Video Walk Around Mahali Mzuri, Richard Branson’s Safari Camp in Kenya

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.

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 08

 

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.

Airplane_wm

 

This was the view out the window as we headed out into the bush.

Kenya from the Air_wm

 

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.

Grass Landing Strip_wm

 

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.

Champagne Greeting For Guests of Mahali Mzuri

 

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.

Ride from Airport to Mahali Mzuri Safari 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.

Zebra on drive to Mahali Mzuri

 

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.

Mahali Mzuri Tents Along Ridge Overlooking the Olare Motorogi Conservancy

 

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.

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 07

 

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

View from the bath at Mahali Mzuri, Zebra and Thomson's Gazelle_wm

 

African Buffalo and Elephant

Wildlife in the valley below Mahali Mzuri_wm

 

Giraffe

Giraffe in the valley below Mahali Mzuri_wm

 

Words do not describe how wonderful the tents are, it was truly a fantasy vacation. This photo is from their website….

Mahali Mzuri Bedroom

 

…and this is a photo I took of my bed the first day I arrived.

Mahali Mzuri Tent With Canopy Bed

 

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

Bathing in Mahali Mzuri

 

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.

Rock Hyrax, Kenya_wm

 

 

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.

Mahali Mzuri Tent and View_wm

 

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

Dinner in the Bush White on Safari in Kenya, Africa 12

 

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!

Elephants in the Valley at Mahali Mzuri

 

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:

On Safari in Kenya with Lions and Giraffe: 2 Videos

Breakfast with Daisy and Giraffe Kisses

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

See more of Mahali Mzuri at their website here: Mahali Mzuri and read reviews for Mahali Mzuri at Trip Advisor here: Reviews for Mahali Mzuri  (The reviews really say it all!)




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Comments

  1. WOW ! I don’t know what to say other than….impossibly beautiful !

  2. You are good advertising for them! It sounds wonderfully adventurous. Do you have problems with bugs while there? Are mosquitoes bad?

    • No, I only saw one mosquito on the trip and that was at Giraffe Manor. I never got bitten, but of course I had gotten all my vaccines before leaving, just in case. We saw really big flies (probably tsetse flies) while riding through Acacia forest on safari, but they never landed on any of us since the vehicle was moving pretty fast through the trees. So no one ever got bitten.

  3. That was fun. Loved seeing the elephants!

  4. Susan, your trip was absolutely amazing. The photos and video makes me want to go on safari! I have been to Africa, but not on safari. Are you seriously thinking of going again, I might want to go. I love to travel. I plan on referring back to this and I will show it to my husband! Thanks for sharing, I know travel posts are a lot of work! Pam @ Everyday Living

    • I would love to go again! I need to save right now for England which is where I would like to go in the spring.
      When I do go back to Africa, I would love to go back to Mahali Mzuri because it was so wonderful, but I also want to see more of Africa. I’d like to see some of the other areas I’ve read about. I’m so glad my first visit there was to Mahali Mzuri, though. They have set a standard now that will be hard to find anywhere else.

  5. This makes me homesick. I lived in Kenya for a few years, long ago.
    Mahali Mzuri means “good place.”
    I have been thinking about Maasai Mara because a circus came to town, with the saddest lion. I posted a photo of it last week, with a photo I took of lions in the Mara. The grass was waist/shoulder height. Some friends went to the Mara a few weeks after me, and the grass was just nubs. The wildebeests had eaten it. Amazing.
    Though I appreciate the wildlife in Kenya, and certainly loved walking among giraffes on the shores of Lake Naivasha and elsewhere, it’s the interactions with Kenyans that are the most meaningful.

  6. This makes me homesick. I lived in Kenya for a few years, long ago.
    Mahali Mzuri means “good place.”
    I have been thinking about Maasai Mara because a circus came to town, with the saddest lion. I posted a photo of it last week, with a photo I took of lions in the Mara. The grass was waist/shoulder height. Some friends went to the Mara a few weeks after me, and the grass was just nubs. The wildebeests had eaten it. Amazing.
    Though I appreciate the wildlife in Kenya, and certainly loved walking among giraffes on the shores of Lake Naivasha and elsewhere, it’s the interactions with Kenyans that are the most meaningful.
    As for mosquitos, there’s no vaccine for malaria. In the dry season there aren’t as many bugs, but it’s important to use nets at night and repellent and to take the malaria meds.

