The award-winning Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp has its own 7608-acre private conservancy and is situated one kilometre from the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Tanzania Serengeti game reserve.
Owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa it extends an era of luxury and quality and returns to the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’.
Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp provides the romance of safari under cream canvas tents, the style of the bygone era of the twenties, while at the same time supplying the amenities required by today’s modern world travellers and professional guides whose qualifications are the highest in Africa.
Offering an abundance of wildlife, a guarantee of privacy, and the highest standards of professional guiding in a luxurious and authentic camping environment.
The camp has nine tents in total (two honeymoon suites, four double tents and three family suites), all with en suite bathrooms. The family tents have living rooms with fireplaces. The entire camp is situated to ensure that tents are private and quiet whether for honeymooners or families with young children.
The camp has two main mess tent areas for fine dining, drinking, reading and relaxing, and an amazing pool and spa where guests can relax after a game drive. Guests can also enjoy a safari bath or safari shower, a genuinely unique way of bathing specifically set up in the savannah.
The location of the camp provides easy access for day and night game drives to the Masai Mara game reserve and the conservancy, game walks, and cultural interactions with the Maasai community.
Winners of numerous accolades, including ‘Best Tented Camp in the World’, Best small to medium enterprise in Africa, Fodor’s Travel Award in the Trip of a Lifetime category, Global Eco-sphere Retreat accredited and recipient of the Green Globe award for environmental practices, Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp offers discerning travellers authentic and unique lifetime safari experiences.
Private Bush Villa
Cottar’s Bush Villa recently won the World Travel Award for Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa 2016 and is Global Eco-sphere Retreat accredited. The award-winning villa borders the latest addition to the ‘7 Wonders of the World’, the Maasai Mara and Serengeti game reserves.
The Bush Villa provides a luxury private stay option for up to 12 guests and comes complete with its’ own private 25 meter swimming pool. Offering an abundance of wildlife, a guarantee of privacy, and the highest standards of professional guiding in a luxurious and elegant safari environment.
The villa was designed by Louise Cottar and built by hand using indigenous and eco-friendly materials. The villa is managed within the same area as Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, and guests can enjoy the same levels of service and standard for which the camp is known. For those that want absolute privacy in the Maasai Mara, combined with dedicated and discrete staff, award-winning guides, and an abundance of wildlife, Cottar’s Bush Villa offers the only real private luxury home in the Maasai Mara.
Cottar’s Bush Villa has a breathtaking view onto the savannah plains that carry the great annual wildebeest migration, and is set amidst a backdrop of the Olderkesi Hills. Guests can enjoy privately guided game drives, night game drives, bush walks, swimming and fishing.
Cottar’s Bush Villa is rented only on an exclusive basis, and comes with a dedicated staff of 8. The villa is over 10,000 square feet in size, and features a large living room, dining room, a magnificent viewing deck, and 5 en-suite bedrooms, all with stunning views.
The villa has internet access throughout, satellite TV and DVD, and is powered with electric and solar energy. A dedicated game drive vehicle(s) and guide(s) are provided to guests throughout their stay.
Cottar’s Conservation Camp
This experience is ideal for those who want the exhilaration of a night in the bush, who are prepared to sleep in small tents with simple amenities and be actively part of sustainable safari experiences.
With just 7 tents, this is an intimate camp that has all the essential elements for a memorable safari experience. Each tent has its own private bathroom in a cubicle located behind the tent with a wash basin, hot safari-shower and long drop toilet.
An experienced safari cook is at the camp to prepare the daily meals, served in a beautiful large mess tent. Guests can also relax in the dedicated Zen Tent. The camp is hosted by the manager and a support crew to look after all of the guests needs.
Profits generated from safaris undertaken from this camp will go to the Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust to support conservation and community projects in this critical wildlife corridor area of the Maasai Mara.
Get back to being at one with nature within a more simple, but ample tented fly camp. Taking adventure back to its roots, this camp is an enclave of relaxation and rustic safari simplicity.
