my favourite thing to do, so eating in the wild is an experience which I will never forget.
We then left for our evening game drive, and we were treated to some snacks in the 4×4, while watching the sun go down. This was such a lovely experience as we managed to see hyenas trying to steal a fresh kill from some vultures up close. The best thing about going on safari is every single time it is a totally unique and different experience, and each time is absolutely memorable.
We saw some hyenas, ostriches, and a very sleepy lioness, and just took in the breathtaking savannah around us, and the best of what nature has to offer. The whole experience was just out of this world. The stunning surroundings and the amazing animals just made it a safari and a trip to remember.
Once we got back, we freshened up and went for dinner. The staff had set up our own candlelit table upstairs in one of the areas in the main lodge as a surprise. This was such a lovely touch and they were so attentive and made the dinner experience superb. The food was so delicious and the menu was fabulous. A truly scrumptious meal!
We decided to have an early night after dinner as we were going to wake up early to go on a game drive, which is really recommended in order to see as many animals as possible.
The next day we were super lucky as we saw cheetahs up close and one even jumped on top of a 4×4 next to us.
I love cheetahs and it was so amazing seeing them this close! They have gotten used to jumping on cars in the Mara and they are pretty inquisitive animals.
After this exhilarating game drive, we headed back to the lodge for some breakfast, which was a wonderful spread of fruits, cereals, cold meats, sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, hash browns and grilled tomatoes and a choice of fresh juices. I love hotel breakfasts and this had an amazing plus point of being in the wilderness.
After breakfast, we chilled out by the plunge pool outside our tent, in the hot african sunshine watching the plains of the mara and the wild animals wandering around in the distance.
The lodge itself is not fenced, so at night you can hear the animals roaming around. At one point in the night we could hear hippos splashing about in a watering hole opposite our tent. It sounded so close we thought they were right outside near our plunge pool!
I cannot even explain how amazing the views and the plunge pool were and was so glad that we chose to stay in the Honeymoon suite as it was such a nice haven to chill out and so peaceful.
While we were relaxing, the staff brought over a bottle of chilled white wine for us to share as a lovely gesture. They spoilt us so much!
The service was absolutely amazing at this lodge and they made us feel really special and looked after. Imagine sitting on the deck and taking in some of the best African wildlife while absorbing such vast and panoramic views.
After a second night in this amazing lodge, it was time to say goodbye and we headed back to the airstrip to fly back to Nairobi.
Just look at these views!
If you are looking for an extra special, luxurious stay in the Masai Mara and to have an amazing rustic safari experience, I cannot recommend the Olare Mara Kempinski enough! You can experience all the creature comforts while being so close to nature. Mid-July to October is the best times o visit the Mara.
For more information, go to: https://www.kempinski.com/en/masai-mara/olare-mara/