Mara Bushtops Camp
Every day in the Masai Mara is different. Each of our game drives is an adventure into the unknown. We recommend staying with us for at least four days (three nights) to ensure you absorb as much game viewing as you can, balanced with relaxation in camp. This activity is included in the price when staying at Mara Bushtops.
We’d love to guarantee you’ll see the big five. We’re confident you will spot lions, buffalo and elephants, often in great numbers. Leopards and rhino can be shy, but we do all in our power to seek them out. The secret is to make sure you take part in at least one early morning game drive, one full day game drive and an evening game drive (a night drive is a bonus!). The knowledge of our rangers and the sharp eyes of Masai spotters will do the rest.
It doesn’t matter how long you stay, it will never feel long enough! That’s because when you are not ranging across the Masai Mara or the Conservancy on one of our 4 x 4s, there is always a choice of activities.
A walking safari and bush breakfast is always fascinating, but you may prefer a break from the wildlife. A tour of a local school provides an education (we’re never too old to learn), whilst visiting a traditional Masai village showcases just how different yet similar we all are. We can lay on a Masai archery demonstration (children of all ages love taking part!), or give you a tour into how the camp runs sustainably and efficiently. The walking safari is included in the price when staying at Mara Bushtops.
Night Game Drive
One of the unusual aspects of Mara Bushtops and owning our own conservancy is being able to arrange night game drives, which is included in the price when staying at Mara Bushtops. When the sun sets, nature shuffles its deck, revealing new players and dramas under the moonlit skies of the Masai Mara.
The lights of our 4x4s may pick out the eyes of a spring hare bounding like a kangaroo, or the loping figure of a hunter bearing down on a herd of impala. A night game drive is a wonderful opportunity to spot the best of Kenya’s wildlife – perhaps a lion, leopard or buffalo, a silver backed jackal, hyena or banded mongoose.
Masai spotters and unique night game drive technology
Masai spotters know where to look and seem able to see in the dark, aided by night torches. Our specially converted car is equipped with a heat-seeking night-vision camera, known as a ‘flir’, whose infra-red images are relayed to screens on the seatbacks ahead of you. This adds a new, unexpected dimension to game viewing – and another way in which we aim to surprise and delight our guests.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
It’s an astonishing image: a balloon, framed against the rising sun, overlooking the herds of Masai Mara plains. You could be in that balloon’s basket, creating a memory that will last a lifetime. But you will have to get up early!
If you want to add a balloon safari to your itinerary, it’s best to let us know in advance. This lies outside your stay at Mara Bushtops and bookings are outside our control: the sooner you let us know, the more likely we can confirm availability (and the additional costs involved: you should allow US$450-$500 per person).
Having booked your flight, you will be picked up from Mara Bushtops in the early hours of the morning, ready to take flight as dawn breaks (weather permitting). As you level out over the Bush, you gain a bird’s eye view of the herds and an awe-inspiring panoramic overview of the wide horizons. After about an hour, your experienced pilot brings the balloon safely to earth. You celebrate the amazing experience with a Bush champagne breakfast. You then have the option to continue the adventure, adding a full day game drive, or return to camp for a leisurely morning or nap.
Bushtops Bushcraft Challenge
If you are bringing younger members of the family with you, there's something new and exciting awaiting them at Bushtops. Our Bushcraft Challenge, which is included in the price when staying at Mara Bushtops. This introduces youngsters to basic survival skills, local culture, the importance of conservation and (of course) local flora and fauna.
Activities include learning to make fire without matches or a lighter; completing animal spotting checklists (assisted by our rangers); identifying animal tracks and making a memento plaster cast of their favourites (we can even arrange to have a Bronze made out of your cast. This will be sent to you via courier); learning about animal bones; practicing archery; trying out bead making skills; baking Swahili cookies and more!
Completing the challenge leads to a Bushtops Bushcraft Certificate, authenticating unique skills and a sense of real achievement.
Full Day Game Drive & Picnic Lunch
During a full-day game drive your ranger will find a nice spot under a tree to set up a picnic lunch. Dining in the middle of nowhere with nobody to disturb you except for the noises of animals nearby also enjoying their lunch is an experience one cannot easily forget. This carries no additional cost.
African Spa Village
Our award-winning safari spa at Mara Bushtops takes Wild Luxury to new heights. It adds luxurious pampering, peace and tranquillity to the excitement of game watching, culinary excellence and the comforts of the camp. Use of the spa facilities is included in the price when staying at Mara Bushtops but treatments and massages carry an additional cost.
Within the soothing confines of the safari spa, rejuvenating massages, hydrotherapy and a range of holistic skin and body treatments are complemented by a fitness facility, complete with high-tech cardiovascular and weight training equipment.
