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Mahali Mzuri

Kenya

About Us

Mahali Mzuri means 'beautiful place' in Swahili, and we hope you agree! Mahali Mzuri is Sir Richard Branson’s 12-tented luxury safari camp located in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy in the wider Maasai Mara ecosystem in Kenya.

Due to Mahali Mzuri's excellent location on the Kenyan plains, you’ll have a front row seat, not just to the annual great migration, but also to the abundant game you can see all year round. During our twice daily game drives, you will have the opportunity to see lions, wildebeest, elephants, giraffes and cheetahs, but that's just for starters!

At Mahali Mzuri, our super stylish tented suites make for the perfect retreat during your stay. We can cater for up to 24 guests in the camp at any one time, so you are peace and quiets as well as guaranteed excellent customer service at all times.

Mahali Mzuri was voted as the 'Favourite Safari Camp' at the Condé Nast Traveller Middle East Reader's Choice Awards in 2016!

About Us

We believe in making a difference at Mahali Mzuri, and we're committed to ensuring our core Virgin brand values translate into the best possible experience for our guests.

Meet the team

Most of our team members are Maasai and hail from the communities surrounding Mahali Mzuri. Traditionally the Maasai depended on cattle herding for their livelihoods, but a number of jobs and development opportunities now come from the lodges and conservancies that attract visitors and tourists from all over the globe.

Our History

It is well known that Sir Richard Branson has always had a personal love for Africa and has visited Kenya on multiple occasions. With this background the foundations for Mahali Mzuri were first laid in 2007, when in June of that year. Richard was made a Maasai Elder, a traditional honour the tribe chose to bestow on him in return for bringing prosperity to the land. The traditional ceremony, known in the Maasai language as ‘Ipayiani’, was conducted by the Maasai Elders in the presence of around 30 members of the local tribal community.

Through a relationship with Jake Grieves Cook, formerly Chair of the Kenya Tourism Federation and now operating a partner camp in the neighbouring conservancy, Richard was made aware of a severe environmental threat to the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Jake proposed that Richard and a number of others invest in the area with a view to expanding the protected area for the benefit of both the local community and wildlife alike.

With a Virgin Limited Edition commitment to operating a safari camp in Kenya firmly on the agenda, an area within the Maasai Mara ecosystem was identified just north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, specifically in the Motorogi Conservancy.

Sustainability

The most important contribution by Mahali Mzuri to sustainability is how we work together with the local community in the formation of conservancies and the protection of the wider Maasai Mara Ecosystem. The land surrounding the northern boundary of the Maasai Mara reserve was once considered Koiyaki Group Ranch territory and was managed by a community committee. It has now been sub divided into individual free hold title. These small units were not considered economically viable and conflicting land use was a major concern among interests such as tourism, agriculture, development, conservation and charcoal production. Forming conservancies made up of contiguous parcels of land has become the most viable way of preventing the fragmentation of such an important environmental resource. The basic concept of these conservancies is to guarantee a fair income to every landowning member regardless of tourism numbers. This ensures:

Every community member is receiving a stable income and is able to make better planning decisions for the future of their homes and families.

Tourism operators can promote high value, low density tourism which creates less pressure on the environment.

Both the community and commercial operators can appreciate the real value of effective conservation on conservancy land.

This private conservancy is shared between five key Safari Camps and we are the only Safari Operators permitted to conduct game drives in this area. Together we have a code of conduct and conservancy agreement to protect the land from ‘over tourism and development’ which only adds to our guest experience. In total the number of guests allowed to stay in this area is 94. There are no fences between the Mara and Olare Motorogi conservancies, so there is fantastic game viewing to be enjoyed.

Community

The Olare Motorogi Conservancy, is one of four established conservancies which together cover a total area of 63,000 hectares in the Greater Maasai Mara ecosystem, bordering the northern edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The other three conservancies are Olare Orok, Mara North and Naboisho, and together all are helping to increase the protected area of the ecosystem by nearly 50%.

Since 2006 a unique land management structure has been developed in the conservancies with a dual aim of extending the protection afforded to wildlife in the National Reserve to an even greater area whilst directly supporting the needs of some 1,550 Maasai families. Today we are seeing both the Maasai community and safari guests enjoying the true benefits of conservation of this land in a relationship that will see the ecosystem protected for many years to come.