In 1989, the owners saw potential for a luxury tented camp in this space and set out a plan to build 40 tents with a rustic main building and facilities that would rival the best camps in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. The main building would house a dining room, bar and reception area for the comfort of our Guests. The grounds would feature winding paths through lush flora and boast a swimming pool and observation areas to gather and gaze at the hippos, the crocs and the incredible bird life that inhabits this part of Kenya.
The Mara Safari Club opened its doors in 1989 as an offshoot of Mount Kenya Safari Club, hence the name Safari Club. The Club stands on 100 acres of land, leased from the late Senior Chief Lerionka Ole Ntutu. A tented sanctuary lying at the foot of the Aitong Hills, the Mara Safari Club is surrounded on three sides by the Mara River, on the edge of the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve. The land the Club sits on was an old hunting camp that had been converted to use for photo tours with the ban on hunting in Kenya in 1976.
On the first night there were 12 guests in-house, 10 days before the main building was no where near completion and no tents were up due to the horrible weather the previous few months. Mud was everywhere, and only a handful of the drivers knew how to drive on wet muddy clay soil. When the first Guests returned from their first game drive the entire management team lined up to receive them. Five meters short of the reception the vehicle got stuck in the mud as the team tried to free the vehicle; the main water line into the camp was ruptured!
The Fairmont Mara Safari Club luxury resort hotel has come a long way since then. After an extensive renovation program, it has become one of the top safari resorts in Africa. There are a total of 50 tents with four poster, pillow-top beds as well as a veranda overlooking the hippo and crocodile-filled river. Each of the 50 tents at Fairmont Mara Safari Club is superbly furnished with its own private, three-piece bathroom, including a number of “outdoor showers” in select tents. The location provides a perfect base for visiting the Masai Mara, one of the world’s richest wildlife reserves, and home to an astounding array of animals including zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests, gazelles and of course the “Big Five”.