A bush dinner in the Masai Mara Triangle hosted by Cottar’s 1920s Camp will make you feel like an explorer of old.

Cottar’s 1920s Camp | The Masai Mara

Take a step back in time at Kenya‘s Cottar’s 1920s Camp, where the golden age of exploration meets modern-day adventure safaris in an untouched, exclusive conservancy. Expect endless savannahs straddling the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Loliondo reserves, with the chance to see an abundance of wildlife with top-quality guides.

The place

I look all around me, taking a moment to get my bearings. We’re at Cottar’s 1920s camp, a luxury Kenyan safari lodge that borders the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Loliondo reserves on an untouched, private 2,400ha concession. The camp spreads out over 1km – ample space for the two mess tents, 10 guest tents, private villa, swimming pool, wildlife hide and gorgeous organic vegetable garden. As per the camp’s name, the furniture and decor are from the 1920s, right down to safari hats! As I gaze across the Masai Mara, I feel like I’m back in the golden age of safari, when all was yet to be discovered. It’s a privilege to be in this remote corner of Africa.

I look all around me, taking a moment to get my bearings. We’re at Cottar’s 1920s camp, a luxury Kenyan safari lodge that borders the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Loliondo reserves on an untouched, private 2,400ha concession. The camp spreads out over 1km – ample space for the two mess tents, 10 guest tents, private villa, swimming pool, wildlife hide and gorgeous organic vegetable garden. As per the camp’s name, the furniture and decor are from the 1920s, right down to safari hats! As I gaze across the Masai Mara, I feel like I’m back in the golden age of safari, when all was yet to be discovered. It’s a privilege to be in this remote corner of Africa.

The room

My cream canvas tent billows softly in the breeze as I explore its interior. The large canopied bed, silver chandeliers, candelabras, leather trunks and beautiful vintage furniture evokes the glamour and romance of earlier African exploration. Indeed, my love of history was part of the reason I chose Cottar’s 1920s camp, which opened in 1992. The family was one of the first safari outfitters in Africa in 1919 (in what was then British East Africa) and dedicated their lives to exploring the Masai Mara. I particularly enjoyed their trove of antique treasures, including sepia-toned safari photos, ancient gramophones and even a vintage safari vehicle. I also spent several delightful hours in the library, studying ancient tomes that chronicle the history of the camp and the area, somewhat testing my spouse’s patience.The sound of running water calls me back to current day. My spouse is showering in the en-suite bathroom, which even has a separate dressing room. Another impressive touch is the fact that we have a private butler, whose polite call summons us for our first game drive. We climb aboard the state-of-the-art vehicle, which feels somewhat futuristic after my recent immersion in the past. Within moments we spot several rhino among the hilly terrain. We’re told that the southeast has most of the Masai Mara’s rhino population, so we can expect to see more of this increasingly-rare and endangered creature. Many wildlife sightings later, and we’re still yet to see another vehicle or lodge, one of the biggest advantages of being on a private conservancy where Cottar’s is the only operator. It’s the kind of remoteness that inspires. I can’t wait to begin penning an account of this ‘historic’ day in my journal.

My cream canvas tent billows softly in the breeze as I explore its interior. The large canopied bed, silver chandeliers, candelabras, leather trunks and beautiful vintage furniture evokes the glamour and romance of earlier African exploration. Indeed, my love of history was part of the reason I chose Cottar’s 1920s camp, which opened in 1992. The family was one of the first safari outfitters in Africa in 1919 (in what was then British East Africa) and dedicated their lives to exploring the Masai Mara. I particularly enjoyed their trove of antique treasures, including sepia-toned safari photos, ancient gramophones and even a vintage safari vehicle. I also spent several delightful hours in the library, studying ancient tomes that chronicle the history of the camp and the area, somewhat testing my spouse’s patience.

