Cottar's Bush Villa has magnificent views over the Masai Mara. © Cottar's 1920 Camp

Cottar’s Bush Villa | The Masai Mara Private Kenya Safari House

Cottar’s Bush Villa is situated at the epicentre of safari action, being close to both the Serengeti in Tanzania and Kenya’s Masai Mara. This private Kenya safari house – perfect for families – has an authentic bygone era style, but it often echoes to children’s laughter, heralding a bright future.

The place

Cottar’s Bush Villa is close enough to the main Cottar’s 1920s Camp that we have easy access to amenities like the spa, but far enough away that we essentially have our own African country home. This private Kenya safari house, which is situated in an exclusive concession abutting both the Serengeti and Masai Mara, could also not be better located for fruitful game drives, fishing, river swims, bush baths and bush meals.The views from our private deck roll on endlessly, and include swathes of both Tanzania and Kenya. The plains seem to be framed by the low hills, but this takes nothing away from the sense of space; we have all the room that our large family could need. As we gaze out over the savannah, I fancy that I can see what looks like a cloud of dust above a herd of buffalo, but then again, with my old eyes, it could just be the distant heat haze over some rocks!

Cottar’s Bush Villa is close enough to the main Cottar’s 1920s Camp that we have easy access to amenities like the spa, but far enough away that we essentially have our own African country home.

This private Kenya safari house, which is situated in an exclusive concession abutting both the Serengeti and Masai Mara, could also not be better located for fruitful game drives, fishing, river swims, bush baths and bush meals.

The views from our private deck roll on endlessly, and include swathes of both Tanzania and Kenya. The plains seem to be framed by the low hills, but this takes nothing away from the sense of space; we have all the room that our large family could need.

As we gaze out over the savannah, I fancy that I can see what looks like a cloud of dust above a herd of buffalo, but then again, with my old eyes, it could just be the distant heat haze over some rocks!

The room

Bringing our entire family on safari is the fulfilment of a long-held dream, and it’s impossible to imagine anything other than sweet dreams in rooms that look out over iconic African landscapes, and which have been authentically styled to recreate the glamour and elegance of the original safari expeditions. My partner has chosen the master bedroom for us. Clearly spending time with wildlife has give rise to hierarchical thoughts, and I suppose being a patriarch has its perks! Our twin verandahs and elevated position give us fabulous vistas, and I particularly like the fireplace (which the staff will be lighting for us this evening). Our daughter and her partner are also on the top floor, but have the privacy that comes with being in a different wing of this private Kenya safari house. Our son and his partner, meanwhile, love the Cream room, as the additional single bed means that their toddler can be in the same room without hogging their blankets. Being joined by my jolly brother-in-law is a real treat; his knees give him some trouble so the Maasai Red double room on the ground floor is perfect for him. As a lifelong bachelor he enjoys the privilege of being the ‘fun uncle’, so his grandnieces and grandnephew – in the kids’ room next door – are delighted to have him close by, too.

Bringing our entire family on safari is the fulfilment of a long-held dream, and it’s impossible to imagine anything other than sweet dreams in rooms that look out over iconic African landscapes, and which have been authentically styled to recreate the glamour and elegance of the original safari expeditions.

My partner has chosen the master bedroom for us. Clearly spending time with wildlife has give rise to hierarchical thoughts, and I suppose being a patriarch has its perks! Our twin verandahs and elevated position give us fabulous vistas, and I particularly like the fireplace (which the staff will be lighting for us this evening).

Our daughter and her partner are also on the top floor, but have the privacy that comes with being in a different wing of this private Kenya safari house. Our son and his partner, meanwhile, love the Cream room, as the additional single bed means that their toddler can be in the same room without hogging their blankets.

Being joined by my jolly brother-in-law is a real treat; his knees give him some trouble so the Maasai Red double room on the ground floor is perfect for him. As a lifelong bachelor he enjoys the privilege of being the ‘fun uncle’, so his grandnieces and grandnephew – in the kids’ room next door – are delighted to have him close by, too.

What sets it apart

Cottar’s Bush Villa effortlessly achieves two aims that might at first seem contradictory, but which work wonderfully together. We all love the old-world charm of the villa itself and particularly the decor, and we also appreciate the space and privacy this private Kenya safari house affords our multi-generational family. The adherence to the stylistic theme in no way compromises the practical magic of Cottar’s Bush Villa – it would be hard to imagine a more perfect space in which young and old can connect. While it’s true that every family is made happy in its own way, the incredible degree of flexibility (whether in terms of adding additional beds, customising activity times and lengths, and providing meals that even the fussiest kid will eat) means that it’s hard to imagine any family not being thrilled.

Cottar’s Bush Villa effortlessly achieves two aims that might at first seem contradictory, but which work wonderfully together. We all love the old-world charm of the villa itself and particularly the decor, and we also appreciate the space and privacy this private Kenya safari house affords our multi-generational family.

The adherence to the stylistic theme in no way compromises the practical magic of Cottar’s Bush Villa – it would be hard to imagine a more perfect space in which young and old can connect.

While it’s true that every family is made happy in its own way, the incredible degree of flexibility (whether in terms of adding additional beds, customising activity times and lengths, and providing meals that even the fussiest kid will eat) means that it’s hard to imagine any family not being thrilled.

At a glance

  • The Mara’s only true private bush home, Cottar’s Bush Villa offers spectacular Mara plains views and a large swimming pool, as well as five bedrooms designed for a preferred maximum of 12 guests, although there is space for more people with multi-generational bookings.
  • Private villa, private vehicle and guide and a dedicated eight-strong service team.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, cultural visits, Maasai Warrior School, running with the Maasai, river and pool swimming, fishing, canvas bush baths, bush meals, spa treatments (additional cost) and hot-air ballooning (additional cost).
  • Cottar’s Bush Villa was designed with families in mind. Customisable arrangements including additional beds make light of rooming lists. Children of all ages are welcome, and kid-friendly activities and menus are offered. Flexible meal- and activity times, and complimentary babysitting service.

  • The Mara’s only true private bush home, Cottar’s Bush Villa offers spectacular Mara plains views and a large swimming pool, as well as five bedrooms designed for a preferred maximum of 12 guests, although there is space for more people with multi-generational bookings.
  • Private villa, private vehicle and guide and a dedicated eight-strong service team.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, cultural visits, Maasai Warrior School, running with the Maasai, river and pool swimming, fishing, canvas bush baths, bush meals, spa treatments (additional cost) and hot-air ballooning (additional cost).
  • Cottar’s Bush Villa was designed with families in mind. Customisable arrangements including additional beds make light of rooming lists. Children of all ages are welcome, and kid-friendly activities and menus are offered. Flexible meal- and activity times, and complimentary babysitting service.

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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