Surrounded by untouched savannah and dense thicket, it is located in a game-rich area where guests frequently witness spectacular wildlife events.
Guests at Naboisho often do an all-day game drive in the national reserve and the three camps occasionally share vehicles and guides. Guests booked into one camp often spend a night or two in the other, as the conservancy and the reserve complement each other very well.
The camp is a wonderful combination of raw bush and luxurious home comforts. The main area is built of stone and wood and is a more permanent structure than most of its neighbours. The lounge has a selection of comfortable sofas and armchairs and a large stone fireplace, while the dining area is dominated by a long communal dining table. Canvas flaps can be rolled down in bad weather making it warm and cosy inside.
Outside is a long wooden deck with comfy chairs, and the grass in front of this area is kept short, giving guests a safe garden area for outdoor meals. On a previous visit we arrived late, in a heavy thunderstorm, and were greeted by a hot chocolate around a cosy fire in the lounge, whilst more recently in February 2019 we were welcomed with a refreshing dawa, a traditional East African drink made with lime and honey.
A swimming pool was added in 2019 – rather a rare luxury in the Maasai Mara – and a second smaller dining area offering guests more space to spread out and relax, as well as a private dining location for those looking for a higher level of privacy.
There are seven identical spacious tents and two very large family tents. With solid concrete plinths under the tents, stone walling in the open-air bathrooms and extensive use of decking, wooden pillars and makuti roof tiles, Naboisho Camp has something of the feeling of a contemporary country house, a mood accentuated by the stylish furnishings, including a pair of softly cushioned wicker chairs and a daybed in the vestibule at the front of each tent. Solar power in the tents allows charging of batteries at any time.
The en-suite bathroom includes a shower, double basins and flush toilet, as well as a storage area clothes and luggage. Through a canvas flap at the back is an open-air stone courtyard with spectacular twin bucket showers. They are supplied with hot water when required, which cascades onto wooden decking decorated with potted palms and kerosene lanterns. We were told that there were plans to upgrade all showers to be fully plumbed later in 2019.
Once you’re inside any of the tents you are in very stylish and comfortable surroundings, but between them, you are essentially in the middle of the savanna, and after dark you’ll be escorted every step of the way by a spear-wielding Maasai warrior.
Although physically Naboisho is an impressive camp, its raison d’être, like that of nearly all the Mara’s camps is game viewing, to which its location and environment are supremely conducive. Most of the vegetation in the immediate vicinity of the camp has been left as wild as possible: after the rains, tall grass grows close to the tents and natural thorn-bush scrub provides both shade and a habitat for birds (the very rare Karamoja apalis has recently been spotted) and countless small – and sometimes larger – animals. On our recent visit we went to sleep to the sound of lions roaring nearby and giraffe eating the vegetation around the tents.
An expert local Maasai guide accompanies every drive or walk from Naboisho Camp and we have continually been impressed by the quality of the guiding here. Game walks are a stand-out feature and the game encounters close to camp can be vivid and impressive. To the south and west of the camp there are some stunning walking areas, including wide open, short-grass plains and some deeply carved canyons and viewpoints. There is the option to do some really long walks, which enable you to access certain areas where vehicles cannot go, and there is always the possibility of approaching big game on foot. On a previous game walk with an armed Masaai guide, we spotted lion, buffalo, topi, zebra and giraffe, and also learned a lot about the indigenous plants and trees in the area.
Naboisho also offers fly-camping which works particularly in combination with walking safaris. Walking out from camp accompanied by an experienced guide you will head to a scenic location where a small fly-camp has been set up. Here you can enjoy dinner under the stars before spending the night sleeping in small tents in the middle of the African bush. After a sumptuous bush breakfast you will slowly make your way back to Naboisho.
In the heart of it all is Naboisho, a stylish haven with nine elegant tents, offering a level of safari solitude almost unheard of so close to the Masai Mara.