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“Gives Spectacular a new meaning” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mara Plains Camp

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Mara Plains Camp
4.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 0000, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Alameda, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Gives Spectacular a new meaning”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

This trip was a year in the planning and as each month passed prior to going, the expectation level rose. There is always a little trepidation about what you hope for and what you receive. Well what we received at the Mara Plains so surpassed my expectations I'm surprised I didn't catch bugs in my continuously opened in amazement mouth. We were greeted by Kevin at the landing strip with the biggest smile and warmest welcome. We were also lucky to have him as our guide for the entire time we were there, but more on him later. When we arrived at the camp, which consists of seven of the most fabulously appointed tents (better than many high end hotels), we were greeted by Richard and Lorna, who manage the camp. It felt like coming home. We dined al fresco for lunch every day under the trees with white linens, good wine, delicious food and great conversation. Richard and Lorna are the consummate hosts and so passionate about the conservancy and promotion of the Masai people and their culture. We had two game drives each day, and Kevin was one with the plains. He educated us constantly about the animals and we did see all of the big five - more than once, but told us in depth as a good story teller does about their lives and how they live as predator or prey out on the Mara Plains. Each day was a new adventure with something different unfolding. If you are considering a safari in Kenya or even East Africa - this is where you want to be. It changes you for the better. Thank you to all at the Mara Plains Camp.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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
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97 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Taos, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

This place is great. The setting is incredible and accommodations superb! However, when you pay these prices, that is exactly what you expect. It's the extras and incredible service that set them apart. The guides first and foremost! Our guide was Kevin and he was magnificent. A very special understanding of the area, terrain and most of all the animals. A wealth of knowledge and never seemed to tire of searching for, and finding, an immense amount of different animals. He truly made our experience here special. The food was spectacular! Did not expect this to be so good with so many options for each seating. Truly enjoyed the lunches, however, dinners were just as good. The dining service as well could not have been better...Thanks to Richard! Finally, each couple was given an incredible camera and binoc set-up to use, complimentary, for our stay. It was a Cannon 7D with a 400mm zoom and a set of the nicest binocs I've ever used. The shots we were able to capture with this set-up were amazing and will allow us to remember our stay that much better. Quite a service that was totally unexpected. Its the extras that make a difference, and for that reason, this place should be a top choice in the Masai Mara!

Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
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Burlington, Vermont
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013

We recently returned from a fabulous trip to 5 locations in Kenya and Tanzania. Masai Mara is a must stop, and Mara Plains should be carefully considered in your choices about where to stay. Over the top service. On the outrageous side, they hand you about $4k worth of camera equipment, and a $2k pair of binocs. We evaluated all 5 locations we stayed on several criteria: quality of game viewing, quality of lodging, quality of food, quality of service, and general ambience. The game viewing is fantastic, and we enjoyed hippos, lions, buffalo, cheetah, elephants and more, all in close proximity. We witnessed an incredible sight, as a herd of buffalo hunted a pride of lions, with the intent to kill them; the buffalo actually caught and killed a cub, heartbreaking to see. Of the 3,500 pictures I took in 14 days, 1/3 where here: that should tell you how good the game viewing was. Ok, you're in tents, and they are spacious and luxurious. The service is attentive, and they're always checking to make sure you're completely satisfied. Food, spectacular. Communal dining, which turned out to be a big differentiator for us. A special thanks to DoDo, a substitute manager during our stay, and she was terrific.

  • Stayed September 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 3
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Midlands
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

We stayed here for 4 nights at the end of September/beginning of October 2013. What a wonderful camp - the tents were absolutely fantastic and luxurious, the whole camp design was great, the views awesome, our guide (Ping) was superb, and Richard and Lorna were really good hosts. The food (especially lunches) was great, and eating under the trees of camp by the river was fabulous.

We saw loads of stuff we hadn’t seen before, including an amazing trio of cheetahs (mum and two sub adult cubs) hunting all morning,and then making a kill. Ping said to us at about 9am, "let's be patient, they will kill, but not until later, between 10.30 and 11". So we waited, and watched, and followed them as they missed a jackal then an antelope, and sure enough at 10.45am, they killed and devoured a baby topi. How amazing to have a guide who knows his surroundings and the animals in it so well that he can predict to the nearest half hour when a group of cheetah will make a kill!!!! And what was fantastic was that other vehicles came and went while we were there, but none of them had the patience to stay for the big moment, so we had it all to ourselves.

