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Masai Mara, Olderkesi Private Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00100 Kenya
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Prices above are provided by partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and do not include all taxes and fees. Please see our partners for full details.
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Room & Suite (88)
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About

#1 of 2 in Olderkesi Private Reserve
Location
Cleanliness
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Cottar’s Safaris is a portfolio of three unique properties in the Masai Mara in Kenya, that work with the local community to unite wildlife conservation and sustainable luxury travel. We are a 5th generation family run safari company that has been operating safaris in Africa for more that 100 years. Our 1920s Camp, private Bush Villa and Conservation Camp are located in the private Olderkesi Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The Cottar Safari tradition began in 1919. For over 100 years, we continue to provide an unparalleled safari experience to discerning clients in Africa. Extending an era of luxury and quality, we return to the original spirit and essence of "safari", reminiscent of a golden era; an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. Situated in an untouched exclusive conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara, Serengeti and Loliondo reserves, the area guarantees privacy and an abundance of wildlife. Our 1920s Camp accommodates up to 26 guests in authentic white canvas tents, which are spacious and luxuriously furnished. The Bush Villa is a private villa with 5 en suite bedrooms, amazing views and private chef and guides. The Conservation Camp is an immersive and intimate camp of seven simple tents, designed for those who want to immerse themselves in the local community and culture, and experience the day to day conservation efforts of a working conservancy.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Pool
Free breakfast
Evening entertainment
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Free airport transportation
Business Centre with Internet Access
Public wifi
Outdoor pool
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Breakfast in the room
Special diet menus
Airport transportation
Spa
Massage
Baggage storage
Concierge
Gift shop
Mosquito net
Shared lounge / TV area
Butler service
24-hour front desk
Private check-in / check-out
Laundry service
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Room features
Room service
Safe
VIP room facilities
Room types
Bridal suite
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
Smoking rooms available
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Family
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish, German, Italian

Location

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Contact
Masai Mara, Olderkesi Private Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00100 Kenya
Getting there
Mara Lodges Airport51 kmSee all flights
Olkiombo Airstrip43 kmSee all flights
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398Reviews2Q+A84Room tips
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J K wrote a review Nov 2021
Denver, Colorado68 contributions73 helpful votes
This was our second stay at Cottar's Bush Villa, for our family of 5 adults. Cottar's is so much more than a luxury camp, it truly offers an amazing and unique Safari experience - That's what I said in 2019 and it's still true today! The Villa is amazing, with 5 large bedrooms overlooking a spectacular view of the Mara and Serengeti...but it's the staff that makes it truly special. William catered to our every need, arriving with a smile. Phoebe kept everything spotless and did the most amazing job with our laundry. The food was outstanding, with the chef catering to our "picky" eaters. The desserts were some of the best we had in Africa. Pampered doesn't even begin to describe the experience they provided. They even did a bush breakfast, complete with table cloths, fresh flowers and cooked to order eggs - all setup on the banks of the sand river so we could enjoy the view of eland and zebra's. Game drives were incredible.....again, not just because of the animals but the guiding. Douglas is exceptional...yes, he is a Gold Star guide but even more than that, he is engaging, funny and truly a friend. Going out of his way to make our stay at Cottar's the best Safari Experience possible. We saw leopard, cheetah, elephants (my wife's favorite) and the elusive Mara Rhino...he also took us to the Mara river to see the migration - 200,000 Wildebeest is a sight to behold (and not forgotten). Cottar's offers a "Warrior School" as a side activity. I'm sure this is normally for kids; however, my two grown sons had the best time with Moses and Lettie, a highlight for certain. You would enjoy this regardless of age. The Camp also has a resident Eland w/ baby...such a treat to see. It's an experience to be able to interact with such a beautiful creature. I have to say - You might arrive at Cottar's as a guest, but you will leave as a friend. Looking forward to our next stay.....
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Date of stay: October 2021
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Room Tip: The Bush Villa is truly amazing
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Richard wrote a review Sep 2021
2 contributions
We stayed at cottars camp for 3 nights during our 2 week trip to Africa. I will say the place is JUST ok. Nothing special and honestly way overpriced for what you get. We stayed at other camps that were in the price range and everything was phenomenal. I would say everything at cottars is just “fine” nothing special but not the worst…. But I suppose you could stay at lesser expensive places and have the same mediocre experience. I say skip this place if you are a high end traveler. Perhaps if you have a family and don’t mind things not luxury standard this place is fine for you. But for me I expected more.
