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“Treated like royalty!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Encounter Mara

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Encounter Mara
Mara Naboisho Conservancy | P.O. Box 541 Limuru, Kenya 00217, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya   |  
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Hotel amenities
Renfrew, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Treated like royalty!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

This was my first time in Africa and after spending two weeks in the city of Nairobi, it was nice for this 'country girl' to get back to open spaces and wildlife! Staying at Encounter Mara was a highlight of our trip. From the moment we arrived and were given one of the best picnic lunches under an acacia tree of delicious wraps with fresh fruit and yoghurt and drinks, then taken to our camp. Our guide was Moses who took time to show us everything; from the tiniest of bugs, to finding the King of the Jungle and his lioness as the large, red African sun set in the evening, and the many, many animals inbetween. Our accomodation was outstanding, with the most comfortable beds we had ever slept on, even a warm hotwater bottle was tucked into our beds while we went out for a night safari. In the evening its cooler, and colourful Maasai blankets were folded neatly on the seats of our Land Rover. They didn't miss a single detail. The food was also first class and presented beautifully. There was such flavour and arranged like a work of art on our plates. You will not want to leave when you go!! Moses, Dickson, Sammy, we miss you and hope to return again!

  • Stayed February 2013, 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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127 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • Japanese first
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English first
Petawawa, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

If you love animals, this will totally catch you off guard when you get ready to leave. I unfortunately was only able to do a one night stay and at departure I choked up and tears welled in my eyes. These people are amazing. They have good hearts! The connection with them and the animals was truly a spiritual moment for me. The people here felt like family!

Room Tip: Just do your research before booking.
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  • 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
    • 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.
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

Encounter Mara was fantabulous. Staff were so unobtrusive and service was excellent.Wonderful experience. The spotters and drivers were fantastic. Able to take us to see as many animals as possible. The luxury tents are just that. huge comfortable beds looking out onto the bush. We loved the Masai that we met. Such polite and friendly people ready to assist and make ones stay memorable forever.

Room Tip: They are all great. Seperate and private. you feel you are the only couple for milesaround
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  • Stayed February 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

Encounter Mara was an outstanding experience and ranks among my top travel experiences. I echo a previous comment that essentially stated "I splurged thinking it was a once in a lifetime trip and now want to plan my return." The guides are Masai who grew up in or near the conservancy, and their intimate knowledge and love of the land is obvious; their quality of guiding starkly contrasted that of tourism workers who are willing to guide in any park for income. There was no question about the animals, plants or stars that the guides couldn't answer - these are bright and well-trained individuals. The conservancy's land management strategies are not only good for the land/animals, but also mean you won't be running into other tourists very frequently; you feel like you are alone on the savanna. The quality of service back at the tented camp was outstanding while reflecting conservation values - a tough juggling act that they manage well. We traveled with our 6 year old and it worked just fine; it was hard to wake him up early for some of the AM drives, but I blame that on jetlag. And, once we roused him, he was always excited to go out for another drive. The guides were sweet with him. And, the number and variety of animals it made following safaris a bit disappointing (so consider scheduling Encounter Mara at the end of your trip, not the beginning). We also took advantage of a guided walk and a visit to a Masai village, and I am glad we did. Finally, I appreciated that it truly was all-inclusive (except a fee we paid the village, which I was happy to do, especially because that meant they weren't peddling souvenirs), making this not really that much more expensive than other places that mark up drinks or charge extra for walks, transportation, etc. Bottom Line: do what you need to do to spend time at Encounter Mara.

Room Tip: I doubt you can go wrong - each one is isolated and well-appointed.
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  • Stayed February 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

Encounter Mara hosted me for a photographic trip in The Masai Mara. Their friendliness was exceptional. Even though you are in the wilderness you have every comfort of home and get to see some incredible game.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 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.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

It's hard to imagine how Encounter Mara could be improved - they took care of all the details, from pick-ups and flight transfers out to the Mara, first-rate accommodation and exciting food, knowledgeable and helpful guides, and an exclusive feel to the game drives. We took the balloon ride, the perfect way to add a new dimension to the experience. The people, landscapes and nature that I witnessed during my stay with Encounter Mara are etched in memories that I shall never forget. Thank you to everyone who made our stay so special.

  • Stayed January 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
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
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 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 108 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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