By night, enjoy fireside meals on camp chairs under the stars and during the day there are plenty of quiet spots to be still and enjoy the sights and sounds of the African wilderness.
Relish in the striped-back simplicity that is the beauty of this sustainable safari experience. Revel in the active participation of engaging with your surroundings, and cultivate a fuller appreciation of the myriad intricacies that make up the magic of the bush.
In 1919, together with his sons, Mike, Bud and Ted, Charles established ‘Cottar’s Safari Service’, one of the very first registered safari companies offering superior big game hunting and film safaris outfitting throughout Africa, India and Indochina.
Charles Cottar survived elephant, buffalo, and three leopard attacks in his life, finally succumbing in 1939, at age 66, to a deadly rhino charge in the Mara region. Mike and Bud carried on the safari business guiding for the Duke and Duchess of York, Woolworth Donahue and Martin and Osa Johnson, amongst others.
Mike Cottar was friends with many of the famous characters from ‘Out of Africa’ and was Beryl Markham’s first flying passenger. Charles Cottar came to Africa in 1909 from the USA after reading President Theodore Roosevelt’s exhilarating accounts of his big game hunting expedition of 1906.
Charles quickly established himself amongst the first professional hunters in East Africa, and in 1915, brought his entire family back to Kenya to settle for good.
The family was renowned amongst the British administration for being rebellious and anti-establishment, preferring long stints with African tribes in wildest Africa.
The Cottars’ were the first to import American vehicles for safaris, the first to reach new areas such as Lake Paradise, the first to obtain never before seen wildlife footage. In this family it was normal to have lions, leopards, wild dogs and chimpanzees as family pets.
Mike’s son Glen, with his wife Pat, continued the family business and pioneered hunting and explorations expeditions into remote parts of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Zaire and Botswana.
Glen and Pat pioneered the photographic safari, setting up the first established tented camp just for photographic safaris in the early sixties in Tsavo National Park; Cottar’s Mara Camp in the Masai Mara in the seventies and Cottar’s Kimana and Cottar’s Bushtops in the eighties.
Glen passed away in 1996 and Pat in 2010. Glen’s son Calvin, together with his wife Louise, began Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp in the Masai Mara in the mid-nineties and continues to this day to represent the Cottar family safari heritage.
It is hoped that some of their kids, (Danni, Jasper, Charlie and Ella) will continue the safari legacy into the future!
Cottar’s is financially successful and sustainable for the next 100 years. By remaining true to the family tradition of providing an authentic and individualized safari experience and by ensuring a legacy of wilderness, wildlife, comfort and security and honouring a balance between conservation, prosperous commerce, community and culture.
We believe that there can be a maintained balance between a prosperous business and sustainable conservation, social entrepreneurship, and community development.
We are extremely proud to be one of ten Global Ecosphere Retreats in the world and certified at a Gold Ecotourism standard in Kenya.
Cutting edge conservation: Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT) supports a 7608-acre Olderkesi Wildlife Conservancy pilot project on the boundary and key wildlife corridor of the Masai Mara National Reserve and the Serengeti National Park.
CWCT has been actively engaged in the preservation of natural habitats and wildlife in the area and in securing the area from poachers and for the protection of the community.
Cottar’s is neighbored 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.
We 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.
The Cottar family 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 a alternative livelihood opportunity to pastoralism and agriculture.
Cottar’s maintains close ties to neighboring communities and is keen to address the challenges they face. CWCT has for many years actively supported the Maasai community’s struggle to obtain land tenure resulting in the legal ownership of the Olderkesi Group Ranch in 2010.
Our activities are tailored to give you the most authentic African safari experiences with a guiding style that is different from other safari operators.
We emphasize the quality not the quantity of the wilderness and wildlife, the emotional intelligence of the guide to become your friend in a short time, and to have our guests appreciate and join the pace of the wilderness.
We also strive to maintained balance between a prosperous business and sustainable conservation, social entrepreneurship, and community development and all our activities are centered around this.
