You’re on safari in the Maasai Mara. You’ve already seen lions, elephants, wildebeest and zebra on your way to camp. Your head is buzzing and your pulse racing. Now relax, submit to the unruffled safari chic, the friendly warmth of Kenya’s Mara Plains Camp.
The camp is built on raised decks for low impact on its surroundings, and you’ll look in vain for cement or bricks. All the canvas, wood and cables could be whisked away and nature would reclaim the space within a month or two.
To get to our tent, we walked along a path where birds fluttered in the bushes. The tent was enormous, with a king-size bed, red rugs, brown leather armchairs and writing desk, old chests as coffee and bedside tables, and a folding steamer chest for a wardrobe – all authentic old pieces that have been refurbished. Manager Ben Porter mentioned a woman who used to go on safari in the early 20th century, with porters lugging a vast battery of bags and kit, thought to be the source of some of the travelling boxes in camp.
I chilled in a safari chair listening to the breeze rustle the leaves, birds chirp and trill, hippos snort and snuffle in the river below. From the plains came the grunts of wildebeest as a counterpoint to the tuba-notes of hippos.
On our last night we enjoyed a romantic private dinner on our deck, a joyous surprise. A fire pit flickered, paraffin lamps and candles shed a golden glow, and spotted hyenas serenaded us from the plains.
This, right here, is what safari dreams are made of.
Note: I was a guest of Great Plains Conservation’s Mara Plains Camp for two nights, but I was given free rein to write what I chose. I paid for my flights to and around Kenya.
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