My visit to Masai Mara a second time, to stay at Exploreans this time proved a better experience than even the last time, which was memorable...Exploreans however lives up to the high standards associated with the brand...my previous visit at Exploreans Ngorongoro was great as well...The tents are beautiful, epitome of luxury without being overdone..wooden flooring, comfortable beds...amazing bathrooms. The best thing is the hot showers at anytime of the day or night, even at 6 AM for the morning game drives..the service is impeccable. Waiters at the restaurant, the private butler, the driver appointed for every guest who picks one up from the close by Mara North airstrip and then takes you for game drives..down to the ladies at the spa and the reception, everyone was warm, smiling and seemed ever so ready to take care of every need without being intrusive. This cannot come about without great supervision and that was taken care of by the manager, Madam Marie-Chantal who is a real gem.
We were two people and had the bestest stay ever. The food is very good, with the ala carte 4-5 course menu offering different options every day. Breakfast is superb, the good thing is you get to sample everything and order as many times as ones' stomach can possibly take, without overdoing the gluttony bit as in buffets at most hotel breakfasts.
The presentation of every course is so good that one forgets one is at a Bush camp, albeit a luxurious one! The lobby of the hotel, or the open reception area is well fitted with immensely comfortable sofas, done in earthy tones and stocked with a good collection of coffee table books on the Masai culture and on the African wildlife. Exploreans offers its guests free morning and evening game drives. You can also take the car and driver for the full day to the neighbouring Maasai Mara Game Reserve (since Exploreans is located in the Mara North Conservancy area) and pay 80$ pp at the gate. From then on its you and plenty of big game, the open vistas and the most beautiful landscape imaginable. The experience of having lunch out in the Busha a 10-minute drive away from the tree sheltering two cheetas taking their afternoon rest was unmatchable. The picnic boxes given by the lodge were good as well, only thing they can improve is their sandwiches (we opted for these and not wraps). The Exploreans at Ngorongoro Tanzania have better packed lunches. But it was sublime having the lunch out in the Bush anyways. Every game drive, your car is provided with a cooler stocked with water and drinks.
We were lucky enough to see plenty of lions, leopards and cheetas besides the Buffaloes, Giraffes, Zebras and Elephants etc. Many animals were also viewed in the MNC and not only the Mara Park, so for those who do not want to spend another 80$pp, this would be sufficient, however its a shame not to experience Mara itself if one has come all the way and has spent enough to stay here. My previous stay in the area was at the Fairmont Masai Mara, which was also good, but i feel i made the right choice in choosing Exploreans this time. The grunting of the hippos keeps you awake most of the first night at least but you get used to it..There are always the Masai security guards who escort you to your tent and reception area as soon as its dark. So one feels secure all the time.
Lunch is served usually on the terrace by the pool overlooking the Mara River. Directly in front are the hills, the view is breathtaking.
The laundry is part of the all inclusive package which is a good idea esp if one has been traveling for some days and need fresh clothes.The toiletries provided by the hotel are of a especially good quality. The towels are great, soft, white and fluffy. It may sound strange why i mention towels but after staying at two fairmont properties (Mount Kenya and Nairobi) i need to stress this: disappointingly Fairmont Norfolk;s towels looked old, thin and threadbare, of a yellowish colour, something I was not really happy about..
Our driver, Daniel was really informative and went out of his way, taking different routes to track down animals we wanted to see, maybe we were lucky or he was really good and intuitive, every time he proved lucky!
Would I return to Mara Exploreans? definitely, yes. I am sure other properties in the area are also good but the warmth and great service not to mention the comfort i experienced at this lodge, has won me over.