Hyenas and cultures near Naboisho Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya

Naboisho Camp: Hungry hyenas & long walks


Hyenas and cultures near Naboisho Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya

© Naboisho Camp, Asilia

“This is the best camp in the Masai Mara. You’ll love it.”

That wasn’t the welcome by one of the camp managers, Richard and Della, but the enthusiastic greeting of an American man heading for lunch with his family. He beamed at me as he passed by. Patently the camp was making him a happy bunny. This boded well.

Naboisho Camp is a camp owned and run by Asilia Africa, a well-respected safari operator with camps in Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar.  They offer an upmarket service with high-quality camps, good food, and good guiding. Or at least that’s what they say, but I was here to see if I agreed.

After a safety and camp briefing by Richard, I had time to drop my things in my new home before lunch. The camp is in a gently rolling landscape of grass plains dotted with trees and bushes, and there is no shortage of space. The tents are well apart from each other giving plenty of privacy, but you might want to request one of the ones nearer to the main building if you have any walking difficulties as some of them are quite a distance. The tents are huge and stylishly appointed. They have a verandah and then almost a second verandah/lounge area with chairs and a chaise longue as you walk into the tent.

“I’d recommend you leave dirty boots inside the tent rather than out,” said Rich. “Hyenas are partial to walking boots.”

The large gauze windows gave the tent a bright airy feel, and allowed you to feel really connected to the landscape you were in. Yet here, in the middle of the wild bush, the level of comfort and quality of my room was very high. A king-sized double bed dominated the middle of the large room, with the headboard wall boasting plenty of lights, and plugs for charging the ever-important bits of technology we all now travel with. Behind this wall, the bathroom was almost as big as the bedroom area.

“You turn on what I call the Hollywood lights just here,” said Rich, pointing out all the elements of the room I needed to know about, and turning on the lights around the mirror. “And this is my favourite bit,” he continued, as he unzipped the back of the tent, and revealed a lovely outside area with an outdoor shower. “If you fancy a shower under the stars, or sun for that matter, just let us know and we’ll bring you hot water for the bucket.”  Yes, I know, that sounds a bit rustic for a high-quality camp, but don’t worry, there’s an indoor, piped hot water shower too.

Back in the open main building, it was lunchtime. A buffet with delicious fishcakes, lots of different salads, and home-baked bread. Everyone generally sits together for meals, which are hosted by the charming management couple, Rich and Della. They’ve only been here for three weeks, but I can see they are getting on well with the staff and are very capable, friendly ‘people’ people. They quickly make guests feel part of the camp ‘family’ while they are here, and make sure their stay is seamless and enjoyable. They are a key part of whether a camp works, and I’d say that, new as they are, they are doing a great job. All the current 12 guests were very happy, and the guest feedback book told the same story from the last few weeks.

My afternoon game drive with Sammy was excellent, with diverse wildlife from giraffes to gazelles, and warthogs to wildebeest, and even some bat-eared foxes as the night drew in. The vehicles offer good vision and Sammy was a mine of information.

Dinner was a friendly affair with the other guests as we enjoyed mushroom pancakes, followed by chicken stuffed with herby soft cheese, and a pudding I can’t remember because I was too full to eat it! The wine flowed, and the chatter was relaxed as we moved from what wildlife we’d each seen that day, to the merits or otherwise of Donald Trump, and not-to-be-missed movies.

The next morning I had plumped for a walking safari with the camp’s specialist guide, Lucas. Proper long bush walks with a trained, armed guide are a speciality of the camp, and I love walking safaris, so I joined three other guests, Lucas and another guide for a 3-4 hour walk from 6.30.

Before we’d even got out of camp we’d spotted elephants, giraffe, and a martial eagle. Walking single file in the bush, we continued, becoming part of the landscape and getting surprisingly close to eland and wildebeest. It was a truly excellent experience and Lucas’s knowledge and confidence meant that we could enjoy the wilderness whilst being aware yet calm about our surroundings.

Walking Safari with guide & other guests. Photograph by Amanda Marks.

Eland. Photograph by Amanda Marks.

Whether the American was right and this is indeed the best camp in the Masai Mara is hard to say. Tastes vary, and we each look for different things, but I’d say it’s got to be in the running. I’d go back like a shot.


Amanda Marks went to check out camps and lodges in the Masai Mara in June 2017. See her articles about other camps, and about safariing in the Mara:

Amanda Marks - Author

Amanda Marks is a founder and director of Tribes Travel. She believes travel opens hearts and minds.

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