A sauna, Rasul steam room (featuring multi-sensory Arabian mud cleansing treatments) and hot tub vie for attention with a heated infinity pool – with beds inside the pool complete with water jets! There is also a cold plunge pool to take the edge of the heat. And to wind down, there is the simple glory of our wooden relaxation deck, providing uninterrupted views of the camp’s salt lick and the majestic African bush.
This is where the ‘luxury’ part of our promise to you comes to glorious life. We offer a range of delights, embracing Amani signature spa treatments, luxurious body treatments, sensational journeys, a massage collection, deluxe facials and hand and foot rituals.
The best ending to any day. Watching a fiery red orb of light slowly sink beneath the horizon in the middle of the bush, all while chatting about the sightings of the day and enjoying some drinks with canapés. This activity is included in the price when staying at Mara Bushtops.
Pre dinner drinks at the Amani Spa village star pool
A simply fantastic place to view the sunset and talk about the events of the day and the plan for tomorrow. The pool was designed with stars in the bottom that emit light through the water in the shape of the Orion constellation. This activity has no additional cost.
Drinks around the camp fire with traditional Masai dancing
The camp fire is a great place to have drinks and wind down after a day well spent. You will be treated with a traditional Masai dance for entertainment. The jumping dance is likely what you will be familiar with. In the Masai language this dancing competition is called the "adumu". Though the jumping dance is the most well known, there are plenty of other traditional dances that the Masai perform. This carries no additional cost.
Lunch overlooking our salt lick
Our guests call is "the best view in the Maasai Mara"
Our private conservancy is a haven for wildlife – and the best bit is just yards from the camp. Directly in front of the restaurant and spa lies a salt lick. Animals love it, arriving primarily at noon but also throughout the day and night to absorb the minerals needed for healthy bones and growth.
This creates a constantly shifting nature show, as gazelle jostle with warthogs, zebra and impala, topi and buffalo. It is not unusual to have a herd of elephant join them – and we have hosted more than 40 giraffe at a time. Naturally, the predators take an interest, with leopard and lion visitors. We like to think Mara Bushtops is unique: as the only camp in the Mara with a natural salt lick this size! This has no additional cost.
Kakiya cave visit
We’re used to surprises in the Bush, but sometimes we get left open-mouthed. Finding an historic Masai cave in our conservancy was just such an occasion. As a result, our excursions have just become even more exciting!
We’d heard rumours of the cave’s existence, but after 10 years at Mara Bushtops, had no idea that within a 15 minute drive (and 10 minute hike) lay a centre of worship, sacrifice and communal gathering.
It’s called the Kakiya cave and it is truly incredible. Kakiya means the place of eating and drinking, giving us a pretty solid clue as to its central role in Masai life!
A walking safari through a scenic valley takes you into a hidden world. Here you can learn how to create a fire (without matches) before your Masai spotter explains the cave’s history, role and continued relevance to the Masai. This includes an explanation of the cave art, which uses red ochre to depict wild animals and warriors, usually created to celebrate a kill. It is hard to know when the cave was first used. We know some of the paintings are from the 1950s, but many may be much older. This activity has no additional cost.
Private Bush Breakfast
Picture this: an early morning wake-up call, followed by a mysterious drive into the wilderness. Then, as the sun rises and light floods the landscape, you find yourself in an oasis of tranquility.
You hop from the truck to survey this wonderland. Moments later, your table awaits you. This is your Private Bush breakfast.
It’s highly unlikely that you have ever started the day in such a glorious location, or in such splendid isolation. No fellow diners: just you, our chef and your ranger, serving a hot meal and an array of delicious buffet delicacies. A glorious day in the Bush has begun… This activity is included in the price for honeymooners but carries an additional cost for other guests.
Masai Village Visit
Masai tribal villages are dotted around East Africa’s national parks. At Bushtops we highly recommend a visit to a Masai manyatta (village), to gain a rare insight into one of Africa best-known traditional cultures. Our relationship with local tribal elders has built trust and an agreement to allow us privileged access to authentic living history, perpetuated in the villages which border our private conservancy. This activity carries an additional cost.
Nkoilale School Visit
Education is the greatest gift – and helping out local schools is very much part of the Bushtops way. It’s fundamental to our belief that luxury safaris must go hand in hand with care for the land, its wildlife and the communities who were there long before us.
Our local schools are proud of what we achieve together, so the headmaster or a teacher is always happy to give our guests a tour. In around 45 minutes you get to meet the students, see them in class and note some of the projects we’ve funded, built or worked on.
A visit always creates an unforgettable impression: it’s a captivating experience, seeing how children in less fortunate communities take every chance they can get to learn – creating new opportunities for their future.
To take part in a school visit, just let us know before you arrive. If not, we may still be able to arrange things once you join us. There is no cost.