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Destinations | Africa | Kenya | Masai Mara | Cottars 1920's Camp

Cottars 1920's Camp Properties |

Cottars 1920's Camp
10 Luxury Safari Tents

The camp accommodates up to twelve clients in authentic white canvas tents, which are spacious and luxuriously furnished and incorporate original safari antiques from the 1920's. There are private en suite dressing rooms and bathrooms (with old-fashioned showers and flushing toilets), a main bedroom and an outdoor veranda.  Also available and separate from the main camp are 4 family tents holding four guests per tent.
Cottars Concession - Masai Mara Area, Kenya

The Cottar's 1920's Safari Camp is situated in an extensive and exclusive concession between the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Loliondo reserves where a few Purko Maasai clan roam. This area has been untouched by any kind of tourism or development and offers the discerning client a guarantee of privacy.


June - October; December - March

The best months for travelling to Kenya are June through the end of October and then December through the end of March. If you are wanting to see the Great Migration then I suggest the months of July, August and September, these are also the busiest times along with the Christmas holidays as this is when school holidays fall. If you prefer to travel when the game is still superb but it is not so busy then I recommend the following months, June, September, October, November, February, March, April and May!  
Game Drives (Day & Night), Nature walks, Birdwatching, Visits to the Nearby Masai Villages, Bush Picnics, Sundowners, Massages, Tracking on Foot, Fly Camping & Day Trips to the Masai Mara Game Reserve.

Guest activities include game drives guided by Calvin Cottar or guides of equal professional standard in either state of the art modern four wheel drive cars, in our authentic, old wooden car or in our oxen pulled wagon. Alternatively, a tented reading room with an extensive array of African and contemporary books and magazines will allow those who wish to while away an afternoon to rest and view the most splendid panorama. Extending an era of luxury and quality, Cottars Safari Service returns to the original spirit and essence of 'safari' reminiscent of a golden era - an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. Our flagship camp is the Cottars 1920's Safari Camp which is situated in the Masai Mara, bordering the Serengeti and Loliondo reserves in an untouched 250,000 acre exclusive concession providing the discerning client a guarantee of privacy and an abundance of wildlife. Cottars Safari Service also have a beautiful bush-home in the Mara called Bush Tops; and can further provide tailor-made itineraries for 1920's mobile, walking and bird-shooting safaris. As our concession is outside the game parks, guided walks and night drives are allowed and highly recommended. By walking, guests can get that much closer to nature, and if an opportunity to track wild game presents itself, our trained trackers will take guests even closer still. On a more self-indulgent note, our masseuse will now be based full-time at the camp for a complimentary massage, manicure or pedicure. Any other needs that guests may have will be met by butlers who have been trained to provide guests with discreet, yet attentive service.
Local Info

This spectacular expanse of open grassland covers 320 sq km in the south-west corner of Kenya. It receives ample water from the tree-lined Mara River, a tributary of the Talek River. The western border of the park features the Oloololo Escarpment as well as the highest concentration of game. This area is often difficult to traverse as the swampy ground often becomes impassable after heavy rains. The highlight of the Mara is undoubtedly the great migration of wildebeest which move north from the Serengeti in July and August in search of lush grass. They return south in October before the rainy season. Watching millions of these animals move together in mass is truly a humbling experience for human visitors. Other animals are commonly spotted in the park including the big cats: lions, cheetahs, and leopards. Lions are often found in large prides and it's not uncommon to see them hunting. Elephant, buffalo, zebra, and hippo roam in large herds while the topi, impala, and Coke's hartebeest are also abundant.
Owners & Hosts

The longest established safari outfitting company in Africa, registered in British East Africa in the year 1919 by Chas Cottar and operated by he and his sons, Bud, Mike and Ted during the 20's, 30's and 40's, Mike's son Glen and his wife Pat took over the helm in the 50's through the 1980's and Glen's son Calvin and his wife Louise have carried on the tradition since the 90's. Cottars Safari Service is a family business that has depended for the last 80 years on providing clients real value for the money and real adventure, descriptions of which we are in many of the classic and contempory travel books. "We are not in the Safari business - it is our way to continue living in the land we love and our preferred way of life." Since Chas Cottar's days, the quality of safaris in Kenya has generally deteriorated as operators sacrificed adventure for convenience. Safaris have become over-itinerized, limited to congested big name parks and having no room for the flexibility that always was the vital essence of the original safari. On Cottars safaris we work hard to keep the spirit of safaris alive evoking the light, the smells and the unchanging atmosphere of Africa's heyday of the early explorers.
Press & Media

