Last fall when I was on safari in Kenya, I stayed in Richard Branson’s safari camp, Mahali Mzuri. One afternoon after returning from a morning safari, I grabbed my camera and filmed a quick walkabout for you. I wanted to take you around the camp so you could get a feel for it, instead of just seeing it in photos.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get it uploaded, but I finally got that done today. I still haven’t finished going through all the photos I took of the animals we saw on safari and the video I shot of the migration across the Mara river. I think you’re going to love those and I’ll try to get that ready to share real soon.
Here’s a quick recap for those who are new to reading BNOTP so this video makes sense. (If you’re not new to reading BNOTP, you may want to skip to almost the end of the post where you’ll find a link to the video.)
After flying from Atlanta to Amsterdam and from there to Nairobi, I spent the night in a gated and heavily guarded hotel. I later found out that’s due to all the issues in that area with neighboring Somali. Just getting into the hotel parking lot was like going through a border crossing with armed guards doing a full search of our safari vehicle.
The next morning I was picked up and taken to Wilson Airport where I took a ride on this plane out into the bush.
This was the view out the window as we headed out into the bush.
We landed on a grass strip and after exiting the plane, I spotted the driver who had been sent to collect me.
This was only the second time I’ve ever landed on a grass strip. The first time was many years ago when I was in college and taking flying lessons. My instructor and I flew cross-country and during that flight we landed on a grass strip. The landing this day was really smooth, you would never have known we weren’t landing on a paved runway.
I was met with a glass of champagne, a pretty beaded Maasai bracelet and a cool, wet cloth for my face. This was the start of a week of pampering. The good folks at Mahali Mzuri certainly know how to spoil their guests. If you ever go on safari, I can’t recommend this camp enough.
On this day I was the only guest arriving, so we hopped into our safari vehicle and headed out on the hour-long ride back to camp.
I had read the ride back to camp is your first safari and they weren’t kidding! We saw a lot of animals including Wilderbeest and Zebra. I couldn’t take photos while we were moving, the roads are super bumpy and they would have all turned out blurry. But I asked my driver to stop long enough to snap this guy.
This a view of the camp from Mahali Mzuri’s website. I think there are 12 tents if I’m remembering correctly. No more than 24 guests are allowed to stay at the camp at any time…has something to do with the conservation rules by which the camp strictly abides. The camp is located in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, which borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The tents are huge. I’m pretty sure this tent from their website is the tent I stayed in. On the far left is the bedroom, in the center is the living room and on the far right was the bathroom. You can see the clawfoot tub in the bathroom there in the window. The views from inside the tent (including the tub) and from the deck are amazing and always changing.
Here are a just a few of the animals I saw down in the bush from the decks of Mahali Mzuri.
Zebra & Thomson’s Gazelle
African Buffalo and Elephant
Words do not describe how wonderful the tents are, it was truly a fantasy vacation. This photo is from their website….
…and this is a photo I took of my bed the first day I arrived.
The bathrooms are as lovely as the bedrooms. You’ll find a full tour of the tent I stayed in here: Mahali Mzuri: An Unforgettable Stay at Sir Richard Branson’s Safari Camp in Kenya
So, now that you’ve been properly re-introduced to Mahali Mzuri and seen the inside of the beautiful tents, let go outside for our tour around the camp.
When you watch the video I have linked at the end of this post, at the very start of the video, you’ll see this tree that’s just outside my tent. Almost every day I saw Rock Hyrax perched on the limbs. They are shy and run off when they hear you coming, so it was miracle I got a photo of one during my visit. He jumped down and ran off right after I snapped this photo.
So look for this tree at the very start of the video. You’ll see me pan over to it briefly to see if a Rock Hyrax is there.
Toward the beginning of the video I briefly turn back around and the edge of the tent I stayed in (shown below) will be visible.
Please excuse my video skills. It was very, very sunny out and I could barely see the screen of my camera, plus I was trying to see where I was walking on the boardwalk so I wouldn’t fall off. Can you imagine that on video! Ha!
It was also really windy so you’ll hear the wind over the music. I didn’t talk during this video, so here are some things to watch for:
First up we’ll see the dining tent where we had our meals. They also brought meals to us in our tents if we didn’t want to eat in the dining tent. I did that one afternoon because I was working on a blog post I wanted to get up before our evening safari. The food was always amazing!
Several times during the video you’ll see the elephants that were down in the valley this day. As mentioned, every day is different in the valley and this day we had a family of elephants stopping by. Look for those when I zoom in to the view down in the valley.
Next up you’ll see the fire pit seating area. The fire pit was always blazing away at night and it was wonderful. Wish I had thought to take a photo of that at night.
Next we’ll stop by the tent that houses the bar and another seating area.
We’ll eventually come to a tent that sits up a bit. It houses a small gift shop and the office area at Mahali Mzuri.
Then I’ll take you down, down, down to the pool. It appeared they were doing a little maintenance. Later I was told they were installing solar panels to heat the pool so folks could swim at night if they wished. I’m not a big pool person so I didn’t even take a bathing suit, but I did sit along the side and got my legs/feet wet while enjoying the view and chatting with fellow guests.
Finally we’ll head down, down, down past the massage tent and look out to the area where our bush dinner was held and you’ll see the elephants again down near the water. If you missed the bush dinner and the performance by the Maasai warriors, you’ll find that post here: Dining Under the Stars
Video Walk Around Mahali Mzuri, Richard Branson’s Safari Camp in the Kenyan Bush
To take a walk with me around Mahali Mzuri, click the photo below or here: A Walk Around Richard Branson’s Safari Camp in the Kenyan Bush
Pssst: Make sure your speakers are turned on if you would like to hear the wind and watch the video with music! Hope you enjoy!
Writing this post has me so wanting to go back! Who wants to go with me?
You’ll find other videos I made during this trip at the links below:
Find answers to the questions I most often received about this trip here: Answering Your Safari Travel Question & What I Brought Back From Kenya
See what I learned while packing for this trip to Africa in this post: What Worked and What Didn’t on My First Trip Abroad
You’ll find additional posts about this African adventure, including my visit to Giraffe Manor, here: Africa