The scenery was spectacular, as was the game viewing. We saw a river crossing, and lots and lots and lots of lions, so many lions, including babies. We are so glad we stayed on a conservancy, the difference in experience between that and the national park was palpable, eg the quantity of vehicles and their behaviour in the park was pretty grim – at one leopard sighting there were 17 vehicles – luckily we were not there for the leopard, we were tracking the rhino in the bushes behind it that no-one else seemed to have noticed! We did drives just in the conservancy, and also ventured into the park quite a bit, but we realy weren't keen on the behaviour by other vehicles around the sightings. The scenery in that part of Africa is awesome, on one day we drove almost to Tanzania to see the last of the big herds, and it was as though we were driving on top of the world. What was really interesting here was that they don’t do the usual “game drive 6 – 9.30 then back for breakfast” – you go out at 6.30 and don’t come back until about noon – and on one day we stayed out for the entire day. Also, the kit they provide with each room (top notch camera and swarovski binocs) is really good, and we got some great photography tuition, especially from Lorna. There were some great storms while we were there, only short ones and they didn't disrupt anything other than one outside dinner, but the lightning across the skies was amazing.

There was an issue while we were there with our vehicle, but it was dealt with by the Mara Plains team, and Great Plains sorted things out with our travel agency (Aadvark Safaris, they are briliant) when we got back.

Richard and Lorna are a lovely couple, and are great camp managers who really know how to help a group gel - there was a large group of v friendly Australians there while we were there and it could have been quite hard to ensure the group socalised when 10 out of 14 people in camp are in one group, but they managed it very well. They complement each other very well indeed, they both have a lovely manner, and are running a great camp. Lorna has clearly struck up some very good relationships with the local women, and one day we had a mini market in camp, which was great.

We would definitely recommend Mara Plains. Thank you Lorna and Richard and Ping for a wonderful stay.

Room Tip: We were in Room 5 which was closest to the main camp area. It was a fabulous room overlooking the ri...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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Calgary
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

Mara Plains Camp is classy and luxurious without being "over the top". Beautiful setting on a new Conservancy, fantastic guides, wonderful food (including creative bush breakfasts), gorgeous tents with great amenities, even the safari trucks are fully supplied. They HAVE thought of everything, something I cannot say about any other camp after 30 years of travel to East Africa!
Put that together with some of Africa's best game viewing and it is deserving of the 5* ratings!
The managers, Richard and Lorna, were a delight, and went above and beyond for our group!

  • Stayed August 2013, 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.
Corvallis
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013 via mobile

We stayed for 2 nights and had an amazing time! The new rooms were wonderful. Our room didn't overlook the plains so that was disappointing but ok. The food was average, not quite the high level we were expecting considering the cost of Mara Plains. The staff was wonderful and quite helpful, but we had to do our own investigating to find our what we could do while there rather than being told about options. Our guide Jackson was phenomenal!! We ended up having a truck to the 2 of us and we were able to follow cheetahs for 7 hours and witness then making a kill. Lunch was brought out to us and we picnicked on the savannah. Can't wait to return next year!!!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

Mara Plains is the best accomodation experience I have ever had! A beautiful setting and unbelievable accomodations in the newly re-built tent paradise. Gorgeous comforts with ample space, rain shower, copper bath tub and writing desk. Morning wake up calls were made with coffee delivery, and breakfast on the land was amazing. We spent 4 nights at Mara Plains and experienced incredible safari days with our guides Kevin, Daniel and Jackson. One of our highlights was a guided walking safari with accomplished guide and camp manager Richard. His better half, the amazing Lorna made sure that all of our arrangements were perfect and coordinated a trip to a local Masai village. Our lunchs and dinners at the camp were excellent, and the celbration of our daughters birthday by the entire staff was a real treat. Every detail was attended to, and going the extra step in offering the use of a high end camera with telephoto lens along with Swarovski binoculars during our stay, with all photos downloaded to a USB stick at our departure was a brilliant touch! The Safari vehicles we comfortable and smartly modified to accomodate large camera lenses along with all the ammenties required while on the land. We are richer for our experience at Mara Plains as we gained a deep appreciation for what Kenya has to offer, and what is being accomplished at the amazing Olare Orok Conservancy. We will return!

  • Stayed August 2013, 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.
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Additional Information about Mara Plains Camp

Address: Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 0000, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 127 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Mara Plains Camp 4.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This is a small, high quality, six-roomed camp under canvas, located within the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy and just a few hundred meters to the north of the Masai Mara National Reserve boundary. Guests can game drive in both the Masai Mara National Reserve and the Conservancy away from the crowds. It is a fabulous wildlife reserve of 30000 acres, rich in wildlife (with all the predators and big cats in particular), with the lowest vehicle density in the Mara, no mini-buses and only one guest room per 700 acres. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mara Plains Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Plains Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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