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Date of stay: September 2021Trip type: Travelled
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 28 Oct 2021
I'm very sorry to hear this and apologies that we weren't what you were looking for on your safari, it seems that luxury means different things to different people. All the best, Calvin
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luckylindy0707 wrote a review Jul 2021
Chicago, Illinois34 contributions84 helpful votes
We just came back from Kenya and I am still dreaming of our four nights under canvas at Cottars. My husband and I have been to Kenya over forty times since 1995 and yet we still had some surprises in store on our most recent safari. First of all the camp itself is set up in a wonderful way. There are two gorgeous big tents full of antiques , old books, silver candelabras , British colonial furniture and lots and lots of old photos.Instantly you are taken back to a bygone day of the first safaris ( hinting ones and then photographic ). It was so nice to have time almost stand still for four days and to forget all the trouble of the outside world as we immersed ourselves in nature. Both of our guides were simply outstanding......we had been recommended Matura ; but together our two guides were an incredible team. After being on safari too many times to count we were amazed to see three leopards together and spend a couple of magical hours watching this leopard family interact Never have we seen that before. Another cool highlight was having twenty lions walk towards us and then lie down all around us......they were looking for shade not us. We just loved the landscape and never tired of the drives ....the mountains, the sand river, the rocky areas and the long grass were all intoxicating. And, how nice to come back to absolutely the most fantastic meals cooked by Boniface. Our tent opened up to an open grassy area so it was not dark like some tents can be. Each morning we woke up to a herd of grazing leaping impalas and the resident very friendly eland. Nothing is more delightful than waking up to the smell of coffee and watching animals through the netting. Another highlight was "the canvas bath".Thank you Lucie for wiping up all the bubbles that spilled out and for the bubbly too. We are still laughing about that bubble bath in the wild. Our servers Gladys and Joseph were always there to get us whatever we needed to eat or drink and the manager Bruce was always nearby if anyone needed anything. Next time we will try the honeymoon suite since I heard it was a little newer and more updated. Our tent had a great view and nice space but could use a little refresh, We were lucky that no one was in the tents near us; so it was truly a peaceful retreat. A BIG shout out to Laurent who helped get us to Cottars.....and flew up for lunch at the very lovely pool site. I will make it a priority to sit by that beautiful pool when we come back.....there just was not enough time even being there four nights. Asante sana to ALL!
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Date of stay: July 2021
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1 Helpful vote
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 28 Oct 2021
What a wonderful review, thank you so much and I'm so thrilled to hear that you spent such a fantastic time with us! What amazing sightings you had, it's great to hear that you were so well looked after - we do have a wonderful team. And yes next time you come back you must try the new honeymoon tent, it's lovely. Thank you for all your comments, we have taken note and will continue to try to keep updating and providing the best safari experience we can. We can't wait to welcome you back again! All the best, Calvin
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allplanetsearch wrote a review Jul 2021
Menlo Park, California174 contributions141 helpful votes
+1
Cottar’s 1920s camp, as the name suggests, is a safari camp. What that means is that unless you’re staying in the amazing 5-bedroom, brick-and-mortar Bush Villa, you will be staying in a very large and beautifully decorated canvas tent. We were coming to the camp from incredibly nice and more modern accommodations elsewhere in Kenya, so it took us a bit to adapt. But altogether, we really enjoyed our stay and the overall experience. Some comments: Lodging: we stayed in a family tent, which comfortably sleeps four people. As a plus, it has 2 separate, full bathrooms, which is handy for getting ready for the early morning drives. As a con, it has no views. Our tent just opened up to a grassy area. For killer views, you’ll need to stay in one of the honeymoon suites (for 2 pp) up the hill. I also thought that it was a bit too dark inside the tent at night but, alas, it is a tent. Experiences: While game drives are main attraction, they provided a variety of fun activities during our stay. We didn't get to do all of them, but there was beading (lovely older Masai lady teaches it without speaking a word of English); a quick but interesting typical dance show; outdoor ‘bush bath’ in canvas bathtubs (definitely a highlight if your tent has a view…); archery; massage; electrical bike rides (charged extra); or just lounging in the Disney-esque main hall. A highlight was a visit to a nearby Masai village (also a small extra charge), where we got to learn a bit more about the local culture. With a full camp, there was a bit of competition for some of the more scarce resources (e.g., massage, outdoor bathtubs, or bikes), so it might be wise to plan and book those ahead in spite of their advice to let your days just flow flexibility. Staff: This is where Cottar’s really shines. Everyone there is soooo nice and friendly. You have a dedicated safari guide who will manage your day-to-day activities (and eat most meals with you, which was perhaps a bit too much for us...). The tent comes with an assigned housekeeping person, laundry is done daily (same day), the wait staff is super nice, the office and shop staff is very helpful - and it looks like they really enjoy working together. They do try to go above and beyond. Game: We were there in June before the start of the ‘great migration’, which meant fewer tourists, but we didn’t get to see the hordes of zebras and wildebeests that come from the lower part of the ecosystem (Serengeti in bordering Tanzania) to the upper part (Mara in Kenya). But we did see everything else you would expect in a safari (except for a rhino - next time!), including lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, antelopes, and tons of elephant families. The latter won’t be there once the migration starts so there is a trade off. There is a lot to see close to the camp itself, but the actual Masai river is over four hours away on a loooong and bumpy (but beautiful) jeep ride. All said, Cottar's was a great stop. Highly recommend it!
