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“Safari fun” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Oldarpoi Mara Camp

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Oldarpoi Mara Camp
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3 KM to Sekenani Gate,Maasai Mara | Sekenani-Keekorok Rd, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya (Formerly Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp)   |  
Hotel amenities
Brighton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Safari fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

If you want a rustic and natural experience then this is the place to go. The tents include comfy beds with mosquito nets, a flushing toilet and warm shower- everything you need. Profits are put back into the local village, for example they have built a new school as one of the projects.

If you want a luxry experience with a swimming pool and top end accommodation this is not for you.

Our flight out to Kenya was delayed by fog and we missed a day of our three day stay. Nelson really went out of his way to make up some time and did some extended drives which we really appreciated.

  • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
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Tralee
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2012

It was while browsing tripadvisor that I stumbled upon Oldarpoi Mara Camp, I now realise just how fortunate I was to have done so.

On reading the reviews it seemed to tick all the boxes. It's minutes to one of the main gates of the Masai Mara, the price was extremely competitive and the camp itself is a community based initiative creating employment for local people and funding a local school. So I contacted the founder, Nelson, directly through their website. From there I did not have to worry about a thing. Nelson was incredibly patient, answering all of my e-mails very promptly leading up to our arrival. He arranged to have our driver,Joseph, pick us up at Nairobi airport. We arrived very early but Joseph was waiting to greet us.

The drive to the camp, through the Great Rift Valley, the "cradle of humanity" was stunning, although very bumpy, what Joseph called a free massage. On arrival we were greeted with hot towels to wipe our faces and fresh juices. This is the level of care and attentiveness that one will enjoy throughout their stay at Oldarpoi. All of the staff, without exception will do everything in their power to make your stay more enjoyable and to make you feel at home. I have never stayed anywhere else that achieved this so well, everything down to being invited to join the staff for Sunday prayers made me feel like part of the family rather than a guest.

The tents a basic but perfectly functional and very comfortable. Willy, the chef cooked up fantastic meals for weary travelers, including the nicest Chipati I have ever had. The staff were kind enough to bring me into the kitchen to teach me how to make them. The generator is fired up every evening and there are sockets in the restaurant to charge phones and cameras. We took the opportunity to visit the local village and take a hike with 2 Masai warriors. Again, all of the Masai were kind and welcoming.

The game drives organised directly with Nelson were magnificent. Our driver Joseph was our miracle man. We saw 4 of the big 5 before lunch on our first day. Only the rhino eluded us, but Joseph tracked down not 1 but 2 on our second morning. Joseph was a wonderful man, very knowledgeable about the reserve and its wildlife. It was a pleasure to be in his company for the time that we were.

Finally, I must give a special mention to Nelson. He is the kindest, friendliest and most convivial host you will ever come across. He has created something very special at Oldarpoi and I thank him for sharing it with me and my family.

If you are considering your options for accommodation in the Masai Mara, and are looking for an authentic experience that will far exceed your highest expectations, then you are as fortunate as I was when I discovered this place.

  • Stayed September 2012, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

We recently went on a Safari with Oldarpoi and were completely satisfied with our visit there. Nelson and his staff are committed to giving his guests the best experience that they can at Oldarpoi. The accommodations are basic tents, but they are clean, with comfortable beds and warm blankets and linens. Food by Willy the Chef is very good, and there is plenty of it. No need to go hungry.
The safari was fantastic. Cosmos (our driver) had a real desire to show us the 'magic' of the Mara. Jackson (the spotter) had a keen eye. We were surprised (and impressed) to learn that even when Nelson was not with us personally, he was in constant contact with his staff to ensure we were having a good day. And we were. We saw the Big 5 and so much more.
We had an option of visiting the local Masai village, or going back for a 1/2 day on the Mara. We ended up choosing the village, and were glad we did. John gave us a tour, giving us some insights into Masai life and traditions.
Thank-you Nelson, Cosmos, Jackson, Willy, Marcy, John and others for an unforgettable experience. If we return to Kenya, we'd like to include Oldarpoi again.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

Oldarpoi is an outstanding camp if you seek simplicity and a meaningful connection with the staff, the local people, and the land. The accommodations are basic - tent cabins, simple bathrooms, hearty homemade food. Nelson who runs the operation is a great fellow, easy to talk to, very personable and importantly, very knowledgeable about the local Maasai culture (being a Maasai himself) and the land and animals of the reserve. He was a pleasure to be with. But he was not the only one. The cook of the camp Willie as well as the others working there made for a very personable experience. I felt sad to leave and even more important, it seemed like the folks at Oldarpoi also were sad to see us go. I highly recommend it to anyone, or a group, or family who seeks personalized and basic accommodations to explore the Mara reserve. Do not come here if you want to pamper yourself in luxury. This would not be for you.

  • Stayed July 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

Are you looking for fun and adventure on your Kenya safari? Do you want to stay at a camp that is Maasai-owned and supports the Maasai people? Do you want delicious hot meals of authentic Kenyan cuisine? Do you want to sleep in a warm and comfortable bed inside a roomy tent with an attached bathroom? Do you want to take hot showers after a long and dusty trek into the National Reserve? Do you want to see every animal you hope to see on an African safari? Well, you've come to the right place! The Oldarpoi Mara Camp provides all that and then some.

Here are a couple entries from my journal:

Day 1: From Nairobi we drove two hours to Narok and stopped for some chai. From Narok, it took another two and a half hours on a dirt road to reach the Oldarpoi Mara Camp. As we exited our vans, Maasai warriors in their brightly-colored "shukas" and beaded necklaces, danced and chanted for us. We were then shown to our comfortable tents with double-sized beds inside and an attached bathroom (toilet, sink and hot shower!). Once we dropped off our bags we were treated to a delicious hot lunch underneath an Oldarpoi tree. At 3pm we headed to the Maasai Mara National Reserve for a sunset safari. As soon as we entered the gates we immediately saw the African wildlife. We came across zebra, giraffe, gazelle, impala and wildebeest. The reserve closes at dusk, so we headed back to the camp after a few hours.

