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“Basic charm” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Swara Plains Acacia Camp

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Swara Plains Acacia Camp
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P.O. Box 47272 | Athi River, Nairobi, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 107 Specialty Lodging in Nairobi
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Basic charm”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

friendly welcome, although a slight mix up with the rooms to start off with. if you are after a basic, no frills accommodation then perhaps this one is for you. Prices have gone up ( then I guess they have everywhere in Kenya over the past year) and I'm not sure that I would still call it value for money.
There is a definite charm about it (after you recover from driving on the Mombasa road) and I would rather stay somewhere like this if I wanted to say somewhere convenient to the airport.
Read some older reviews which complained about the owners dogs, yes they were here there and every where but they were fine. +no barking through out the night as others have reported.

Other guests I spoke to where every enthusiastic, so this will appeal to some.

If you want luxury go some where else, but if it's basic frills then perhaps this is your sort of place.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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27 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    3
    1
    0
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2
11
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2012

This place needs to be known better. The food is superb! The staff, friendly and responsive. The setting is very relaxed and beautiful. The value for money is top.

Room Tip: I've never stayed here. Only eaten here many times (close to our home). They have 12 bungalows...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, UK
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

We were looking to stay outside Nairobi but within easy reach of the airport for the final few days of our Kenya trip. We found this camp on the internet and despite the fact that none of our friends in Nairobi had heard of it,we decided to give it a go.
Once we got off the main road between Nairobi and Mombasa, we passed a huge cement work on our way to the Swara main gate. This was not the best of starts. However, when we arrived in the camp we were greeted by Patrick with a warm welcome. We were directed to the largest of the 13 little cottages right at the end of the row. As it turned out we were the only guests and had therefore been given the family cottage. Large windows looked out into the bush. The cottage was spacious and had everything you need. It was all very basic but clean and quiet. For lunch we were served three courses where the first one would have been enough. The chef, Anton, cooked us delicious food meal after meal. My boyfriend is vegetarian and Anton delivered a different, tasty option for him every time. After only one lunch and one dinner, we realised we would be leaving weighing twice as much as we did on arrival. Excellent food!
It is possible to go on game drives here as well but because we had done this for the previous two weeks, we were happy to just read, sleep, eat and go for walks. This is something you do not normally get to do in safari camps. However, Swara is on a cattle ranch and since they do not have large carnivores, we were allowed to walk around by ourselves. This way we got to see things you don't normally stop for on a game drive. Amazing insects, little birds, burrows of porcupines, warthogs and others. We found skulls and whole skeletons, but also a tree with 15 vultures. We did manage to get within 20 metres of a group of giraffe.
Back at the camp the two lovely dogs of the manageress kept us company most of the time. A water hole at the end of the garden attracts wildlife in and is a great place to view. Unfortunately, the two dogs very often took great pleasure in running up to the wildlife and barking loudly. This was amusing but also slightly annoying. During the first night the dogs decided to lie outside our cottage (as their owner was away, the dogs staied in the camp overnight). We first became aware of this when they sarted barking at some creatures they could hear or see in the woods. This carried on all night and we were woken again and again, every time close to a heart attack as the dogs were literally metres away from our bed.

The whole place could do with a bit ot TLC and a lot more attention to detail. For us it did exactly what we needed it to do, but the place has potential to be a lot better. The staff are fantastic. They are knowledgeable, helpful, fun and always happy to do anything you ask for. Thank you Patric and Anton in particular.
On our last evening we were picked up at 20.30 , arrived at the airport 30 minutes later and went on our late night flight home. Even if you are just looking for a first or last night hotel this is much better than any airport hotel could be.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2011 via mobile

The staff are excellent. Rooms though basic are nice, clean and rustic. Great value.

  • Stayed September 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Ljubljana
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2011

If you are looking for somewhere to stay near Nairobi and want to avoid a characterless hotel, then Swara Plains Acacia Camp is well worth it. Raine, who manages the place, is very helpful and the staff are extremely friendly. My late night pickup from the airport (a bit expensive at 40$, but it's hard for taxis to find this place) went without a hitch. The small thatched houses are basic but comfortable and the only noise that may keep you awake are the bushbabies calling in the trees. Meals are served on a covered terrace wih a lovely view of the gardens. Food is excellent. I am vegetarian and they were happy to cook specially for me. The two dogs are happy to keep you company while you eat and only leave your side to chase off the monkeys that tease them from the roof. The main attraction is the wildlife and the fact that you can experience it on foot (unlike in most national parks). A short walk from the camp I saw giraffes grazing, a little further on zebra, wildebeest, gazelles, eland, impala, ostrich and warthog. Well worth a visit.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2010

We arrived from Europe on an overnight flight and went straight to Acacia Camp. After a welcoming drink we went to our banda and caught up with some much needed sleep.
Acacia camp is a wonderful introduction to Africa - a good place to await one's spirit to catch up with the body. The staff are attentive, friendly but not overbearing. The garden is a delight with so many birds to watch as well as the occasion troop of monkeys. The food was good and the beers cold! The ranch is full of game and more birds. The bandas are rustic but all have the essentials: comfortable bed, good net, an evening generator and a night lamp, a good shower with hot water.
We enjoyed a walk through the ranch with a very knowledgeable guide - Nation.
Start or end your time in Kenya by staying here you will not regret it.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Victoria, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2010

In the past, we had traveled quite a few hours between parks and always seemed rushed to get back to Nairobi in time for flights. We decided on Acacia Camp due to its proximity to the Wilson Airport as we were going to be traveling onwards to the Masai Mara. Although a bit hard to find the end turn off, our driver eventually located the sign and we were soon at Acacia's door step. The staff welcomed us with refreshing drinks and warm smiles. The cabins were quaint, very basic but clean and comfortable. For those of you wanting a safety deposit box, bottled water, shampoo & conditioner, this would probably not be the best place for you.... but the budget friendly price reflected this. We enjoyed the seclusion, the grounds and the daily walks. There was ample wildlife to view including cheetah, but in the end, we enjoyed the birding most. The food was ample, varied and delicious. Raine even bent over backwards to satisfy all my dietary needs, including catering to my husband who was ill for a day. We thoroughly enjoyed our time relaxing by the campfire and star gazing every night.

This camp is not well know but should be considering its proximity to Nairobi. If you don't mind "roughing it" for a few days, the attentive staff, food, and nature walks, as well as the affordable price are well worth it. This is definitely a place for backpackers looking to save a few dollars or those wanting to get off the beaten track.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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 Swara Plains Acacia Camp

Address: P.O. Box 47272 | Athi River, Nairobi, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 107 Specialty Lodging in Nairobi
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Acacia Camp - Swara Plains is situated on a 20,000 acre ranch, teaming with plains game - only 35 kms from Nairobi city centre, with very easy access to Jomo Kenyatta International airport. It'is a rustic camp, consisting of 13 wooden banda's and delicious food! Ideal for game walks/drives, bird watching, biking, fishing. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Swara Plains Acacia Camp Hotel Nairobi

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