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Mara Plains Camp
Mara Plains Camp
Mara Plains Camp

About Mara Plains Camp

With its exacting attention to detail, immaculate green credentials and outstanding location, Mara Plains is one of Kenya’s top camps.

The camp now known as Mara Plains was once called Film Safaris Camp, and during the annual wildebeest migration, extraordinary footage was captured here.

Originally founded by Warren Samuels of BBC Big Cat Diary fame and filmmaker Rob O’Meara, they chose this site, nestled in a grove of trees on the edge of the Ntiakatek stream, with an eye to impeccable positioning for their cameras in order to create the most arresting images. To the south, the plains of the Maasai Mara, thronged by a million wildebeest from July to October, seem to stretch endlessly from the unobstructed decks of the superb accommodation.

With only seven, magnificent guest tents, Mara Plains is one of the smallest camps in the Mara region, giving it a very personal and intimate feel and a high degree of flexibility. This camp is a zen-like lesson in how to be both down-to-earth and first-class: the welcome is warm, the service attentive without being overbearing, and the attention to detail impressive. The camp is extraordinarily eco-friendly too, despite its luxury and comfort, with an organic produce garden and a huge solar array.

Location and delivery together make it the best camp in the Maasai Mara.

Accommodation
7 tents
Children
Best for 12+
Open
Closed April

Activities

4WD Safari

4WD Safari

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Cultural excursion

Cultural excursion

Fly-camping

Fly-camping

Guided walking safari

Guided walking safari

Horse-riding

Horse-riding

Hot air ballooning

Hot air ballooning

Night drive

Night drive

Safaris visiting Mara Plains Camp

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

African Finfoot Fly-in Safari

7 days • 3 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A unique start to the safari in Nairobi National Park, then classic, luxurious camps combine for a high end and exclusive safari in fantastic wildlife destinations.

Visiting Nairobi, Laikipia and 1 other area

US$8,180 - US$12,640 per person

Read more about the African Finfoot Fly-in Safari

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Traveller reviews of Mara Plains Camp

10 real, un-edited reviews from Expert Africa's travellers.


100%
10 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
10
Good
0
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
TravellerfromCanada

Arrived 30 Nov 2019, 5 nights

"Wonderful, intimate camp "

"Excellent host...superb guide. Tent was stellar. Good game viewing every day. …" Read Traveller’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr RfromTorreon

Arrived 11 Mar 2017, 3 nights

"Luxury & service in 3 words Mara Plains Camp"

"Mara Plains Camp is a wonderful and luxury camp that has a great team looking …" Read Mr R’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr SfromHong Kong

Arrived 17 Jan 2017, 3 nights

"Mara Plains Perfection"

"Stella runs a great world class camp -- Duncan my guide was phenomenal and …" Read Mr S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs MfromGloucester

Arrived 16 Sep 2016, 3 nights

"Simply amazing"

"Brilliant camp. We had a huge room/tent accessed across an interesting wooden …" Read Mr & Mrs M’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Two TravellersfromUK

Arrived 3 Sep 2016, 3 nights

"Mara Plains review"

"Like walking onto a film set! The tents and furnishings (above all the brass …" Read Two Travellers’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr PfromMUMBAI

Arrived 27 May 2016, 3 nights

"Mara Plains Camp review"

"The English couple who manage the Plains Camp were absolutely brilliant. The …" Read Mr P’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs BfromBath

Arrived 10 Oct 2015, 3 nights

"Mara Plains"

"An outstandingly good camp. Exceptional rooms, service, food and hosts (Hattie …" Read Mr & Mrs B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs FfromHerts

Arrived 1 Jul 2015, 4 nights

"Excellent safari"

"Overall really good. Safari was fantastic. Room service not quite so good …" Read Mr & Mrs F’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms K & Ms RfromFlorida

Arrived 29 Aug 2014, 3 nights

"Mara Plains Camp review"

"It's a beautiful camp, and the able managers and staff were eager to meet …" Read Ms K & Ms R’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr F & Mrs MfromPeru

Arrived 22 Jul 2013, 3 nights

"Excellent in all aspects"

"Great location, tents have just been refurbished and are beautifully done. …" Read Mr F & Mrs M’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Mara Plains Camp reviews

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Mara Plains Camp

Click an animal to see our traveller's success in sighting them.
How we work this out.


