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“Exceptional Experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Offbeat Mara Camp

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Offbeat Mara Camp
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Mara North Conservancy | Masai Mara, Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Exceptional Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We spent 4 nights in February. Mara looking green and the abundance of game was amazing. leopard, cheetah and offbeat pride of lion viewings before breakfast, both mornings! We were going to go into the Southern reserve for a day, but the viewings were so exciting in the North Mara Conservancy that we stayed and had viewings on our own or at the most only 2/3 other vehicles. It was like our own private camp and game reserve! The guides are fantastic, so enthusiastic and informative, and with the camp staff so friendly and wanting to make your stay as comfortable as possible. the food is excellent and the tents kept to the highest standard.
The camp only has 6 tents and this lends itself to your stay being very personal. I loved every minute and can't wait to plan another trip. it really is Africa and it's wildlife at it's best!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this review, April 8, 2013
Thank you very much for your great review here on TripAdvisor. Yes The Mara North Conservancy is in great shape and we are currently having HUGE rains! As such the area will stay lovely and green and bring in the migration in the coming months. We hope to see you back at Offbeat Mara soon
Piers
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137 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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madrid
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
74 hotel reviews
Reviews in 87 cities Reviews in 87 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Let's start with the good points: the camp is isolated, so early morning and evening your vehicle is on its own. As you venture towards the more "commercial" area of the Mara you'll find yourself looking at a cheetah with up to half a dozen other vehicles, which turns the event into a circus rather than a safari. This said, our guide Josphat was very good in keeping us away from the crowds and most days our vehicle was on its own. The game is abundant and very easily approached, giving ridiculously easy photo opportunities. Our guide was absolutely charming as well as competent and devoted. Breakfast out on the plain was unforgettable as were the picnic lunches under a lone tree with views across the waving grass to a line of distant hills. So the game drives get 6 stars.
Now to the less good points:
The first dinner was fine, good food served hot.
The next day a party arrived with children plus another party of four adults; the camp filled up and everything changed. The camp wanted us all to dine together, but because of the sheer numbers the children had to be fed and put to bed first. Only when the parents returned were we allowed to start dinner. But the food was almost cold. Why? Our travelling companions said that the children were eating the same food as us and that all food had been prepared in one go and the adult food had been allowed to cool off. Perhaps they had no means of keeping it warm. Maybe tomorrow night will be better?
Next evening the family group were taken on a night safari, watching lions hunt with spotlights, so they returned late to the camp. Their children then had to be fed and put to bed. By the time dinner was served it was stone cold. Only the sauce was hot. This was galling. To rub salt into the wound, our little group, though staying more "tent nights" than the family group, were not even offered a night safari!
On the third evening shared with family food was again cold. Such a pity, cause I think that hot it would have been quite decent.
Please note that I am not criticising the family, but why did camp rules not allow us to eat while the food was hot?
On the last morning we set off in a new direction to look for a group of lions new to the camp. The family group had overslept and were late.Nonetheless, after about ten minutes our guide decided (or was ordered?) to wait for the family group to catch up with us. Why? When they caught up, they were allowed to continue the drive away from the camp to look for the new lions while we were ordered back to the camp, from where we drove on trails already covered previously. Astonishing!! Certainly made me feel like a second class citizen. If you think I'm a complainer, please read my other reviews, as I'm generally fairly happy go lucky.
The only other complaint was that our toilet flushing water supply ran out twice, both times at night. First time we thought we'd overused water, so next day we paid great attention to rarely flushing. Next night (our last) no water, so we spent the last night in an odour that was not of roses!
Another point: don't shower in the morning. I did. They brought the hot water for the shower but didn't replenish the jug of hot water for shaving and partner's washing. So half the hot shower water had to be run off into the jug before starting my shower.
Finally, avoid tent 4. It is close to the track into the camp, so any late vehicle will wake you up (as happened). Also, the footpath to two other tents goes very close to your bedhead and even closer to the bathroom, so if your neighbours rise early then so will you!
Best tent is the number 3 as it's isolated from the rest of the camp and has the best views.
Would I go back? Definitely, but when the camp is full the staff are overstretched and struggle to cope. And a nice hot dinner after a day's safari would have been so enjoyable!
Which is why you must avoid school holidays!
ps I didn't post early because I didn't want to cause any problems for the manageress Miia, who was a nice lady and doing as best as she could to cope with the numbers. Now she's back in South Africa I feel freer to write my report.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this review, March 7, 2013
Thank you very much for your review and I will pass your cooments onto Miia and Josphat - I am glad you had excellent drives and the Mara North Conservancy really does lend itself to fantastic game viewing.
I am sorry that not all your expectations were met and below I will try and explain why these happened (from speaking to Miia and the staff). I would also like to point out that the reviews here titled "Fantastic Safari for all the family" and "Awesome Experience" were both written by guests who stayed at the same time as you and the guests who wrote "Awesome Experince" in fact shared a vehicle with you.
Your headline "Avoid school holidays" - Offbeat Mara Camp is a family/child friendly camp and is always busy with families in shool holiday times - July/August/December/early January and February and October half terms. We only cater for 12 guests and have a staff of at least 25, so we are well prepared for a full camp - in fact we are very busy most of the year. All out agents/tour operators know we are family friendly and we have children and teenager rates.
Cold food and eating late - We normally aim to have dinner at 8.30pm and I believe this is the time you ate whilst at camp. We do try and feed children early, not beacuse of lack of space, but they tend to want to eat early and then the parents can relax over dinner. Cold food is a particular pet hate of mine and we have a warming oven to make sure food/plates are always very hot. I am not sure why yours was cold - i know some of the nights you stayed were raining and damp which may have taken some of the heat away.
Tent 4 - yes it is quite near the road but I think has great views and it does not look onto any other tent and has its own private sunloungers.
Night Game drives - The rule in Mara North Conservancy is that cars are not allowed out after 10pm. The family that stayed when you were in camp did not go out late after dinner as they were fed early as you have mentioned. So I am unsure how you were woken up by a vehicle at night. Our afternoon drives usually come back after dark and with the aid of a spotlight we try to find nocturnal animals. I believe this is what you are referring to with the family drive and I also think that you came back after dark with spotlights too?
As for your last morning drive. I believe you went out early and came back so that you could change/eat/pack and then head off for your morning flight out of the Mara. The guides all know their way around the conservancy and there is no heirarachy amonst them so I do not understand why you felt you had to wait for another car and then come back early. You did have to come back, as I am sure was explained the evening before, so as not to miss your flight.
I hope this has cleared up this and I am sorry you feel this way about families. We do hope to see you again in the Mara and perhaps next time avoid the months I have mentioned as rarely are families with us during term time.
Piers
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Stittsville, Ontario
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

