This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp
Karen Blixen Camp

Karen Blixen Camp: Our full report

Named after the Danish author of Out of Africa, this beautifully sited, Danish-owned, tented camp is located ...

... on the east bank of a broad loop of the meandering Mara River. The camp is a member of the Mara North Conservancy, where the guides usually conducts their game drives, and it's also within striking distance of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, whose Oloololo Gate is about 15km to the south.

Approaching the camp from Mara North airstrip, you turn off the main track towards the river and begin a long, gentle descent across a rock-strewn plain, eventually doing a zigzag into thicker bush and arriving at the camp's boom gate. The shady parking area is close to the reception, dining area and bar, all of which are sheltered under a large, pitched roof of Kilgoris grass tiles. Beyond the roofed area there's a terrace of crazy paving with a central fire pit for evening campfire time, surrounded by wood and canvas safari chairs. Beyond the terrace, lawns extend to the steeper part of the riverbank, where a tangle of vegetation helps to deter crocs and hippos from visiting the camp.

The river-front lawn is a popular spot for guests to relax. The local hippo pod can always be seen on the sandy shore directly opposite the camp, and after rains a tributary stream of the Mara enters the main river at this point, creating a much larger hippo pool. As well as the wallowing hippos, the area is a favourite watering spot for elephants, buffalo, eland and zebra. During our recent visit in 2019 we saw a elephants in the river in front of the camp.

While the dining arrangements at Karen Blixen Camp are quite hotel-like, with individual tables, the central dining area, lounge and bar (the “mess area") has a relaxed, convivial feel that makes it quite easy for guests to mingle.

Beside the mess area is a very well stocked curio shop as well as a WiFi tent.

There is a freeform swimming pool and a small spa, behind tents 9 and 10, which is a bonus for a camp of this size. There is a wide range of spa treatments on offer, in 2019 these started from $25 US dollars.

Karen Blixen Camp has 22 large, platform-mounted tents, ranged along the riverbank, each with a plumbed-in, partly open-air bathroom at the rear, and a veranda with deckchairs at the front. Tents #6 to #1 extend to the north of the mess area and are spread out, and tents #7 to #22 are ranged along the riverbank to the south and are much closer together. All the tents are close to the riverbank, but #6 (the closest to the central area in north wing) and #22 (the furthest away to the south) have the best views and are the most private. Tents #7-18 are a little more closely spaced than the others. Tents #15 and #16 share a single platform, making them ideal for a family. Note that if you're in one of the more distant tents, it is a 300-400m walk to the central area, so you'll need to allow a few minutes to reach the mess area.

The style of the tents is traditional, with a heavy canvas construction, and roll-up window flaps allowing good ventilation through the mosquito screens. The tent floor is of solid, reddish wood and the furnishings aim to emulate a 1920's “Out-of-Africa" style, with an armchair, chaise longue and electric bedside lights disguised as hurricane lamps. A whistle is provided to alert camp guards (askaris) after dark that you're ready to go to the mess area. Comfortable beds, either set up as twins or a double, are backed by shelving and a writing desk, and the large bathroom and outdoor shower area are directly behind.

The spacious bathrooms, divided from the bedroom area by a tent flap, feature a wooden washstand with double steel washbasins, wooden storage shelves and towel rails, and a conventional flush toilet. Through a flap at the back of the tent, beyond the main bathroom area, is the outdoor shower and bathtub, fully screened for privacy, but completely open to the sky. Toiletries are provided in refillable glass flasks. Showers are plumbed although hot water is only available between 06:00 – 10:00 and 18:00 – 22:00.

When we visited in 2019 the camp was in the process of upgrading all tents, they have been making steady progress and in 2019 they had already upgraded 16 of the tents, with six left to go. They hope to have these complete by mid 2020. The new tents are similar in style to the old, and these feel fresh and light with new fabrics and soft furnishings.

The main activities at Karen Blixen Camp revolve around game drives in the Mara North Conservancy in the camps' ten Land Cruisers. These are completely open at the rear, with roll-up sides, and they're fitted with six comfortable, leather-and-canvas-upholstered seats in three rows of two. They all have power points for charging batteries – but check yours is working before relying on it.

