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“Authentic holiday experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Oldarpoi Mara Camp

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Oldarpoi Mara Camp
3 KM to Sekenani Gate,Maasai Mara | Sekenani-Keekorok Rd, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya (Formerly Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp)   |  
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Authentic holiday experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

This is a simple tented camp with beds, basic en suites and home cooking. It is great value for money especially with your own itinerary and private game drives and activities. (We saw many animals in the reserve including a rhino, cheetahs and daily sightings of lions.) What makes Oldarpoi something special is that it is an authentic experience which benefits the local Masai community. Make sure you do a walking safari with the Masai warriors and visit the local village. The young staff are knowledgeable and friendly and we felt that we got to know the real Kenya.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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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127 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (12)
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English first
Nantes, France
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

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.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Maasaielder, Owner at Oldarpoi Mara Camp, responded to this review, January 28, 2013
I would like to put the record straight in as far as this particular review is concerned.

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!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

We had a wonderful 4 day/3 night safari at Oldarpoi Mara Camp over Christmas and would highly recommend it. All of the camp employees were so kind and welcoming. Our whole family felt perfectly safe and comfortable during our stay. We had amazing game drives in the Masai Mara. We saw so many beautiful animals and it was such a restful, rejuvenating experience. We also visited the neighboring Masai village and that was also an amazing experience. Keep in mind, it is camping not a lodge. You do sleep in a tent so you should be prepared for a few bugs (though we never saw any mosquitos. yeah!:-)), no outlets in the tents and getting ready by flashlight for early morning game drives (there are electric lights in the evenings). But with nice beds and an attached private bathroom with shower, sink and flush toiliet--and maid service cleaning up immaculately each day, it was definitely the NICEST camping we've ever experienced. It rained nearly every night we were there but we stayed perfectly dry and comfortable. The nice concrete pathways between tents and the dining hall helped keep things neat and the tents are spread far enough apart to give some privacy.With two teenagers who eat frequently and a family of generally unadventurous eaters, we were a little concerned about how the food would be. Just to be safe, we packed a lot of snack foods in our luggage so we could supplement if needed. We ate very little of these snacks because the food at Oldarpoi was great! They cooked up large hot meals, three meals a day with enough choices to satisfy everyone's tastes. The whole family loved the food. Even the sack lunches they packed for our all-day game drive were impressive. Overall just a wonderful time. Would highly recommend!

  • Stayed December 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.
Lusaka, Zambia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

We booked 3 day, 2 night stay here- Nelson picked us up from the airport and we immediately started our safari adventures there (passing by the rift valley overlook- the most breath-taking view of the kenyan valley landscape), making it to camp by early afternoon. The staff were all locals and extremely attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable of the masai people and their customs. Benson (our driver) was fantastic and plugged into the network of safari rangers, Willie (the cook, a masai) served up delicious hot meals every morning and night, and all the other staff made us feel so welcome. You can arrange a tour of the masai village (where Willie and Nelson are from) on one of the afternoons, where the community will come and greet you by dancing and taking you on a tour of the cattle pen, the houses, and the schools (one of the major ones is one that Nelson built for the masai community, serving several hundred students). The "community" section of their website has a nice summary of their activities. All in all, I highly recommend Oldarpoi to anyone interested in beautiful game drives, knowledgeable tour guides, friendly and local staff members who are plugged into the masai community. Thank you all at Oldarpoi for making this such an amazing experience!! Lillian

  • Stayed December 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.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

From the beginning of setting up the Safari Nelson was great. Very helpful with plans and professional. I was a little worried about sending money overseas for a deposit at first, but it was easy, and Nelson let me know asap when the funds arrived.

The Camp and Safari experience could not have been better. We did 4 days with them in December and saw every animal possible it seemed, including the BIG 5, largely thanks to our amazing guide Joseph. He was so much fun and so friendly, and incredible at finding the big game.

The camp is operated by Nelson and other Masai tribe people. Its a GREAT experience to stay with them and learn about their lives.

During our visit we filmed a video and you can view it on Youtube if you like by searching "Masai Mara Kenya Safari with Oldarpoi Camp"

Great trip, highly recommend Oldarpoi Mara Camp!!!

  • Stayed December 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

We absolutely loved our short stay at Oldarpoi- we wished it could be much longer. The setting, the food, the people the whole experience was fantastic.
Thank you to Nelson and his incredible team at Oldarpoi we had a trip we would never forget. I would highly recommend staying here, its beautiful.

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

Right when we were picked up in Nairobi by Nelson - who has been in contact with me from the beginning - we already felt welcomed and at ease. There are hundreds of reasons you should choose Oldarpoi, but here they are in a quick list:

-All inclusive camp (only extras are tips, souvenirs, and excursions with the local village)
-Park fees included
-Expert communication from Nelson
-Best Chef you could hope for, Willy, accommodated my dietary restrictions
-Trucks were comfortable
-The drive from Nairobi to Mara was scenic and beautiful
-Our drivers helped us bargain for souvenirs
-The service at camp was incredible from their managers and local Masai warriors
-Cost is affordable and fair
-The drive into the park is only 5 minutes
-Our drivers were excellent at getting us to see the big 5
-Tents were comfortable and private
-Local Masai were warm and inviting

Oldarpoi is a great value and you get way more than you pay for. Plus, the money they earn supports the local Masai community. They've already built a school, are working on a library, and they train local Masai in hospitality.

They were generous and kind and our experience was unforgettable. Many people think they need to pay tons of money to stay inside the reserve, but Oldarpoi is only 5 minutes outside the gate. Its very worth it to stay here. You get the same service, see the same animals, and you're supporting a community.

  • Stayed October 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 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

Also Known As:
Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp Hotel
Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Oldarpoi Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve
Address: 3 KM to Sekenani Gate,Maasai Mara | Sekenani-Keekorok Rd, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya (Formerly Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp)
Phone Number:
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 #38 of 109 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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 

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