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Elephant Pepper Camp

Narok District, Kenya
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The Spirit of the Bush Narok  Kenya
Cheetah in the Mara Narok  Kenya
The Spirit of the Bush Narok  Kenya
Cheetah in the Mara Narok  Kenya

The Spirit of the Bush

In the Mara North Conservancy is a safari lodge hidden in the forest. It is so sustainable (awarded the Gold level eco rating for 2012/2013) the entire thing could be torn down in a week’s time and leave barely a trace.

While next to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the conservation model is quite different. Conservancies support the communities through renting the land from the Maasai people and committing to higher standards of eco-tourism. Game drives include the National Reserve, and the conservancy allows for night drives and hosts less vehicles with stricter standards.

Old school safari meets the super-luxe, with green canvas tents, private verandas and wash-basins (you must tell the staff when you take your shower as they will boil the water in advance). Named for the elephant pepper tree that, surprise, elephants love to eat, there are no fences in camp.

Late at night I was woken up by the sounds of an elephant. The only thing separating us was a sliver of canvas. Me lying in bed reaching for my iPhone to record, and the enormous pachyderm on a binge eat-a-thon on the other side of my head. Five straight minutes of recording what I thought were the sounds of grass munching only yielded the replay of one prolonged elephant fart. Ah well, I tried.

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Safari Correspondent
over 5 years ago

Cheetah in the Mara

The best cheetah sightings during my summer-long trip to Kenya all took place during my stay in the Mara North Conservancy (on the edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve).

In fact, Elephant Pepper Camp’s expert guide honed in on a few cheetah groups where I observed behavior I’d never witnessed on any nature program. We patiently sat in the sun and watched as a mother with two grown cubs devoured a gazelle. They took turns in playing the lookout and each got their fill, including a bit of an upchuck by one of the cubs. (call me twisted, but seeing a wild cheetah throw-up was one of the highlights of my Kenya travels).

These big cats have such a huge range and can be quite unpredictable regarding sightings. All safari-goers want to see cheetah. They may see everything on the 'Big 5' list but if no cheetah, they leave wanting.

So thank you, Ele Pepper… three days and three cheetah sightings. The Mara North will always be a fond memory. Old school safari style with tales to bring home.