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“Peaceful and Elegant + Close to Nairobi” 5 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 94 Specialty lodging in Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Peaceful and Elegant + Close to Nairobi”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

My boyfriend and I have spent two long weekends at Swara Plains - Acacia Camp. As we're volunteering in Nairobi for many months, we needed something close and affordable- a peaceful place to enjoy animals and quiet. This is it!

Swara Plains was close enough to ride our small motorbike with a backpack and camp. We used the motorcycle to explore the vast natural area, acres and acres of animals and amazing birds. Hiking is easy there too, and we enjoyed some long walks with spectacular views (away from the cement factory of course :)

The staff are kind and efficient, and everything was clean. The food, (though higher priced than we would normally spend), is very delicious! Be sure to catch the generator hours for charging electronics- we were a little behind on this since we are used to power 24/7.

Overall, I highly recommend visiting this unique spot!

p.s. No, cheetahs are not hanging off every tree, but look into the history of this place with it's past two cheetah residents- there is a children's book called "How it was with Dooms" that is extraordinary. Then they made a movie about it called "Duma" - also worth checking out! I heard there were three cheetahs encountered not too long ago, so the photos on the website aren't all that off. Have to stay optimistic you might catch a glimpse!

Room Tip: Camping is the best- but too wet in the rainy season. Choose a banda far from the restaurant for a q...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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26 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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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
Sandy, UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

I have noticed a number of reviews that are very clearly NOT describing Acacia Camp, Swara Plains - but Acacia Camp, Magadi Road, Nairobi.

The latter is much nearer the city than Swara Plains and I was erroneously directed there when I was supposed to be going to Swara Plains....

I immediately recognised the photos and the descriptions on the most recent reviews as the camp at Magadi Road.

There are no dormitories etc. at Swara Plains.....

When I arrived at Magadi Road I very quickly cottoned on it was not the place I had seen and booked on the internet and after talking to staff they rang me a taxi to get to Swara Plains instead.

I feel compelled to set the record straight as I had such a lovely time at Swara Plains. On my arrival I told them of going to the 'wrong' Acacia Camp and they told me this happens regularly.

They have been at Swara Plains for very many years and have tried to stop the Magadi outfit from using the name Acacia Camp - to no avail.

There is a big difference between the two camps and although nothing wrong - from what I have seen - at Magadi Road, I preferred to go a little more 'up-market' on this occasion.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipoh, Malaysia
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Very rustic, isolated and friendly staff..its teeming with lots and lots of birds and flowering plants..There are dorms, private rooms and space for tents as well..The food is good and the private rooms are basic but value for money..The bar which doubles up as a TV lounge is lively in the evenings and a great place to chill out and socialize with other travelers and locals..The mornings are most beautiful and perfect for photographing. Walk around a bit and you might sight some wild life and of course gorgeous birds.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ukunda, Coast, Kenya
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

I liked this place and was delighted by the rustic charm and sense of isolation you get so close to Nairobi. The only real eyesore is the cement plant next door which limits your photography angles!

The main criticism I have is their use of cheetah photos and motifs on their website. I was told on arrival by a Kenyan staffer that they'd had a pet cheetah that died; as for wild cheetahs, no one, including the English lady who manages the accommodation, knew anything about their existence. It is not impossible that cheetahs could be around, since they can squeeze through tiny gaps in fences, etc, and like other cats are highly enterprising about getting kills. But don't come here expecting to see them perched on anthills as you would in the Masai Mara.

Honesty is always appreciated in advertising, and I would have to say that Swara is somewhat misleading in their promotion of the place.

I camped for a very reasonable US$12 which included the conservation fee. The rooms are expensive going by the price list, but on arrival I was offered a room for a deeply discounted rate of 2,500 shillings, about $30. So use your bargaining power, especially in low season.

Meals are definitely overpriced. US$25 is too high for a set dinner, although breakfast at $10 seems more in line with the other mid-range lodges in Kenya.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Sandy, UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

After 8 weeks of overlanding on a truck through South and East Africa, I needed a few days peace and relative luxury before setting off on the next lap!

Swara Plains was all I could have wished for...... very peaceful and relaxed, lovely surroundings, a comfy bed (much needed after 8 weeks on a sleepmat at age 57!), great food - and especially so as I am a coeliac on a strict gluten-free diet.....

And above all - lovely people who, like everywhere else in Africa - were genuinely great and willing to put themselves out for you!

Walked around for hours in the early morning savouring the wildlife, came back to the camp for breakfast and relaxed with a book and coffee, more walking after lunch, then off for a sun-downer with Raine after dinner.....

Hugs and kisses all round when I left and very fond memories a year later.......

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 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
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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed here one night to get away from Nairobi and it was absolutely fantastic!!! I can't wait to go back. We went for several walks and saw gazelles, giraffes, ostriches, and all different types of birds. The staff were really great- friendly, relaxed and not over-attentive. The little huts/ rooms were great. The food was delicious and they catered well to vegetarians. The only trouble we had was that they didn't have any rooms with a double bed available- despite the fact it seemed we were the only couple there.
If you want to get out of Nairobi, or if you have a night or two to kill in Nairobi, come to this place. It's a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. It's also very reasonably priced with full-board, especially compared to so many over-priced, not that great places in Kenya.
When travelling down Mombasa road, the turnoff is at "Kahama hotel".

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

My girlfriend and I were looking for a place to stay not in Nairobi itself but a shortish drive form Nairobi and chanced upon this absolute gem of a camp. It's perfect for a few days away from the madness of Nairobi or if you are looking for comfort and convenience within easy access of the airport but still in the wilds so to speak.

We were greeted by the extremely friendly and attentive staff on the first day and taken to our lovely cottage. The food was simple but really tasty and, frankly, by far and away the best food we had whilst in Africa beating all the four and five star hotels we had stayed in. Nothing fancy but everything perfectly cooked - three gorgeous meals a day with the beef an outstanding example of how to cook meat to perfection. The snapper fish was delicate, yet powerful on the palate and cooked how fish is supposed to be cooked. How strange we thought that this camp did the best food we had on our entire trip to Africa - and hungry we never were with a large buffet meal every night. Indeed we bumped into people who come to the Camp at weekends specifically for the food - it is that good and tasty.

The camp was lovely and peaceful at night and the owner has two dogs which are playful and docile - and enjoy chasing the monkeys! We went on a walk around the large private ranch which the camp is based on our second day by ourselves and found ostrich and Wildebeest, baboons and secretary birds. We also saw a Giraffe. We have read in another review that the dogs bark at night - this is not our experience at all.

There is snug too with a TV and the bar is run by a very friendly and pleasant man called Michael who like the rest of the staff is genuinely happy to help guests. The camp also arranged a sensible and safe driver to take us to the airport on our last night.

We are sad in a way to write this review - we feel like we are giving away our little secret(!) but Acacia Camp was the very nicest place we stayed at whilst we were in Africa. Family run, cosy, friendly, value for money and great for a little independent safari on the back of a long trip we will be back.

Julian Hunt

Barrister

London

June 2012

Room Tip: We had the family bungalow which was huge with doors opening onto the garden
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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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 94 Specialty lodging in Nairobi
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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