Grootbos Forest Lodge

Governors' has been pioneering immersive and transformational safaris in the Mara since 1972. We were the first operators to be permanently based inside the Mara, our site was chosen for its prime location and was the designated “getaway” for the Governors of Kenya. Unfenced and right in the heart of the action. Our camps are Located in some of the best and most precious Wildlife Locations in the world. We are a family with a colourful cast of characters that embodies the spirit of safari, while placing the care of the environment, community & conservation at the heart of everything we do.

Newly refurbished in 2018, Il Moran Camp is hidden in the cool shade of the riverine forest that follows the bends of the Mara River. Each tent enjoys a private location from which to enjoy the beautiful and serene setting. Hippos wallow in the river waters below, elephants wander through camp, and the night time is punctuated by hyena whoops and lion calls.

Small and supremely personal in nature, Il Moran is a chic and intimate retreat in the best wildlife location in Kenya and arguably Africa. A brand new dining and lounge area set along the riverfront is beautifully furnished and our superior team of chefs create dishes that tantalize the eyes and taste buds. 

Each canvassed room is expansive and newly furnished to a superior standard. Beautiful old wood furniture and muted natural tones are a natural extension of the environment around. Each stylish bathroom boasts a Victorian style bath and his & her vanities. A large verandah is designed for relaxing in comfort in the peaceful surroundings.

Governors’ IL Moran Camp has ten vast, luxurious tents that feature super ‘king size’ beds fashioned from ancient fallen olive trees, and Victorian style baths. Il Moran is an ideal camp for honeymooners and couples who are looking for a very special safari experience.

Game Drives
Il Moran Camp combines the best location in the Masai Mara with the brand new best-designed LandCruisers that seat a maximum of 4 guests, and exceptionally highly trained and experienced guides to give our clients un-matched game-viewing and photographic opportunities in the world’s prime wildlife area.

We are in the heart of the best game viewing area of the Masai Mara. We take you out twice a day into the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve and surrounding areas. Our driver-guides are hand-picked and nurtured by us. They undergo a continuous guide training scheme mentored by experts in the field. Having operated in the Masai Mara for 40 years our driver-guides have an un-paralleled knowledge of the reserve combined with a deep understanding and respect for the importance of this wilderness area, its flora and its fauna.

Hot Air Balloon Safaris
The adventure begins just before dawn. Departure is from a perfect natural launch site behind Little Governors’ Camp, and flames from the hot air balloon burners light the darkness as the crews inflate their craft. The first, pink tongues of sunlight flicker across the skies as the hot air balloon fills, then rises. Suspended in a basket beneath the rainbow-coloured canopy, you’re off for a game-viewing adventure with an entirely different perspective. What amazes most first-time balloonists is the absolute stillness: the silence as you float above the plains, the forest and the rivers of the Masai Mara. Even if you’ve flown elsewhere, this is a unique experience. The flight lasts an hour or so, drifting wherever the air currents take you, and with ample opportunities for photography and video filming. Then your Kenyan Hot Air Balloon Safari finishes with a flourish. In the time honoured tradition of balloon flights the world over, you toast your return to earth with a champagne breakfast, cooked wherever you land. The Balloon Safari ends with some leisurely game viewing on the way back to Camp.

Guided Bush Walk
Leave your vehicle behind and take a walking safari with one of our experienced and qualified naturalists for the true thrill of the bush. Down on the same level as the animals you will experience the untamed beauty of the Mara. Our walking safaris take place in the morning in a private concession area adjacent to the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The scenery here very much differs from the Masai Mara. Picturesque acacia trees characterise the hilly landscape. The walk takes approximately 21⁄2 to 3 hours but can be tailored to any needs.

Ask for a 5.30am wake up call. Depart from your camp by vehicle at 6.00am and a 45 minute drive will take you to the walking area. Hot beverages and biscuits will be available during which time the guide will brief you. Most walks commence at 7.00am, with the walk will take you through differing habitats from open grassland plains to acacia thickets and riverside forests. You will track game, unsure what waits round the next corner - giraffe, buffalo, hyena, zebra or even lion. You will catch the scents and sounds of the wild Africa.

The walk ends approximately at 9.30 – 10.00am in the Lemek group ranch under the shade of African Olive trees. A classic Governors Camp champagne breakfast is served after which a game drive will take you back to your camp in time for lunch. Your drive back to the camp again is a game drive through the Masai Mara. Afternoon walking safaris are finished with sundowner drinks and canapés.

