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“Excellent value for money and extremely well-run” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aruba Mara Camp

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Aruba Mara Camp
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Postbox 727 Narok | Talek Massai Mara, Narok, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Narok B&B and Inns
London
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Excellent value for money and extremely well-run”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

We stayed here for 6 nights in late August and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our stay. Aruba-Mara is a very well-run camp and the staff really go the extra mile to assist you by helping with taxis etc. The manager, Peter, was consistently polite and patient and dealt with all matter of queries and concerns.
The camp is very well-positioned as it is only a few minutes from Talek Gate.The highlights were the fantastic game drives with guides, Tom, Daniel and John who really consistently delivered in quality by pointing out a wide variety of wildlife-and we did indeed see "the big 5"!
We tried all 3 types of accommodation on offer: Luxury Tent, Big Tent and Bush Tent. All were most satisfactory and very clean although I think the Big Tent option perhaps gives the best value as 2 game drives are included. The Luxury Tent also offers this and did not appear to be very different to the Big Tent except for having an external shower and bath, which despite sounding romantic is not necessarily attractive in the chilly night air. The Bush Tent was big enough to stand up and move around in and the ablution block clean with hot water. We did find it a little cold in these tents as the blanket provided was thin. It might be an idea to have your own torch as even the tents with electricity were rather poorly lit. Do not count on the Wi-Fi either.
The restaurant food is absolutely superb. Every day we received 3 meals. What really impressed me was the care that was taken not only in the preparation of the food but also in the presentation. Each dish was tasty and beautiful to look at and the restaurant staff were always so kind and attentive. I am vegetarian and they took care to ensure that there was always a delicious option for me. I particularly enjoyed the buffet on the African evening, where a wide variety of salads and other dishes were on offer.
This is an outstanding camp that is offering a top-rate service.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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56 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

Aruba Mara Camp review

Considering that many safari camps either cost you your mortgage or are out-and-out dumps, this place is perfect. They have a campsite for those with their own tent / camper which charges €5 per night, bush tents (huge walk in tents with a 4 poster bed and mozzie net) for €50, more luxurious walk-in ' big tents' with electricity and a bathroom with running water for about €210 per tent (full board and 2 game drives included). They also had 'luxury tents' for about €250 per night all inc, which were even bigger as they had an outside bath /shower in addition to the internal toilet and sink inside the second room of the tent. We stayed 2 nights in each of these tents and thought that the 'big tents' were the best value, as the outside bathroom of the luxury tent was actually a disadvantage when you were showering in the dark after your last game drive!
We took the 'full board' option on all of our tents and were generally very happy with what was served, though there was never any choice. We were also concerned being veggies, but needn't have worried as they produced some very inventive and tasty veggie food.
The game drives are from 6.30-9.30 and 3.30-6.30 every day. We saw something amazing every single drive. Drive 1 - lions tucking into a kill, drive 2 - a herd of elephants with cute baby frolicking about. Drive 3 - group of 4 cheetahs, drive 4 - group of 3 male lions basking in the sun, drive 5- a leopard that walked around our jeep!, drive 6 - male lion walking round the jeep. Fabulous...but still no rhino! So, on our last two days, we asked Aruba camp to arrange an all-day safari for us. It was great to be out all day and you could definitely get further afield: which we did by heading to the Mara river in the hope of seeing the famed river crossings. Alas! They were long over. Apparently the drought had brought everything forward, still...we managed to see yet another leopard. The final all-day drive, finally gave us our long-hoped for rhino. 'The Big Six' were now bagged: Lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino and yours truly! The only downside to the all-day safari was the jeep itself. We spent the first 2 hours of the first all-day drive at the local garage changing two flat tyres and then on the second day the suspension broke whilst in the Mara. We had two hours waiting for the repair man, whilst wondering whether the lions would get hungry and investigate the 'picnic hamper' that had broken down within tantalising reach. Still...it was all part of the Africa experience and we chilled out by doing some yoga in the Mara - now that's a place to practise your 'downward dog'!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013 via mobile