The sound of running water calls me back to current day. My spouse is showering in the en-suite bathroom, which even has a separate dressing room. Another impressive touch is the fact that we have a private butler, whose polite call summons us for our first game drive. We climb aboard the state-of-the-art vehicle, which feels somewhat futuristic after my recent immersion in the past. Within moments we spot several rhino among the hilly terrain. We’re told that the southeast has most of the Masai Mara’s rhino population, so we can expect to see more of this increasingly-rare and endangered creature. Many wildlife sightings later, and we’re still yet to see another vehicle or lodge, one of the biggest advantages of being on a private conservancy where Cottar’s is the only operator. It’s the kind of remoteness that inspires. I can’t wait to begin penning an account of this ‘historic’ day in my journal.

What sets it apart

Apart from the deep roots the Cottar family has in the Masai Mara, I particularly love their commitment to conservation and social upliftment, like their initiative of working towards a sustainable ecosystem with the local Maasai community. And despite my nostalgia for that long-ago era of safaris, having modern-day facilities like a swimming pool, spa and even Skype phones is certainly a plus. Meals in the old-world surrounds of the mess tent, top-notch guiding, flexible schedules and thrilling night drives are other features that make Cottar’s 1920s Camp truly exceptional.

Apart from the deep roots the Cottar family has in the Masai Mara, I particularly love their commitment to conservation and social upliftment, like their initiative of working towards a sustainable ecosystem with the local Maasai community. And despite my nostalgia for that long-ago era of safaris, having modern-day facilities like a swimming pool, spa and even Skype phones is certainly a plus. Meals in the old-world surrounds of the mess tent, top-notch guiding, flexible schedules and thrilling night drives are other features that make Cottar’s 1920s Camp truly exceptional.

At a glance

  • Spacious luxury safari camp in a quiet section of the game-rich Masai Mara. It has 10 canvas guest tents (five double tents, four family suites and a honeymoon suite) plus a large exclusive-use villa as well as spa, pool and wildlife hide.
  • Private airstrip, private concession, private vehicles available (additional cost), complete flexibility, butler service and opportunities to see the Great Wildebeest Migration.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, bush meals, bush sundowners, river swimming, river fishing, hot-air ballooning (additional cost) and cultural visits (additional cost).
  • Children are welcome, and there are four family suites. Entertainment includes the Cottar’s Warrior School program. Babysitting available.

  • Spacious luxury safari camp in a quiet section of the game-rich Masai Mara. It has 10 canvas guest tents (five double tents, four family suites and a honeymoon suite) plus a large exclusive-use villa as well as spa, pool and wildlife hide.
  • Private airstrip, private concession, private vehicles available (additional cost), complete flexibility, butler service and opportunities to see the Great Wildebeest Migration.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, bush meals, bush sundowners, river swimming, river fishing, hot-air ballooning (additional cost) and cultural visits (additional cost).
  • Children are welcome, and there are four family suites. Entertainment includes the Cottar’s Warrior School program. Babysitting available.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is the most popular time to visit the Masai Mara, and for good reason. The Great Wildebeest Migration returns from the Serengeti from July to September, and at its peak the plains of the Masai Mara are covered with the animals as far as the eye can see. You’ll also get to witness a Mara River crossing at this time – an awe-inspiring experience. While it can get somewhat crowded, there are many luxury properties in private conservancies that offer greater exclusivity. The weather also plays along now, being dry and cool, perfect for game drives.

As it dries out after the short rains in November, large herds of resident game and predators congregate closer to the Mara River and other water sources during these months. This, combined with thinning vegetation and fewer visitors, makes for exceptional game viewing, comparing favorably with safari experiences across Africa – despite that the Great Wildebeest Migration has moved on by now. To combine exclusivity with the migration, merge a Masai Mara safari now with a visit to the Serengeti, where the migrating herds will be.

The Masai Mara’s long rains, which fall steadily throughout April and May, are followed by short rains in November – generally quick afternoon bursts. While muddy roads can make getting around an adventure, as it’s a quiet time for tourism wildlife experiences are highly exclusive. As the vegetation is in a growth period, the game is easy to see too. All in all visitors get good-value holidays during this time, provided they pack their sense of humour (and their gum boots!).

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