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Date of stay: June 2021
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Room Tip: No views from family tents; views from luxury and honeymoon suites or Bush villa only
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1 Helpful vote
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 28 Oct 2021
Thank you so much for your detailed review! We do have the best team in Kenya, thank you for your kind words. We've taken note of your comments about the family tent views, the spa treatments etc. We hope to welcome you back again soon! All the best, Calvin
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Adventure_MD wrote a review Apr 2021
Florida135 contributions52 helpful votes
We decided to finally push through despite repeated cancellations and rebookings. This place has been my dream camp to stay at. They surely did not disappoint. We have stayed at a lot of beautiful hotels, resorts and properties throughout the world. I can surely say that more than the beauty of the property itself, the quality of service was excellent. It’s one of those places make you feel like you are part of their family. We had some hiccups, due to pesky COVID. The staff rallied to make our stay as worry free as possible. Thank you for going above all our expectations. Thank you Perris, William, Phoebe, Isaac and all the staff, for our good food, nice warms beds, and keeping us safe at night. Special mention to Wilson, our guide, for taking good care of us. Helping us see great wildlife and taking our numerous pictures. You made our safari experience unforgettable.
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Date of stay: April 2021Trip type: Travelled
1 Helpful vote
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 4 Jun 2021
We are so thrilled that even with 'pesky' COVID you still came to stay! I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed your trip so much and tat our team took such good care of you! We are so grateful for the amazing team that we have, they truly make the safari a trip of a lifetime. Thank you for coming, it means a to to us during this tough time and we hope to see you again soon!
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jmkAlberta wrote a review Nov 2020
alberta10 contributions9 helpful votes
My husband and I were at this camp for three a nights in October 2019. It truly was beyond anything I could possibly imagined. And I had high expectations!!! I could write a novel but will try to keep it a short as possible. We were met at the little airfield by a man named Niboo. He ended up being our spotter for the next three days. Animals were right on the airfield!! We starting taking pictures. He laughed and told us not to waste our time on aminals so far away. before we even go to camp we saw families of warthogs and families of baboons both with babies. We saw herds of zebras , giraffes , a momma cheeta with her three babies, water buffalo. And believe it or not three different lions. Gazelles were as plentiful as deer . Elephants thus far were a bit in the distance but we saw them . We arrived at the amp and it was amazing. Our “tent “ was decadent with king bed running hot water all amenities . Lovely deck to sit . We heard nightLy visitors. Zebras . Monkeys. My husband heard lions roaring one night . . We had our own person to help us out with anything we could possibly think of. Lucy. (Thank you ) arrived with coffee an treats every morning before our morning ride. When we came home our place was cleaned and perfect. She encouraged us to take a bush bath and arranged it fo us . Well worth it. Do it !!! The meals were great. Things may be different now but we were at that point all encouraged to mingle with other guests and guides and spotters to exchange stories and pictures . We took our breakfasts on the road by choice. We had everything from fresh hot coffee and omelets and croissants while watching lions or cheetahs in front of us . The absolute high lite was Enoch . He was our guide. we were with him upwards of 12 hours a day including relaxing at meal times. His skill is beyond skill. A gift maybe. With one snort from gazelle he could tell we would find a leopard . With one odd look from a zebra he would know there was a lion. He and niboo really were an amazing team that found us animals and situations we never imagined. But we were always safe . This is getting a little long so I will just say. I would go back thereina flash. And recommend this camp and especially Enoch and niboo It was life changing
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Date of stay: December 2019
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Room Tip: All were amazing and private
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1 Helpful vote
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 4 Jun 2021
Thank you so much! I'm thrilled to hear what a wonderful time you had with us. You're so right about Enock and Niboo, they are amazing at what they do and help to make the safari a real trip of a lifetime. We really hope that you will be back with us again soon! All the best, Calvin
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CJS wrote a review Oct 2020
London, United Kingdom2 contributions1 helpful vote
Do not send direct bank funds to Cottars. It has not returned a deposit for a family trip in 2020 despite being cancelled within the dates of their own Terms. Use a tour operator and obtain guarantees the camp is still operating.
