Luxury camping is a style of camping with the same kind of experiences as traditional camping but with luxury tents fitted with amenities and in some cases resort-style services.
It is no different, equipped with spacious tents/rooms, hot showers, flushing toilets,24-hour electricity, and verandas, it offers its guests more than just service. It offers a unique experience which includes quality meals and drinks, always something between traditional and international recipes to suit guests from different countries.
Loyk Mara Luxury Camp is located on the bank of seasonable river Ntikitiak on 150 acres of private land at the border of Olare Motorogi Conservancy and Maasai Mara National Reserve- The richest National Reserve of Kenya. Our first experience of Loyk was in the month of December during the “short rains”- the second rainy season of the year. The rain only pours shortly in the late afternoon and does not affect the game viewing too much.
Traveling during the Covid-19 pandemic was another new experience. On arrival, the staff had set these guidelines in place, we also had our masks on and so did everyone we came across at the camp. The reception area is an open tent plan with comfortable waiting seats, where guests are briefed about what to expect in the next 2 or 3 days. Refreshments are also served before proceeding to the different rooms/tents.
The tented rooms have no fence around them, which separates the camp from the wild, which gives you a near close experience to the traditional ground camping. On your left from the Foyer entrance is a beautiful swimming pool at the edge of the camp, right in the middle of the African bush.
From the swimming pool, you are met by a nicely done footpath that leads to all the 10 luxurious rooms, lined with lights and more often than not spotting a footprint or two of traces of an animal/animals that come out during the night. Dinner is served at the Olpul (“blessed”) restaurant, an ambient space with scenic views of Mara nature. The restaurant has a raised dining area and lounge that occupies a light, airy and stylish space built on a raised deck. Dinner is a full course meal that is preceded by a spectacular bonfire experience, headed by the Maasai warriors, full in their attires and ‘rungus’, who are our guides during the night and have a vast experience in handling the wild animals that creep into the camp.
On the second day, we had our game drive at 6 AM, at The Maasai Mara National Reserve. The Maasai mara is one of the best places in Africa, with an outstanding concentration of games. In the reserve are the Big Five as well as huge herds of hippos and crocodiles in the rivers. It is best to go for the game drives early in the morning or in the evenings to spot as many animals as possible.
The 6 AM golden hour sun, makes the animals, especially the Lions whose mane glows in the sun, look magical and adds to your experience of unforgettable picture-perfect moments. Our adventurous spirits had us at the park until midday which was perfect because Loyk had a wonderful lunch set up next to The Mara River, where we spotted a huge number of hippos. With Loyk, Mara is a never-ending experience, every traveler’s dream.
After our game drive, we got back to the camp to cool off from the day’s sun and lounge by the poolside sunbeds, ‘a wonderful alternative to another day of safari’. Just before sunset, we had a nature walk escorted by our newly found friend, Maasai warrior and experienced local naturalist, William. The nature walk led up to a gorgeous sundowner, a sunset on the equator, and an amazing view of the conservancy. The barman made us some delicious refreshments accompanied by some snacks over a bushfire. After the sundowner, the safari cars were there to drive us back to the camp, just in time for dinner.
It takes more than just 2 days to experience Loyk mara and The Maasai Mara, but it was the best 2-day travel experience, especially after the long lockdown period during the pandemic. Our third day was departure day, after breakfast we had a chance to walk around the camp to see the other rooms, then embarked on our 5-hour journey back to Nairobi. Luxury camping is a new modern form of camping, with the Loyk Mara Luxury Camp experience, you find a nice balance between the old and the new, definitely worth everything.