Picture this... you’ve just arrived at your safari lodge and receive a very warm and friendly welcome at the reception area. While your belongings are brought to your luxury safari tent, you’re led to the lodge’s tented lounge where you’re offered a seat in a comfortable leather armchair. As you take in the awesome view of the wilds before you, you’re offered your favourite cold drink while you soak up the lounge’s warm and inviting atmosphere. Dark wooden floors covered with oriental rugs, bookcases filled with books and a small bar tucked away in the corner - all elements add to the classic 1920s safari feel. Just outside of the lounge tables and chairs are set up beneath the trees for those who prefer to sit outdoors. A set of stairs just beyond the lounge take you down to the banks of the Sand River.
In total there are only 16 luxury safari tents at Elewana Sand River Camp. One of the safari tents is slightly larger and is ideal for families needing a little more room. In order to give each guest a sense of exclusivity, privacy and that ‘way out there in the middle of nowhere feeling’, the safari tents are all spread out throughout the bush along the Sand River’s north bank. There’s quite a bit of space between each of them, so you’ll definitely have your own peace and quiet to enjoy. The Sand River Camp is divided into two sections – the Little Sand River (or main camp) and the Sand River property. There are six tents off to one side of the main guest area and there are an additional ten located on the other side of the camp. Each of the two sections of the camp has its own dining area and tented lounges giving each area an intimate, exclusive atmosphere.
Trees growing along the banks of the Sand River offer shade and a lovely green, lush look to the safari lodge. Nestled between the trees in the lodge’s common area there’s a large infinity pool flanked by several comfortable sun loungers for you to lounge on. This area looks out across the river and is the ideal spot to recuperate in after a day of safari drives and other safari activities. One of the definite highlights of staying at this lodge is the fact that it lies along the Masai Mara National Reserve’s great migration route. The camp is located in the quieter south-eastern corner of the Masai Mara National Reserve in southwest Kenya, right along the border with the Serengeti in Tanzania. This is one of the most iconic safari areas in Africa.
The lodge is one of the first safari lodges to experience the annual trek of millions of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra en-route between the Serengeti and Masai Mara each year. Guests at Elewana Sand River Masai Mara are treated to a very picturesque view of neighbouring Tanzania’s plains and hills dotted with thousands of migrating animals. Don’t worry about having to stick to the popular great migration time period when planning your safari to this area. The plains in this area are home to a remarkably diverse population of grazers all year round and you’ll likely spot zebras, giraffes, warthogs and hartebeests just about any time of year. Naturally, if there’s prey... predators tend to follow, so you’re also likely to see cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and lions as well.
The Sand River Camp was entirely updated and renovated in 2019 and now offers its guests a very pleasant mix of modern creature comforts and vintage safari atmosphere. It has the grandeur and allure of the 1920s African safari Hollywood movie, but with all the modern comforts of the 21st century. Each of the camp’s spacious luxury tents rests on top of an elevated wooden platform, keeping it away from any creepy crawlies that may live on the grounds. The safari tents have a separate lounge area with comfy couch, a few of which convert into a spare bed. The lounge is also outfitted with an antique writing desk, a comfortable armchair and a digital safe for storing your valuables in. All elements adding to a very exclusive and classy style. A canvas flap separates the lounge from the bedroom. The flap can be opened during the day and if so desired, closed at night to create a separate bedroom. A very inviting large and comfortable antique wooden bed surrounded by mosquito netting awaits at the end of the day for a peaceful night of slumber.
The safari tent’s en-suite bathroom features a freestanding copper bath with hot and cold running water, twin washing basins and flushing toilet. As an added perk, the bathroom features a glass door leading to an outdoor shower where you can shower beneath the stars or amidst the early morning sounds of a waking Masai Mara. A variety of complimentary toiletries are provided during your stay. At the front of the tent there’s a wooden deck with a few comfortable lounge chairs. This is the ideal spot to relax and unwind with a cold drink while overlooking the river. The camp also offers a slightly larger safari tent especially for families. The 'family suite' consists of one double room and an additional room with a twin bed, en-suite bathrooms and a shared central lounge. The family tent is designed and decorated similar to the regular sized spacious safari tents. Cots and highchairs are available upon request. Keep in mind that this is an unfenced camp in a big game area with wild animals often wandering into the camp for a visit. Because of this the camp is mostly recommended for families with older children. Children must always be under adult supervision.
Elewana Sand River Camp food experience
When it comes to food, you’re all set at this safari lodge. Whether it’s time for a sundowner (a fine glass of wine - or whatever your drink of choice may be - accompanied by delicious snacks while watching the sunset on the Masai Mara plains) or you’re having a bush meal while out and about, each culinary moment is prepared with attention to detail. Wonderful cuisine and friendly service add to the overall appeal of this safari lodge. You can either dine in the common dining area or in a more private setting. All meals are served in style at fully laid out tables.
Activities at Elewana Sand River Camp
During your stay at Sand River Camp, local Masai guides and trackers will be at hand to take you on thrilling safari drives in comfortable 4WD Toyota Land Cruisers. You can choose to embark on a full day safari with a picnic lunch or you can go on separate morning and afternoon game drives and have lunch back at camp. Game viewing in the area is excellent and shared game drives are included in the price of your stay (private safari’s available at a surcharge). There’s quite a large concentration of big cats in this part of the Masai Mara and the terrain you’ll encounter during the drive is simply beautiful. During the game drive you’ll head towards the grassy plains and riverine forests of the Masai Mara in search of elephants, lions, zebra, leopards, cheetahs, hyena, giraffe, hippos, wildebeest, impalas, mongoose, jackals, warthogs and baboons.
Although most of your attention may be aimed at the animals on the ground, don’t forget to keep an eye on the treetops and skies. Birdwatching is outstanding within this part of the Masai Mara National Reserve. If you visit the camp during the great migration you may see the herds of wildebeest literally pass through the shallow Sand River right next to the camp. Although it’s quite a sight to see, it’s not the same as the dramatic river crossings the wildebeest make across the Mara River. The Sand River is an easier river to cross for the herds.
Other activities offered by the Sand River Camp include excursions to a local Maasai village and Maasai school. This is a great way to experience local traditions and to learn more about the people who have inhabited the region for centuries. For those moments that you’re looking for something to do at the camp itself, there’s plenty to choose from. For instance, there’s a billiards room, there are books to read and there are board games to choose from. If you’re up for a high-flying adventure, you can also take to the skies for a hot air balloon ride safari (surcharges applicable and pre-booking required).
Tripadvisor comments Elewana Sand River Camp
I spent two nights at Sand River, highly recommend. The tents are comfortable and you can hear lots of wildlife during the night. The food was incredible and the staff were all very accommodating. Our game drives were exciting, the guide (Alex) was extremely knowledgeable. Highly recommend!
What a magical place. The setting along the banks of Sand River is idyllic. The camp, staff and food were all outstanding. Outdoor shower a new experience, we had elephant walking past and baboons playing while showering.