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Date of stay: July 2020
1 Helpful vote
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 27 Oct 2020
We abide by our T&Cs and there are no outstanding payments due.
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Lisa D wrote a review Feb 2020
Washington DC, District of Columbia187 contributions86 helpful votes
+1
Cottar's 1920's Camp was our group's favorite property from our 3 week safari through Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. It combines the best of old world luxury with modern touches, the food was fantastic, the staff was extremely attentive, and they seem to have thought of everything needed to make your stay the best it can possible be. We loved the tent, and having morning tea brought to the tent before heading to breakfast/safari was really nice. Our safari guide Leturra was awesome, and our spotter was fantastic as well (I forgot his name). We also enjoyed getting to know the other guides and other guests more at dinner. While we were there in May 2018, there was only 1-2 other rooms occupied in addition to our group's 2 rooms. The family history was very interesting, and we especially liked that they manage a conservancy owned by Masai. The camp sponsors a school, employs local Masai, and makes other contributions to the community. The dinners were delicious and even my finicky husband was eating everything they served. The staff was kind enough to bring out a birthday cake for my husband and to sing a song while doing so. It was great fun. We spent some of our time on the private conservancy, where we saw ONE other car in 3 days of game drives, and some of our time on the public Masai Mara land. We saw plenty of wildlife throughout our stay and enjoyed our bush lunches immensely. I think we saw every major animal except the leopard. There was a leopard very near to the camp that other guests saw, but we were unable to spot her. One day our guide took the 4 of us to a Masai village and I’m so glad we chose to go. It was not touristy and we did not feel like anyone was putting on a show for us. It was just the 4 of us there, and our guide mentioned that if they bring guests to a village, they like to chose different villages each time so as not to burden one village with outsiders too much. Some of the village women did bring out their crafts toward the end of our visit, but we did not feel pressured to buy anything. The children were charming and followed us around (especially in the goat pen). It was an interesting day for the village because a cow had been killed by a lion and so the men were all still out dealing with that situation. One woman allowed us into her home to hear how food is prepared (and to see how the home is set us). It was so smoky inside due to the cooking fire that I had to excuse myself because I had trouble breathing. All in all this was an enlightening and worthwhile stop. Some of the negative reviews of Cottars seem to be from people who did not understand what to expect. It is a camp that evokes the spirit of old colonial Africa, when Europeans stayed in opulent tents on hunting expeditions. (Of course, now it’s game drives and not hunting that people come to do.) Neither the tents nor the camp in general are modern or high tech. There are thoughtful antique touches everywhere. The camp is comfortable and just a fantastic experience all around. Another complaint I’ve seen was about the time it took to get to the river crossings during the great migrations. I cannot speak to that because we visited when the herds were just starting to gather and we did not expect to see any particular location of natural phenomenon. I highly recommend Cottars and hope to return some day.
