Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp might just be the perfect balance of creature comforts and going properly bush.
Voted Kenya’s Leading Safari Tented Camp in the 2021 World Travel Awards, Elephant Pepper sits within the Mara North Conservancy, bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve. It’s away from any other lodges – you’ll see few vehicles here – but has easy access to over 70,000 wildlife-packed acres, including hotspots for river crossings during the Great Migration. And it is truly out in the wilds, with no fences – the animals come and go as they please.
And they do please. Herds of zebra roam past while you’re tucking into lunch and giraffe amble by while you’re taking afternoon tea. Elephants have been known to mow the dining lawn, grazing so close you can hear the tear of the grass. Even leopards have been seen, hunting down their prey, right from the camp. Every moment at Elephant Pepper holds a frisson of anticipation – though the expert team ensure that guests are safe at all times, no matter how very close the wildlife gets.
While the camp is shared with a vast menagerie, it’s not shared with many other people. There are just ten, large, well-spaced tents, tucked beneath a thicket of fig and elephant pepper trees.
It isn’t ludicrously luxurious – there are no minibars, hairdryers or plunge pools. But that’s the beauty of the place: the tents have everything you need and, with their dark wood, billowing canvas and polished brass, ooze an old-pioneer elegance totally in keeping with the surrounding wilderness.
Best of all, you can watch wildlife right from your private verandah, curl up in your supremely comfortable bed listening to lions roaring nearby, or laze on a lounger, gazing up at the astonishing night skies.
Safaris from the camp are equally intimate. Elephant Pepper’s knowledgeable guides are expert at both locating animals and even predicting what they might do long before they do it. Plus within the conservancy, vehicles can veer off-road, allowing even closer encounters that reveal fascinating, surprising, comical details: a mother cheetah trying to corral her energetic cubs; lions mating; mud-bathing elephants cleaning out their ears with their trunks; towers of giraffes wading across rivers to the annoyance of the wallowing hippos.
Elephant Pepper is an excellent safari spot but it’s also something more. Camp manager Moses and his passionate team create such a warm, welcoming atmosphere that, from bush breakfast to delicious candlelight dinners, you’ll feel right at home … a home you’ll struggle to wrench yourself away from at the end of your stay.