Architectural Digest (March 2003) - Tim Beddow
Evoking the Golden Age of the East African Adventure
It's no easy task these days to experience an authentic African safari-one with the privacy, splendor and elegance of former times. Too often, lodges are soulless places where the safari consists of game drives in overcrowded minibuses. One very special place, however, aims to give its visitors a unique encounter with Africa. Cottars 1920's Safari Camp, located on a 200,000-acre private concession at the edge of Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve, harmoniously fuses the elements that make for a stylish, comfortable, one-of-a-kind safari adventure.

Travel and Leisure (August 2001) - David Herndon
Africa's Best Safari Guides: Follow the Leader
Calvin Cottar is chosen as one of the top five of a new generation of safari guides in Africa:- The Cottar clan is referred to in the book (White Hunters) as The First Family of the safari business. If you want to track bloodline, you go to Cottar's. Today, Cottars camp is situated on the lower slopes of a heavily forested hillside, overlooking the green-blond Masai Mara plains and Tanzania's Serengeti beyond. It's such a classic vista that you expect the title of 'Out of Africa' to roll across it.

London Financial Times - Lucia Van Der Post
"For those who find themselves hooked on Africa, there comes a time when they want something different, something lonelier and wilder...Not every guide can take you there. Some do not have the taste for it and some do not have the know-how, but Calvin Cottar and his 1920's safaris come with the kind of pedigree and promise that is hard to resist"

The Tatler Cunard Travel Guide - Alexander de Cadenet
"Nobody knows the bush better or can guide you more safely. Not only were we able to see places of astonishing beauty to which more regular safari outfits never go, but Calvin was able to educate us by sharing his unprecedented knowledge of animal behavior. Although there are a few luxury safari outfits, this is easily the most atmospheric. It harks back to the era of hunters such as Denis Finch-Hatton, when safaris were undertaken in grand style."

Bloomburg Magazine - John Frederick Walker
"Over the years, Cottar's has guided royalty, sports figures, assorted tycoons, and scores of more down-to-earth type on safaris completely tailored to meet their needs and desires. This ecologically correct adventure re-creates all the glamour and style of a classic safari."

Tatler Guide to Guides - John Warburton-Lee
Voted Calvin Cottar the best guide in Kenya and said: "Scion of one of the oldest guiding families, Cottar is straight out of 'White Mischief.'"

Travel.Telegraph - Brian Jackman
Have visitors crowded out animals in Africa's game parks? Not yet. Brian Jackman finds unexpected tranquillity in Kenya.

Vogue (UK) - Tim Beddow

Conde Nast Traveler - Best of the World - Top 100 (November 2002)
Into the Bush with the Best - Lisa Limer
Calvin Cottar and John Stevens know something about elephant behavior. They have lived in the bush most of their lives and have developed such a profound understanding of the wild animals and their habits that if academic accolades were awarded for bush craft, they would have doctorates bestowed on them. If you ask Africa hands to name the best guides, Cottar and Stevens appear at the top of every list.
Recalling an era of luxury and quality, Cottar's 1920's Safari Camp returns to the original spirit and essence of 'safari', reminiscent of a golden era - an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance.
Drawing on eighty years of Safari service, the Cottar family will provide guests with the highest standard of personalized and professional guiding. Tailor made itineraries ensure the safari provides a unique experience for our guests. Recalling an era of luxury and quality, Cottar's 1920's Safari Camp in the Maasai Mara returns to the original spirit and essence of 'safari', reminiscent of a golden era - an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance, in a timelessly unspoiled setting with panoramic views and boundless game. The Cottar Safari tradition began in 1919. Eighty years on, we continue to provide an unparalleled safari experience to discerning clients in Africa. The highlight of the Mara is undoubtedly the great migration of wildebeest which move north from the Serengeti in July and August in search of lush grass. They return south in October before the rainy season. Watching millions of these animals move together in mass is truly a humbling experience for human visitors. Other animals are commonly spotted in the park including the big cats: lions, cheetahs, and leopards. Lions are often found in large prides and it's not uncommon to see them hunting. Elephant, buffalo, zebra, and hippo roam in large herds while the topi, impala, and Coke's hartebeest are also abundant.

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