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“Fabulous setting” 4 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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Hotel amenities
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Fabulous setting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Encounter Mara on the recommendation of Africa Rose Travel. A truly wonderful setting in the Naiboisho Conservancy. Large, stylish tents which were very private and had a lovely view - lots of animals to be seen from tent and dining and sitting areas and even a cheetah walking by our tent one morning. The area outside the tents have a large day bed and a hammock. Chris and Sam were charming and fun hosts and the food was very good indeed. They offer a brunch on return from morning game drives which although good meant a very long gap until tea at 3.30. Also I do like having tea or coffee in the room when I am woken up rather than having to go to the mess tent. Being in a private conservancy means they can offer walking and night drives. Lots of game very close by including a big pride of lions and a lioness with three cubs. Can thoroughly recommend Encounter Mara as a special place to stay in a quieter location than the Mara.

Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Thank you so much for your review. We are so pleased you had a fantastic time. We hope you will come back and visit us soon.
From the Encounter Mara team
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143 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
London
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

We were a group of 4 who had been working and wanted a short safari after our labours. We arranged a 2 day trip to Encounter Mara which is on an unfenced reserve and not overloaded with queues of safari vehicles. We had all had safari experiences previously and this far exceeded our expectations. It is a very well run tented camp with great and friendly staff who go out of their way to make this a wonderful experience. Lots of caring touches such as a hotwater bottle in the bed. We had a terrific Masai guide, Dickson, who was a great teacher. We saw an extraordinary number and variety of animals including several lions. This is a highly recommended trip. We loved it.

  • Stayed October 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Thank you so much for your review. It is really important to use that guest feel they have had a quality experience and get to enjoy the Masai Mara as much as we do. Thank you for taking the time to share your sentiments.
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Crowthorne, Berks
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

Spent three nights at this fabulous camp. Very well run by Managers Kris and Sam. Accommodation very clean and comfortable, the guides excellent, particularly Moses, with great driving skills and eyesight so good , i swear they can see into other countries. Third time to Mara and as usual, teeming with wildlife.
Not sure 10 hour return trip to see Mara river crossing was worth it if you seen it before, as lot of time in vehicle.

Room Tip: We had tent 9 and bit disappointed with view, not quite the same as pictures on website, ours a bit...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Thank you for your review and for the feedback it is very helpful. We do try and provide the best possible service and glad you enjoyed your stay with us. We do try and position all of our tents in the best possible viewing sites, however, when working with nature we can not always dictate.
We will certainly pass your feedback to Moses, thanks for sharing!
From The Encounter Mara Team
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Calgary
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

Could not be any better! Warm, friendly, attentive staff; wonderful food, elegantly presented; a guard outside every tent; following a pride of lions hunting at night then returning to a hot water bottle in bed. What could be better than this.
This camp is the REAL deal. The guides grew up there and really know their stuff; and there are no hordes of other vehicles to get in the way.

  • Stayed September 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Thank you so much for your review, we are so pleased you share our passion for The Masai Mara and we are so pleased we could help facilitate this special experience. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. It is much appreciated.
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Canberra, Australia
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

Everything about Encounter Mara was absolutely perfect, the staff, tents, food, vehicles, guides and program. They really have the safari down pat, flying into the Naboishi Conservancy and then taking a game drive with a lunch stop (watching a herd of giraffe) on the way to the accommodation was exactly the right start and it just kept getting better. The guides were very knowledgable and always had interesting facts about animal behaviour to share with us and they were great at spotting the animals. We were fortunate enough to have our own private vehicle for the duration of our tour. The vehicles were in great condition and completely open so there was no struts or windows obstructing your view of the animals.
The camp itself is in great condition and the tents were absolutely beautiful. Likewise the food was delicious at every meal and the staff were exceptionally attentive, right down to the nightly hot-water bottle in your bed (which is a surprisingly enjoyable luxury especially given that it actually gets quite cool at night in the Masai Mara).
I would thoroughly recommend staying on a Conservancy like Naboishi as opposed to staying in the Masai Mara, the number of guests and vehicles in the Conservancy is controlled and you get a much less crowded view of the animals. In addition, in the Conservancy the vehicles have an extra hour or two before they have to return to camp in the evening which means you have a better chance of viewing the animals in evening light and when they are most active. It makes your sundowner drink and snacks all the more enjoyable knowing that there is no great rush to get back to camp.

We booked online directly with Encounter Mara and Josphat and the bookings team were always very responsive and provided the best customer service of any of the companies we booked our holiday in the Middle East and Africa with.

