Cottar’s – A Journey From the Golden Age of Safari to a Modern Day Vintage Camp

The Cottar Family

The year 1919 marked the beginning of something spectacular for Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp. This is when its transition from one of the very first registered safari companies into a unique, Kenyan vintage camp started.

Cottar’s brings the bygone safari era back to the modern day travel. The Cottar’s team has always been proud of the camp’s history, which has shaped it into what it is today.

Charles Cottar, the name behind the Cottar’s legacy, came to Africa in 1909 from the USA. His inspiration came from reading President Theodore Roosevelt’s exhilarating accounts of his big game hunting expedition of 1906.

Charles soon established himself as one of the first professional hunters and safari guides in East Africa, and in 1915, brought his whole family back to Kenya. The Cottar family was renowned for being antiestablishment, preferring long stints with African tribes in the deep heart of remote Africa rather than traditional safari stays.

In 1919, together with his sons Mike, Bud and Ted, Charles Cottar established ‘Cottar’s Safari Service’, one of the very first registered safari companies offering big game hunting and film safaris throughout Africa, India and Indochina.

Charles survived elephant, buffalo, and three leopard attacks in his lifetime, finally succumbing in 1939, at the age of 66, to a deadly rhino charge in the Mara region. Mike and Bud carried on the Cottar’s safari heritage, which has been passed on through generations.


Cottar’s 1920s Camp as it stands today was established in the mid-nineties by Mike’s grandson Calvin Cottar and Calvin’s wife Louise. To this day, the camp is committed to recreating the golden age of safari. The business will continue to run in the family with the current owners Danni, Jasper, Charlie and Ella keeping the legend of Cottars alive.