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Date of stay: May 2019Trip type: Travelled
3 Helpful votes
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 22 Oct 2020
Thank you so much for your wonderful and detailed review! I really appreciate you helping to clear up the few misunderstands about what we are here to offer that you've seen in other reviews. Thank you for appreciating and enjoying what we do and provide! I'm thrilled to hear about what a great time you had and that you fully indulged in all that we have to offer. Thank you so much and we can 't wait to have you back again soon! Calvin
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Richard0899 wrote a review Feb 2020
Delray Beach, Florida44 contributions35 helpful votes
Great location in the Masai Mara with a private reserve that avoids the crowds in the main park. Their service is very friendly and helpful. Our guide was great. We spent two of our days in the private reserve and the park close to the reserve. We say no one else when we did this. One of our days we chose to take the long drive to the Mara river. In spite of not seeing a crossing, the wildebeests kept stopping and not crossing, we did see some great wildlife and interesting vistas. The big difference on this day was that there were hoards of people and vehicles in this part of the park. The food and lodging is just okay but they put on a special dinner for us by the pool and it was a great experience. I would still recommend Cottars due to the location and service.
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Date of stay: September 2019
3 Helpful votes
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Response from Calvin Cottar, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 22 Oct 2020
Thank you very much for your lovely review!
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SueM-Y489 wrote a review Jan 2020
Cookham Dean, United Kingdom25 contributions55 helpful votes
We stayed here for three nights with our 2 children (10 and 13) in August as part of a safari trip to Kenya. We have stayed at some of the best safari lodges in Africa (various Singita properties, Royal Malawane, Tswalu, and others) and we were expecting Cottars to be similar. Sadly that wasn’t the case. There are many positives – the camp itself is stunning, the tented rooms are very comfortable, the food is great and the staff very friendly. Also, the Camp is remote from the busier areas of the Maasai and so when out in the vehicle it feels more like a private Conservancy, which is very welcome given how busy certain parts of the Maasai have become. Be aware though, if you come here wanting to see it to the river crossings for the migration, it will be a very long day of driving-we were advised it would be about 10 hours in the vehicle, which we decided was too much. However, you come somewhere like this for the safari experience, and that’s where this review becomes less positive. We came here after staying after being on safari for a few days elsewhere in Kenya, which has been wonderful and which the children had absolutely loved. The guide there was passionate about all aspects of being in the bush, and made it huge fun for the children, who still talk about him, 5 months later. That wasn’t the case at Cottars at all. Our guide would probably have been fine if this was your first Safari, but he frankly was not up to the job and seemed to be going through the motions, as opposed to having that level of interest and passion which guides at good lodges have in imparting their knowledge in an engaging way, often with interesting anecdotes. Our guide was unforthcoming in terms of general commentary, did not offer much beyond identifying the animal we were looking at, seemed only to be interested in mammals and spent a fair bit of time looking at his phone (well beyond the communications that take place between guides during drives). We were told quite a few times by the Camp manager how great our guide was so didn’t feel like we could make it clear we thought differently. I think it sums it up to say we would not choose to return. Also, when our children talk about our fabulous trip to Kenya, this is the one place they say they actually do not want to return to. The same would apply to my husband and me. This review was submitted after being asked by Cottars to rate our stay on trip adviser.
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Date of stay: August 2019Trip type: Travelled
3 Helpful votes
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Response from Calvin C, Owner at Cottar's Safaris
Responded 17 Jan 2020
I'm sorry to hear this, as we are known for our excellent guiding level, it's why most of our guests come back, we will of course address your complaints thoroughly. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the rest of the camp though. We do pride ourselves on offering a safari away from the massive Mara crowds, a more exclusive experience, but this does mean that we are quite far from the main wildebeest river crossings. We do not hide this fact though and feel that we have plenty of amazing wildlife in the areas closer to the camp. Again I'm sorry our camp wasn't for you and I hope that you have a wonderful year ahead. All the best, Calvin
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PRICE RANGE
$1,922 - $2,518 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
cottar`s camp 1920`s hotel maasai mara national reserve
LOCATION
KenyaRift Valley ProvinceMaasai Mara National ReserveOlderkesi Private Reserve
NUMBER OF ROOMS
21
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Frequently Asked Questions about Cottar's Safaris
What are some of the property amenities at Cottar's Safaris?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and a pool.
What food & drink options are available at Cottar's Safaris?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Cottar's Safaris?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Cottar's Safaris?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Does Cottar's Safaris have airport transportation?
Yes, Cottar's Safaris offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Cottar's Safaris?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English, Spanish, German, and Italian.