My husband and I had the great good fortune to finish our 10 day Kenya adventure with 5 nights at Offbeat Mara January 4 - 9 of this year. We had been in the Selenkay Conservancy to start (also wonderful), and thought we couldn't possibly see any more wildlife than we had seen there, but staying at Offbeat Mara proved us wrong! The abundance of wildlife at every turn is almost overwhelming, and our wonderful guides (Josphat and Kapeen) made every drive an adventure. They are so very knowledgeable about the animals, land and it's people and such excellent spotters! Amongst a herd of hundreds of water buffalo, they spotted one female giving birth, which was amazing to witness. And at every sighting, not only did they get as close as possible, which provided excellent viewing and photographic opportunities, but they turn off the Land Rover, so that noise and vibration are never an issue. It was baby season in January so we saw the baby version of virtually every animal we encountered. We literally, during our time at Offbeat, saw the full circle of life, from mating lions, to pregnant animals, the birth of the buffalo, the death of animals to feed others, and everything in between.

Enjoying picnic breakfasts and lunches, as well as sundowners, out on the plains during our game drives was nothing short of magical and are memories that we will always treasure. We visited a nearby Masai village on our last day at Offbeat and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the village elder and many of the women (with whom I danced!), going into one of their homes and seeing how they live.

As for the camp itself, it was a wonderful place to stay. We had the best tent (in our opinion) at the edge of camp. From our tent one couldn't even see the other tents and when enjoying our morning coffee each day from our camp chairs, we had a parade of gazelle, zebra - and even 3 lions early one morning. The tent was very, very comfortable, the bucket showers hot and welcome at the end of each day, and the morning wake-up with hot coffee and biscuits most welcome. Coming home after a late afternoon game drive and having hot water ready (our guides always radioed ahead to the camp to have the water ready), a welcome cup of tea, then a sit by the campfire with pre-dinner drinks and snacks while comparing notes with our fellow guests, was lovely. We never, ever felt unsafe at night, and it was unbelievable to hear the lions roaring during the night or hear animals eating the grasses nearby while we were in bed.

The food at the camp was very good, well prepared, and always served with a smile. And as for the camp staff - they were awesome! Miia, the camp manager, was a delight to meet and talk with every day, and was always up to wish us a good drive (even for the very early morning ones!), and there to greet us when we returned to camp. The staff that made our drinks for us, served our meals, brought us our hot water,walked us back to our tents every night after dinner and, of course, our amazing guides - all wonderful! There was nothing they wouldn't do for us when asked.

We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of our 5 nights at Offbeat. We met some wonderful people from around the world, enjoyed sharing our safari vehicle with a lovely couple from Madrid, though they had to leave a day before we did, and cannot say a bad thing about our experience at Offbeat Mara. A huge thank you again to Miia and all the staff at Offbeat. They make it look so effortless, but I'm sure it's a huge job to keep things running as smoothly as they do. We would definitely recommend a stay at Offbeat Mara, and perhaps some day will have the good fortune to return!

