Karen Blixen Camp
KAREN BLIXEN CAMP RATES: Karen Blixen
KAREN BLIXEN CAMP -
The Camp is situated in southern Kenya on the north-western border of the famed Masai Mara Reserve in the Great Plains Masai Mara North Conservancy. Set on the banks of the Mara River on 700 Acres piece of private land leased from a Maasai Landlords. With the impressive escarpment in front of the Camp, and the great Mara plains behind the Camp where the Mara River provides the focal point – the location is spectacular. The river, runs the length of the property and provides a constant source of water for the thirsty plains game that come to drink throughout the course of the day including zebra, impala, elephant, giraffe and many more, whilst the resident hippo pod in front of the restaurant provide hours of entertainment as they spend their day frolicking in the river.
Karen Blixen Camp is an eco-friendly luxury camp that gives a sense of the exiting explorer days when the savannah was seldom visited and elaborate and comfortable camps were set up providing a luxurious and stylish retreat after each day’s adventure.
The beautiful laid swimming pool offers relaxation and even a little exercise in-between game drives. Our resident masseuse offers a wide range of wellness and beauty treatments.
Karen Blixen Camp is the perfect place to sit back and relax with a gin and tonic overlooking the Mara River and the wildlife coming to drink, whilst exchanging stories about the adventures of the day.
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The Camp comprises 22 spacious en-suite tents (4.6m x 8m) set on large mahogany platforms (5m x 13m) - each with a spacious veranda complete with a cozy cushion filled day bed from which one can enjoy the perfect afternoon siesta or simply relax taking in the wonderful surroundings watching the throng of thirsty animals coming to the waters edge to drink as well as the spectacular scenery.
Tents can be configured for either double or twin occupancy, where under prior arrangement 3rd and even 4th beds can be added for children/adults. Each of the tents is en-suite and has a w.c., twin wash hand basins and an outside starlit shower with hot and cold running water. The tents have all been appointed with solid, comfortable furniture so that you have the ultimate in camping-luxury to come back to after exciting game drives
or walks in the conservancy. 19 tents – including our family unit which comprises two tents with a shared balcony/veranda are placed along the river bank, whilst 3 tents are on raised platforms offering incredible views of the surrounding area.
Each tent is en-suite and furnished with a large comfortable bed, Persian rugs and a cozy armchair giving you the ultimate in camping luxury. The private bathroom has a flush toilet, twin wash hand basins and a romantic outside shower with amazing view to the sky. Water is heated using solar panels to avoid any use of firewood and thus conserving the Mara Woodlands. Electricity is provided in all tents 24 hours a day by extended solar panel system and battery storing bank.
All tents are placed with undisturbed view along the Mara River giving unique and private game viewing to the Oloololo Escarpment and its rich wildlife.
The location of Karen Blixen Camp allows guests to experience wildlife from a prime position where this area is famed for the renowned migration of approximately 1 million wildebeest, zebra and antelopes on their annual trek between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in search of water and grazing. The migration is at its prime in this area between July and November, however being situated in one of the most densely populated wildlife areas in the world, the resident wildlife, including plains game, and the numerous carnivores who live in the area means that game viewing is never a disappointment. In order to optimize your visit we suggest leaving the Camp early in the morning, returning for a hearty breakfast where one can then relax in the Camp before proceeding on an afternoon/evening drive, or for those that wish to venture further a field, then lavish picnic lunches can be provided where guests can then explore this vast and varied area for a full day returning in the late afternoon. Walks with our knowledgeable and experienced guides and Maasai rangers are also very popular and allow for some really memorable moments and a chance to see the bush from a very different perspective.
Animals often seen on game drives in the area include lion, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, elephant, rhino, giraffe, various antelopes, wildebeest, zebra, warthogs to name but a few. The birdlife is also excellent around the Camp and the surrounding environs. From Karen Blixen Camp we offer the unique opportunity to explore this quiet
corner of the Mara ecosystem of the Great Plains Masai Mara North Conservancy which is also home to the famed Leopard Gorge which has provided the stage for numerous BBC, National Geographic and Discovery Channel documentaries including the Big Cat Diaries. Another ‘must do’ activity from Karen Blixen Camp is a night drive where we
look for the less commonly seen nocturnal species, and maybe lucky to spot a lion or leopard hunting. Cultural visits to Maasai Village, school and/or church can also be arranged as can hot air balloon trips – where pre booking is advised due to limited availability.
Enjoy a refreshing swim in-between game drives
Our chic and organic shaped swimming pool is placed in the midst of graceful Acacia and Olive trees. Relax in their shade, lying on the comfortable sun beds and enjoy a refreshing drink.
Relaxed in-camp game viewing
Watch our resident hippo pod with their fat little baby hippos; busy pushing and shoving at each other. Enjoy the elephants as they come in their dozens to gulp down trunks full of water and a playful wash in the Mara River. Relax with a good book at your private verandah while looking at the sturdy buffalos, the grand elands and the numerous zebras grazing the corridor of the impressive Oloololo Escarpment, just opposite your cozy canvas tent.
