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
Topi House
Topi House
Topi House
Topi House
Topi House
Topi House

Topi House: Our full report

Built in 2007, Topi House is a delightful 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home in gently sloping, lightly wooded savannah ...

... on the edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, near the boundary of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. The house is booked as an exclusive rental and run by experienced staff and local guides from the Maasai Mara. You have exclusive use of a good, closed vehicle for the duration of your stay and game drives are conducted in the national reserve. There are two other houses in the same group located in the north of Mara North Conservancy.

Topi House isn’t a grand building, and tucked under the acacias, the single-storey, wood-frame bungalow appears quite modest. It makes no big demands on your style or taste in interior décor. But its unassuming character has some quirky touches, like the tree-trunk pillars and beams, polished stone floors and richly coloured rugs and sofas, which together help to make it easy to turn unfamiliar surroundings into a cosy home away from home.

The layout is simple: arriving through a lightly fenced outer perimeter to the property, you leave the vehicle and walk the last few yards across the lawn to the front of the house. There are three bedrooms, each accessed through double-glass doors, leading off the verandah, which is furnished with chairs and a table. To the left of the verandah, a good-sized, open-plan lounge with a fireplace, welcomingly furnished with deep sofas and armchairs, leads through to the dining room which in turn leads to the staff kitchen and the back-of-house area.

Once you're on the verandah, all surfaces are level (except for a tiny step into the showers of a couple of inches) so the house is practical for people with limited mobility or useing wheelchairs. Bear in mind, though, it isn't adapted for disabled people in any way, and you would still have to be physically lifted into the game drive vehicle.

Staff introductions are polite but informal and the briefing is quick. It’s a joy to be able to install yourself in the bedrooms here and then walk along the verandah to lunch, rather than have to hike for several minutes through a large tented camp.

The three en-suite bedrooms are bright and reasonably spacious but not huge. Two of them have double beds (one convertible to twin) and one has separate twin beds. All the beds are protected by full-height, well-made mosquito nets. The rooms, which lock with simple keys, are cooled by floor fans and the breeze through the windows, which have curtains for privacy. Each room has a dressing table/writing desk and clothes-hanging space and the lighting is good. Power is on 24/7 and batteries can be charged at the 3-pin, UK-style power sockets 24 hours a day.

The en-suite bathrooms are simple but well-equipped, with decent, walk-in showers and washbasins, and supplied with good toiletries. They don’t have bath tubs, however.

Activities at Topi House focus on game drives, and you are well located to explore the Musiara sector of the Maasai Mara National Reserve with its abundant big cats and – in season – multitudes of migrating wildebeest. The area is always good for its resident wildlife and the Mara River is a short drive distant.

A rewarding alternative to a morning game drive is a village visit to the nearby Maasai compound or enkang of Entim. There’s a modest extra charge for this, and it’s worth booking in advance. We found the experience to be transparently authentic, with the occupants busy starting their days, going to collect water and spraying livestock for ticks – and ignoring us. However, several young men were quick to introduce themselves, and went on to demonstrate their impressive fire-making skills using a stick of bougainvillea wood, a block of red cedar and some dried elephant dung. One of them reached for a huge kudu horn musical instrument, which makes a satistfyingly deep note, and they insisted on putting on a short, impromptu display of jump-dancing and chanting. Some were wearing bead jewellery and others were not. Like the practices of extending the ear lobes and knocking out the two middle lower front teeth, some of the more colourful traditions are beginning to die out. However, all the houses at Entim are still constructed of traditional mud and dung on a wooden frame and we were welcomed inside one of them for a few minutes of introduction to Maasai domestic life.

Evenings at Topi House – and rare indoor days if there's heavy rain – can be spent reading, playing board games or just enjoying each other's company. We were told that some Topi House regulars like to cook their own food and have parties, bringing their own music and generally letting their hair down. It's your house for the duration!

Our view

Arriving at Topi House, we felt instantly at home. This is a perfect family base for keen safari-goers and has very good, reliable and consistent staff and management. There’s space (and permission) for young ones to let off steam on the lawn at the front, but much of your time here is likely to be devoted to morning and afternoon game drives, for which the local area of the national reserve is ideal.

