Our Story

Cottar’s Safari Service is a five generational family business which was established in 1919.

We were one of the very first registered safari companies in Kenya and certainly the first in offering superior explorations and film safaris throughout Africa, India and Indochina.  

Over the last 100 years, the family continue to provide professional guided, purposeful luxury safaris. Family to family, we are in the business of making lifelong memories for our guests, providing just the right mix of adventure, adrenaline and comfort. 

In our family, it was normal to have lions, leopards, wild dogs and chimpanzees as family pets. Charles Cottar survived elephant, buffalo, and three leopard attacks in his life, finally succumbing in 1939, at age 66, to a deadly rhino charge in the Mara region. Mike and Bud (Charles’ sons) carried on the safari business guiding for the Duke and Duchess of York, Woolworth Donahue and Martin and Osa Johnson, amongst others. Mike Cottar was friends with many of the famous characters from ‘Out of Africa’ and was Beryl Markham’s first flying passenger. 

Mike’s son Glen, with his wife Pat, continued the family business and pioneered photographic explorations into remote parts of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Zaire and Botswana. Glen and Pat established the tented camp dedicated just for photographic safaris in the early sixties in Tsavo National Park; Cottar’s Mara Camp in the Masai Mara in the seventies and Cottar’s Kimana and Cottar’s Bushtops in the eighties. Glen passed away in 1996 and Pat in 2010. Glen’s son Calvin, together with his partner Louise, began Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp in the Masai Mara in the mid-nineties and continue to this day to represent the Cottar family safari heritage. It is hoped that some of our children, (Danni, Jasper, Charlie and Ella) will continue the safari legacy into the future!

Our Team

Our team is led by Calvin and Louise Cottar and include destination and experiential experts. From philanthropic purposeful safaris to stay longer ‘slow’ experiences, from the great migrations of the Masai Mara to lesser-known and private reserves, our team are there to support you throughout your safari journey.

Our Responsibility

We aim to tread lightly and make a positive contribution to the many wonderful destinations where we operate. You can rest easy knowing as you explore East Africa, you do so with a unique and positive approach to sustainability, with a full 20% of net profits going toward conservation and community.

The Cottar family established the Cottar’s Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT) which works with the local Maasai community to protect the 7000-acre Olderkesi Conservancy that borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Find out more

Cottar’s Safari Services is
proudly associated with

We are proud to be a member of The Long Run, selected for the positive impact we have on nature and people.

The Long Run is a community of properties, travel partners and experts committed to protecting and regenerating ecosystems for the benefit of all. The organisation supports, connects and inspires members to operate according to a balance of the 4Cs — Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. Through this journey, travel experiences have a positive impact, and conservation is socially and financially sustainable. Collectively, Long Run members safeguard over 23 million acres of ecosystems, protect more than 400 endangered species, and improve the lives of 750,000 people.

We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose


Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa 2016 ~ World Travel Awards 2016  |  Fodors Travel Awards ~ ‘Trip of a lifetime’ category  |  Best Guide ~ Harper’s Bazaar

101 Best Hotels ~ Tatler Travel Guide  |  The 50 Best Camp Sites ~ The Independent