Naibor Camp: Our full report
Naibor Camp comprises three interlinked tented camps – Main Naibor, Little Naibor and Naibor Wilderness – ...... nestled in a small stretch of woodland on the banks of the Talek River, in the heart of Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve. Each offers varying degrees of luxury to accommodate different tastes and budgets. The same team serves all three camps and all guests have access to the same central areas.
Naibor Camp's location on the south side of the Talek River is special. Most of the camps in this area are on the north side of the river and there are just two crossing points. This means guests have peace and quiet in the early mornings and evenings – a quality that makes all the difference to your safari experience in a reserve as busy as the Maasai Mara. The woodland is orange leaf croton and greenheart trees and the presence of lions adds to the atmosphere, especially at night.
The camps' communal area – comprising a large mess tent with partially separated rooms – is located between Little Naibor and Main Naibor beneath shady trees. In the evenings the rooms can be closed off to create smaller cosy lounges and dining rooms, but during the day the canvas drapes are fastened back for an open-plan feel. The minimalist pale wooden furniture and low-slung sofas are more contemporary than most tented safari camps.
In front of the communal area, a short path leads down to the Talek River, where you'll find a fireplace, chairs and often tables set for lunch. The trees provide a shaded place to relax and watch the hippos wallow in the water. There is also a large deck area, complete with a sundowner bar, large bean bags and sofas.
Further relaxation can be found in Naibor Camp's spa tent, where a trained therapist can do manicures, pedicures, waxing and massages. When we last visited, an hour's full-body massage cost US$60 (half an hour is US$35) or you can enjoy a complimentary neck massage before dinner.
The tents at Naibor Camp vary quite a lot in style and size.
- The seven 'Luxury Tents' (five doubles and two twins) at Main Naibor are comfortable and stylish, with chunky fig wood furniture, cream canvas and high ceilings creating a spacious feel. The double or twin beds are large and comfy.
These tents are approached from the back, so the first thing you see is the open-sided veranda with a comfortable day bed overlooking the river. We loved the pale rustic wood, which feels both in keeping with the natural surroundings and very stylish. Rugs cover the canvas floor and there is hanging space for clothes, LED lights on the bedside tables and a radio in case of emergencies. All tents also have UK style charging points.
A small step up at the end of each tent leads to an en-suite bathroom on a wooden deck. It is equipped with running water, flush toilet and a safari style shower – with ample hot water brought on request by your tent attendant. Just outside of the tent is a washing station, with a pair of twin washbasins set into a wide wooden table beneath a mirror, and large metal jugs which are regularly re-filled.
- The two 'Luxury Suites' that make up Little Naibor offer a lot more space and privacy. Two bedrooms (a twin and a double) flank a central living room making them ideal for a family or group of four friends. These suites are decorated in a more exotic style, with Persian rugs on the polished wooden floor, an ornate mirror in the bathroom and dark-wood furniture mixed in with the pale-wood items. They are large and spacious and an additional bed can be added if needed.
The living room has a large sofa with cream cushions, a coffee table, two lounging chairs and large floor cushions. The bedrooms include hanging space for clothes, LED bedside lamps and a campaign-style chair in the corner. Each has its own en-suite bathroom with running water, a single metal basin set into a dark-wood surface, a flush toilet and a large safari shower. Each suite at Little Naibor also has the big advantage of its own private vehicle and guide.
- Finally, the three 'Classic Tents' at Naibor Wilderness, are a slightly lower-cost option and are ideal for a group of up to six people travelling together, as the camp can be booked on an exclusive basis. The tents are the same size as those at Main Naibor, but set back a little further from the river, and the furnishings are much simpler. One faces the river, while two are set a little further back and face into the bush. Each tent contains a wrought-iron bed, open-sided iron wardrobe, wooden table and director's chairs on the veranda. Hot water is provided in the mornings for a canvas washbasin on the veranda and the en-suite bathroom has a flush toilet and bucket shower.
Naibor Wilderness, although not hosted, also has its own mess tent and central dining area. Photography groups often stay at Naibor Wilderness but the tents are also sold separately, so hey are also ideal for those on a lower budget. Guests staying in smaller parties can always visit the main camp for meals or just to relax.
With advance notice, it is possible to arrange hot air balloon trips that cost around US$500 per person and visits to a Maasai village for US$20-30 per person, which is donated to the village. The camp can also provide bush breakfasts for an additional cost. Walking safaris in Maasai community land are possible, however there is a lower chance of seeing big game here.
Naibor's location in the heart of the Mara is perfect for people who like to be in the thick of the action. The camp offers a variety of experiences. Main Naibor and Little Naibor have spacious, stylish tents, while Naibor Wilderness offers great value and an ideal private option for groups who can occupy all three tents. All are very well run with good food, guiding and service – although at full capacity Naibor might feel a little busy.
- Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- We recommend three to four nights.
- It is a 90-minute flight from Nairobi to Olkiombo airstrip in the Mara. From there, it is a further 30-minute drive to Naibor Camp, across the Talek River. In the wet season (November–June), if the river is really high, there are vehicles stationed on both sides with a footbridge across.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- On our latest visit we did not stay long enough to dine here but on a previous trip we enjoyed the food at Naibor – it was very tasty and well presented and they will happily accommodate most dietary requirements.
Breakfast in camp consisted of cereals, fresh toast, fruit, yoghurt and a hot breakfast cooked to order. Alternatively, there is usually the option to take a packed breakfast, which would include similar food items, but with cold boiled eggs and sausages instead of the hot food option available in camp.
