Masai Mara Safari

How the camp came to be

Have you ever wanted something, given up on it and all of a sudden it is your whole purpose of living??? Kind of like a woman who has given up on having a child and all of a sudden she has a new born baby in her hands; only in our case it wasn’t a new born, it was a teenager with a very rebellious past and thus our story with Drunken Elephant Mara started but before that, let me introduce myself. I am Jazeera, qualified physiotherapist- who doesn’t practice, previous owner of Say it With Chocolate – which unfortunately didn’t work out and I am now running, or rather crawling with Drunken Elephant Mara.

Drunken Elephant Mara, is the brain child of 3 people – Faheem, Nikhil and myself, although this story started in 2007 when Oltome Mara Magic was born. As a baby it had its ups and Downs but we were still too young to know about it and all we knew was that we had a tented camp in the mara and we were one day going to be as big as Sarova. Why Sarova was on our minds was because at that time it was the brand that we knew as children, Pinky and our Father were friends.

Alas, both my brother and I went to university and lo and behold we both changed the course of our lives and chose our career paths, leaving our Father to deal with a baby that was growing up to be a truant and notorious child – the type that you want to just lock in a room and throw away the key (we all know or have experienced this kind of child even if we don’t say it out loud).

Fast forward to many years later (of course I don’t mind giving you a whole history, but that would warrant you buying me a bottle of whisky and a long chat into the wee hours of the night which I don’t think my husband would be happy about), my brother and I realized it’s now time to take over this teenager that was out of control and just behaving badly and train it to be a well mannered adult that it should be – and thus came about Drunken Elephant Mara.

Tented Camp

Oh My!! The opposition that we got for the name, but sometimes you just know in your heart that it is the right name and we stuck to our guns; but then again- it is also a name you will never forget.

The name comes from elephants that literally break down our fence to gorge on the marula fruit in our compound which then ferments in their tummies as it digests thus making the Elephant drunk – so there you go, now you know why we stuck our guns for the name.

The alcoholic Elephant of course comes with its repercussions, of broken trees on our property, entertainment for us when in the morning we find our boilers broken, Excitement when we hear the rumble of the tummy or a light trumpet in the compound, laughter for me because I know I’m gonna see my brother running soon and adrenaline for when we hear something and we end up hugging each other in the middle of the night thinking ‘this is the last time we see each other because there’s a lion in the camp or the Elephant scratching its body against our room is going to cause it to fall – its like having your own personal mini earthquake’

When we took over in March 2021 who knew what we were going to face, from revamping the whole place, to getting a concept for the camp to finding ceilings down in the morning due to heavy rain but this is why we are different, because all 3 of us, have literally put our heart, soul, sweat and sometimes even blood into this camp (not on purpose of course). We were there through the whole process of revamping, losing people who were dear to us & having to rush back for a funeral, sacrificing time with loved ones, to ensure that the product we are giving to you, is one that we would be proud of.

How many times have you gone on holiday and come back and said “I need a holiday from that holiday” and why do you say that??? It isn’t because you went on holiday that you are tired, it is because you never broke away from routine. Let me explain this a little bit- yes you go away from your house and your office but you still have to wake up early to have breakfast or else you won’t get any, you still have to maintain your lunch time and God forbid you want to drink past midnight, the bar closes or you get charged extra. So you still have the same daily routine where we follow a schedule and this is what we as humans term as a holiday.

Our Drunken Elephant says other wise. According to him “A holiday is when people relax, unwind and just be” and we followed his advise and went the total opposite of what a hotel should apparently be. Yes we still have the breakfast lunch and dinner timings for those who like routine (because we do know that it is oh so hard to unlearn this), but we also encourage guests to mingle and socialize and sleep in and just do what they want to because you are on HOLIDAY.. And yes, we do offer WiFi, but only in the lounge and that is also just because well we have to work while you are on holiday and if you see an available WiFi connection, you will ask for the password…You know I am right about this one.

Our camp is one where children can make noise and run around bare foot and play in the mud and get dirty and they will be applauded for this because it is what children are supposed to do, at least it is what we did as children, and you as an adult can learn to be a child again too because when was the last time you laughed out loud genuinely, or just sat and connected with yourself or people that you love??? When was the last time you were just allowed to BE???

Technology has us so wired that we have to answer work calls while on vacation, Whats App messages and emails have to be answered at any time of the day/night. We haven’t allowed ourselves to have boundaries anymore and that’s why The Camp is Perfect – we just don’t have cell phone network {unless you’re on safaricom but even that disappears once in a while or you could just switch off your phone 😉 – HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU THOUGHT ‘AH CAN I JUST THROW THIS PHONE AWAY???’ Well now you can even if its just for a few hours .

 Family Tent in Maasai Mara

We do have manicured lawns but we sit on 12 acres of land, so please, bear with us as we try to cut the grass and prune the trees, it will never all be the same length all at once and if you think about it which natural place have you gone to where the trees are the same size and the grass is the same length?? (Take some time to ponder on this)

Yes a lot of people come to the Maasai Mara for game viewing, I don’t dispute that, but now you can come to the Maasai Mara to just chill too – we are based outside of the reserve, so if you don’t want to go into the reserve, you don’t have to – if you’re like me, I much rather sit with a book and read while listening to the sounds of the little river mingled with the tweets of the birds but if you’re like my brother, enjoy your game drive and we won’t hold it against you just because you’re waking up early on your holiday – it is your holiday, you do you and enjoy you. That’s how we have structured the camp.

We haven’t had it easy, of course because people still view us Oltome, however, if you still view us this way, we cannot force you to look at us any other way and Mr. Elephant says “Thank you for your feedback but we shall make merry anyway because our clients are all saying good things about us” – I’ll share a couple just because I can 😉

  • ‘This place was such a warm and friendly place. From the time you arrive till departure, you straight away feel welcome. Leaving was quite hard as you can imagine.
  • When you get into the tent you don’t really feel like you are in a tent. It was truly luxurious.
  • The food at Drunken Elephant was really nice. The chef put their heart into the cooking and it was evident In the food quality.
  • The game drives were hire spectacular. The guide spoke English and was quite entertaining and hilarious to be honest. There never was a dull moment, I can’t wait to go back.’
  • ‘We absolutely loved our stay at the Drunken Elephant Mara! The reception and customer service was fantastic! The facilities were so clean and comfortable. Each tented room felt secluded and peaceful. Our group was large and had several children. This property was very family friendly and even had a maasai dance that the kids got to join in on. The food was delicious and the staff willingly packed breakfasts / lunches for us to take into the game park. We saw SO many animals in the Mara and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I would highly recommend staying at the Drunken Elephant!’

I could talk hours and hours about this, but unfortunately, I would have to stop here for today – we can always plan a whisky date if you would like to hear the rest of it, but you would have to come to the camp for that because in Nairobi you would be too distracted by your phone to appreciate our story.

See you at the camp soon

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