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Kichwa Tembo Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Masai Mara National Reserve
Tel: 888 882 3742 (toll-free)
Tel: 27 11 809 4314's insider take:

They were being a bit modest when they decided to call this place a "camp." The 1920's colonial elegance of Bateleur's 19 sumptuous tents (part of the larger Kichwa Tembo resort) are a long way from 'smores and sleeping bags. Despite a 2007 expansion that nearly doubled its size, the camp enjoys an intimate seat at the foot of the Oloololo Escarpment, looking out onto the sprawling plains of the Masai Mara. Peek behind the tents' canvas flaps and you'll find the picture of bush elegance, with stone bathrooms, four-poster beds, and polished hardwood floors—though the leather armchairs on your private deck might be overdoing it. Butler service is at the guests' disposal, and each tent comes equipped with its personal "gym in a basket," crammed with weights, jump ropes, and a yoga mat to help you work off the camp's famously decadent pan-African cuisine. Safari purists might scoff at the extravagance, but most people are too busy dipping into the pool or curling up on the lodge's fireside sofas to complain. Twice-daily game drives, walking safaris, night drives, village visits, and candelit dinners in the bush are all included in the room rate. The lodge can even arrange for Masai dancers to pop in for a fireside performance.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 87.7
  • Activities: 90.5
  • Design: 83.3
  • Food: 83.3
  • Location: 92.9
  • Rooms: 83.3
  • Service: 92.9
"We saw a baby zebra and a family of warthogs outside our tent!" Anticipate the ambience of a colonial safari and interiors that are "decadent and gorgeous" with "appealing art." "Staff truly are there to spend time with you." Meals fuse pan-African cuisine with Asian and Mediterranean influences in dishes like watermelon, pear, and Pecorino salad, and roast beef with cumin.

(18 tents)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Game drives, Pool

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.