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
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara
Offbeat Mara

Offbeat Mara: Our full report

Located in the quiet Mara North Conservancy in Kenya, Offbeat Mara sits near the Olare Orok River.

It is nestled into the bush so discreetly that you can barely see it once you are outside of camp. Small, comfortable and unfenced, it's an authentic tented camp with a local lion pride regularly seen and heard nearby.

Sister camp to the contrasting Sosian in Laikipia, Offbeat Mara has a great wilderness feel that will appeal to safari purists. It also has an admirably low carbon footprint.

With just seven safari tents tucked into various corners of the natural bush, Offbeat Mara is certainly one of the smaller camps in the Mara North Conservancy. Five of these are a standard tents while two are family tents with two separate bedrooms connected by a dressing area. Each tent is quite private and you'll often see animals wandering straight past. Sunloungers with parasols outside some tents make a nice spot for siesta time, and there are director's chairs on each veranda too.

Although Offbeat Mara's tents are not brimming with luxury or style, they are cosy, clean and comfortable. Cream canvas makes them bright and airy, and they feel quite rustic and practical, with earthy rugs on the floors, hanging space for clothes, solar lighting and insect spray. We particularly liked the handmade cedar-wood beds (double, twin or triple) with colourful throws.

At the back of each tent through a simple canvas curtain is an open-plan en-suite bathroom with a flush toilet, water in a jug for washing and clean drinking water. There is also a bucket shower; when you are ready for your shower, the housekeeping team fill a bucket outside your tent with hot water for you; each is 20 liters although you can request as many as you like. Soap and shampoo are provided.

The main communal area at Offbeat Mara was completely rebuilt in early 2017 and is raised off the ground on a wooden deck. It is partially tented with solid walls at both ends and at the back. At one end is a lounge area with sofas and armchairs facing a fireplace. We loved the brightly coloured African cushions – each with a different pattern. At the other end is a wooden bar with barstools and a small shop selling locally made crafts, with all profits going back to the community. The dining area is in the centre. To the back is a wooden deck which overlooks the river and this of often where lunch is eaten.

Activities from Offbeat Mara focus on wildlife drives in the 300km² Mara North Conservancy. These are mostly by day, but the camp can also offer night drives until 10.00pm, using a red filtered spotlight. A full-day wildlife drive into the main Maasai Mara National Reserve is included for guests staying for three nights, while the camp can usually organise extra day trips for about the cost of additional park fees (US$80 per person). Drives often head out with a driver/spotter and a guide, both of whom are enthusiastic and experienced. They will always try their best to ensure you have a great wildlife experience.

The wildlife in the Mara North Conservancy is excellent, however rhinos cannot be found here at present. If seeing rhinos is a priority then you can visit the nearby Ol Choro conservancy where there are a couple of habituated female white rhinos who can reliably be seen.

The manager at Offbeat Mara is a qualified walking guide and conducts his guided walks accompanied by an armed ranger. Walks can be as long or as short as you like, but usually start early and finish with a late breakfast. Lions are often seen on the walks.

Other activities at Offbeat Mara include visits to Mara Rianta Village (about US$30 per person), a visit to Aitong Primary School and market (free), or a visit to the Koyiaki Guiding School, where many of the local guides learned their craft. Alternatively for those more active you can go jogging in the bush accompanied by armed rangers.


Our view

Offbeat Mara is hosted by an excellent and efficient team, and the guiding is good too. Around 90% of the staff are local Maasai and take great pride in their work, resulting in a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. We liked the unfussy, wild and rustic feel of the camp, which appeals to real safari enthusiasts, without compromising on the odd creature comfort.

Lyndsey Marris

Lyndsey Marris

Kenya expert

Geographics

Location
Maasai Mara Conservancies, Kenya
Ideal length of stay
Three to four nights
Directions
It is a 90-minute flight from Nairobi to Mara North airstrip in the Maasai Mara, and then a further hour's drive through the Mara North Conservancy to Offbeat Mara.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
When we stayed here previously in October 2019 we really enjoyed the food at Offbeat Mara: it was tasty, fresh, unpretentious and hearty. This isn't fancy dining but the food is excellent, and you'll certainly feel well-fed.

