Mpata Club, Mara Serena, Mara Intrepids

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Feb 14th, 2006, 12:34 PM
  #1
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Mpata Club, Mara Serena, Mara Intrepids

I tried posting this on my 'main' post but it seems to keep getting lost at the bottom of the pile so here goes;

I have been quoted what seems to be quite a reasonable rate for Mpata Club - $400/room/night including game drives, airstrip pickup etc but not including park entrance fees ($30x2/day). Has anyone stayed here - is it as luxurious as it sounds. Is it REALLY far outside the Park? Will it be full of non-english-speaking Japanese? What is the food like? What kind of vehicles do they use? any opinions good or bad?

With the Mara Serena the rate on the website is $275 - does anyone know if this is per person per night? What kind of vehicles do they use? Are they open-sided?

Also, Mara Intrepids - Anyone have an idea of the rates (July)? Food??

I have only ever done game drives in open-topped vehicles - what's it like with other types of vehicles - I would imagine that opentopped would be best?!

Finally, taking into account 'value for money' together with location, facilities etc, what would be your preference in order and why?

Thanks again,
Imelda
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Feb 14th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Never been to Mpata but understand that it is a good area. Serena is also good - $275 sounds like a per room rather than per person price (although if it is per room it is a good price). Intrepids is also in an excellent location for July. Serena and Mpata also good in July but Intrepids better.

Phil
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Feb 14th, 2006, 01:29 PM
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Thanks philw, I also meant to include Keekorok in my last question - what do you think of it's location for July? Any info on it?

Also, we are really hoping to spot Leopard (missed it in SA last time)- any tips?

Thanks
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Feb 14th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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Hi Imelda,
I havenít been to Mpata and on a map it looks like it has a good location, BUT when you read a description of the location itís high up on the Oloololo escarpment and waaay out of the way of main game-viewing areas. I havenít met enough Japanese travellers in Kenya to be able to say if theyíre a negative aspect. The Serena has the best location and I believe itís more reasonably priced than Intrepids. Intrepids is a tented camp, but itís big and fenced. If money isnít an issue Iíll recommend Rekero Tented Camp.

If, for some mysterious reason, you were going to the Mara for the food, I wouldnít hesitate to recommend Intrepids. Hereís a sampler menu:
http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/H...aIntrepids.htm

In July Keekorok might be the best location if you happen to catch the migration entering the Mara through Sand River.

Re. vehicles: I prefer them as open as possible.


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Feb 14th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Haven't been, but have seen from great distance. We were having our sundowners in the dark (on private land) probably 20-miles from Mpata (not knowing what it was) when I saw these bright lights in a distance. A very strange sighting in the Mara when unless you're right on top of a lodge or camp don't know it's there). I inquired and the comment was "oh, little Tokyo."

Built by a Japanese Architect, specifically for Japanese visitors. The photos on the site show a lovely property, but seems more like a hotel (with very bright lights). I'm certain anyone can stay here, but you may feel more comfortable at one of the other camps in the area.

Olonana, for one is nearby and the price is probably comparable or less. There are plenty of other camps, small and intimate in the Western side of the Masai Mara.

Intrepid's will be way more expensive than the Serena or Keekorok.
 
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Feb 15th, 2006, 05:47 AM
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Sandi,

Wonder, if they serve sushi at the Mpata...HAHAHA......i'm not going there....thanks for the input.....

Isnt the GOv camp at a great location? and camp?

Hari

p.s: Didnt mean the joke to be offensive to the Japanese....i really do love sushi!!!
 
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Feb 15th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for the replies - guess I'm going to rule 'little Tokyo' out of this trip.

I'm edging towards Keekorok should we not be lucky enough to get Serena(!). Anyone know roughly what the cost per night is??

Also, Any opinions on where we should stay when we return to Nairobi - City centre OR Karen?? Any suggestion for a fairly nice hotel with a good location?
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Feb 15th, 2006, 04:41 PM
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Hi Imelda

Keekorok has been recently refurbished after fire. It used to be cheaper than Serena, but NOW maybe not...
Location: This is the first lodge in Kenya (built back in the 60s) - Block Hotels built it in what was considered then to be the best location.
It has a good wildlife viewing year round and good central road-location.(also mainroad to Serengeti e.g. Lobo but the gate is not open to the regular tourist. )
what does it mean?
@ If the migration has not come yet (possible in July) it still is one of the best locations in Mara !!
@@ since july sees generally the first waves of migration - Nyamera has defined it nicely - Keekorok is near the Tanzanian border (Sand River) and in july probably best chances to see migration (which arrives later to Intrepids forexample).
from Keek u can game-drive easily to Sopa (if migration is there) Sarova, Talek Area (good predators country usually), Sand River area, & to the Mara river hippo pools (better to take a breakfast box and do a looong game-drive)

In Nairobi - don't u want to walk (& shop)around the city? so, city center is the choice.
Define what kind of accommodation u need
i've stayed at Stanley-IntCont-Serena-hilton etc' but also at hotels 20$ or less per night if u need only a hot shower & good night sleep...

aby
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Feb 16th, 2006, 12:37 AM
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Thanks Aby,

I have just found out that Mara Serena has availability for the 22nd & 24th July but not 23rd. The TA with the best rate so far(Southern Cross Safaris)has suggested that the 'missing' dates might be released nearer the date. I'm going to ask him to book the Keekorok as a standby. (I'm waiting for one more quote back from Sandi in Serendipity- we have been e-mailing and I'm very impressed with her customer service but haven't gotten a quote yet).BUT Aby now you've made me think (again more second guessing!) -IF you had the option of staying in either Serena or Keekorok for our dates, which would you chose??