We stayed in Aruba for two nights and did two short safaris and one full day safari. Our guide, Peter, who is also the manager of Aruba, was really good. He made sure saw all of the animals and he knew the park inside out. The food was very good, except for maybe the packed lunch on the full day safari, which was a little plain. Overall though, we were very happy. The rooms and bathrooms in the tents were very nice and spacious. We had hot water all the time and had electricity in the tents from early evening to morning. The staff was friendly and attentive. The only thing to keep in mind is that this camp is by the talek gate, which, coming from Nairobi, adds another hour of travel. However, it is well worth it!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ponce Inlet, Florida
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

This was my first stop on a 7 day safari. The tents were clean and spacious. The food was good. There was a fire in the evening. The location is near the park entrace making it a great place to stay. Meals were served and there is a bar available.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

Our first visit 'out west' was a family adventure, with my husband's parents visiting East Africa for the first time. Daniel met us at Ol Kiombo airstrip and the adventures really began. Within 24 hours, just four game drives later, we'd spotted the Big 5. The food was great, tents just what we needed (spacious), plenty of time to relax and chill out. Daniel was really superb and was patient and informative. Peter and the team really went out of their way to make the trip special - our Papa was celebrating a big birthday and we have wonderful memories of a sundowner with Wildebeest and a Secretary bird. Super for families as you can watch animals grazing by the river at breakfast and sit around a fire pit at night. Felt safe and secure during our four day stay. Questions to owner answered quickly - make sure you get clarification of cost/currency as no credit cards accepted.

Room Tip: Residents can pay the lower charge to enter the park - make sure you have ID with you. Take warm cl...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matthews, North Carolina
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

Traveled with our two children and loved the accommodations. Enjoyed hearing the wildlife at night and seeing the stars around the campfire. Fantastic food...much, much better than you'd think you'd get at a safari camp and they cooked around any dietary concerns that we had. Staff is thoughtful and friendly. Our standard, permanent tent had a four-poster bed and all the comforts of home. Can see baboons playing across the river...also other animals. Very pleasant.

Actually (to address a complaint in a previous review), our driver took us so far into the park that we nearly didn't make it back out when the park closed! We saw *all* the animals that we wanted to see, right off the bat. We felt like we had a very good experience with the safari drives.

They provide a footlocker-style bench to lock up valuables while away from the tent.

The dining hall tent provided electrical strips for guests to charge their electronics, if wished.

The Masai village was also a fun experience--have to recommend that tour, as well.

Room Tip: All of the permanent tents are on the river...with nice views, I think.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013 via mobile

While the staff were nice, the camp looked tired and was massively overpriced for what you get. You feel quite ripped off, especially given that the camp cost didn't include the park entry fees (us 300 per day for our small family). Also, the drivers only go a few kilometres into the park - so you see the same scenery on every game drive and are there will several other groups.

I suggest to do your research and look for game.drives that go all day and that go deep into the park - with lunch prepared while in a quiet spot out on the drive.

Hope this helps

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aruba Mara Camp

Address: Postbox 727 Narok | Talek Massai Mara, Narok, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Narok
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Narok
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Aruba Mara Camp is a tented Camp boardering the Talek River, next to Talek Gate in north Massai Mara. From Nairobi 260 Km driving through Narok. Just outside the gate, so no parkfee if you not do game-drive. We have from budget tents ( comfortable beds with mosquitonet an public bathroom ) to Big-tent ( spacious with privat bathroom ) and Luxury ( ask us for new pictures please ) category for every budget for everyone. We also have a spacious campsite with facilitys like kitchen/dining, toilets and hot water shower, security, carwash, firewood and laundry service. our buffalo bar and restaurant serving highly recomended food and a fine selection of wine, spirits and cold sodas. Naturewalks,visit of cultural village, birdwatching and hotair-balloon is available.Bushbreakfast, sundowner and fullday-drives with Lunch on request.Shutteltransfer from Nairobi can be arranged. Transfer from our airstrip is free. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Aruba Mara Camp Hotel Narok
Aruba Mara Camp Kenya/Narok

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