Ultimate Encounter

New Wine Experiences From Great Plains

African eco-tourism brand Great Plains has uncorked a series of brand new wine in the wild experiences across its Kenyan camps.

As a proud Relais & Châteaux partner, Great Plains, founded by National Geographic filmmaker-explorers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, has built a reputation for serving some of the most exclusive wine labels available on safari, with a growing number of guests choosing to stay with the brand for this very reason.

Ranging from a new Great Plains wine app providing an interactive sommelier experience to wine room dining, Champagne by sabrage accompanying breakfast in the bush and a renewed focus on ‘wine for conservation’ sustainable selections, there’s nowhere quite like a Great Plains camp for combining a love of fine wine and pristine wildlife.

African eco-tourism brand Great Plains has uncorked a series of brand new wine in the wild experiences across its Kenyan camps.

The Great Plains Conservation Wine App

From 2024, all guests of Great Plains’ ol Donyo Lodge, Mara Plains, Mara Nyika and Mara Toto Tree Camp Kenyan Réserve Collection level properties will have access to the exclusive new Great Plains Conservation wine app. This innovation brings the camp’s extraordinary wine lists to life and allows guests to to be taken on a wine cellar journey from the comfort of their own seats.

Presented to guests on a tablet that is brought to them by their dedicated wine steward, they can simply scroll through the list, tap on the bottle they would like to know more about and enjoy access to all the information and tasting notes concerning their tipple of choice. As they scroll through the live wine list, they can save bottles to show the camp team what they would like to try during their stay.

The app also allows Great Plains to select the bottles the guests have enjoyed drinking during their stay and send them the wine profile of all their favourites, so guests can look for wines they enjoyed in camp upon their return home.

African eco-tourism brand Great Plains has uncorked a series of brand new wine in the wild experiences across its Kenyan camps.

Wine Room Tasting & Dining

A unique feature of Great Plains’ Kenyan Relais & Châteaux-level camps Mara Nyika and Mara Plains is the atmospheric wine rooms in which guests can taste the expansive wine collections. Meanwhile at ol Donyo Lodge, a fully stocked wine cellar awaits. For an extra special gastronomic experience, guests can even opt to dine within these intimate spaces, enjoying a tasting menu with paired wines. To finish the evening on the sweetest of notes, guests can tuck into a dessert pairing with South African dessert wine by Mara Plains’ very own pastry chef Joel.

At Mara Plains, guests can also enjoy wine tasting on the small private deck off the wine room, overlooking the river, and in the stone-walled cellar at ol Donyo Lodge, they can marvel at the wine racks and furniture hand-crafted using local materials by Francis, the on-site carpenter.

African eco-tourism brand Great Plains has uncorked a series of brand new wine in the wild experiences across its Kenyan camps.

Wine in the Wild

A variety of wine in the wild experiences await at all Great Plains Kenyan camps. The sundowner set-up is a true highlight, where guests can watch the sunset as they enjoy a glass or two while sinking into Kilim cushions and carpets, while at Mara Nyika they will be served from the camp’s very own sundowner trailer. Alternatively, they can enjoy a glass of wine or bubbles on the new spa deck at ol Donyo Lodge after a signature treatment with the latest healing earth products, or on the private deck of their suite, in hanging chairs in the tree tops of the new Mara Toto Tree Camp, opening this summer.

Other in-camp unique sipping spots include a bedside serving beneath the stars on their star bed at ol Donyo Lodge, within their private plunge pool at ol Donyo Lodge, the Jahazi Suite at Mara Plains, and the Sambuk Suite at Mara Nyika, beside the campfire as they swap stories with their guide and other guests, or while soaking in their in-suite copper bathtub.

For a true bucket-list-in-the-bush experience, the team can arrange a private candle-lit bush dinner out in the middle of the plains, in the boma at ol Donyo Lodge, or a bush-breakfast set up following a morning horse or bike ride, where waiters will sabrage Champagne to be served alongside a decadent brunch feast – and can even teach guests the art of opening a bottle by sabre for themselves. Also at ol Donyo Lodge, guests can enjoy a drink or two in the hide – where the camp is currently building a new walkway – as they watch the animals take a refreshment of their own at the local watering hole.

African eco-tourism brand Great Plains has uncorked a series of brand new wine in the wild experiences across its Kenyan camps.

Wine for Conservation

A passion for conservation runs deep through Great Plains’ DNA and the approach to wine selection across the camps is no exception. This year, the team has focussed on working with wine makers whose values align with their own, building stronger relationships with existing winemakers and partners and developing new bonds with others that are focusing on sustainability and who also support local communities and conservation efforts, such as Painted Wolf, Paul Cluver, Cederberg Wines and Bosman.

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