Karen Blixen Camp privately protects more than 900 Ha of natural wildlife area on lease agreements with our local Maasai landowners. The protection of Oloisuk Concession assures our guests the outmost private and exclusive wildlife experience with undisturbed view to the Masai Mara River and the impressive Oloololo Escarpment in the front.
Game drives are encouraged within Mara North Conservancy for the utmost exclusive and private safari experience with low impact tourism and controlled vehicle density. On request and during the great migration we drive into the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Morning game drives
The early morning game drives start just before sunrise, where one is woken up by a cup of steaming hot Kenyan highland coffee. As the sun rises, we are out on the savannah, taking in the fresh smell of the moist grasses and observing the scenic nature and it's amazing wildlife. Home in camp you enjoy the lavishly set breakfast. Relax at your private verandah with a good book or simply take pleasure in the plentiful wildlife that comes to drink at the Mara River; just opposite the restaurant.
Afternoon game drives
Enjoy a delicious lunch and spend the afternoon basking in the sun at the poolside. Afternoon game drives usually starts in the late afternoon and one returns to camp just before the darkness fall upon Mara.
Full day game drives
The full day game drives start just after you have enjoyed your breakfast and continues until the late afternoon. We provide you with a delicious picnic lunch basket with chilled drinks and hot Kenyan tea and coffee.
Night game drives
Karen Blixen Camp offers night game drives. The feeling and the smells of the savannah are completely different. Stronger. More quiet. With all plain game alert and watchful. One truly feels the dangers of the night as the big cat predators prepare themselves for the nightly hunts. We leave in the late afternoon and return to camp no later than 9pm for a late dinner.
Stars in Masai Mara are amazingly bright and the night has this velvety blue darkness. Perfect for a gin & tonic at the outdoor fireplace; exchanging stories of the adventures of the day.
Responsible game driving
Karen Blixen Camp is committed to responsible game driving. All our safari guides are bronze or silver rated and receive extensive training by the international recognized South African company EcoTraining. Guests are obliged to follow the game drive etiquette set by the Mara North Conservancy.
Game walking with armed guides is arranged for those who wish to experience the magnitude of the Mara savannah on foot.
We will track and try to come close to the plain game as giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, topis, Grant’s gazelles, Thompson’s gazelles, yellow baboons and Kirks dikdik. Learning about these fascinating animals and to understand the very unique behavioral and anatomical adaptations helps fit them into their role in the Mara ecology. For security reasons we avoid any contact with the big five as the elephants, buffalos or any of the big cat predators.
Game walks are arranged at the plains of the Masai Mara North Conservancy or at Oloisuk, our own exclusive concession area; to get there one need to cross the Mara River in a small boat. All game walks are accompanied with an experienced Maasai ranger (armed) and guides and arranged according to your endurance.
Nature walks are kept within the camp and focus entirely on the rich birdlife and little insects inhabiting the area and how the Masai make use of the indigenous plants for medical and ritual purposes.
Balloon safaris will take you high above the impressive Masai Mara plains, and gliding quietly through the wind is truly a magical and breathtaking experience.
The thrilling adventure begins as the first pink rays of light are seen on the sky. As the silent inflation system fills the balloon with hot air, the captain will ask you to climb into the basket, suspended below the balloon. Your anxiety will be replaced with a rush of adrenaline and excitement as the balloon silently lifts from the ground and the Masai Mara will fall away under your feet and a whole new and amazing view appears with herds of elephants tottering beneath you. After an hour of fascinating slow balloon cruising, you will land and a lavish champagne breakfast set amidst the bush awaits you. This is a truly magical and unforgettable safari experience.
Community visits to the local Maasai Manyatta (village), school, market and church gives anyone interested a closer understanding of the proud Maasai people and their heritage as an important part of the Masai Mara Ecosystem.
Traditional Maasai village
The traditional Masai village is called a Manyatta and consists of a number of small cow dung made huts with thatched roofs. The huts are placed in a circle with livestock in the middle and a thick thorny fence for protection against the nightly predators. The Mararienda Village has around inhabitants and guests visiting this traditional Maasai Manyatta will spend time learning about their life, culture and customs. Mornings are cool and usually busy for the women and girls with milking of cows and goats; later the herders take the cattle for grazing on the Mara plains.
Guests of Karen Blixen Camp are kindly requested to obtain a ticket before visiting the village. The proceeds are forwarded directly to the villagers through a transparent ticketing system ensuring them a decent income to provide for basic necessities as food stuffs, clothing or school fees. Karen Blixen Camp is working with Tribal Voice Communications Ltd. to ensure transparent revenue distribution for the Maasai local communities.
Local primary school
All over the world, children go to school, sit in class rooms and listen to the teachers. The Masai children are no exception. They get up very early in the morning, pack their books and pencils and walk through the bush in their blue and white uniforms to the school. The local Aitong Primary School in Aitong Village has around 700 pupils and 15 teachers with 8 classes. Each teacher teaches 60-70 pupils so classrooms are filled with little boys and girls sitting next to each other on the school benches, eager to learn. The Aitong Primary School is a Kenyan Governmental school and provides free education for the Maasai children. However, governmental funding has not been sufficient and well-wishers as well as parents are contributing with financial support for teachers’ salaries, school fees, construction of classrooms and basic learning aids.
