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Little Governors' Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve 

Masai Mara National Reserve
Tel: 254 202 734023
view web site ›'s insider take:

With 17 intimate tents set around a busy watering hole, Little Governors' occupies some of the choicest real estate in the Masai Mara. A steady parade of wildlife calls this corner of the reserve home, from the zebras and elephants lapping at the lake to the resident warthogs making mischief around the bar. You might spot three or four of the Big Five before polishing off your morning coffee—and that's not to mention the hippos croaking away into the night. Tents are short on frills (think canvas-backed chairs and paraffin lamps) and have private decks to enjoy the birdsong. Sophisticated pan-African meals are served outdoors, with tables tucked into the shade by day or nestled around the campfire at night, and the warm service has helped make Little Governors' the favorite of foreign dignitaries like former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Barbara Bush. Three daily game drives are part of the package, though guests can splurge on guided game walks or hour-long balloon rides that drift above the treetops. Even getting to the camp promises high adventure, with a river crossing and a (short) tramp through the forest. For some close encounters with the resident wildlife, ask for tent 17, which sits at the entrance to the camp's watering hole and is often visited by beasts of all stripes.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
"You truly experience Africa's beauty" at these camps in "a gorgeous location" on the Mara River—guests arrive at Little Governors' Camp via "a hand-pulled ferry." Classic safari tents have private verandas, and the bar's new deck overlooks the river. Western-style menus offer "enough options to please everyone." Look for elephants, hippos, and buffalo with "guides who know the Mara and its animals."

(37 tents)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 88.8
  • Activities: 94.6
  • Design: 89.3
  • Food: 80.7
  • Location: 91.2
  • Rooms: 86.0
  • Service: 91.2

Amenities: Game drives, Spa

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We enjoyed three nights at the Little Governor's Camp in September 2009. The camp was unique and we didn't mind the boat ride across the Mara River up to... more