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“SEMADEP - See the Masai Mara with the Masai” 5 of 5 stars
Review of SEMADEP Camp

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SEMADEP Camp
Maasai Mara National Game Park, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“SEMADEP - See the Masai Mara with the Masai”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

We have just finished a round the world trip and our last stop was in Kenya to see the Masai Mara. We had heard about Semadep Camp from a friend and decided to book our trip with them and we weren't disappointed.

If you want a real Africa experience, that gives you a glimpse of how local tribes live and interact with nature. This is the perfect place for you. What better way to see the Masai Mara than through the eyes of the Masai's. This is a camp that they themselves have set up and run.

The profits from your stay in their camp help support their water project, school, health centre and IT training centre.

Accommodation: You can either stay in the comfortable tents of their camp on the side of a beautiful hill or you can stay in one of the mud huts of their village. They will work an itinerary around you, so you can do game drives, explore the local villages or just relax and just unwind.

Food: The food was far better than I thought and we were very happy with the cooking and quantity of food they gave us.

Guides: This is one of the strongest advantages of this approach. When your group arrives you are paired with a very nice local Masai, who will accompany you if you wish to walk around or go on game drives. They will tell you amazing stories, spot animals from miles away and generally ensure you have everything you need. We expected to see the big 5 but one of the best memories will be the stories we shared with our guide and how we came away really feeling like we better understood his way of life.

I can't recommend this place enough. It isn't luxury travel but at the same time, it was surprisingly comfortable.

Don't be put off by their website or lack of polish, these guys were so great and will give you an incredible experience.



And my wife and I absolutely loved it. We had a modest budget and

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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13 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 (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, England, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

I recently visited kenya this year with my family.i have always loved being outdoors and experiencing nature. So this was perfect.from the moment I arrived to the moment I left I was emerged in the fascinating and wonderful maxis culture.during the course of my stay I visited the local Masai village and the community health centre and school which this camp funds . Chief James took us around the place and even organized a safari in the local national park for us!!!!.after a London day we were always treated with the lovely local food including goat stew and ugali. A once in a life time experience I would recommend it to anyone!'

  • 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
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
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

The Semadep camp is a fantastic camp situated about a kilometre from Masai Maras Sekenani gate. The camp offers great value camping, beautiful views of the mara, hot and cold showers, as well as actually being run by the Masaai community themselves. Expect a friendly welcome from the a Masaai chief and crew, offering amazing walking tours and a visit to the town of sekenani which gives a real insight into masaai culture and lifestyle. This also shows how your stay here funds projects in the heart of the community including schools and clinics vital to their everyday life.This is at no extra cost. Overall cost is low, facillities are great and views of the mara, including other activities are priceless.

  • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Instow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

We had the most amazing time. This is the best way to see the Maasai Mara, get to know people not just pass them by on the way to a luxury hotel. James put together an itinerary for us to include picking us up from Nairobi and accompanying us to Siana airport at the end of our 5 night stay. We did a walking safari to the top of the hill, spotting zebra and a giraffe but also getting information from our guides and an incredible view. We went to the village and also to the small town at Sekanani gate to see the project which our tourism supports. We also had a wonderful bush safari with two Maasai guides who made sure we saw loads of animals and had the best picnic in the world. We happened to be the only guests, and we were looked after SO well. This was great but I hope more people discover this gem. There were three of us, including our twelve year old daughter, who was looked after well. The tent is wonderfully comfortable though basic. We had two double beds and a single bed between us but room for another bed if required. The camp is on a hillside overlooking the Mara, and the sunsets are amazing. Sleeping in a tent means you hear the calls of hyena and zebra at night and an occasional elephant family heading to the watering hole. Staff sleep in the tent next door and take shifts to make sure we are not disturbed by wildlife. The toilet and shower is at the rear of the tent so no need to wander out at night. It's very reasonably priced, the accommodation is basic but work is going on to improve this for the near future. The staff are so helpful, the food is great and the best thing is that the community benefits.

Room Tip: There are three tents and two brick rooms under construction, which will be ready soon. All en suite...
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  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Llansanffraid Glan Conwy, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

The other reviews explain everything practical you need to know,this community camp has everything you need and more !The camp was set up by the Sekenani Maasai community as a way to raise funds for local community needs. Forget the expensive safari camps inside the national park. James will organize a safari drive in the park for you and anything else you want to do. have just returned from a stay here with my son Kalen(13).I would like to thank James for the welcome we had ,Dennis for looking after Kalen and myself and sharing some of his amazing knowledge and showing us things that we will never forget Yusaf for feeding us incredible tasty food,My Darling Angallah for your wonderful company and friendship,Joseph for being our driver for 3 days you took us to some amazing places (even though we got stuck lol ) and showed us the Mara and all the wonderful wildlife 4 of the big 5, Ken and Timo for the friendship they have given Kalen, and all the people at Semadep that made our trip the most wonderful experience I have ever had in my life.And to all the villagers and kids, we will be back and wouldnt dream of staying anywhere else with anyone else, I have left a piece of my heart with you all.

  • Stayed March 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.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

A friend and I stayed at Semadep Camp and then in a manyatta in the village. James and the other Maasai helpers looked after us at every turn with great food, walking safaris, wildlife and cultural info. It was a brilliant adventure and I loved every minute. Your stay helps to fund valuable local projects - a health clinic and school. This is a genuine grassroots community project - I can't recommend it highly enough.

Forget the ludicrously expensive safari camps inside the national park. James will organize a safari drive in the park in addition to all the other activites.

Room Tip: I'd recommend a couple of nights in the camp - comfy beds, fairly decent showers and paraffin la...
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  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2011

The SEMADEP Safari Camp is 2 kilometres from the Maasai Mara Game Reserve located near the Sekenani gate of the Masai mara National Reserve and run by the Sekenani Maasai community .

I visited Kenya (June 2011) and I wanted to learn more about the Maasai community. In looking up cultural tourism I stumbled upon the website for SEMADEP (http://www.semadepcamp.com/). I wanted to have an authentic Maasai community experience. The camp was set up by the Sekenani Maasai community as a way to raise funds for local community needs.

I was not disappointed in my experience. I spent 4 days with the Maasai learning about their lifestyle, their challenges and their culture. They arranged a game drive in the Masai Mara where one of the Maasai tribe members accompanied me. I visited their local villiages and was able to volunteer at their community school for a morning teaching math and science.

Tourists can stay in their tents which have comfortable beds and flash washrooms and showers. They prepared all of our meals and we were given a demonstration of their cultural dances.

If you want a cultural experience but also want to do game drives at the Masai Mara, this camp offers the best of both worlds.

Now getting to their camp is a bit of a challenge. I contacted the camp's leader, James. who was kind enough to meet me at Narok and then accompany me by matatu to his camp. He said that he could send a taxi to Nairobi to meet us but we wanted to travel like the locals so he was kind enough to meets us and join us on the matatu. Coming back he arranged for a taxi to drive us back to Narok where we then hopped on a shuttle back to Nairobi. Quite an unforgettable experience.

Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about SEMADEP Camp

Address: Maasai Mara National Game Park, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #74 of 134 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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Also Known As:
SEMADEP Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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