Karen Blixen Camp has fundraised 140,000 USD for building a boarding unit, purchasing tables and chairs, employing teachers and buying learning equipment as text books, exercise books, pens and pencils for Aitong Primary School. The donation was given by the Danish Obel Family Fund.
Busy market days
The market days are full of life with women trying to sell their goods to other women. Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, kangas, Masai shukas, and small toys are all neatly laid out on the straw mats placed on the ground with the mamas sitting patiently waiting for their prospective customers. The Maasai women are dressed in their very best; red and blue dresses with pretty jewelry around the forehead, neck, arms and ankles. Many come from afar and have been looking forward to this festive happening to gossip and hear news of friends and families.
Most of the women only speak Maa, but this won’t stop them from bargaining and haggling over prices with the interested buyer. Guests are welcome to come to a Masai market day in Mararienda Village or in Aitong Village. Your Maasai guide will accompany you, tell you more about the Maasai culture and translate should you wish to buy any product.
The wedding necklace
The Maasai women form the base of the Maasai society. They take care of children and co-wives’ children. They fetch water and firewood from far away. They milk and tend to the cattle in the early mornings and late afternoons when the cattle returns from grazing the savannah. The wedding necklace is an activity where you meet the Maasai women; learn about their everyday life and how to make the beautiful Masai beadwork. In return they learn about you and your cultural background. Since focus will be on the transition from girlhood to womanhood within the Maasai society, only female guests are able to take part in this activity.
Hospitality school and follow the daily life of our Cooking School students. Enroll for Ready, Steady, Cook! and enjoy a well prepared meal. We also welcome you to raise the bar and teach a class English, German or IT.
Plant trees for conservation walk along the banks of the Mara River, pick your favorite spot and dig a many holes as you can and plant your ingenious tree seedlings.
Eco Camp Walks
Eco camp walks show you how we run an eco friendly luxury camp out in the bush with green technologies as solar panels, non-power cold room, solar water heaters, zero waste sewage system and waste management.
Lounge & Dining
The open plan ‘mess’ area, built on a raised wooden deck, is beautifully located on the banks of the Mara River overlooking a resident hippo pod providing our guests with endless entertainment. The mess area comprises the reception, the restaurant and the lounge area with a home-style bar. Comfortable sofas give a welcoming and cozy retreat for the weary traveler while enjoying a before-dinner drink. Around the campfire one can share the safari adventure of the day, listen to the sounds of the night and look at the magnificent African starlit sky.
Karen Blixen was passionate about cooking and found her inspiration in the French, English, Italian and Danish kitchens. Through historical books we have found many of her original recipes, and dining at the Camp brings back the days of the early 1920-30’s. Modern day’s love for cosmopolitan food with clear notes from the Far East, India or Africa’s own traditional cooking is also served at our table alongside a comprehensive selection of the continents finest wines. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are served in the restaurant or bush garden from where one has an incredible close view of the Mara River and the wild animals coming to drink.
Romantic bush dinners
We arrange the most amazingly set bush breakfasts and lunches at carefully selected areas, offering guests the most spectacular view of the savannah and as the perfect surprise after an exciting morning game drive. If one wishes to venture a little further, one can also enjoy a romantic bush dinner set beneath the starlit African night.
Home cooking and gastronomic trends Frederik Olesen, an internationally experienced chef inspires our chefs to the latest homemade cookery and gastronomic trends using lots of fresh herbs and flowers from our own organic garden. We accommodate a very international clientele and one should feel safe that menus will always reflect a variety of choices. Succulent beef or lamb, grilled fish or lavishly vegetarian dishes is made of the very finest locally produced ingredients. Our meat comes from the ranches around Mount Kenya and selected by our butcher in Nairobi, fruits are grown at the coastal areas and vegetables come from the Kenyan highlands.
Therapy and wellness
Being out in one of the world’s most beautiful places one should really relax and enjoy a comforting wellness treatment or a therapeutic body massage whilst listening to the rich birdlife and the sounds of the Mara River flowing by. Going on a safari in the beautiful Masai Mara is all about appreciating the wonderful and amazing wildlife. And about slowing down and taking time off to truly pamper yourself and the one you love.
Karen Blixen Camp offer a wide range of wellness treatments and therapeutic body massages using organic African oils only. Our beautiful laid swimming pool with sun-beds and umbrellas assure recreation or even a little exercise in-between game drives.
Our wellness therapist is trained in the centuries old African Kukanda (massage) tradition. Relaxing in the privacy of your outdoor verandah; wellness treatments are focused on improved energy. Therapies entails mild pressure facial massages, head and neck massages and deep tissue body massages using ranges of different strokes, kneading and comforting tractions of varied compressions.
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