In Nairobi, you are right, we will want to walk and shop so I guess that's the location decision made. I think I have narrowed it down to the Intercontinental or the Nairobi Serena. The 'pull' of the Intercontinental is the Casino (DH's benefit), it is refurbished and is quite a bit cheaper than the Intercontinental BUT the Serena seems to be a nicer hotel and we don't mind spending extra for a little luxury if it is worh it. What do you think?

One last thing - does anyone have a website link for Gorilla's Nest? I found an e-mail address but my mail was returned and I can't seem to find their website.

Thanks again,
Imelda
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Feb 16th, 2006, 03:19 AM
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Imelda

Mara Serena is a good choice, even location-wise.
It's hard to predict about july usually & this year seems even harder
If the herds will b there when u get to Serena, then u have a chance to see a crossing which is a superb (++) experience.

As for Nairobi: since u mentioned casino - i'd recommend Safari Park Hotel http://www.safaripark-hotel.com/index_flash.htm
It is out of city center but there is a shuttle. It is a very impressive hotel more like a lodge within beatiful huge garden with pools & bridges etc' has a casino, few restaurants including Nyama Chome (a Carnivore style restau with antelopes etc'). Rooms r huge... People i've been with compared the experience to Mount Kenya Safari Club (leading hotels of the world).
It should b a really expensive hotel, but some agents get it for the price of Hilton or Stanley (otherwise i wouldn't have stayed there with my groups)
rooms r huge & u have
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Feb 16th, 2006, 03:25 AM
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Imelda
Sorry - sent by mistake .
U can check in, then dropped by your driver, walk about Nairobi - now if u have the driver with u the whole day he can take u back to the hotel in the afternoon if not take the shuttle (from Woolworth across from the Stanley)....
Anyhow no need to walk in Nairobi at night ...
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Feb 16th, 2006, 03:44 AM
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Thanks Aby - It looks lovely. Do you know if the rates on the website ($250 double + TAX) are per room or per person? I have e-mailed Serendipity to see if they can get a deal.

Imelda
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Feb 16th, 2006, 06:11 AM
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hi Imelda

don't really know... though reckon it's per room.
it's good u've contacted Sandi - she's a real pro (as i can see the info she posts here)
good luck
aby
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Feb 16th, 2006, 07:50 AM
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Imelda, in my experience it will say double if it is per room and will specify per person per night if it is per person. If you see neither of these then you'll have to sak but I think that is quite rare. Serena is per room and like similar lodges the price generally includes only meals (no game drives, park fees or anything else). It can appear visitng them will be cheaper it actually is - you will have to buy a package,drive yourself there or pay for each game drive individually.
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Feb 16th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Sorry, let me repost that. I have one cat on my lap and another under my arms in front of the keyboard.. doing a bit of typing and psoting as well.

Imelda, in my experience it will say double if it is per room and will specify per person per night if it is per person. If you see neither of these then you'll have to ask but I think that is quite rare. Serena is per room and like similar lodges the price generally includes only meals (no game drives, park fees or anything else). It can appear visiting them will be cheaper than it actually is - for that rate drive yourself there or fly and pay for each game drive individually. I am pretty sure it will work out cheaper with a package (or at worst the same price and more convenient.



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Feb 16th, 2006, 08:29 AM
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Please completely ignore my posts except for the following part - I am thinking of booking through somewhere else, not directly through Serena ... I never even asked the Mara Serena for a quote


The only part of any use is:

Imelda, in my experience it will say double if it is per room and will specify per person per night if it is per person. If you see neither of these then you'll have to ask but I think that is quite rare.

Time for bed before I embarrass myself more!
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Feb 16th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Aby - I hadn't realised Sandi 'Serendipity' is one and the same Sandi 'Fodors'!She surely is a mine of information and really helpful AND patient..... If you're reading this - 'hello Sandi'!

Kimburu - Thanks for clearing that up. It seems to differ from country to country and I always get confused.

Imelda
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Feb 16th, 2006, 11:06 AM
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For what it is worth, I booked direct with Serena last year and paid $150 per person per night in High Season for both Samburu and Mara - excluded game park fees of $30 per day but included full board, two games drive and a bush breakfast. My personal view is that you get better looked after when you book direct e.g. possible room upgrades and sole vehicle use which happened to us at Samburu Serena.
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Feb 16th, 2006, 02:28 PM
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Philw - thanks for the info however I have e-mailed Serena twice and haven't received a reply - any chance you would have a phone number or an e-mail address for a 'person' at Serena instead of the central reservations e-mail??

Also, how far in advance did you book and did they have availability or were you waitlisted?
Thanks
Imelda
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Feb 16th, 2006, 04:34 PM
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Imelda..Having recoverd from my embarrassment of last night... I booked a Serena property through Let's Go Travel's accommodation booking service because it took ages to get a reply from Serena and I ran out of patience. They did reply in the end, with availability while I was still waitlisted through Let's Go - but the price offered was significantly higher.

That's just the facts - Let's Go have some greaet prices for accommodation only.

Having said that we are still trying to book as much as possible of our next trip with a single operator because we love having our own vehicle and guide.

Just trying to redeem myself..
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