If you want to turn back the clock and immerse yourself in the kind of original safari ambience that Ernest Hemingway enjoyed, this is the place to do it. From the superb and gracious service to the touches of antique luxury—claw-foot tubs, faded antique rugs, wrought-iron candlesticks, old gramophones, polished butlers' trays—the Cottar family's 80 years of experience certainly shows. Sit outside your own spacious, authentic white tent on a wooden rocking chair and watch the hills and valleys below, or relax in the deep red armchairs of the main tented lounge and admire the old photos and prints. At night as you sip a brandy snifter under the soft glow of oil lamps by a log fire, you'll forget all about the 21st century. The tents, with separate lounge and bedroom areas and floor-level canvas decks, are in a huge, 250,000-acre exclusive concession between the Masai Mara, Serengeti, and Loliondo reserves. Because it's a private concession, you won't see the masses of other tourists
that you can hardly help bumping into elsewhere in the Masai Mara itself. Because they operate just outside the reserve, Cottars' game vehicles are also allowed off-road, which means more freedom to follow game. (Try a bone-jolting ride in an ox wagon for a genuine early pioneer experience.) The legendary fourth-generation Kenyan Calvin Cottar could be your guide (at extra cost), but his experienced colleagues won't let you down either. Enjoy a quiet moment in the tented reading room, or rest in a hammock by the natural rock pool. The owners pay the local Maasai community for land use and have helped finance the local school and nearby clinics so that the camp and its activities are seen as a part of the surrounding land and its people.