Cottars Safari Service

“From the early days of leading the first explorers in search of Africa’s big game to the pioneering of photographic safaris and wildlife film making in Africa; we continue  to be a leading innovator of Africa’s sustainable efforts in conservation and transformative travel.  Explore the hidden secrets of Africa on a personalized journey of this cultural and wildlife heritage”


Charles Cottar

Mike Cottar

Glen Cottar

Calvin Cottar

“In 2019 we will be celebrating our 100th year as the first registered safari outfitter in East Africa. Four generations after the first years of pioneering safaris; Calvin Cottar heads the family tradition of guiding safaris with understated elegance, in the timeless style of his forefathers he continues to honor the legacy of the African safari… “

Charles Cottar came to Africa in 1909 from the USA because it was “getting too crowded in Oklahoma” for his liking, and quickly established himself amongst the first professional hunters and safari guides in East Africa. Charles 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. His sons, Mike and Bud, carried on the safari business guiding for the Duke and Duchess of York, Woolworth Donahue and Martin & Osa Johnson, amongst others. 

The Cottars’ were the first to import American vehicles for safaris, the first to reach new areas such as Lake Paradise and the first to obtain never before seen wildlife footage.. Mike was friends with many of the famous characters portrayed in ‘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 the photographic safari, setting up the first established tented camp just for photographic safaris in the early sixties in Tsavo East National Park. Glen’s son Calvin, together with his partner Louise, began Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp in the Masai Mara in the mid-nineties and then the private Bush Villa in 2014 and continue to this day to represent the Cottar family’s safari heritage.