This area of the Mara is teeming with wildlife, with the camp opening out onto the famous Musiara Marsh area known for its big cats. The BBC 'Big Cat Diaries' film crew based themselves here in order to follow the famous Marsh pride of lions, the leopard and cheetahs which made the series so popular. These predators are here for a reason; the plains are full of grazing animals who all make a great meal! Large herds of elephants can also be seen - family groups move between the plains and marsh by day to the forest by night. Look out for beautiful 'Blossom' a regular elephant visitor to camp.
There are several Governors camps on this stretch of river. The main Governors Camp is the largest with 37 tents. Il Moran is smaller with just 10 guest tents and then further along the river, facing a beautiful marsh area, is Little Governors with 17 guest tents. In low season (March/April/May) when we stayed (May 2017) there was a hardly another vehicle to be seen with few guests across the three camps, however in high season when the migration arrives we imagine this area has a rather different feel!
The original Governors camp is an atmospheric old-school camp, beautifully located on a meander in the river. The migration passes right though this area with river crossings even being viewed from the bar! The tent's may be smaller and the spec not as high as at some of the newer tented camps in the nearby conservation areas but the location ensures this camp remains a special place - you are right in the heart of the action here.
Most of the 37 ensuite tents are river facing - there are only a
handful without a view. Nine tents are located on the plains side rather than the river side, with beautiful open views. Some of these plains view tents are configured for families with one double bed and two singles. There is a large lawn area immediately in front of the tents for ball games and running about with the plains then beyond.
The large dining area offers buffet meals, with tables spilling out over the lawn down to the river - a great spot to sit and watch the comings and goings on the river bank. You'll find several hanging chairs in the trees - a comfy spot to sit and relax. By night the staff light a fire pit and more often than not the resident hippos come out for a stroll on the lawn, carefully watched by the askari (night watchmen).
The bar has comfy seating and a large al fresco deck over the river itself which enjoys some shade during the day.
Depending which tent you are in the walk varies from a few minutes to ten or so minutes back to the main mess area. The askaris are there to guide you after sundown - you should not walk alone in the dark as many animals track through camp. By day you'll bump into banded mongoose and warthog and should keep an eye out for elephant. When we stayed we found lion tracks outside our tent in the morning.To call an askari, stand on your verandah and wave your torch into the sky!
The tents themselves have everything you need and are very comfortable with power, flush loo and running hot and cold water. A tent steward even brings a hot water bottle during the cool winter months. Tea/Coffee is delivered at a pre-agreed time, with your safari wake up call usually around 6am.
Safaris are offered in two types of vehicle currently - open 4x4 vehicles and landcruisers. These seat 6-8. Game drives are shared with other guests and run three times a day at 6.30am, 10.30am and 3.30pm. It's a joy to be out on the plains within minutes of leaving camp - very often you see elephants, hyenas, lion and plains game right around the camp.
The main Governors Camp is a medium sized tented camp. Most of the 37 tents sit on the riverbank and enjoy lovely views over the Mara River where hippo and crocodile are frequently seen (and heard). There is also lots of birdlife and quite a few cheeky monkeys around camp. Mongoose criscross the paths between the tents and mess area and a band of three warthog brothers can often be seen hanging out at reception.
Tents are well-spaced for privacy. Just nine tents are on the plains side of camp away from the riverside and have wonderful open views across the sweeping plains of the Masai Mara. As you would expect from a traditional tented camp everything is under canvas. This doesn't mean you have to rough it. All tents have en-suite bathrooms with hot and cold running water and flushing toilets. The spacious tents also have their own verandahs to soak up the views. There is also a bar tent with deck overlooking the Mara River and a dining tent with views over the plains.
Governors’ Camp location means that game viewing here is superb. The camp has its own 4x4 vehicles and highly trained and experienced guides to give their clients incredible game-viewing and photographic opportunities in the world’s prime wildlife area. Game drives shared with other guests depart three times a day at 6.30am, 10.30am and 3.30pm. The last game drive returns before sundown at around 6pm.
Governors Camp also offer Hot Air Balloon Safaris over the Masai Mara. These start just before dawn from a launch site behind Little Governors’ Camp and are not included in the price.
Just outside the Masai Mara National Reserve is a traditional Masai community called Mara Rianda. There is a traditional Masai homestead or Manyatta which consists of 48 traditional houses surrounding a cattle enclosure. Governors Camp encourages clients to visit this manyatta if they are interested in Masai culture and would like to experience a way of life unchanged for centuries. We tend to find these visits a little contrived and prefer to visit a school or conservation project.