Marriott International to open first luxury safari lodge in Africa

Marriott International has signed an agreement with Baraka Lodges Ltd to enter the luxury safari segment in Africa.

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge will be located in the Masai Mara National Reserve in southwestern Kenya, overlooking the banks of the River Talek. It is expected to open in 2023. 

Plans for the new-build lodge feature 20 private tents, including one presidential canvas-topped pavilion and two interconnecting canopied suites, each with a private terrace overlooking the river, that are ideal for families.

Shared spaces will include a restaurant, lounge bar, spa and a large outdoor terrace with firepits that will play host to traditional Masai dance performances in the evening.

As well as the Big Five, the reserve is home to the annual great wildebeest migration between June and September, where more than 10 million animals travel 1,800 miles from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania.

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge said conservation of the land and its inhabitants will be “at the heart” of the property. It aims to employ up to 50 locals from the Masai community and will offer educational experiences for guests looking to immerse themselves in the destination. 

“As a brand rooted in mindfulness, we cannot think of a more perfect retreat for the mind, body, and soul than the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya,” said Bruce Rohr, vice president and brand leader at JW Marriott.

“JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge will offer guests a luxurious backdrop to make once-in-a-lifetime memories as they connect with nature and wildlife as never before. We are thrilled that the JW Marriott brand will be welcoming adventure travellers, including families, to this breath-taking part of the world.” 

Jerome Briet, chief development officer of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Marriott International, added: “The signing of JW Masai Mara Lodge is a milestone in Marriott International’s growth in Africa as the company enters the luxury safari segment. 

“This landmark project is in response to travellers' growing desire for experiential offerings that enable them to build a deeper connection with their chosen destination. 

“JW Marriott encourages guests to be mindful and present, which perfectly lends itself to meaningful safari holidays.”

Marriott International currently operates more than 120 properties in Africa across its portfolio.

Related Articles

Africa lodge specialist Volcanoes Safaris to open fifth property