I am BACK with our second camp on our big Kenya adventure. If you are just tuning in for the first time you can read our Kenya itinerary and our first stop at Finch Hattons Camp, but today I’m recapping our stay at Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri in Maasai Mara, Kenya. We left Finch Hattons mid-morning, got picked up by another Safarilink plane and within a few stops (including one back to Nairobi to pick up more people), we were arriving in the Maasai Mara. It’s a completely different landscape than Tsavo is, so right away, we noticed how easily the animals were to see, as opposed to peeking around in a more lush landscape trying to spot them. Today’s post is going to cover our time in the Maasai Mara, our thoughts on Mahali Mzuri, what we loved and more! If you’ve been waiting for the second half of our Kenya trip, today’s post is for you 🙂
Our Stay At Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri In Maasai Mara, Kenya
As soon as we stepped off our Safarilink plane onto the dirt runway, we were greeted by a Maasai guide who would take us to Mahali Mzuri, the camp where we are staying. But first – we had a little bit of a champagne greeting (hello, wonderful) and did a bit of chatting before we were off! Stopping for drinks and snacks throughout our time in Kenya was definitely a highlight for me!
We arrived at Mahali Mzuri and it’s safe to say I knew why Richard Branson chose this particular area for his camp. It sits high on a cliff, so you can see all the animals as they come over the hills and wander (or run) into the valley below. There is truly nothing quite like sitting on your balcony and seeing zebras, wildebeest and even a leopard hanging out! It’s something I really struggle to put into words, because it was a dream come true. I’m getting ahead of myself!
We were in tent 1 and we loved it, because it was furthest from the reception area and restaurant, so it was very quiet and more animals congregated nearby, because it was on the outer perimeter of the resort. It’s a bit of a hike back to the main hotel area, but well worth it!
Honestly, our first impression of Mahali Mzuri was that it as a complete 180 from Finch Hattons. Finch Hattons is smaller, family-run and much more intimate. Mahali Mzuri is part of the Virgin Unlimited hotel collection, there are always people around to chat or get a drink with, the safari cars are filled and after each drive, you all eat together. Neither are bad – they’re just quite different in flow, if that makes sense? I would go back to either camp tomorrow – we loved them – but just know if you book, you’ll be getting very different, yet complimentary, experiences.
Our driver during our time at Mahali Mzuri was Jackson and on our very first game drive together, we discovered the couple sharing our car was from Hawaii! What are the chances?! So we had a great time chatting with them all week and discovering the animals of the Maasai Mara together. P.S. Doesn’t the lion below look like he belongs on an Herbal Essences commercial? HA!
It’s safe to say that if seeing animals easily is on your bucket list, then the Maasai Mara is the place to go. It’s where we saw the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo), several beautiful prides of lions (including babies!), leopards eating warthogs, baby elephants, a cheetah sprinting toward antelope, beautiful birds, hippos and more. Mahali Mzuri structures their drives so that you have one in the morning from 6:30AM to 9:30AM (with a delicious breakfast after) and then an evening drive that begins at 4:30PM and runs until around 7PM when it is pretty dark.
On one of our evening drives, Julius had found the two male lions in one of the prides, so we were hanging out with them and had decided to pour some drinks for sundowners that night (a fun tradition of happy hour). All of a sudden, the sky lit up into the most magical sunset I’ve ever seen. It’s safe to say Disney did their research, because I felt like I was in the “The Lion King”. I’m still in awe.