Governors' Il Moran Camp: Our full report
Set on the inside of a thickly wooded bend of the Mara River in the Musiara sector of the Maasai Mara National ...... Reserve, Governors' Il Moran Camp is just 1km north of the main Governors' Camp as the crow flies. It's designed as a more exclusive version of the original formula, with much larger tents.
The camp is similar in many ways to the main Governors' Camp and, along with Little Governors' Camp, shares its driver/guides and vehicles with the main camp. Even when full, however, Il Moran feels small and peaceful and has a fair proportion of honeymooners among its guests. Like the main Governors' Camp, the physical set-up here is traditional and permanent, and few environmental considerations are taken into account in the operation of the camp.
The central area at Il Moran underwent a full refurbishment in December 2018, and the central communal areas, including the dining room and lounge-bar are now raised up on wooden decking. The refurbishment has given the camp a completely new look, and there is now a much more obvious contrast between Il Moran and its sister Governors' camps.
The refurbishment mixes contemporary and traditional design. You will find clusters of sofas scattered with cushions, and cow hide arm chairs. Dark chunky wooden tables contrast with the colourful beaded light fittings and African artefacts are dotted around. We really liked the new image and feel of Il Moran.
There are plenty of wicker chairs on the wooden viewing deck, overlooking the river and giving a you a good view of the snorting hippos below. The central feature however, is the large sunken fire pit, which is lit in the evenings.
The ten extremely spacious tents at Governors' Il Moran are set on very large concrete, stone plinths, and are fully mosquito-proofed. The tents have also benefitted from a soft refurbishment, with neutral tones of beige, browns and greys combining well to make the tents feel light and airy. All have large double beds made locally from reclaimed wood. Half of the tents have a twin bed configuration. The bedroom floors are laid with a heavy-weave carpet and cow hide rugs. To one side is a heavy wooden writing desk, and copper lamp. A large comfy sofa is positioned at the foot of the bed. A further sofa is found outside on the verandah, alongside wicker chairs, and a hammock.
The very large bathrooms, separated from the bedroom by zipped flaps, have terracotta-tiled floors and half walls of varnished wood panelling. The rear tent wall and overhead tent roof have welcome, extensive areas of mosquito-screen. As well as a big walk-in shower (with no curtains or shower screen), there's a claw-foot bathtub with shower attachment, a bidet and flush toilet, and a vanity unit with twin washbasins.
The generator is always on, and charges an inverter. Batteries can be charged in the tents, using the UK-style, three-pin sockets, at any time.
Activities at Governors' Il Moran are similar to those at the main Governors' Camp. As there, the game drives are conducted in the Musiara and Sekenani sectors of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, with well-trained driver-guides who are pooled between all three camps. Game drives take place in the early morning, and in the late afternoon, with the option for the morning drive to be extended with a packed breakfast, returning to camp mid-morning. Most of the vehicles are open-sided Land Rovers, which have two rows of three seats in the rear, and one passenger seat in the front. Each driver-guide at the Governors' camps is based at a particular camp, with his own vehicle. Governors' guides are increasingly well-trained, with most having passed their Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association bronze exam and several having passed silver.
Game drives from Il Moran usually radiate out around the national reserve's Musiara sector across Paradise Plain and up to Rhino Ridge, This is the busiest part of the Mara eco-system in terms of visitor numbers, and in the peak season, when the wildebeest migration is in the reserve, there can be hundreds of 4WDs and minibuses prowling the landscape in search of river crossings and kills. Even in the quieter seasons, however, you are likely to be sharing some of your most memorable wildlife sightings with a number of other vehicles.
Balloon flights can be organised, at an additional cost of around US$500 per person, best booked in advance. They take off from the launch area right behind Little Governors' Camp.
We are impressed with the recent upgrades to Governors' Il Moran, and we now feel that it rightly deserves the higher price tag of the Governors' camps. For a long time the camp has relied only on its attractive setting, but we now feel that the tents and main area match up to this.
- Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- Three or four nights
- Musiara airstrip is about a ten-minute drive from camp, followed by a short ferry crossing.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Many guests go out for a long game drive, including a bush breakfast, taking a packed breakfast to have on the go. If you're in camp, there's always a good selection of fruit and cereals, with a choice of pastries and bread, plus the option of a full, cooked breakfast or any of its ingredients, cooked to order.
The lunch we had on a recent visit to Il Moran was delicious. With a couple of options to choose from, the food was light, fresh and beautifully presented. We had a tomato and feta salad along with a well-seasoned chicken wrap. For desert we had peach sorbet and chocolate brownie.
On a previous visit the four-course plated dinner include roasted vegetable soup and fennel rolls, then a vegetarian tagine or chicken fillets with rosemary jus, followed by coconut crème caramel with granadilla, and Kenyan cheeses.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- If requested in advance, meals can be served at a table set up on your room veranda.
- Drinks included
- Unlike at Main Governors’ and Little Governors’ camps, soft drinks, local beers, house wine and house spirits are all included. Premium wines and spirits are not.
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are accepted.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- Cots and highchairs are available. Rooms are large and have space for an extra bed.
- Generally recommended for children
- Like Little Governors’ Camp this is a rather grown-up safari camp, so while children won’t be turned away, it’s not an ideal family safari base, for which Governors’ Camp is much better suited.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Governors' Il Moran
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Governors' Il Moran 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.
- Power supply notes
- Charging points in room and lights available 24 hours.
- Camp WiFi and mobile phone network are available throughout much of the camp, but strongest in the main communal area.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Reverse osmosis water system in every tent
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Guides are first-aid trained, there is a first-aid kit in all vehicles, and heads of departments are first-aid trained. There is a doctor at Governors’ Camp, just five minutes’ drive away. The camp has links to the Flying Doctor service.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Camp askaris escort guests around camp at night.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers around the camp and fire drills are occasionally conducted to ensure that staff know how to use them.
Guided walking safari
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry service included . Washing powder provided in the rooms for underwear.
- Electronic safes in rooms.
- Accepted payment on location
- They take credit card payments, including Amex, with no surcharge. They also take most major currencies in cash, but not travellers’ cheques.
Other lodges in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.