Jessica Plumb

Jessica Plumb

Kenya expert


Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Ideal length of stay
Stay at least 3 nights.
Topi House is a 30-minute drive from the nearest airstrip, Ol Kiombo. However transfers are effectively game drives, so be prepared to take longer to reach the house. And don't leave your departure to the last minute in case you see something wonderful en route to the airstrip.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
We thought the food cooked for us at Topi House was very good and plentiful. We ate in the dining room, but you can also eat on the verandah, or on the lawn at the front. The staff will be very happy to step up for special occasions. And if you'd like to assist with food preparation, just ask.
Dining style
Group Meals
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Special interests

Family holidays
Topi House is a very good choice for a family safari in the Maasai Mara. Experienced staff, good food, and comfortably furnished, low-key rooms make the perfect family base, while the vehicles and superior guiding offer a rewarding wildlife experience right on your doorstep.
See ideas for Family holidays


Attitude towards children
Children are welcome and frequent guests.
Property’s age restrictions
Special activities & services
There are no very specific childrens' activities, but staff are always very happy to teach bow and arrow skills, firemaking and the like. Volleyball tournaments are not unheard of.
Baby cots, high chairs and car seats are available.


Power supply notes
There is power 24/7 and sockets all around the house.
There is good Wi-fi and Safaricom and Airtel cellphone signals.
TV & radio
There's no guest TV, but guests are welcome to join the staff in their canteen.
Water supply
Water supply notes
Borehole water is used in the plumbing and large bottles of drinking water are brought from Nairobi to be decanted into bottles in the rooms.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
The house has a first-aid kit and they subscribe to a telephone medical diagnosis service. Otherwise, Ol Kiombo airstrip is a 20-minute drive away and a helicopter could land at the house.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
There is a regular security patrol and a radio for babysitting duties if parents are in another part of the house.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in the lounge, near the kitchen and on the verandah. Asilia do staff fire-training twice a year.


  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching


  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Horse-riding


  • Hot air ballooning

    Hot air ballooning


Disabled access
In Place
Laundry facilities
Laundry is included and can be done very quickly (ours was returned in three hours, perfectly ironed). But as usual in Maasai traditional areas, no ladies' underwear can be taken.
There is no safe here. Guests keep valuables on them.
Accepted payment on location
Cash is accepted in Kenya shillings, sterling, dollars or euros. Card payments can't be taken.

Other lodges in Maasai Mara National Reserve

Alternative places to stay in this same area.

Little Governors' Camp

Little Governors'

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.

95% (30 reviews)


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.

98% (28 reviews)
Tangulia Mara

Tangulia Mara

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.

100% (13 reviews)
Governors' Camp

Governors' Camp

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.

96% (10 reviews)
Serian Nkorombo

Serian Nkorombo

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.

100% (7 reviews)
Sand River Camp

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.

97% (6 reviews)
Sala's Camp

Sala's Camp

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.

96% (5 reviews)
Governors' Il Moran Camp

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.

95% (4 reviews)
Angama Mara

Angama Mara

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.

100% (2 reviews)
Basecamp Maasai Mara

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.

70% (2 reviews)
Mara Ngenche Safari Camp

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.

90% (2 reviews)
Mara Expedition Camp

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.

100% (2 reviews)
Ilkeliani Camp

Ilkeliani Camp

Ilkeliani Camp is a smart elegant camp overlooking the Talek River, on the edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

100% (1 review)
Tipilikwani Mara Camp

Tipilikwani Camp

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.

100% (1 review)
Mara Serena Safari Lodge

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.

No reviews yet
Mara Explorer Camp

Mara Explorer Camp

Mara Explorer is a smart tented camp is in a scenic location on a bend in the Talek River.

No reviews yet
Governors' Private Camp

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.

No reviews yet
Entim Camp

Entim Camp

Entim Camp is well located in the heart of the Mara National Reserve, offering traditionally styled tented accommodation.

No reviews yet
Naibor Camp

Naibor Camp

Naibor has a great location in the Mara reserve, and offers accommodation to suit different budgets, with stylish high-end tents and some simpler ones too.

No reviews yet


Ishara is a highly luxurious safari camp in the Maasai Mara, located on the Talek River, which is one of the best areas in Kenya for wildlife.

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