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“Beyond my wildest expectations” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Encounter Mara

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Encounter Mara
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Mara Naboisho Conservancy | P.O. Box 541 Limuru, Kenya 00217, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya   |  
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Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Beyond my wildest expectations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

When my sister and I visited my parents in Kenya, they treated us to a safari with Encounter Mara. I think my dad summed it up best: "When we were planning this, I thought to myself 'Well, this is a once-in-a-lifetime-thing', but by the first afternoon I was lounging on the daybed on our tent's porch thinking 'How can I manage to do this again.'" We traveled overland from Nairobi (flights are also available). A warning -- the road into the Mara is bad. Worse than bad, actually. But I enjoyed seeing more of Kenya than we would have from the plain. Our guide, Daniel, met us at the road, in a little village to drive us into the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, picnic lunch in hand. We enjoyed our first meal -- delicious beef wraps, fresh fruit, and cheesecake squares -- under a beautiful acacia tree. Daniel was a capable, knowledgeable, professional, patient and good-natured guide throughout our stay. I thoroughly enjoyed our game drives, and how attuned he was to our interests. Pro tip: if there's something you're really interested in seeing or learning about, let your guide know; they're very flexible. We were also treated to FIVE meals a day ... an early morning "light" breakfast (if you're like me, this breakfast of cereal, fruit, coffee, juice was pretty much the size of your everyday "normal" breakfast) before the 6:30 a.m. game drive; a delicious brunch after the morning game drive, High Tea at 3:30 p.m., sundowners and bitings on the evening game drive (one evening we sat in the truck and watched the lions; the next we enjoyed it out of the truck, watching the zebras amble past); and glorious 3-course meal (preceded by drinks around the campfire).
And the tent! Put out of your mind everything you know about "tents"... this is truly "Glamping." Soft queen-sized beds, turndown service with a hot water bottle tucked in the sheets, flush toilets, hot showers ... wonderful! I hope to have the opportunity to return to Kenya some day soon, and when I do, I'll definitely visit Encounter Mara again.
My only tips, if you go: Call ahead to check the weather the day before you go. Even though it was supposed to be the dry season, it had been unseasonably rainy and the camp was muddy. Also, wear shoes around camp that you can slip on and off easily, since you'll want to take them off before entering your tent, the lounge tent or the dining tent.

  • Stayed January 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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135 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
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English first
Willard, Missouri, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

I can't imagine a better experience seeing the Maasai Mara than with Encounter Mara. The camp is right in the middle of the Mara and you can see animals right from your tent. Everything was clean and comfortable, and the food was delicious. Everything is eco-friendly as well. They are very willing to work around your schedule so that you can have the best experience. After the evening game drive, you will have a hot shower waiting for you back at camp. The guides were excellent and were able to find many of the animals we wanted to see. The bush walk was so much fun and you are able to see so many things that you miss when driving. I highly recommend Encounter Mara for anyone traveling to Kenya and would love to go back!

  • Stayed January 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
    • 4 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.
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

If you want to truly experience the Mara then Encounter Mara is the place to stay. An intimate, peaceful and world class camp hidden within the amazing setting of the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, it is impossible to find fault with this place. The camp is set right inside the conservancy and very close to the animals, we even had a few visitors in the camp at night. For me a real treat was lying in bed at night and listening to all the sounds of the bush. The service offered by all the staff was outstanding; everyone was so friendly and eager to please. Our guide Moses was in a league of his own, a local Masai man who was incredibly knowledgeable, had a great way with his guests and was highly entertaining with his vast knowledge, many stories and even a song or 2! The bush walk is highly recommended to learn things about nature you just don't see when driving. We will definitely return to this wonderful camp!

  • Stayed December 2012, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

My sister and I stayed at Encounter Mara over the New Year's holiday and we could think of no better way to bring in the new year. Everything was great. The tents were clean and comfortable. The food was delicious. My sister is a vegetarian and they were able to meet her needs with variety and creativity. The staff were excellent. All around a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redmond, Washington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Amazing is all I can say about the experience at Encounter Mara. A friend and I stayed in the camp for three nights on our way home from Mbita, Kenya where we worked in a health clinic for a month. The accommodations were much better than anticipated and the food was excellent. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and we were able
to see all of the animals we had hoped. We were treated like royalty by the staff and management. I hightly recommend Encounter Mara if you are planning a trip to Kenya. Anita

  • Stayed October 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

We selected this camp because of its commitment to eco-friendly tourism. We were happy to learn first-hand about all that Encounter Mara does to respect the land and people of the Masai Mara. And none of their sustainable practices limit the camp's ability to offer a first-rate safari experience. From the moment we were met at the airstrip, we were provided excellent and personable service. What a thrill to have a picnic on the Mara en route to the camp. At the camp we were greeted by an attentive staff and luxurious accommodations. Every detail of our trip had been considered and many special touches made the whole safari experience well beyond anything we expected. Our guides were superb in every way, the food and drink delicious, and the warm shower a delight after a long day on safari. We wouldn't hesitate to return to Encounter Mara!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

There's hardly anything Encounter Mara can do to make their camp experience better. The tents are as comfortable and well decorated as they can be, staff are attentive and even the dining experience could well be set in a trendy restaurant in a western capital. To top it all up, the Naboisho Conservancy located just outside the Masai Mara reserve with no fences separating the two, provides a great setting to watch an incredible amount of animals with virtually no other tourists around.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Encounter Mara

Address: Mara Naboisho Conservancy | P.O. Box 541 Limuru, Kenya 00217, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 110 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With natural simplicity and elegance, Encounter Mara provides a completely unique and eco-friendly approach to safari lodging. Built with only completely removable structures, with a focus on conservation, Encounter Mara offers luxury in their twelve custom-designed, spacious tents, positioned for privacy as well as optimal game viewing. Located in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, guests experience unparalleled game-viewing in a low-tourism-density area and opportunities for night drives and bush walks. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Encounter Mara Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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