Exploreans Mara Rianta Camp
What We Love
- The Jetsetter rate includes a welcome drink; breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with soft drinks, Kenyan beer and selected wine; laundry; round-trip airport transfers to/from Mara North airstrip and morning and afternoon game drives each day
- The sounds of grunting hippos in the river at night
- Amazing stargazing in the vast Kenya sky
- The rangers know their stuff; expect to see most if not all of the Big Five
What To Know
- A Masa North Conservation (MNC) fee of $80 per adult, per night and $40 per child (up to 12), per night, will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- International flights arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi but you'll need to transfer to Wilson Airport (WIL) (around 45 minutes away) for flights to the Mara North airstrip
- July to September is high season (migration season); March to May is rainy season, making it more difficult to spot animals
- Free WiFi
Who knew tents could be so chic? This intimate 20-room retreat on the banks of the Mara River, centers around a series of breezy public spaces (lobby and lounge, sublime spa and restaurant) set under thick canvas with walls that roll up to showcase the great outdoors. Rest on deep cream sofas with a chilled drink in hand as you gaze out at the river, watching giraffes nibble on treetops and families of hippos wading in the water. Wildlife images dot the walls, deep red and brown rugs add warmth to the dark hardwood floors, floor lamps offer ambience at nightfall, and with river views from nearly every part of the camp, it’s hard to not have your own Out of Africa moment.
Bed and Bath
Tented rooms continue the African-chic vibe with dark wood furniture, carvings by local artisans, and netted windows (which can be closed at night). Every corner has a touch of local culture, from the handcrafted stone soap dish by the sink to the traditional plaid Maasai fabric to the tiny banana leaf gazelle figurines that rest on the pillow of your four-poster bed as part of the turn-down service. As an added bonus, a universal power adapter is available in each room (note: the power is turned off from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.). The bath area is just as large as the bedroom. Lather up in the open-air rain shower (you can unzip the tent wall to put on a show for the hippos and baboons across the river), and five of the 20 tents come with large clawfoot bathtubs (perfect for a post–game drive soak using the Basic Earth Botanicals toiletries provided).
Before dinner settle in next to the firepit by the river for a Dawa cocktail or a Kenyan Tusker beer and share tales from the day’s game drives with your fellow guests. Head to the open-air Acacia restaurant to dine à la carte on pastas, grilled meats, fresh veggies and local fish (breakfast and lunch are typically served buffet-style). Don’t skip the eggplant, beet and carrot, and mango chutney spreads that go with the crusty bread and rolls. The Mvua Spa is small (three massage tables, hot and cold plunge pools and a quiet relaxation area), but the African Foot Massage (a 30-minute treatment focusing on your feet and legs and mixing in some reflexology), with the calming sounds of the Mara River soothing you to sleep, can’t be missed. Also on the spa menu: hot stone massages to relieve stress, hydrating facials and manis and pedis.
In the Area
Between game drives arrange for a Maasai village tour to see how the local tribe lives, and shop their small outdoor market, where you can pick up beaded jewelry and knickknacks — all made by the village’s women. Or take an entire day to explore the land with a daylong game drive that includes a picnic bush lunch. Two things to note: Exploreans is located on the privately owned portion of land known as the North Conservation Maasai Mara Reserve; right next to it is the government-owned Maasai Mara National Reserve. The difference between the two is that in the conservancy you can go off-roading in search of lions, cheetahs, elephants and more, while on the reserve you have to stay on the roads. And each comes with its own park fees ($60 daily per person for the conservancy, $80 daily per person for the reserve).
How to Get There
One of the best camps and great location on the banks of the Mara river. Incredibly good service and excellent staff. I particularly commend, Peterson at the bar, Alfred at the restaurant waiter and in particular Ben the safari guide. They were really very good and took care of me and the other guests.
We stayed here for 4 nights. The tents were luxurious, while at the same time rustic. I loved taking a shower which, through the screen, opened up to the Mara River and nature.
This camp would definitely get 5 stars if not for the beds. They were like sleeping on boards. I finally asked my tent attendant to put a couple of duvets under the bottom sheet--that helped somewhat, but not enough to my liking.
Our safari guide, Justus, was fabulous! He was so knowledgeable it blew us all away. He was a very hospitable and great guy.
We stayed for 3 nights and the whole experience was magical. The early morning and late afternoon drives were spectacular. Our guide Emanuel was brilliant. We saw lions on every drive and cheetahs twice plus of course everything else. Unfortunately didn’t see leopards but everything else made up for it. We loved the setting on the river with the hippos and didn’t mind when they returned from their night grazing and woke us up. The “tents” were fabulous and luxurious. Our butler Daniel woke us with our coffee at 5.45. Morning drives are at 6.30 and it was lovely coming back for breakfast and then chilling by the pool for a few hours. All the staff were exceptional, but special shout for Florence our allocated waitress, Daniel our butler, Emanuel and his trainee guide, Petersen our attentive barman. This was truly a 5* experience and I cannot recommend this beautiful lodge enough!