Buffalo

100% success

Cheetah

100% success

Eland

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Lion

100% success

Spotted Hyena

100% success

Wildebeest

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Aardvark

0% success

Black Rhino

0% success

Elephant

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Striped Hyena

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Mara Plains Camp's location

Look closer at the environment and surroundings of Mara Plains Camp.


When to go to Maasai Mara Conservancies

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Mara Plains Camp in Maasai Mara Conservancies


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Kenya in January

Clear, hot days and warm nights make this high season a popular time for safaris and it’s also good for diving and snorkelling as water clarity is excellent and gets better as the dry season progresses. Most lodges and tented camps treat January after the New Year week is over, as mid-season, making it a good compromise in terms of value for money with reasonably reliable, dry weather and some greenery left in the landscape. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in January, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the weather and seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable.

  • On average, January is the second driest month of the year
  • Elephants dig waterholes in the dry riverbed in the Samburu reserve.
  • Wildebeest and many antelope have their calving season, to February.
  • Migrant birds are seen in huge numbers, especially in the Rift Valley.
  • Sea water clarity around the coral reefs generally good.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in January

Kenya in February

With the long dry season well established, the grass grazed down and wildlife gathering close to water points, this is still a good time for a safari. Good water clarity in the Indian Ocean's coastal waters makes for excellent diving and snorkelling conditions. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in February, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the weather and seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable.

  • On average, February is the driest month of the year.
  • It’s sometimes possible to swim with whale sharks at Diani Beach.
  • Migrant birds are still seen everywhere, especially near water.
  • This is usually peak calving season for wildebeest and many antelopes.
  • This month is often the hottest of the year, especially on the coast.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in February

Kenya in March

Hot, increasingly humid weather – with good diving and snorkelling conditions at the start of the month – gives way to rains and lower accommodation costs. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in March, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and predicting the seasons since the beginning of this century has been difficult. March is the month when – traditionally – intensely hot conditions build up until a cloudburst finally happens at the end of the month or in early April, to relieve the humidity. As ever, regional variations across the country can greatly impact on visitors' experiences.

  • Sea-water clarity is best for diving before the long rains start.
  • Visitor numbers are low, though the Easter holidays can be busier.
  • Night skies can be scintillatingly clear in early March.
  • Cropped down savannah grasses can make it easier to see the wildlife.
  • Temperartures climb high, especially at lower elevations.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Kenya in April

April sees the full onset of the southeast monsoon wind or kusi, which heralds the long rains. Temperatures drop soon after the rains are established and you’ll often have facilities largely to yourself in this more affordable low season, sometimes known as the "green season". The bush quickly springs to life, with greenery sprouting almost before your eyes. While you're likely to get a fair number of heavy showers, the breaks in the rain can yield sparklingly clear conditions. With the dust settled and bright sun piercing the clouds, conditions can be sublime for photography, especially first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon with another storm brewing. You may be lucky, or you may find conditions very wet and muddy.

  • A wet month, the coast often gets more than 300mm (12in) of rain.
  • Sunny spells can provide great light for photography.
  • Buffalo and zebra calving season often happens in this month.
  • Baby crocodiles hatch, for example on Central Island in Lake Turkana.
  • Palearctic migrant birds gather to fly north to breeding grounds.

Our view

A time to avoid if possible

Weather in April

Kenya in May

While game viewing can be trickier as vegetation runs riot, between the cloudbursts the colours and light are great for photography at this time of year. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in May, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and while it's reasonable to expect heavy rains in many parts during this month, especially on the coast, the rains don't always come evenly or in some areas come at all. In an El Niño year, the so-called long rains that normally are established across much of the country by May can be meagre, to the despair of farmers. On the other hand in a La Niña year, the long rains can bring floods. On the coast, the monsoon winds make the climate much more predictable, with heavy rains common from throughout this month.

