Masai Mara Tented Camps?

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Dec 19th, 2005, 07:14 AM
  #1
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Masai Mara Tented Camps?

Hey guys, if anyone has been to the following tented camps, can you "rank" them accordingly? They are all roughly the same price:

IlKeliani
Olonana
Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
Kicheche
Mara Sarova
Mara Safari Club
Mara Intrepids

Your advice would be much appreciated !!

simbakubwa is offline  
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Dec 19th, 2005, 08:34 AM
  #2
 
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Intrepids is one of the best! Fantastic camp.... with the front of the tents overlooking the river. Really nice staff, great tents.... love it.

Mara Sarova I've enjoyed too. But for me Intrepids was top.
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Dec 19th, 2005, 09:17 AM
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I'm surprised that Olonana is pricing out in the same range as some of the others. What time of year are you going?

You have quite a range of camp sizes as well as locations. Do you have a preference with regards to either? Intrepids (30 tents) has a good location on the Talek river inside the reserve. Ilkeliani (15 tents), also on the Talek, is not too far from Intrepids, just outside the reserve. Olonana (12 tents) and Kichwa Tembo (40 tents) are outside but very close to the reserve with easy access to the Mara triangle, an area with excellent game viewing. Kicheche (11 tents) and Mara Safari Club (50 tents) are quite a distance north of the reserve on the western side, there's some resident game here but we found the game viewing not as good as inside the reserve. Sarova (75 tents) is located on the eastern side of the reserve, an area that can potentially be a bit more crowded.

I've stayed at Kicheche and Ilkeliani and you can read my comments about both camps in my trip report (days 11-15) - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34719569

If everything is pricing out the same, I'd go for Olonana for the exclusivity and location.
Patty is online now  
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Dec 19th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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You may want to download Eben's Masai Mara map for Google Earth at www.go-safari.com (if you're able to access Google Earth). He has the locations of most of these camps marked with the exception of Kicheche which is very near Mara Safari Club.
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Dec 19th, 2005, 10:40 AM
  #5
sandi
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I can't believe these are pricing out the same.

Olonana and Intrepids should be higher then the others.

Again, when are you traveling?
 
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Dec 20th, 2005, 08:20 AM
  #6
 
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You should also look into Serian Camp - located in the Northwest sector. 8 tents, all eco-friendly. Run by a nice man named Alex Walker who is also a hell of a guide. I stayed there for a week last month and it was incredible. The game was dense and diverse. The resident "Serian Pride" of 26 - yes - 26 lions are incredible to watch in action - saw them hunt and kill topi and hartebeest two nights in a row. Also hung out with them for an afternoon of lazing around in a thicket watching the cubs drive the lioness' absolutely nuts... Ah yes, night drives are allowed and encouraged as well as incredible hikes. Had an exquisite breakfast by the river with about 50 hippos grunting happily away. The camp is very comfortable, the tents are great - and worth considering. It is not that well known as it is fairly new. I didn't know of either, but sure am glad my guide talked me into booking there. It was my third safari this year and by far the best experience. A day drive to Talek is awesome - saw a magnificent leopard and herds of ellies and a frisky serval pouncing away in the grass. Lovely. Wish I was there right now...
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Dec 20th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Canechick,
Can you tell me how far northwest Serian is located? Or its relation to other camps in this area? Where were your other 2 safaris this year? Thanks!
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Dec 30th, 2005, 07:07 AM
  #8
Jed
 
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Our stay at Olonana was great. We were kept busy all the time. Excellent night safari. Great meals. Fantastic tents looking out over a river with resident rhinos snorting at us. Excellent guides. What more can I say?
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Dec 30th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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My stay at IlKeliani was simply WONDERFUL.