I cannot fault a single aspect of the trip, the only regret I have is not staying longer, we were there three nights but could easily have stayed a week or more.


I will definitely be back.

  • Stayed August 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Thank you for your review, we are always delighted to hear our guests sharing the same passion we feel for The Masai Mara and for Encounter Mara.
Thank you for taking the time to write this review and we hope you will come back and visit us sometime.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle
Top Contributor
169 reviews 169 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

The recent reviews for Encounter Mara are spot on and reflect the reality of this superb camp.

I travelled with a Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) company called HAWK'S HEAD PHOTOGRAPHY with the aim of encountering the wildlife of Kenya and to improve my photographic skills. The company arranged all the travel and connections as well as overnight accommodation in Nairobi. All my expectations were exceeded with the help of Hawk's Head's leaders Alan & Trai and the camp's guides Moses, Sammy and Dickson whose skills and knowledge are immense.

The site: In the middle of the savannah, miles from anywhere and surrounded by the animals I wanted to photograph: a local pride of lions, herds of elephants, gazelle, antelopes, hyena, warthogs, giraffe, hippo, crocs and a wonderful variety of beautiful birds; kingfishers, splendid starlings, rollers, birds of prey. The list goes on.

The accommodation: would rival any 5 star hotel. Spacious tents with toilet & shower, tented lounge and dining room. Beds made up and turned down in the evening with a hot water bottle for good measure. Luxurious little touches. There's a day bed on the verandah and a hammock slung in the shade of two trees with a fine view over the savannah. Mozzie nets and a spray keep the unwanted wildlife at bay...

The food: A recent review mentioned tv's Masterchef which was a comment I made when we sat down to our first dinner - the food was first class with dietary requirements catered for all served with finesse after evening drinks by the campfire under the stars.

The staff: Nothing was too much trouble. Ask and they would do their best to oblige. They were helpful and most polite as well as knowledgeable about the surroundings. Chris & Sam have the camp running like a well-oiled machine and the dining staff wouldn't be out of a place in a top hotel.

The drives: Early morning starts and late afternoon outings in well-adapted Landcruisers which the guides can take almost anywhere. Every drive was an eye-opener as Moses, Sammy and Dickson dressed in traditional Masai clothing knew how to find those animals. We even spotted the elusive leopard albeit a brief encounter! Their driving skills in rough terrain are incredible as is their respect for the animals they track.

Culture: We visited a local school (we took small gifts such as pens and pencils) and enjoyed the enthusiastic curiosity of the youngsters. We also visited a boma which is a traditional Masai settlement. The brightly-dressed women of the camp gave a demonstration of singing and dancing.

Why would I recommend Encounter Mara?

For all the reasons above and more but especially how they make every effort to limit their impact upon the land and its wildlife. If you want to see these species before they are lost for ever but don't want them to feel threatened then Encounter Mara is the place to do it.
If you don't mind joining the hordes of second-rate vehicles chasing the animals as they do in the parks then go elsewhere. If you're concerned about the welfare of the wildlife and our impact on the environment, Encounter Mara is the place to be.

If you're considering a Kenyan safari I recommend, without any reservation whatsoever, Encounter Mara.

  • Stayed September 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013 via mobile

Harris and I just returned home to Seattle after four remarkable nights at Encounter Mara, and we're still riding high on the joy of it. Every detail here is handled with great care, and we felt so welcome and supported. Managers Chris and Sam, together with all the other wonderful, committed people here, have somehow managed to create an experience of both wilderness and luxury. Gourmet brunch at a table under the acacia trees while watching zebras and impala graze nearby. Hot showers in our own private, gorgeous tent after enjoying the crimson sunset with gin and tonics on the high plains. The music of lions and hyenas nearby at night. We loved the attention to environmental stewardship, with extensive use of solar power and careful disposal of waste. Considerable expertise and regard for both humans and other creatures provided us with rich exposure to Masai culture and to scores of exotic birds, plants and "charismatic megafauna" such as lions, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, baboons and even an elusive leopard. The special solitude of the Naboisho Conservancy gave the game drives an added feel of exclusivity. Give yourself the gift of this experience of a lifetime. You won't regret it!

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, responded to this review, September 27, 2013
Thanks for your feedback.
We are really pleased you had a great time and hope you arrived back safe and sound. A visit to Africa, especially the bush is an unforgettable experience and we are so pleased you enjoyed the magic of The Masai Mara.
Please come back and visit us soon
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 111 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Number of rooms: 12
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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