Participants in a walking safari should be in good health and be reasonably fit and active. There is no path as such and some parts of the walk lead through hilly and rocky areas. Children under 12 years are, for safety reasons, not allowed to participate in walking safaris. Walking safaris can either be booked in advance or in camp subject to availability. 
Available at an additional cost.

Cultural Visit
The Masai people of East Africa are a striking image, synonymous with safari. A proud people with many traditional practices still very much alive in their culture. Visit a local Masai village and learn about who they are in their own words.

Visit Community Projects
Visits to our responsible tourism projects can be organised from camp. Mara Rianda Primary School and Mara Rianda Medical Centre are two inspirational projects supported by Governors’ Camps. 

Find more information about the projects here:

Mara-Meru Cheetah Project
Since the beginning of the 20th Century the cheetah population has fallen dramatically from 100'000 individuals to 7'500 individuals with human activity a major cause.  It is therefore important to understand the cheetah-human interface, which is one of the key works of the Mara-Meru Cheetah Project, led by Dr. Elena Chelyseva.

Our Governors' Guides play a critical role in the data collection for Dr. Elena and her team, reporting through sightings and behaviour observations of cheetah spotted.  Dr Elena enjoys sharing her expertise on the cheetahs in the area with our guests through talks or by accompanying guests game drives.

Please let us know if you would like to pre-book a talk or a guided game drive with Elena when booking your safari for advice on costs.

Mongoose Club for Kids!
We welcome guests of all ages at Governors’ Camp - you are never too little to experience your first African safari together with the family!

Safaris open up a world of wonder and discovery of nature, and over the years we have hosted many families at Governors’. Some of our camps are better suited to small children; Governors’ Camp has specially designed family tents which can comfortably sleep a family of four - we can provide cots for babies and infant travellers (on request).

We will happily arrange early meals and sole use of game drive vehicles (please enquire in advance as this depends on family size and is subject to availability).

On your arrival at Governors’ Camp, you will notice our numerous little furry friends; the dwarf and banded mongoose, who are well loved members of our famous ‘Cast of Characters’! We wanted to celebrate these entertaining critters by naming our new kid’s club after them, and so the Governors’ Mongoose Club has been formed.

The idea behind this club is to educate and inspire our youngest visitors in ways that they would never have access to in their mainstream schooling systems abroad. Game drives are, of course, wonderful experiences in themselves to be shared with family, but there is so much more for your children to take away from their Kenyan safari. 

The activities are designed to be fun and informative and we know that these experi- ences will provide your children with lifetime memories. You, as the parents, can take some well-deserved timeout; enjoy a spa treatment, read a book or just have a siesta while Julius (Our “chief Mongoose”) who is a local Masai guide, and the rest of our friendly team keep your children as entertained and educated as they would like to be, whilst of course ensuring their complete safety at all times. Please note that the Mongoose Club is only available at Governors’ Camp.

Photographic Safaris
For 2020, Governors’ Camp is hosting a professional photographer in the Mara - available to be booked by our guests for accompanied photo safaris and in-depth tutorials on all elements of photography, including editing.

Will Fortescue comes to us with a first class degree in Marine and Natural History Photography and experience with photo-safaris in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia and Ethiopia.

Since January 2019, he has lead private and group photo safaris for our guests as well as creating high quality digital content for our social media and marketing purposes. He will be based at Governors’ Camp but is able to travel between any of our Mara camps. The major benefit of having Will as a resident photographer is that these safaris can be tailored exactly to your needs and adapted to your style and level of photography; it doesn’t matter if it’s the first, or the thousandth time you’ve picked up a camera.

Governors' also has 3 photo safari vehicles. Listening to the specific needs and recommendations of the photographers we've hosted, we've modified three Landrover vehicles, to include same level seating throughout, cut out side panels in the middle row to get those much desired low angle shots, high roofs, fully folding windscreens and wide side panelling to offer the perfect place for resting a beanbag and long lens.

The cars are available on an exclusive use basis and can be requested for and reserved while making your Governors' booking. They are available at all our camps in the Masai Mara.

Bush Dinners
With nothing but the surrounds of the African bush and under a starry African sky, enjoy a romantic lantern-lit dinner for two or a jovial dinner for more hosted by the Governors' team at one of our special bush dinner sites.
Non-inclusive activity, please request while booking or while staying with us.

To see more on Governors' Il Moran Camp click HERE

To see a video on Governors' Il Moran Camp click HERE


Classic & Chic Camp
Free Inter-Camp Flights
* Combine with Governor's Mugie for 3 nights each and fly free between camps. Valid until Feb 1, 2025.