  • Frogs breed in the ponds in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest near Watamu.
  • Wildebeest, impala and other grazers are in rut (the breeding season).
  • Kilimanjaro looks its best as heavy rain falls as snow on the summit.
  • There's a sharp peek of rainfall on the coast with many rainy days.
  • Accommodation prices are uniformly low, while some camps close.

Our view

A time to avoid if possible

Weather in May

Kenya in June

The rains give way to cloudy, cooler weather, often making for comfortable conditions by the end of the month, especially in the highlands. Starting from mid-June or the beginning of July and running until the end of October, this is the high season, and accordingly has higher accommodation rates and – at least until early September – higher numbers of visitors. While the early part of June can often be rainy on the coast, it can be a great time to go on safari, with fresh greenery, many young animals and good photographic conditions with clear air.

  • The Taru Desert, inland from the coast, is carpeted with flowers.
  • The Lake Turkana Cultural Festival is held in Loiyangalani.
  • Madaraka Day (commemorating self rule) is 1 June.
  • The annual Lewa marathon runs a course through the wildlife.
  • The Diani Rules "sports" event rips up the rulebook at Diani Beach.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in June

Kenya in July

Kenya’s “winter" season sets in (winter is a misnomer but locals feel the change), and the highlands can be rather grey. Skies are often cloudy and the days can be surprisingly cool, with an average daytime high in many highland safari areas of 15-20°C and night-time temperatures dropping below 10°C in Nairobi and the highlands. Lower parts of the country and the coast are usually warm and dry, typically reaching highs of around 25°C with lows in the high teens. As this is the start of the high season, coinciding with the usual arrival of the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara, July is a busy month. Ask your Expert Africa specialist to advise on how to avoid the crowds, which is not that difficult to do.

  • The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Maasai Mara in July.
  • Simbi Lake (Kisumu) and Crater Lake (Naivasha) can attract flamingoes.
  • Watersports start to pick up and some surfing is possible at Malindi.
  • Afternoon thunderstorms are a common feature in the Maasai Mara.
  • The sea can be choppy along the coast, making diving difficult.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in July

Kenya in August

The Great Migration fills the plains of the Maasai Mara, and school’s out, so the park roads are full of tourists – ask your Expert Africa specialist for advice on crowd avoidance tactics. Choose a private conservancy rather than a public national park or national reseve for quieter conditions. Like July, August is generally mild and relatively dry in the safari areas, but it can be very chilly in the highlands, even in the middle of the day, and hail occasionally falls above altitudes of around 2,400m (8,000ft). Nairobi can be disappointingly overcast, with low cloud.

  • Apart from Christmas holidays, this is the busiest month of the year.
  • Late August sees peak wildebeest drama at the Mara River crossings.
  • Coastal winds are good for kite- and wind-surfing.
  • Few mosquitoes are around at this generally dry time of year.
  • The annual Camel Derby takes place in the Samburu capital, Maralal.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in August

Kenya in September

The skies clearing of cloud signals the start of hot, dry weather with little chance of rain – and, after the first few days of the month, far fewer visitors – making the latter part of September a good time for a quieter safari. While early September is often good for dramatic migration crossings along the Mara River, you might consider deliberately postponing your trip until later in the month, when the migration can still be very impressive and visitor numbers fewer. If tourist surges are somewhat predictable, however, the patterns of the wildebeest migration are more volatile, and like all of Expert Africa's climate and weather assessments, they are based on accumulated years of experience rather than guaranteed certainty.