    • That makes me so sad to see animals in circuses and zoos. I thought that circuses were moving away from that nonsense. 🙁 Sorry to hear that’s still going on.
      Yup, I remember now starting the malaria pills before I left, taking them while I was there and then for a few days after I was back home. When you lived there, did you take them? I guess when you live there, you don’t take them because that would probably be dangerous to take them full time. They didn’t drop the nets on the beds at Mahali Mzuri, probably because we were inside tents. They did drop the nets on the beds at Giraffe Manor, but I think that was more for the enjoyment of the guests since we were sleeping inside. I loved it, thought. It felt so exotic and romantic. Kinda funny how something that we think of as exotic and romantic was done out of necessity there.

      • I did take malaria meds–Fansidar and Chloroquin–which are hard on the liver but not as bad as getting malaria. The parasite has resistance to those drugs in some areas now.
        I slept with a net and burned mosquito coils.

  7. That was spectacular! A video tour is a great idea. But all those steps–what a work out. I can’t imagine what it must have been like, the moment you woke up on your first morning. So surreal. Love that zebra on your ride in. He look like he was trained to pose for introductory photos. Great trip. You documented it very well. Thanks for sharing a little more of it. It looks like a lot of work to pull together.

    • Thanks, Mia! lol He did look like a paid spokesman, stationed to great incoming guests, didn’t he. I passed so many zebra and it was killing me that I wasn’t getting any photos. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer and had to ask the driver to stop so I could snag one photo at least.
      On the way back to the grass landing strip after my stay at Mahali Mzuri was over, we had to stop and wait as 15 giraffe slowing made their way across the road in front of us. You never know what you’ll see driving around Africa. I’m sure the locals just take it all in stride while we visitors sit with our mouths agape!

  8. Darlene Gardner says:

    Thanks for sharing this – I am sure that this will be the only way I get to go and it was wonderful! I had on my ceiling fan while watching and it was almost like I was walking with you. So beautiful!

  9. So beautiful. I would love to go on Safari but have never considered something so out of the box. Oh but I do dream, and maybe one day I will make it happen! Thanks for sharing your amazing adventure with us!

  10. bobbi duncan says:

    What an amazing adventure! Going to a safari in the US certainly doesn’t compare with animals in their natural habitat, nor does it allow one to meet the people who live and work there. Susan, I see that the tents are not high off the ground and pretty open. I just recently read about lion attacks on villages there, so I’m curious how the facility keeps lions and other predators from coming into the tents, just incase I’m ever lucky enough to go to Africa. Thanks for the recap and great video.

    • I’m not sure about other safari camps, but Mahali Mzuri has Maasai Warriors working there and they regularly walk around the perimeter of the camp at night, making sure none of the animals get too close. I almost got the impression from a review on Trip Advisor that they assign a warrior to each occupied tent at night.

      I know they told us if we wanted to go anywhere around the camp after dark (like to the bar, restaurant or another tent) that we should wave our flashlight (there’s one beside each bed) outside the door and a Maasai guide would come and accompany us to wherever we wanted to go. They carry a spear with them and know how to use it if they had to.

      It’s exciting at night because the wind is blowing and the walls of the tent are flexing in and out and you hear the WILDEST noises you’ve never, ever heard in your life going on outside. Whatever animals are making those noises, they sound like they are right outside your tent, I mean right outside! lol

      They are probably down in the bush or valley somewhere but they sound really close. I wouldn’t want to be in charge of guarding the tents at night. I think that’s when a lot of the animals come out because the sounds you hear some nights are pretty amazing. I think someone said that it was hyenas we were hearing one night. Anyway, it adds to whole experience. A little scary at the time, but one of the best parts of the adventure when you look back on it.

    • Oh, and as if the animal noises aren’t exciting enough, all the lights in the camp go out between 1 and 4 or something like that so something can recharge related to the solar panels. So it’s pitch black dark between those hours. If you need to go to the bathroom, you use the flashlight. I normally sleep 8 hours straight at night but I was so excited being there and hearing all the animal noises, I awoke a few times. I got really good at going to the bathroom in the dark, learned my way from my bedroom to the bathroom section of the tent very well! lol It’s a wonderful experience I wouldn’t trade for anything! I’m not sure ANY trip I take will ever compare.

  11. This is my favorite trip of all the trips you have been on Susan! This video was just stunning. I would love to go there one day but if I don’t ever get there I’m glad that I got to see it through your video lens. Hugs, Brenda

  12. Hi, Loved the pictures. I really want to go and it all myself someday. Looking forward to seeing more.

    • Irene, it’s a wonderful place, can’t encourage you enough to go! If you want to see more of Mahali Mzuri and Giraffe Manor from that trip, click on the TRAVEL category at the top of the blog and scroll down a bit and you’ll come to the posts I’ve written so far on that trip. I still need to do a post showing all the animals I saw. Will work on that this coming week. It may take two posts to show them all! 🙂

  13. Heading there be next month for two nights. Did you get a yellow fever vaccination or take malarial meds?

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