We stayed three nights in this camp on our way back from safari in Masai Mara. Maybe we were a bit over-expecting due to the widely acclaimed praise that this camp got on Tripadvisor. Even though our experience was not negative, I still would like to clarify a few points:
- Nelson communicated very well (quick and relevant answers) prior to our stay, but was not at camp when we were (he seems to be in Nairobi most of the time these days), which may have impacted our experience, since the camp was left to the manager (Masi) and staff.
- The camp is conveniently located 3 km outside Sekenani gate, 500m off the main road and easy to find
- The tents are OK, beds spacious (but bedding a bit too short tends to slip away)
- Showers were good, hot water in abundance
- Meals were good, with some variety and in huge quantities
- Staff is nice and well behaved, always trying to help and do the maximum they can
On the more negative side:
- You won't usually see animals from the camp (although you can hear hyenas at night) except for birds. Even when you go for a nature walk, you should not expect anything spectacular (gazelles from a distance, an occasional dik dik, footprints, etc).
- We were the only guests in the camp, which resulted in a weird situation where we were surrounded by staff who had not much to do but sit and wait. This unfortunately seems to be a frequent situation, since the next guests were only expected a few days after we left.
- Although we were just a 15 minutes walk from the local masai village, it is nearly impossible to go there alone. The camp is closed and someone will always insist to go with you if you want to step out.
- More important: you will not get anything extra for free. Ok, maybe this is not something you should expect, but listen: we came to this camp and paid willingly twice the price that we paid for an equivalent service in Fisherman's Camp Naivasha for instance, precisely because we wanted to support the local Masai community. From this point on, it was clumsy and awkward to ask for more, like 30 USD each, just to have us visit the village. Ok, ok, I know, this is written on their price list. But I think that at least a visit to the school should be for free, otherwise it feels, like we did, like some kind of soft harrassment. If Nelson had been here, maybe he would have gotten that point: it makes little sense to try to grab 10% extra at the cost of customer satisfaction. In our case, we felt like because we were the only guests they were trying to get the most out of us. But for everybody, it would be better if there were more guests, paying a little less, and being more naturally integrated to the local community.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
I would like to put the record straight in as far as this particular review is concerned.
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First, I would like to apologize to our valued guest for a not so satisfactory experience while staying in the camp.
We noted the many compliments by the guest such as timely responses to inquiries by email, well behaved staff, abundant hot showers and varied food choices and that it was available in huge quantities.
We are quite sorry to hear about the issue with bedding being a bit short and therefore tended to slip away at night-this could have been easily addressed by our housekeeping staff if the guest could have pointed out such a problem in his tent !
Coming to the other negatives ostensibly experienced by the guest, he mentions that there are no animals to be seen in the camp.
Oldarpoi Mara camp is located in the Maasai community land, right at the edge of the Maasai Mara game reserve about 3 KM to the park's entrance.
The general area is surrounded by by privately run wild life conservancies such as Siana, Mara Bush tops, and not too far away, is the Naboisho conservancy.
Wildlife roam freely between the reserve,community land and private conservancies since there are no fences to contain the animals to a particular place.
Getting to see the animals near the camp , in the walking safari or even in the park is often not guaranteed since animals roam freely at their own time of preference.
Unlike the writer, most other guests do appreciate seeing even small animals like dik diks,gazelles ,hyenas, etc since they all play an important role in the Eco-system.
We fail to understand therefore why the guest seems to blame us for not seeing animals except birds in the camp!
Our staff wanted to guide the guest when visiting the nearby Maasai villages just to ensure that the guest does not encounter any problem as there could be language barriers or cultural differences .
The guest insisted on going a lone and this they did ,and from there on, we are not aware as to whom they paid the money claimed to have been charged to visit the local school!
This could have been forestalled if the guests allowed one of our staff members to accompany them.
Although the local Maasai cultural villages do welcome visitors and often charge some fees, this is well communicated in our website and such visits are optional.
We helped build a school for the community from the proceeds earned by the camp through accommodation and safaris.
Many of our guests participated as volunteers when we were building the school and others contributed money, books and other resources.
The community school is a success story pioneered by our camp and there is NO way we can charge money for guests to visit , on the contrary we are most pleased to introduce our visitors to the school and other projects we run!
All in all, we fail to understand why the guest willingly came to our camp knowing the costs involved only for him to turn around and complain about the same and acting to destroy our hard earned reputation which led us to be awarded with a certificate of excellence 2012 by TripAdvisor!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.