A buffet lunch is usually served at separate tables down by the river. Expect dishes such as quiches, homemade pizza, pasta salad, green salad and similar cold light options. A fresh-fruit salad rounded off our tasty meal.
Before dinner guests tend to gather on the deck or in the lounge tent for drinks and nibbles. Dining can be hosted communally on a large table, or private individual tables can be set up. On one occasion we started with a red pepper and tomato soup, followed by a sizzling cooked-to-order steak impressively dished up on a hot stone and served with vegetables and a choice of peppercorn sauce, mushroom sauce or garlic butter. The meal was finished with a very decadent tiramisu!
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Naibor Camp will happily arrange for people to have dinner in their tents.
- Drinks included
- All soft drinks, house wines, beers and spirits are included. Premium brands cost extra.
- A stylish camp in the heart of the Mara; Naibor offers luxury, attentive service, and an unbeatable location for your Kenya honeymoon. The tents are private and cosy, and you’ll enjoy meals on the bank of the Talek river whilst watching the resident hippos in the river below.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Attitude towards children
- Naibor will gladly accept children, but ideally they should be over the age of eight. They recommend that the Little Naibor suites are better for families, who then have the use of a lounge that is away from the main area, and exclusive use of a vehicle.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no specific age restrictions at Naibor.
- Special activities & services
- Naibor can arrange early dinners for children. Child friendly activities can be arranged, such as traditional beading or the team can show children how to use Maasai bows and arrows.
- Naibor has a cot and there are small canvas beds that can be added to rooms. They can’t offer any childcare, but a night-watchman (with no formal child-care qualifications) can keep an eye on children if parents want to come down for dinner.
- Generally recommended for children
- We feel that Naibor Camp is better suited to families with older children. It is quite a smart tented camp and although it isn’t too formal, it still has quite an adult atmosphere. In addition, the camp isn’t really geared towards families: though the suites have good sleeping arrangements there aren’t any activities, beyond wildlife watching, for smaller children to do.
- Power supply notes
- Naibor Camp runs off solar power, but also has a back-up generator which is usually on used for the workshop. There are UK style charging points in the tents which can be used throughout the day.
- There is WiFi in the lounge tent that guests can use for free.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV at Naibor Camp, but for special sporting events, guests will be welcome to watch the staff TV.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Naibor has a spring for its water supply. Filtered water for drinking is brought in from Nairobi.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Naibor has first-aid kits in the camp and in each of the vehicles. The managers have some first-aid training. There is a doctor based at the nearby Mara Intrepids Camp who can be called, and the camp has links to flying doctors in case of emergency.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Naibor Camp has guards patrolling the property day and night. Guests are escorted back to their rooms after dark.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in all the rooms at Naibor Camp.
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- A full complimentary laundry service is available, but female underwear isn’t accepted. Items are hand washed, line dried and charcoal-ironed.
- Naibor Camp has a central safe where guests can stow their valuables. They can exchange small amounts of currency; though this largely depends what cash they have in camp at the time.
- Accepted payment on location
- Naibor Camp can accept cash payments in US dollars, Kenyan shillings, euros and pounds sterling. They can also accept Visa and MasterCard, but when we last visited they were applying a 5% surcharge. AMEX is not accepted.
Other lodges in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Rekero is an unpretentious, high-end safari camp, for travellers who take their wildlife watching seriously and are prepared to pay for an exceptional location.
Little Governors’ Camp sits by a swamp (an old oxbow of the Mara River) in the Mara Triangle sector of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. It has its own balloon-launching site.
Tangulia Mara is a rustic and traditional safari camp on the border of the Maasai Mara National Reserve owned by Jackson Looseyia of Big Cat Diary fame.
Governors' Camp is a large tented camp on the Mara River and one of the oldest in the Mara region, dating from 1972. Although unfenced, and regularly visited by elephants, the whole compound is always busy with human activity.
Serian Nkorombo is a luxury bush camp in the Musiara sector of the Maasai Mara National Reserve on the east side of the Mara River.
Sand River Camp
Luxury colonial-style tented camp on the banks of the Sand River close to the Tanzania border – a great spot to see the wildebeest migration.
Sala’s Camp is a comfortable and intimate tented camp, with seven tented rooms, located on the banks of the Sand River, in the far south of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Governors' Il Moran
The smallest and most expensive of the three camps in the Governors’ group, Governors’ Il Moran Camp hugs a meander of the Mara River just 1km north of the main Governors’ Camp.
Angama Mara is a top-end luxury tented camp on the Siria-Oloololo escarpment of the Maasai Mara ecoystem, just above the Mara Triangle sector of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Mara Expedition Camp
Mara Expedition Camp is a small luxury camp located on the banks of the Ntiakitiak River inside the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Ngenche Safari Camp
Mara Ngenche is a non-hosted, luxury tented camp with an antique style, which is perfect if you're looking for private dining while staying somewhere small and personal.
Basecamp Maasai Mara
Basecamp Maasai Mara is a family-friendly, award-winning eco-camp on a U-bend on the north bank of the Talek River, on the boundary of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Tipilikwani Mara Camp is a larger, mid-range tented camp offering good value from its base on the Talek River just outside the Mara National Reserve.
Entim Camp is well located in the heart of the Mara National Reserve, offering traditionally styled tented accommodation.
Topi House is a very good, three-bedroom fully staffed private house on the fringes of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Mara Serena Safari Lodge
Mara Serena Safari Lodge is a large safari hotel with views of the Mara River, in the Mara Triangle sector of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Governors' Private Camp
Located on a secluded bend of the Mara River, Governor’s Private Camp has just eight tents and is booked on an exclusive basis.