Room Tip: We had Tent #3 and loved it's location for it's more secluded feeling and the amazing views...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Thank you very much for your great and very detailed review here on TripAdvisor. I will pass all your comments onto the team - whom I know very much enjoyed having you all to stay. Being a camp with just 6 tents it should make it easier for us to give such good service and I am very pleased to see that you really enjoyed the staff and their happy faces!
We do hope to see you back again at Offbeat Mara in the future and many thanks again
Piers
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Dubai
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

We spent four nights at Offbeat Mara with our three children aged 14,11 and 8. The whole holiday was fantastic - from the extremely kind and knowledgeable guides to the incredibly hardworking staff at the camp, everyone was out to make us feel welcome and looked after. The tents were comfortable and clean, and even the reluctant camper amongst us was happy. The rest of us loved every minute, we saw all the animals we could have wished to, the food and drink was plentiful and delicious. They were very concerned that our slightly faddy 8 year old had exactly what she wanted to eat which was lovely. Altogether a brilliant holiday, none of us wanted to leave, and we would love to go back.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Thank you very much for your lovely review here. It was great fun to meet you all and I must say you had fantastic game viewing - seeing the Big 5 (yes a Black Rhino was spotted) and a Cheetah kill. Hope you had a safe trip home to Dubai and hope to see you back here again soon.
Piers
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Grimsby, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

I had 3 nights at Offbeat Mara Camp. An amazing, comfortable bush camp. The staff are great. My driver ( Joseph )and spotter ( Kapen) were very knowledgeable and it was good to catch up with Josh ( my driver from a couple of years ago, it was like old friends meeting again). The camp is lovely, as was Mia, the hostess. The wild life amazing, lions walking past the camp 5 minutes after we left, we watched them from the car. The Cheetah family was great-good to see they had eaten both times we saw her, and the leopard was amazing.I will be back.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this review, February 23, 2013
Thank you very much for your great review here and I will pass your comments on to the team. It is always so nice to hear these comments, escpecially from repeat guests and great that you have now been twice to the camp - we do hope to see you again soon. You will be pleased to know that the Cheetah mum with the 2 7 months old cubs eat again last night, so she is looking in excellent shape today! As you say the guides are very knowledgeable and we have had the same guide/spotters in camp for 5+ years so they are a great team.
Hope to see you back again soon
Piers
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St Albans
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

I had 3 nights at Offbeat Mara and had an absolutely wonderful time. I'd booked because I wanted to see the Masai Mara, and found myself "glamping" by accident, but a happy accident it was. It's certainly not cheap, but you get an awful lot for your money. We saw wonderful game on every drive, thanks to our excellent guide and spotter, and if we didn't see a leopard it wasn't for lack of trying. The food was way above the standard I expected from a tented camp, even an expensive one, and lunches in particular were amazing. Our host Miia was charming, and a mine of information. Drinking G&Ts out in the vastness of the Mara as the sun went down was a real treat.
Despite the lack of electricity and running water it wasn't remotely camping as I know it. The "bucket" shower was surprisingly good, as was the hot water delivered each morning for washing/shaving
My only complaint is that their website doesn't say that they will charge phones/cameras/laptops for you in the evening while the generator is on. It's a really useful service but if I'd known I wouldn't have wasted money on spare camera batteries!

  • Stayed February 2013, 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.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this review, February 21, 2013
Thank you very much for your great review on Offbeat Mara Camp and I will pass your comments onto the team. Great that you loved our style of "Glamping" in the Kenyan bush. Thank you for your comment regarding the lack of mention on our website to say that we can charge guests camera's etc. I will get straight onto our web team and make sure that this is included. Useful advice, so thank you very much.
Hope to see you back again at Offbeat Mara soon
Piers
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UK
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

We spent three nights at the camp, and loved every minute of it. The tents are very comfortable and have all mod cons, including flushing loos, but still manage to make you feel that you're right in the middle of the Mara. Miia looked after us brilliantly , together with her team, and the food and service was faultless. The game drives were excellent, with Masaai driver and spotter. They treated the animals that we met in a very gentle and respectful way, which in turn allowed us to get really close and take some incredible photos. It also seemed to be a mosquito free environment, which was another big bonus.

  • Stayed February 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this review, February 20, 2013
Thank you very much for your great review of Offbeat Mara and I will pass your comments on to the team.
The wildlife really is great in the Mara North Conservancy at the moment, and the Offbeat Lion pride and local Cheetah providing great sightings.
Whilst this area is classified as Malarial, it is very rare to see, let alone be bitten by a mozzie - particulaly at nights which is when the Malarial carrying mosquitos are out.
I hope to see you soon down in the Mara
Piers
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Additional Information about Offbeat Mara Camp

Address: Mara North Conservancy | Masai Mara, Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 124 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Offbeat Mara Camp is a six tented traditional camp situated in the Mara North Conservancy in an area rich in wildlife. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Offbeat Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Offbeat Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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