We enjoyed very productive wildlife-viewing during our stay at Karen Blixen Camp in October 2016, with multiple sightings of lion prides, as well as cheetahs and a night drive (returning to camp about 8pm) that yielded a beautiful serval cat and, remarkably, an aardvark busy excavating a burrow. Night drives are also on offer as well as a bush breakfast or dinner.

As well as the Mara North Conservancy, Karen Blixen Camp can do game drives in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, usually going out for a full-day game drive with packed meals. The camp also has access to its own private Oloisuk Concession – an area of 9km² where they conduct nature walks focusing on tracking, plant life and birds.

Walking safaris are offered by the camp and take place in the Mara North Conservancy. These are led by a guide and accompanied by an armed security guard.

Other activities include visits to a local Maasai compound and back-of-house tours of the camp, giving an interesting insight into its sustainable practices. These can include a visit to the remarkable catering school set up by the camp, where local students learn cookery and nutrition from an energetic young Danish chef. The camp also supports a womens project, training local ladies with the skills to create jewelry and crafts which are then sold in the curio shop.

Our view

Karen Blixen Camp is a well-run camp that's perennially popular with visitors who are not looking for a hosted safari experience. Comfortable and professionally managed, with good guides, its location and aspects of its environmental practice make it stand out.

Parita Masani

Parita Masani

Kenya expert


Maasai Mara Conservancies, Kenya
Ideal length of stay
3 nights-plus
45 minutes transfer from Mara North airstrip.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
The camp's food has an excellent reputation, but during our stay in 2016 was not up to the standards we had been expecting. Early morning tea or coffee are served in the mess area and a standard buffet breakfast of cereals and fruit (with cooked breakfast to order) from 8am onwards. Our lunch (from 12.30–2pm) included a rather salty pea soup followed by a Kenyan-style “beef fry" of curried beef with rice, chick peas and chapattis. Dinner (from 7pm onwards) started with beetroot soup, and was followed by a choice of Nile perch swamped in tartar sauce or somewhat fatty lamb chops. Vegetarian options are always available on request, but you need to specify your requirements when booking.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Room service is available on request.
Drinks included
Soft drinks, house wine and beer are included. Spirits and premium wines are charged at extra cost.


Attitude towards children
Children are welcome
Property’s age restrictions
Special activities & services
Child minding is available by a member of staff but parents must be aware that they are not formally trained.

Bow and arrow games can be organised.
Highchairs and baby cots are available if requested in advance.
Generally recommended for children
We think this is a good choice for a family safari in the Maasai Mara and the swimming pool (unsupervised) offers a good place to let off steam. All the tents have space for up to two extra single beds to be added for children up to the age of 12.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Karen Blixen Camp

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Karen Blixen Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.


100% success


100% success


100% success


100% success


100% success


100% success

Spotted Hyena

100% success


100% success


100% success


50% success


50% success


50% success

Striped Hyena

50% success

Wild dog

50% success

Black Rhino

0% success


0% success


Power supply notes
The camp is largely powered by solar energy with generator backup and the tents have 24-hour power. Hair driers can be used on request. Battery-charging in rooms.
There is WiFi in a seperate room to the main area. Airtel and Orange phone networks are generally available in camp, though the most popular network, Safaricom, is only available up the hill away from the river.
TV & radio
Water supply
Water supply notes
The camp uses its own borehole, with a back-up supply from the river. From the camp's water tank, the water goes to a filtration system before being distributed. Filtered water is available in the tents. All rooms have the same plumbing, with hot showers available between 06:00 – 10:00 and between 18:00 – 22:00. The camp also using a limited number of gas water heaters.


Karen Blixen Camp sustainability

Growing Kenya’s future one seed at a time

Located on the banks of the Mara River, Karen Blixen Camp is central to all the main attractions the Mara has to offer, including Leopard Gorge, a big cat birthing ground and nursery site. Conscious about the fragile environment in which it operates, the camp does not remain indifferent to the issues faced by Kenyan people. Currently over 50% of youths in local communities in Kenya find themselves in unemployment and in subsequent poverty. Concerningly, education is out of reach for many of the local Mararienda villagers. Karen Blixen Camp aims to use tourism to make a positive change – help reduce poverty and increase education in its local community.

