The Maasai Mara National Reserve is the ancestral pastoral home of the Maasai tribe, with open grasslands favored by large cats — lions, cheetahs, leopards — and dotted with trees. As we drove into the park from the Wilson airport, the very first thing we saw was a leopard in a tree with its impala dinner hanging in the limbs below. And, we weren’t even on a game drive yet!
Mara Intrepids, our fourth stop, was also in the Maasai Mara National Reserve and close enough to Ashnil Mara (our previous camp) to be driven there. This bonus ride gave us another peek at local life — the reality beyond our insulated and curated camp experience, an important reminder of where we were. We passed very modest houses, children walking to school in their uniforms, and boys herding goats.
Our favorite camp
When we arrived we were surprised to see a lawn — actual grass! — and someone mowing it. We knew instantly that we had stepped up on the luxury scale. The staff was the friendliest; the tents were large and nicely appointed, the outdoor dining patio, bar, and lounge area were lovely; the menu was excellent with the fanciest desserts; and our safari drivers, Joab and Samson, were beyond endearing. This turned out to be our favorite camp.
Because of its proximity to the Jomo Kenyatta airport, we returned to the Nairobi Tented Camp before flying back to the States. It felt full circle, returning to our starting point. By now, after more than 20 game drives, we felt like “old hands” and the camp was familiar…yet, this last day had a sad quality to it. Luckily, a few things happened to lift our spirits.