I was just there in October. I would go back tomorrow if I could

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Dec 30th, 2005, 07:22 PM
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My daughter and I were at Mara Intrepids over Thanksgiving and really liked it. The tents were nice, The staff was very friendly, and the game viewing was magnificent. We saw 4 of the big 5 on the first day plus a ton of hippos, crocs, giraffe, and quite a few cheetahs. Our remaining time there our guide Silas took us out to see what we wanted to see. Seeing black rhino's, male lions and more leopards on the second day was a thrill. There was so much game it was unbelievable, so much more than we saw in the Sabi Sands of South Africa last year. Another nice feature of Intrepids was the fact it was next to the airstrip we flew in on. Overall it was a very enjoyable experience.
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 08:49 AM
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Patty:

Sorry For the delay - Serian Camp is located NW of Kichwa Tembo by a few clicks. I believe you can find it online quite easily with a search. It is beautiful country with fewer tourists and has night drives since it is outside the 'Mara. My previous stays at camps in Kenya were Cottars's 1920's (very disappointing experience and very expensive) and Mara Explorer. Serian was the best experience, best staff, best food and the best game watch/driving for me in my opinion. Then it occurred to me it is also the most affordable - the camp rates are very reasonable. I am already booked to go back next year again - I just loved it.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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Returned from 17 day in Kenya and Tanzannia on 12/19/05. Stayed two nights at Siana Springs, Intrepids Tented Camp. in Mara Mara..

The entire time was exceptional. We had our own guide .Food and all service was great and weloved the personell. One of our favorite places and there were sereral more luxurious by far, but we loved this place.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 08:22 PM
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santharamhari
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Hi! Thanks.......i'm considering a week stay at Serian towards the end of August.....

I havent been back to the Mara since 2002........
 
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Mar 11th, 2006, 04:41 AM
  #14
 
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i'm with Canechick. Serian is great, very warm and homey. Guides were all knowledgeable and very flexible when it came to planning the day. It rates with Richards and Rekero as the best places in the mara. Your own car and the day is yours. Food great and the location suitable to explore either side of the Mara or the whole of Koiyaki. The walking a pleasure having sat in a car for quite a few days before hand.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 05:35 AM
  #15
 
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Mittens or anybody,

Long ago one of my guides from another camp said his favorite Mara camps was Siana Springs. Care to share your opinion on the camp, its location, wildlife, anything else?
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Mar 11th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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Stay there three nites in June 2004 while we were with Naked Wilderness Safaris as arranged by 2Afrika. Have lengthy posting under my name (also see the great index assembled by fellow Fodorite. Being in June we were ahead of wildebeast herds but saw plenty of other wildlife. As you probably know the camp is outside the park but drive didn't seem to take that long. Also, made possible night drives and we took two. Added a few new species to list including bush baby and African "kangeroo". Guides were a bit disappointed we did not more of the nocturnal critters of the area. Was interesting to see young croc in small stream. Tents were quite comfy. Each evening caretake of our tent placed hot water bottle under blankets. Food was excellent. Check out pictures in second half of album at http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePh...id=0&ownerid=0
Camp also has small pool which was kept quite clean. Encountered safari ant column across path to/from dining pavilion. Back to wildlife, saw numerous cheetah, lions, elephant, giraffe, topi, various birds, gnu, rock python, hippos, crocs, and more (don't have notes right in front of me). One pride of lions was less than 1/4 mile of park entrance and of course with no fences could wander quite a bit. Thus, one reason for armed person on nite drives. I would certainly stay there again.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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In my opinion Siana Springs is one of those camps that works great for some but not for others! It all depends on your expectations.

It is a fenced camp, good if you have small children, bad if you like to hear wildlife outside your tent! You certainly won't see wildlife from your tent.

It is located in a very busy sector of the greater Mara not far from the main road to the Mara from Nairobi. There are many Masai villages nearby - on any given moment there are many women and children at the water springs behind the camp. The camp is not in the wild!

To get to the Mara itself, you have to drive through the busy town of Sekenani near the gate. The town is just one of the barriers between the camp and the wildlife of the Mara.

If your main aim is wildlife viewing then the western areas along the banks of the Mara have more wildlife, less population and easier access to the Mara. Night drives, walks, and such are also conducted in this western area.

The Mara Triangle and camps to the north along the Mara are better bets if one doesn't have specific reasons for staying at Siana.

Only my opinion
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