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“Avoid Nairobi Traffic Jams!” 4 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
Perth, Australia
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Avoid Nairobi Traffic Jams!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

Wanting to ensure an easy trip to the airport the next morning, this is where I chose to spend my last night in Kenya, and I'm so glad I did. It's so very lovely and tranquil, snuggled in among the acacias and the lawns and gardens, the cottages are not fancy but they ARE clean, snug, cosy and contain everything you need. Staff and service are wonderfully friendly and the food is delicious.

Plains game (antelope, wildebeeste, zebra and more) are all around on the drive in from the Mombasa road, and often wander through the camp itself. If there is a draw back, it's the relative proximity of the cement factory on the Mombasa road, but I neither heard nor saw it - and didn't see its dust either.

Nairobi traffic jams are notorious and it can take hours (at any time of day or night) for the short trip to the airport. It took my taxi (organised by the lodge manageress) half an hour.
I heartily recommend this camp to anyone who wants to avoid staying in the capital city but needs to be able to get to the airport with ease - or to anyone living or working in Nairobi who simply wants to escape for a weekend.

Room Tip: I preferred a cottage reasonably close to the main dining area - simply because it wasn't so fa...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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25 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

Acacia is set up a short drive approx 40 km from the city centre and capital Nairobi. Good fresh food by ala carte with prior arrangement and order. Good for at most one night out and not more. Electrical power goes off quite early so fathom a candle lit evening if you afe a late sleeper. Very customized to your liking. More fun if in a party otherwise may be boring. Dont expect much game on the game drive. Staff are fantastic and helpful. Price- very good.

Room Tip: Any room can be customised for the pax
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
    • 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.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

Decided to have one night out of Nairobi. Arrived after lunch and were greeted by very friendly staff who made sure we were settled. Before the end of the day there was time for a quick trek around the plains spotting a few animals on the way. Dinner was a wonderful surprise and tasted delicious! Patrick kept service fantastic and always with a smile. We retreated to a nice warm campfire at the end of the day.
Waking up early the next morning for another walk, we chanced across a few giraffe and eland before heading back for a taste and breakfast at the time of our choosing. Before lunch we decided to go on a game drive this time: we saw everything that I believe you could on the Swara plains! Head towards the polo ground if you get a chance - you won't be disappointed! We were so lucky that we even chanced across 2 cheetah! This is rare so we were very very lucky. All in all a fantastic trip with outstanding food and service.

  • Stayed June 2013, 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
    • 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.
Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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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