The camp is home to the Karen Blixen Hospitality School founded in 2012 and opened to the local community. The school offers a range of jobs for the locals, as well as courses from cooking to languages and forestry, which guests are welcome to join. In association with the Woodlands 2000 Trust, the forestry school teaches youths how to grow sustainable woodlots, leading to a nursery of 7,000 seedlings. This is all in order to help combat charcoaling, the traditional source of energy for safaris, and one of the biggest environmental threats to Kenya.

Additionally, guests can get involved in planting seedlings together with teachers and pupils, and give back to the Kenyan ecosystem and community one seed at a time.

See more great sustainability projects in Kenya

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
All the staff have done first aid training has been done with St John Ambulance and the local clinic at Mara Rianta village can be reached in less than fifteen minutes. There’s a helicopter landing pad nearby, just up the hill.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
The camp’s main gate is patrolled around the clock and there are askaris on site day and night. After dark, all guests are escorted to and from their tents.
Fire safety
Every tent has a fire extinguisher and all staff have had fire-training.


  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching


  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Fly-camping


  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Hot air ballooning

    Hot air ballooning

  • Night drive

    Night drive


Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
laundry is usually hand-washed (though they also have a machine) and line-dried. This is at an extra cost of between $3 - $6 per item. For cultural reasons, ladies' underwear can't be laundered.
Guests put their valuables in lock-up bags which are then brought to the office. The lock boxes in guest tents is not for valuables.
Foreign exchange is available subject to the camp having enough cash on hand.
Accepted payment on location
MasterCard and Visa are accepted, with a 4% surcharge. American express is not accepted. All the main currencies (Kenya shillings, US dollars, Euros and Pounds sterling) are accepted for cash payments.

Other lodges in Maasai Mara Conservancies

Alternative places to stay in this same area.

Kicheche Bush Camp

Kicheche Bush Camp

Kicheche Bush Camp is a smart and intimate tented camp with a relaxed atmosphere and the perfect base in the Mara for keen photographers.

100% (98 reviews)
Kicheche Mara

Kicheche Mara

Kicheche Mara Camp has just eight tents and a rustic and comfortable feel. It is set by a stream in a pretty area of the Mara ecosystem's Mara North Conservancy.

98% (86 reviews)
Kicheche Valley

Kicheche Valley

Kicheche Valley is a boutique tented camp in a wooded district of the Mara ecosystem's Naboisho Conservancy, with plenty of wildlife in the area.

99% (61 reviews)
Naboisho Camp

Naboisho Camp

Naboisho Camp is one of the most luxurious of the handful of camps in the Naboisho Conservancy. It offers day and night game drives, game walks and full creature comforts in the bush.

98% (48 reviews)
Offbeat Mara

Offbeat Mara

Offbeat Mara is a small traditional camp that appeals to safari traditionalists, located in one of the Maasai Mara’s quiet conservancies.

98% (41 reviews)
Elephant Pepper Camp

Elephant Pepper Camp

Elephant Pepper Camp is a small 10-tent bush camp, put together in the traditional "campaign" style, and including a large honeymoon/family tent.

99% (17 reviews)
Encounter Mara

Encounter Mara

Encounter Mara is located in the private Naboisho Conservancy – a game-rich area of the Mara ecosystem – and offers a contemporary take on the traditional, low-impact luxury safari camp.

93% (16 reviews)


Serian is a luxury tented camp on the east bank of the Mara River in the Mara North Conservancy. It is the sister camp of Ngare Serian, on the west bank.

97% (14 reviews)
Mara Plains Camp

Mara Plains Camp

Mara Plains is one of the very best camps in the Mara ecosystem. Located in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, just outside the Mara reserve, it has access to three wildlife-viewing areas.

