Virgin Limited Edition’s seventh property, Mahali Mzuri is a luxurious safari camp in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. The Maasai Mara is the home of luxury safari camps in Kenya and a place that anyone who loves wildlife should visit.
Where is it?
Mahali Mzuri is part of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy adjoining the Maasai Mara National Reserve to the north.
What we liked
Mahali Mzuri’s design is stunning. Jaw dropping, actually.
As soon as I was shown to my tent (you can hardly call them tents!), I was sold. The tents are more like futuristic gazebos, decked out with all the mod cons and quality furnishings you’d expect in a lavish boutique hotel. They are spacious and have en-suite bathrooms with oh-so-romantic claw-foot baths, huge outdoor decks and views of the valley below.
Being in the middle of the African bush, I was most impressed at the high speed broadband WiFi, which worked very well.
I caught up with General Manager, Tarn Breedveld, and was interested to hear about their approach towards the local Maasai community, consisting of over 1500 families. Through the conservancy, the Maasai have had the benefit of a new bore, a new school, annual rent payments and employment opportunities.
Tarn’s journey of building a dream over the last three years is fascinating to hear. Watch the interview here:
It’s good to know Mahali Mzuri has put in place state-of-the-art conservation initiatives such as a cutting-edge e-water system, tree-planting programme, waste management system and water filtration system.
You can hear more about these conservation initiatives from Tarn Breedveld here:
What needs to be improved
1. The game drive experience
I did an afternoon game drive and an all-day game drive. My experience highlighted the importance of having a good safari guide (a safari guide can make or break your safari experience). During my stay, some guests were happy with their experience while others were not. Unfortunately, I was in the latter category. My game drives lacked focus and what was missing was the thoughtful, personalised, informative approach you’d expect at a high-end luxury safari camp.
2. The food
It was obvious Mahali Mzuri was experiencing teething problems (when it first opened) with its culinary offering. A new chef had arrived the week before but the standard of cuisine was disappointing. The food was definitely not what I would have expected at a high-end luxury property.
As Mahali Mzuri’s operations manager, Liam Beedveld (Tarn’s brother), who is in charge of running the camp, is a chef by trade and has worked in some of London’s top restaurants as well as Necker Island (which is one of Virgin Limited Edition’s flagship properties as well as Richard Branson’s family home) in the Caribbean, I have heard that the original teething problems have been resolved.
Mahali Mzuri is a stunning property with lots of potential but based on my experience, it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice for a luxury Kenyan safari.
Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of Mahali Mzuri. This review was first published in August 2013 and is based on her experience at the time.