In the early morning, tea and coffee is brought to your tent to kick start your day. We opted for a picnic breakfast out in the bush part way through our morning drive, sitting by a wide-open plain. It included fruit, yoghurt, muesli, boiled eggs, cold sausages and bacon. Breakfast in camp features continental breakfast items as well as the choice of a hot breakfast.

It is also possible to take your lunch out in the bush with you, though whether here or back at camp, it is the same food. When here in 2019 we tucked into fresh tagliatelle with a rich tomato sauce and fresh salads, this was followed by a creamy panna cotta.

Afternoon tea is on offer between 4.00 and 5.00pm, before your afternoon wildlife drive. Expect an irresistible homemade cake.

A three-course dinner is served back at the camp around a communal table, which on warmer evenings may be set up under the stars. There is usually a soup starter, a hearty main. We had spinach roulade and a tomato salsa to start, followed by lamb and gravy, roast potatoes, sugar snap peas and carrots. The meal was then rounded up with pineapple crumble.

Special interests

Solo Travel
Surrounded by the bush, Offbeat Mara offers a great wildlife holiday experience within the Mara North Conservancy. Travelling alone on safari here allows you to enjoy your privacy or the lively group atmosphere all year round without worrying about single supplement.
See ideas for Solo Travel

Children

Attitude towards children
The camp prefers older children aged 8+.
Property’s age restrictions
No strict minimum age.
Special activities & services
Offbeat Mara can arrange special children's meals and activities such as bushcraft with the Maasai warriors, including making spears and bows and arrows. There are also board games, fishing in the river and football with the staff at lunchtime.
Equipment
Offbeat Mara has cots and highchairs.
Generally recommended for children
The camp can offer some fun activities for younger children, and the atmosphere is quite informal, but we feel that the wild and bushy nature of the camp makes it better for more mature children over the age of eight years.
Notes
This camp is unfenced and wild, so children should be under the supervision of their parents at all times.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Offbeat Mara

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Offbeat Mara 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.

Buffalo

100% success

Cheetah

100% success

Eland

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Lion

100% success

Spotted Hyena

100% success

Wildebeest

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Leopard

80% success

Black Rhino

20% success

Striped Hyena

20% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
There is 24-hour electricity in the tents, but batteries and electronics need to be charged in the main area. There is a generator which operates between six and 10pm. Offbeat Mara has plans to bring in a solar system and the camp aims to become 100% solar.
Communications
WiFi is available in the communal area, although signal can be a bit patchy and cannot be relied upon.
TV & radio
No
Water supply
Borehole
Water supply notes
The tents are not plumbed. Basin and shower water are provided on request. Filter water is provided for drinking.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
Offbeat Mara have a first-aid kit in the camp and in every vehicle. Some of the team are also first-aid trained.

For more serious cases there is a doctor at a nearby camp and Offbeat Mara also has links with a flying-doctor service.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Offbeat Mara is unfenced so guards are on hand to escort guests around the camp. There is a whistle in each tent to attract attention in case of emergency.
Fire safety
Fire extinguishers are dotted around the main areas and between a few of the tents. Staff are trained to use them.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Fly-camping

    Fly-camping

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Hot air ballooning

    Hot air ballooning

  • Night drive

    Night drive

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A full laundry service is included – although for cultural reasons women's underwear needs to be washed separately.
Money
There is a central safe at Offbeat Mara for valuables. The camp cannot offer any currency exchange.
Accepted payment on location
The camp accepts only cash payments, in pounds sterling, US dollars, euros and Kenyan shillings.

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)
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)
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% (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.


98% (8 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)
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.


97% (7 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)
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.


93% (3 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.


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

Mara Toto

Mara Toto is a small luxury camp due to open in 2019.


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)
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.


100% (1 review)
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

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

  • Order a brochure
  • 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

Africa