  • This is still high season, with prices to match.
  • Many river crossings take place on the Mara river in both directions.
  • Natural bush fires flush out insects and small animals for predators.
  • The Rift Valley Music Festival takes place by Lake Naivasha.
  • With school holidays over by early September, late-month is quieter.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in September

Kenya in October

Still hot, mostly dry and not too busy, this is many people’s preferred month for a safari, and it’s also good for diving and snorkelling. The wildebeest and zebra herds of the great migration are often still to be seen, though in dwindling numbers. The swamps of Amboseli attract thirsty wildlife including large herds of elephants. While we wouldn't expect much rain across most of the country this month, the climate has become so unpredictable that you can never say never, and the possibiity of the short rains – usually associated with November to mid-December, starting early, can't be discounted.

  • This month sees the tail end of the great migration in the Mara.
  • Palearctic migrant birds start to arrive, staying until March.
  • Turtle nests hatch at Watamu, until November.
  • Amboseli elephants focus on the swamps for their daily water.
  • The Indian Ocean monsoon winds turn from southeast to northeast.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Kenya in November

The northeast monsoon wind or kaskazi heralds the start of the “short rains", usually some time in the second half of the month. From November to mid-December, this is the low season, and accordingly has lower accommodation rates and lower visitor numbers. Across most of the country you can expect warm, somewhat cloudy weather, with occasional heavy showers and localised flooding. Expert Africa bases its description of the climate in November, like the other months of the year, on the records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable: some years the short rains don't come at all, or don't reach every part of the country. In an El Niño year, the November short rains can be very heavy, but in a La Niña year, they can fail completely.

  • Swimming with dolphins in Lamu can be done from now until April.
  • Birders gather at Ngulia in Tsavo West to ring Palearctic migrants.
  • The Lamu Cultural Festival takes over the town and Lamu Creek.
  • Agricultural shows often take place regional market towns.
  • This is low season, so camps can be great value, with special offers.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Kenya in December

In a typical December, the rains usually finish by middle of the month, leaving the landscape looking its best, under clear blue skies, and heralding the start of the second peak tourist season from around 20 December to the first week of January. Our assessment of the likely weather in December, like the other months of the year, is based on climate records, and it's fair to say that the seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable. Christmas can sometimes be wet, but most years the rains have finished a week or two earlier, with the festive season ushering in the perfect combination of clear skies and sunshine by day and starry nights.

  • Christmas and New Year are busy, with the lodges and camps full.
  • Rates are highest after 24 Dec, with supplements on public holidays.
  • Republic Day and Independence day are celebrated on 12 December.
  • Good kite- and wind-surfing restarts, with strong northeasterly winds.
  • Mango season begins, providing excitement for primates and elephants.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Kenya fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Mara Plains Camp


Excursions from Mara Plains Camp

Optional extra day-trips and excursions possible whilst you're staying at Mara Plains Camp. Talk to us: these are usually best arranged before you go.


Balloon flight over the Mara

Balloon flight over the Mara

3 hours in total - morning only

With the sun rising over the Loita Hills, you scramble into the balloon basket for the start of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’re about to go drifting with the breeze above the trees and plains of one of the world’s greatest wildlife regions.

More about Balloon Safari
90% (8 reviews)
Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve

Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve

All day from sunrise to sunset

If you're not staying in the Maasai Mara National Reserve itself, the chances are you'll be in one of the outstandingly wildlife-rich Maasai-owned private conservancies just outside the reserve boundary. However, a full-day game drive in the reserve is usually included, to visit the Mara River and see some of the reserve's fabled wildlife locations.

More about Maasai Mara Safari
84% (15 reviews)

Other lodges in Maasai Mara Conservancies

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


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% (41 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% (39 reviews)
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.


99% (38 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.


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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.


96% (18 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.


95% (11 reviews)
Serian

Serian

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.


98% (10 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.


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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)
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.


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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)
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)
Karen Blixen Camp

Karen Blixen Camp

Karen Blixen Camp sits on a meander of the Mara River in the Mara North Conservancy, just beyond the northern boundary of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.


90% (4 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.


100% (4 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.


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Saruni Wild

Saruni Wild

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


93% (3 reviews)
Leleshwa

Leleshwa

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)
Mara Toto

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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.


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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.


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)
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.


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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% (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
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
Entumoto

Entumoto

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

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