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Cottar’s 1920s Camp

Cottar’s 1920s Camp is situated on a hillside within a small private concession bordering the south-eastern corner of the famous Masai Mara Reserve.

Cottar’s 1920s is one of the Mara’s most exclusive and upmarket camps, featuring a classic and colonial style as the name suggests. The camp is run by Calvin and Louise Cottar whose family have hosted safaris in Kenya since the colonial days. Attention to detail and personal service are complimented by expert guiding and fine dining. The accommodation is very comfortable, retaining an authentic tented feel and having quite luxurious furnishings, but guests should be aware that they are staying in genuine tents, not luxury suites. The camp offers communal or private dining experiences, depending on circumstance, and is suited to guests looking for quiet sophistication as well as those looking for a more social environment. The flexibility and exclusivity of activities on their private concession is a bonus, though game concentrations do vary and most extended game drives take place within the official Mara Reserve, which is great for game viewing but can at times be less exclusive than the private conservancies. The family tents and nearby large swimming pool are really brilliant for families looking for an upmarket Mara experience!


Accommodation at the main camp consists of 11 tents (five double/twin, four family and two honeymoon tents) which are positioned in a row stretching away from the central mess tent along the hillside. Each is surrounded by a grass wall for privacy and contains a spacious sleeping tent attached to a brick-built plumbed bathroom area with flush toilet, shower and double vanity (hot water is available from 5am to 10pm). Each tent is furnished with safari chairs and a writing desk in addition to a front verandah which overlooks the valley below. Charging facilities are available in each tent, as is 24 hour lighting. Three of the tents have a day bed which can be converted into an extra bed for flexible rooming options. The two luxury Honeymoon tents are situated at either end of the camp and are very spacious and have extra wide verandahs.
The four family tents each consists of two sleeping areas with a shared living area, fireplace and verandah. Note that the two bedroom areas are divided by a screen and are not completely private. Each of the ‘bedrooms’ has a plumbed en suite bathroom with a flush toilet, vanity and shower.

Run as a separate entity but located close to camp is the highly exclusive five bedroomed Cottar’s Bush Villa.

Central Areas

Though the camp itself is tented, it enjoys the luxuries of a permanent lodge. The huge central cream-coloured mess tent is set on a raised bank, offering fine views out across the Mara. This tent contains a dining section and lounge area and is furnished in true colonial style. Meals can also be taken outside on the verandah or lawn if desired.

As the main camp does not accept children under 12 years of age, the section of camp with the family tents is self-sufficient with its own dining and lounge mess area.

Below the family area is the large swimming pool and a spa which are used by all guests.


Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Yes

Habitat & Wildlife

The Masai Mara ecosystem is one of the best game viewing areas in Africa and is especially good for viewing the big cats. Elephants, buffalo, hippo, crocodiles, giraffe, zebra, lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyaena, impala, gazelles, eland, waterbuck, topi, jackal and serval are all common and seen regularly. Rhino are found in certain areas, and wild dogs are more transient visitors. The famous wildebeest and zebra migration is usually in residence from mid-July through to mid-October, though the movement of the animals is always somewhat unpredictable. The scenery of the Masai Mara is stunning with open grassland plains intersected by rivers, rocky ridges and pockets of riverine forest. Birdlife is varied and especially good around the riverine woodland areas.

Whilst the official Masai Mara Game Reserve can be busy with tourist vehicles in places, especially at river crossings, the private Olderkesi Conservancy (which Cottar’s is on) is an exclusive enclave offering greater flexibility on activities as well as more exclusive game viewing.


Activities include daytime game drives into the Masai Mara Game Reserve with half or full day drives including a picnic lunch. Walks and night drives take place on the Olderkesi Conservancy outside the reserve. There is also a waterfall and rock pool on the Sand River where swimming is safe and areas where you can try fishing for catfish. Other activities include electric mountain bike rides through the conservancy, an early morning or afternoon run with a Maasai warrior, a visit to a local Maasai village or school, or simply enjoying a massage in camp.


Cottar’s 1920s Camp is open all year but it is ideally best to avoid the rainy seasons in April, May and November. The wildebeest migration is usually in residence in the Mara between mid-July and mid-October.

Cottar’s 1920s Camp family suites offer some of the best family accommodation in the Masai Mara. These open plan suites allow families with young children to stay ‘under one roof’ but are also large enough to accommodate families with teenage children. The swimming pool is located close to the family suites which is ideal. Guiding is very good and the variety of activities available also an added bonus, creating a varied experience for families. For exclusive groups looking for the ultimate private escape, there is also the five bedroomed Cottars Bush Villa nearby which can cater for private groups of up to 15 guests (depending on the ages of the children). Fundamentally, the Masai Mara is an amazing game viewing venue for families, whilst also offering cultural insights. The family suites at Cottar’s 1920s Camp are one of the top family options to consider in the region.

Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT) was set up to support conservation, community, culture and commerce on the Maasai owned Olderkesi Conservancy. CWCT has provided medical services, installed radio communication networks, built water troughs for cattle and assisted in the protection of local cedar forests. They helped to open a local school by building one classroom for 40 children and now some 400 children between five and twelve years attend the school, with CWCT providing salaries for the teachers, a school feeding programme and water supply.

CWCT leases the Olderseki Conservancy land from the 6000 Maasai landowners who in return do not farm or settle on the land, aiming to reduce the community and wildlife conflict and allowing the area to become a safe passage for wildlife.

The ‘Dapper Flapper Shop’ at Cottars sells many of products which are 100% Kenyan and they work with their local Maasai communities to create hand crafted beaded pieces. They also support various fair trade projects from throughout Africa.

Cottars reduce the wastage of plastic bottles by using a reverse osmosis water filtration system and provide guests with refillable bottles.