- Day and Night game drives
- Bush Walks
- Impact Activities
- Swimming Pool time
- Running with a Maasai Warrior
- Local School visit
- Swimming at the Waterfall (seasonal)
- Maasai Warrior School (all ages)
- Traditional canvas bush bath
- Maasai Singing and Dancing
The Cottars’ have developed unique, purpose-driven experiences that contribute to sustainability. Louise Cottar, co-owner, explains: ‘Luxury safaris and the Big 5 game experience have become commonplace.
We believe that travellers still value these elements, but that they also want to participate in a more purposeful safari.
As such, we have spent the last year developing safari experiences that have a positive impact to the client, to the complex and unique biodiversity that surrounds us and to the local Maasai community as we move forward into the next 100 years of providing safari and conservation services’.
Some of those experiences include engaging and learning about vulture rehabilitation, spending time with the only all-female conservation ranger unit in the Maasai Mara, learning about the unique medicinal plants of the area, foraging and tasting local wild food, touring the community-owned private conservancy and participating in a reforestation seed disbursal bushwalk experience.
AWARD WINNING CAMP
Cottar’s 1920’s Camp has won numerous accolades including ‘Best Tented Camp in the World’ (Tatler Magazine), ‘Top Guides of Africa’ (Conde Nast Traveller), ‘101 Best Hotels’ (Tatler Travel Guide), ‘Best Trip of a Lifetime’ (Fodors), among many others. Cottar’s Bush Villa won Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa 2016 ~ World Travel Awards 2016
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Cottar’s 1920s Camp and Bush Villa are located in the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Maasai Mara which has the largest concentration of terrestrial wildlife on earth – the immense wildebeest, zebra and plains game migration that numbers over to 2.5 million animals with some of the highest success rates of big five sightings in the business.
HIGHEST STANDARDS OF GUIDING
We have the highest number of Gold (the highest professional level) Safari Guides within one camp in Kenya. All of our guides are chosen for their unique skill set, great personalities and a full understanding of the Cottar’s guiding ethos.
MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY RUN
The camp is run by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa spanning over five generations. The family are in the service of making lifelong memories for our guests and providing the right mix of adventure and adrenaline and comfort.
GLOBAL ECOSPHERE RETREAT
Cottar’s 1920s Camp and Bush Villa is only one of ten accredited Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER’s) within the world. GER’s directly manage or influence a natural area of significant global conservation value, and, demonstrate their ability and commitment to achieve sustainability through the 4Cs (conservation, community, culture and commerce). We take sustainability seriously. The camp is also rated Gold by the Ecotourism Society of Kenya and has won a Green Globe Award from the World Travel Market.
The Cottar family works in partnership with the Maasai community towards sustainable ecosystem management through conservation. We solely support the 7,000-acre Olderkesi Wildlife Conservancy which supports a critical migratory corridor for wildlife. The camp is situated on Maasai owned land and employs members of the Maasai community and supports numerous initiatives including a school, medical facilities, water supply and ambulance service.
Situated in an untouched and exclusive concession bordering the Serengeti and Maasai Mara National Reserve we are the only camp situated in the 7,000-acre Olderkesi Conservancy. No hot air balloons flying overhead, no minibuses buzzing around, no nearby lodges and no low-flying aircrafts to disturb.
THE MAASAI EXPERIENCE
We work hard to provide authentic and respectful cultural experiences and have developed some unique engagements such as ‘The Maasai Warrior School’, cultural visits, Maasai wedding blessings and invitations to certain Maasai ceremonies
Safari under cream canvas tents in the 1920’s style or in the modern Cottar’s Bush Villa with its own 25 metre swimming pool. Our accommodation choices are authentic and luxurious.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Our camp is situated over one kilometre. We have designed the camp so that honeymooners or families can stay and have their own space, experience and fun without necessarily disturbing others. From our family tents, to our honeymoon suite, to our Bush Villa that accommodates 10, to private dining, to children’s menus, we can serve all guests respectfully.