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Cottar’s Bush Villa

Cottar’s Bush Villa is a private house situated on a small private concession bordering the south-eastern corner of the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Cottar’s Bush Villa is an impressive and exclusive private house with breath-taking views over the Mara Plains. The Bush Villa is part of the Cottar’s Portfolio run by Calvin Cottar on the Olderkesi Conservancy bordering the south-east corner of the Mara Reserve. Like its sister property Cottar’s 1920s, guests at the Bush Villa can be assured of personal attention, superb service and expert guiding, but on a completely private basis. Game drives take place on the conservancy to a limited degree, and to a greater extent inside the National Reserve, which is naturally less exclusive. Cottar’s have also built a collection of activities and experiences on the conservancy which allow guests to participate in the community and conservation projects that the property supports. With exclusive use accommodation and a unique range of educational and engaging activities, combined with the incredible game-viewing of the Masai Mara, Cottar’s Bush Villa caters perfectly for families and groups of friends wanting a high quality, positive impact safari, hosted by a very experienced team.

Rooms

Accommodation caters for ten guests (or up to 12 if there are small children, with the option of adding extra beds) in five en suite bedrooms (four doubles and one twin). Most rooms have a private veranda area and two have a fireplace.

Central Areas

There’s a big downstairs lounge with fireplace, upstairs lounge, an indoor dining room, a gym area, and a large viewing deck with spectacular views. There is a 25 metre infinity swimming pool which takes full advantage of these views.

Facilities

Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Private Plunge pools

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

Activities with your dedicated vehicle and guide include daytime game drives into the Masai Mara Reserve (half or full day drives with picnic lunch), and walks and night drives on the Cottar’s property outside the reserve. There is also a waterfall and rock pool on the Sand River where swimming is safe and you can organise a run with a Maasai Warrior. Other activities include visiting a local Maasai village, hot air ballooning or enjoying a massage in camp (all at extra cost).

There are also a range of activities that give guests the opportunity to engage with and have an impact on local community and conservation projects, many of which are supported and operated by the Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust. These include spending time learning with the only all-female conservation unit in the Maasai Mara, learning about vulture rehabilitation, taking a foraging walk to learn about medicinal properties of the local flora, participating in a reforestation seed disbursal bushwalk experience, a half-day experience including helicopter flight with the Mara Elephant Project, a tour of the community-owned conservancy to learn about its importance, and a cheetah educational experience.

Seasons

Cottar’s Bush Villa 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.

Children of all ages are welcome at Cottar’s Bush Villa and with private accommodation all under one roof, an amazing swimming pool, private guide and a great range of activities to suit all interests and ages, the property would make for a wonderfully exclusive, upmarket and memorable family safari.

Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT), in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation, was established to support the Olderkesi Conservancy. The Trust has been actively engaged in the preservation of natural habitats and wildlife in this key wildlife area and in securing the area from poachers and for the protection of the community. Each guest’s visit contributes directly to the sustainability of our conservation and social development efforts.

Cottar’s is neighboured by the Maasai community, a tribe that has so far maintained its traditional way of life. To ensure guests don’t miss out on the intricacies of this vibrant culture, Cottar’s encourages guests to experience Maasai culture first hand. They also provide a market for beadwork and other traditional handicrafts produced by Maasai women as an additional way of preserving Maasai culture and support for development, and culture to support the culture related to the history of safari.

CWCT has for many years actively supported the Maasai community’s struggle to obtain land tenure, resulting in their legal ownership of the 7,608 acre Olderkesi Conservancy in 2010. Cottar’s Safaris and CWCT are in partnership with the Maasai community and manage their land on their behalf (for wildlife use) at rates competitive with other economic uses providing conservation as an alternative livelihood opportunity to pastoralism and agriculture.

Most of the Cottar’s employees are from the local community and they conduct local clinic visits. They have also built a footbridge with Bridging the Gap Africa to enable the community to access social amenities safely.

Cottar’s Safaris and CWCT built the Olpalagilagi Primary School for a total of 200 students, paying teachers’ salaries and to keep the children coming to school, and also run a feeding program for them.

ALTERNATIVE CAMPS IN The Masai Mara