Why we love it: A secluded safari camp offering Old World luxury and connections to the local community
- An ideal location for witnessing the Big Five and Kenya’s famous wildebeest migrations
- Classic safari style that recalls Out of Africa
- Access to bush walks, hot air balloon safaris, community excursions, and other unique activities
Romantic and luxurious, this tented camp transports guests to the Kenyan safaris of the 1920s and 30s. On the edge of the gorgeous Masai Mara, the secluded property was completely renovated in 2018 and now comprises two camps, each with nine tented suites featuring polished wooden floors, en-suite bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers, and copper bathtubs with views of the night sky. Classically elegant, the tents also come with private wooden verandas overlooking the vast, game-filled plains; personal butlers who attend to every whim; and thoughtful details like handcrafted artifacts, map-inspired wallpaper, yoga mats, and a butler hatch for delivering morning coffee or tea.
Elsewhere on site are two swimming pools; a common sitting area outfitted with leather Chesterfield sofas and fine antiques; a state-of-the-art gym with views of the Mara; a massage room; a gift shop stocked with local handicrafts; and a stylish bar for Kenyan coffee and top-shelf gin. Of course, guests are really here to see the Mara’s magnificent wildlife, and while they can spot several animals on site, they also enjoy twice-daily game drives, as well as night excursions and bush walks (permitted because the lodge is on a private concession). Additionally, guests have access to breakfast and sundowners in the bush, Maasai talks and fireside dances (much of the staff is from the local Maasai tribe), the educational WILDChild program for kids, and visits to nearby schools or villages for an authentic look at life in the African bush.
At andBeyond’s Bateleur Camp, you can experience the style of vintage Africa with a butler to see to all your needs. The open plains offer a panorama of endless views, and classic safari style from the ‘20s and ‘30s.
The Migration without the Crowds
Yes, you can view the greatest wildlife spectacle in the natural world without the company of over 160 vehicles. Over a million wildebeest and eight-hundred thousand zebra, the giant crocs never go hungry in the flow of survival of the fittest. You don’t have to be a wildlife biologist to want to witness what for most is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. A great experience can be had with andBeyond’s Bateleur Camp in the Mara Triangle who employs local guides. A mere five minute game drive from their private airstrip in the concession guests might just catch the gathering of thousands of wildebeest and zebra. Pictured here is a sighting of a crossing at the river where the only vehicle present was Bateleur’s. I could not believe my eyes. I had just stepped off the plane and within minutes was witnessing the famous Great Migration. As the wildebeest scrambled up the slippery rock, I noticed solid ground on either side of where they were aiming. I asked my guide ‘Why don’t they go a few feet in either direction where the ground is easier?’ He answered ‘Oh, they are not very smart’.
Honey Nerdism in the Mara
A delightful surprise for any visitor to Kenya is the locally produced honey. It’s a bee-nerd’s paradise, an artisanal elitist’s bragging right, a haute hipster’s dream, a foodie’s… I could go on. Short and simple, this is some of the best honey in the world, and a traditional harvest of the Maasai people. Bee keeping is also an income generating project of the Kichwa Community as sponsored by Africa Foundation and &Beyond. During dinner with the camp managers of Bateleur Camp, I learned that the honey purchased by the lodge comes from the local village through a sustainable project that provides income for women and youth. Beekeeping is an integral aspect of Maasai culture and a good source of revenue during times of drought and livestock loss. I brought a little home to share with my bee-keeping friends and they all marveled at the taste, how its light color belies its complex spice. My time was limited with Bateleur but I hope to return and visit the Kichwa Community Project’s initiatives like education and healthcare, and of course, those magical bee hives!