Mara Conservancies

Cottar's 1920s Camp


Classic canvas and culture

This camp, set in a 3,000-hectare private conservancy in southeast Mara, is the perfect example of how an unforgettable safari experience can support conservation, community and culture.

It was established by Calvin and Louise Cottar who wanted to create an experience that paid tribute to their ancestors’ earliest safari traditions. Their focus was on romantic elegance in an unrushed setting with a timeless, low impact (but still handsome) camp making the most of the wild surroundings.

The camp boasts nine expansive tents, two main mess areas for drinking and dining, as well as a pool and spa where you can unwind between safari activities. Being in a private community-owned conservancy, you can explore day and night, on foot and in a vehicle, accompanied by Cottar's highly trained guides. There are a number of unique experiences that take a stay here beyond the standard Mara safari, such taking part in conservation work alongside rangers, learning about local Maasai culture, foraging and more.


At a glance

  • Four double tented suites

  • Four family tented suites

  • Swimming pool and spa

  • Dining and bar mess tents

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  • Cottars Camp 1920 Masaai Mara safari 1


    Spend a few hours out in the bush with Letilet, a Maasai/Dorobo hunter-gatherer. He’ll tell you about El Dorobo and Maasai traditions as you roam the savannah together. His vast knowledge of local plants and their myriad uses, which he learnt from his mother a healer, is fascinating.

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    After refreshing sundowners by the fire, enjoy dinner out in the conservancy under the beautiful African night sky. The sounds of the wilderness at night are the perfect accompaniment to your three-course meal.

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    Nature activities

    In addition to heading out with a guide to spot animals in the wild, you can also go birding and star gazing.

Community & Culture

Cottars Camp maintains close ties to neighbouring communities and is keen to address the challenges they face. Through the Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT) the Camp has for many years actively supported the Maasai community’s struggle to obtain land tenure which has been one of the main impediments to community development in South East Mara. Without land tenure, communities are essentially squatters on the land and therefore have no claim or decision-making power with regards to its use.

Cottar's business model aims to balances out its commercial needs with its responsibilities to neighbouring communities. It always re-invests in the community through bursaries, training, providing medical care and by offering employment. More than 40% of employees are from the Maasai community, and they are actively encouraged to show-off their culture by wearing traditional dress and selling handicrafts.


Non-profit organization The Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust works to conserve important wildlife corridors in and around the Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Reserves. One of the ways it does this is by leasing land from the Maasai community. The trust also helps to protect biodiversity by teaching these nearby communities about conservation.

Vultures are an important part of the ecosystem, and the Raptor Rehabilitation Centre helps to treat these threatened birds who are often poisoned. Among the first to respond in such cases is Olderkesi conservancy. Their conservation work goes even further, with the women’s groups of the conservancy running a 100-hive bee project that both supports conservation efforts and generates income.


You can help the camp achieve their aim of being completely carbon neutral by 2024 by participating in a reforestation seed dispersal activity and finding out more about their reforestation and grassland renewal programme which offsets erosion. It’s also a great way to learn more about the important tree species in the Maasai Mara. You can help to build gabions in areas that have been identified as high-risk erosion spots.

The camp also encourages activities that have a low impact on the environment, but are rewarding to you as the guest, like walking and biking.

What makes us different

Why Niarra

Niarra Travel is a forward-thinking travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently.

In Swahili, a Bantu language spoken by millions in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the name Niara means "with utmost purpose" and our team are united by a passion for exploration and a belief that the right kind of travel can make the world a better place.

Our Travel Researchers are here to create incredible trips with a positive impact for you.

  • Unforgettable experiences

    Creating your trip is entirely collaborative and our Travel Researchers are here for every step.

  • Positive impact

    Curated sustainable experiences and accommodation that maximize the benefits to local people and place.

  • Fairness and transparency

    An open, competitive pricing structure that ensures more money goes to where it's needed in the destination.

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