Day 2: The morning was quiet and chilly, so it took some effort to get everyone to leave their warm and comfy beds. Kenya has cold mornings and nights in the summer, so I wore a thermal and jacket. We ate a delicious breakfast of crepe-like pancakes and then packed into the safari vans for a full-day safari. The first animal we saw was a cheetah under a bush nursing her 2 day old cub. Our van was about 6 feet from the cheetahs, but the mother didn't seem bothered by our presence. After driving further into the reserve we came upon the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest. The migration is one of the top sights to see in Kenya. Each year around 1.5 million wildebeest and 300,000 zebra (along with other antelope) gather up their young and start their long trek from Tanzania's Serengeti, further north to Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve. It was a spectacular sight and we were very lucky to be caught in the full swing of it. Being that this is a natural event, the timing and location changes every year. Other animals we saw were ostrich, hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, gazelle, impala, lions, elephants and many bird species. It was a surreal experience to be 5 feet from a sleeping lion. Most of the animals (with the exception of the hyena) seem to be comfortable with all the safari vans getting close to them. Around 1pm time our vans drove to an area away from animals and setup a picnic lunch underneath a large Acacia tree. We ate chicken, ham & cheese sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and fresh fruit. It was nice to relax, eat and take in the beautiful Savannah.

I cannot fit all my memories into this review, so I hope you understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I think the most memorable part of staying at the Oldarpoi Mara Camp is the interactions with the staff. I miss everyone so much...Nelson, the owner and guide; Benson, our driver and comedian; Willy, our cook; Jeremiah, our "anything you need, he will get it for you"; and all the other staff members that always greet you with a smile.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

Just get back 3 days ago from spending a couple of days there. Went there to tick "Safari" off my bucket list, but I got much, much more. Location is outstanding: the camp is a short distance from the Sekenani Gate so we were able to get to the Masai Mara National Reserve early (saw a couple of lions having breakfast -Perfect timing!) and stay late (saw a Leopard heading for toward a gazelle for dinner). Our tented rooms were clean, bug free (actually didn't see any bugs), Beds were big and comfortable with mosquito netting and the view was great. Willy, the cook there, is fabulous! For breakfast he cooks some of the best crepes and for dinner his sauces and gravies are heavenly. Willy is Masai, actually everybody there was Masai. The staff had all the time in the world for our questions and conversation. We went and visited the local village where many of the staff lives including their security guys, 2 of which are Jeremy and Jackson. They helped show us around their village and understand their traditions and customs. The best part of all is that Nelson, the owner, puts the proceeds of the camp back into the community. They have built one school house earlier this year, have plans for a second and a boarding school for girls that live great distances. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we had there. I would highly recommend the camp to anyone looking for comfortable, friendly, and welcoming tented accommodation in the area.

Room Tip: Simba room was great for us!
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  • Stayed September 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
florida
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2012

This was a true Masai experience. The camp is owned by Masai, the staff are mainly Masai and you are surrounded by the Masai people. The location is just outside the Masai Mara Reserve and very near Masai villages. The tented rooms are clean, the beds comfortable and warm at night, and the showers are hot (solar panels in place). Mosquito netting is over each bed but we did not experience any bugs! The view from many of the tents is breathtaking! The food is very tasty, thanks to Willy the chef! He makes the best breakfast crepes! Tea is available all day long! The staff is very welcoming,friendly and eager to make sure all your needs are met. They are also patient with all out thousands of questions about the Masai and the area. Best of all, the camp is always being updated and the proceeds from the camp have gone into building local schools for 300 children and offering scholarships to young Masai that are interested in Tourism and Hospitality. A boarding school for girls is being planned in the near future. Nelson, Cosmos, and Jeremiah (all Masai) took us out on safari and made sure that we got to see as many animals as possible. They were also very knowledgeable about the animals eg, mating, habitat, predators, etc. We were also escorted over to see the village and the schools that have been built and a cultural tour of one of the Masai villages (cost $20 and well worth it). My husband and his friend are runners and wanted the experience of running with a Masai warrior. No problem, Nelson arranged for two Masai to run with them. It was a memorable thrill for both of them. There may be many luxurious camps in the Masai but this simple comfortable camp is well worth the stay. Like the other reviewers we highly recommend it.

Room Tip: Rhino room has nice view.
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  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Oldarpoi Mara Camp

Address: 3 KM to Sekenani Gate,Maasai Mara | Sekenani-Keekorok Rd, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya (Formerly Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp)
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #50 of 117 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Oldarpoi Mara camp, is operated in partnership with the local Maasai community. The camp is concerned with the welfare of the local community .Our vision is to transform the local community, socially and economically.We support the Ole keene primary school with teacher's salaries, children sponsorship programs etc.The school has more than 300 children and we built classrooms for them including a rescue center unit to accommodate young girls running away from cultural practices such Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM ) and early marriage.We also plan to establish a community library which will include a learning center and conservation projects.Guests who would like to volunteer in any of our projects as part of a unique safari experience are highly encouraged to do so..This will make a difference to the community.The camp has permanent tents with beds, bedding, complete solar Water heating and lighting system, flush toilets and hot showers - all the trappings of home! We are also an accomplished safaris outfitter with best trained Maasai guides! We offer safaris and tours to different destinations throughout East Africa. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Oldarpoi Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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