100% (13 reviews)
Basecamp Eagle View

Basecamp Eagle View

Basecamp Eagle View is a community-focused safari camp in the Naboisho Conservancy, with a strong emphasis on responsible tourism and a spectacular location.

96% (10 reviews)
Kicheche Walking Wilderness

Kicheche Fly Camp

Kicheche Walking Wilderness Fly Camp is a temporaray dome tent camp set up for participants in Kicheche's two-day walking safari between Kicheche Valley and Kicheche Bush Camp.

96% (9 reviews)
Porini Lion Camp

Porini Lion Camp

Porini Lion Camp is a pioneering, community focused eco-camp, with excellent guides and game viewing, in the predator-rich, Olare Motorogi Conservancy.

83% (8 reviews)
Hemingways Ol Seki Mara

Hemingways Ol Seki

Magnificently located tented lodge on a bluff looking south across the Naboisho Conservancy toward the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

95% (8 reviews)
Ol Kinyei Adventure Camp

Ol Kinyei Adventure

Ol Kinyei Adventure Camp is a satelllite of the larger Porini Mara Camp. Both of them are located in the Maasai-owned Ol Kinyei conservancy, the oldest community conservancy in the Maasai Mara ecosystem.

98% (8 reviews)
Saruni Wild

Saruni Wild

Saruni Wild is a rustic and traditional safari camp in the Lemek Conservancy, with just three tents and limited electricity.

97% (7 reviews)
Ngare Serian

Ngare Serian

The luxurious Ngare Serian and its sister camp Serian face each other across the Mara River on the western side of the Mara North Conservancy

96% (5 reviews)
Porini Mara Camp

Porini Mara Camp

Porini Mara Camp is a small, pioneering eco-camp in the first private conservancy in the Mara region, with comfortable accommodation and a range of activities.

96% (5 reviews)
Cottars 1920s Camp

Cottars 1920s Camp

Cottar's 1920s Camp is a classic, luxury tented camp with a 1920s safari theme, located in its own conservancy on the southeast border of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

92% (5 reviews)
Offbeat Ndoto

Offbeat Ndoto

Small and intimate, Offbeat Mara is set in a valley above the (often dry) Olare Orok River within the Mara North Conservancy.

100% (5 reviews)
Basecamp Leopard Hill

Basecamp Leopard Hill

With six beautiful tents, Basecamp Leopard Hill is a smart safari camp in the Naboisho Conservancy in the Maasai Mara ecosystem.

100% (4 reviews)


Leleshwa was a delightful, boutique safari camp on the picturesque banks of a tributary of the Talek, with an extensive, little visited game area on its doorstep.

90% (2 reviews)
Mahali Mzuri

Mahali Mzuri

Mahali Mzuri is a strikingly modern tented camp in the Virgin Limited Edition group, in a remote part of the Mara ecosytem's Olare Motorogi Conservancy. It has lovely views and all the luxuries of a five-star hotel.

100% (2 reviews)
Mara Nyika

Mara Nyika

Mara Nyika is one of the newer additions to the Naboisho Conservancy and offers a luxurious and exclusive safari.

100% (1 review)
Basecamp Wilderness Camp

Basecamp Wilderness

Basecamp Wilderness Camp is a simple, traditional tented camp, set in a remote valley in the Naboisho Conservancy in the Mara ecoystem.

100% (1 review)
Saruni Mara

Saruni Mara

Saruni Mara is a luxurious permanent lodge, on the remote northern edge of the Mara North Conservancy, with stunning views, good guiding and very private and comfortable rooms.

80% (1 review)
Mara Bushtops

Mara Bushtops

Mara Bushtops is a luxury safari hotel on a private concession, outside the Maasai Mara National Reserve, with the emphasis on comfort, relaxation and good food and wine.

No reviews yet


Entumoto is a high-end tented camp, with a swimming pool, situated in a very pretty location on the east side of the Maasai Mara ecosystem.

No reviews yet
Cottars Private House

Cottars Private House

Cottar's Private House is one of the few truly luxurious, modern private houses in the Mara ecosystem, spoiling its guests with first-rate staff, a swimming pool and wonderful views.

No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link

New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team