Mahali Mzuri: Staying at Sir Richard Branson’s Kenya Safari Camp
Hot off the press from Mahali Mzuri, Sir Richard Branson’s luxury safari camp in Kenya
Staying at Mahali Mzuri safari lodge in Kenya was an incredible experience. I traveled there with my friend Kiersten, and the elation of the trip began before we even deplaned. Our tiny aircraft touched down on the dirt runway right in the middle of the vast Maasai Mara. Masses of elephants, giraffes, zebra, and baboons could be seen right there on the runway itself! This was something straight out of my wildest Africa dreams! I had been on safari before, but the Maasai Mara was more beautiful than I ever could’ve imagined!
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Staying at Mahali Mzuri
Appropriately translated… Mahali Mzuri means a “beautiful place” in Swahili.
Sir Richard Branson has outdone himself once again! Mahali Mzuri is a Kenyan property featuring luxury safari tents. It is part of the Virgin Limited Edition hotel collection. This 12 tent retreat is located in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy in Kenya.
An Abundance of Wildlife
Mahali Mzuri’s unique luxury tents are built into a hillside overlooking an absolutely beautiful valley. It is covered in a blanket of green grass and dotted with trees. Running through the valley, the river attracts many animals. This provides a perfect viewing spot right from the deck of your tent. We were actually able to watch all sorts of animals from all areas of the property. Zebras, giraffes, baboons, elephants, buffalo, and hippos were star attractions. It was incredible to see these animals repeatedly throughout the day.
Upon my arrival, I knew that I wanted to see a cheetah. I had been fortunate enough witness many other animals on previous safaris, but never a cheetah. I mentioned this to my guide, and about an hour later, they came running to tell me that they found one! We jumped right into the vehicle and headed out to watch this beautiful feline, replete with the setting sun as a backdrop. On my last day, they found a cheetah once again. It had just made a kill so it stayed in the same place for quite a while, guarding its meal and giving us the opportunity to witness it up very close for a good bit of time. Such grace and beauty!
Private Luxury Tents
A few words about the facility… each guest accommodation is a private luxury tent set on a raised platform. These 12 tents boast a very unique architectural design and a private deck with sweeping views. Plus, two of them can accommodate up to 4 people. There is also a main communal tent, which offers guests an area to lounge, play games, and grab a drink at the bar. A crackling fire pit on the main deck was the perfect place to unwind after a day of game viewing.
I was immediately drawn to the décor at Mahali Mzuri. It’s very modern and incorporates beautifully printed Kenyan textiles and bright colors. If you’re looking for a bathtub with a stunning bush view, this is certainly the place. Bathrooms are fully stocked with a hair dryer, robes, slippers, and Africology skin and hair care products. There is also wifi throughout the property. One of the most impressive amenities is the sleek and refreshing 39 ft. infinity pool, with an incredible view of the valley below.
As you’ve probably gathered from the cheetah incident, the staff at Mahali Mzuri is amazing and quick to accommodate. They even introduced me to my new favorite way to stay hydrated. It is this wonderfully refreshing drink called a Rock Shandy. This is made from lemon juice, ginger beer, Angostura bitters, and lemon slices. Yum!
All food and drinks (even the champagne) and most activities are included in the price of your stay. They offer a delicious buffet breakfast, complete with the hot items of your choosing. For lunch and dinner, guests can dine in the dining tent, on the outdoor deck, poolside, or off in some scenic spot out in the bush. The cuisine was excellent and made to order. They offer various African and international dishes, as well as freshly baked breads and pastries. Locally sourced produce are used, making everything fresh and flavorful. Don’t worry, they definitely don’t skimp on ingredients. The chefs had NO trouble satiating my vegetarian palate!
Also included in the cost of your stay are game walks and game drives with experienced local guides, a tour of a local Maasai village to get a glimpse of their way of life (and maybe milk a cow or herd a few goats), day trips into the Maasai Mara National Reserve, and a visit to local markets. If one arrives at the right time of year, they can witness the annual great wildebeest migration. For an additional charge, guests can take to the skies in a balloon safari! Lastly, guests needn’t forget to plan a stop by Nasaro, the spa tent, to take advantage of one of their heavenly spa treatments.
We were the only guests present at the time of our visit, so we had the whole resort to ourselves. It was an incredible experience! This is a great destination for anyone who has a real hankering for adventure and an appreciation of wildlife. It also makes for an excellent family vacation. Mahali Mzuri welcomes children 6 years and older. The 6 year olds can accompany parents on a game drive, but game walks are for 12 years and older.
Mahali Mzuri fulfilled every Africa travel dream I had. Get ready, because you won’t be able to leave this wildlife haven without planning another trip back!
I was hosted as a guest of Mahali Mzuri, but the opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own.