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“wonderfu lodge, many animals” 4 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Bateleur Camp

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andBeyond Bateleur Camp
4.5 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   C14, Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
South Bend, Washington
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“wonderfu lodge, many animals”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

After a warm welcome at the private air strip, we had a mini game drive on the way to the lodge. The number of animals was just amazing. We then checkinto a lovely room that looked out on the plain where animals graze. The hospitality was just splendid. Milka was acting manager while the regular manager was off. She is an amazing woman - if only you could clone her. The only disappointment was the food. There was not much variety and what we had was just OK. All the employees were gracious and couldn't do enough for you. Game drives were excellent but the roads leave a little to be desired! We would be more than happy to return.

  • Stayed September 2012, 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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137 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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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English first
Sugar Land, Texas, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

After a few weeks doing missionary work in Kenya I took a few days to go on safari and stay at the Bateleur Camp. I had no idea what to expect since my parents splurged on this trip for me and did all the planning. Jumping aboard a little hopper plane I chewed my nails until we touched down on a red stretch of earth surrounded by tents and the flat top hills of the Masai Mara. Luxury beyond imagination was waiting to greet me when I climbed down the stairs.

I was greeted by the white-gloved staff with gorgeous smiles and sophisticated personalities (after spending time in the heart of Africa with the locals this really made an impression on me). They served sparkling champagne and mimosas, mouth-watering juices and scrumptious appetizers which I nibbled on as I soaked in the beauty of the plains and the setting sun turning the acacia trees into silhouettes against the tequila sky.

Bateleur Camp has very nice safari vehicles. The best vehicles roaming the park, by far. The seats are comfortable with handrails (which you need on the viciously bumpy roads of Africa) and the large tent-like top cast a cool shade over the passenger seats which were wide open to the wild with no doors or side walls. The drive to the camp was stellar. As soon as we turned into the brush and felt the trees and vines enclose us monkeys were there to greet us, swinging and running through the branches as they screeched out their calls.

Just check out the photos and see for yourself the beauty and fabulous luxury you will find at the camp. Bateleur Camp has a private lobby-like tent that looks like it was set up by hollywood and approved by Hemingway. The luxury tents are incredible with plush comfy beds topped with heavenly down mattress toppers. The tent itself is an amazing structure. A wooden platform forms the group and a wooden arbor protects the fabric on the roof. Two leather arm chairs sit on a porch overlooking the savanna and I spent many lazy, lovely hours watching the water buffalo and elephant herds graze by. The rain shower and slate bathroom feels like it's set up outside but the giant screen windows of the tent are kept private by fences woven from vines.

Meal times were wonderful. I would walk to the main tent and let my server (you are assigned your own butler-server who takes care of you) know I was hungry or thirsty and she would dish out delights in an instant or set up a table to serve me a five course meal. The food was marvelous. 5-star quality for sure. You are also assigned a private driver (I had Eric and loved him to death) and he basically comes to pick you up at any time you wish and take you out to see the Masai Mara. We saw everything! Lions were right below my feet--the big daddy, the pack of lionesses and all there little cubs. Elephants and zebras were always easy to find and a tiny little infant giraffe had just been born. We watched the momma giraffe go to war with some hyenas who wanted to eat her baby for lunch. We spotted leopards and cheetahs stalking their prey and watched one grab a little gazelle and yank it into the brush. Eric even found us a Rhino. I loved the male Topi who were always found in the middle of nowhere standing on little mounds waiting for a female to come and ask them to mate. And despite the fact that the wildebeest usually cross the river in July, they started crossing just before I got there. Oh wow! That was amazing! Those animals are hysterical to watch and they make the funniest sound. We spent hours watching them try to get across that river without being eaten by a crocodile (some 18ft long!). A few wildebeest did not make it but wound up in the croc's mouth. The hot air balloon ride was something I will never forget, especially since I'm afraid of heights. Experiencing the plains of the Mara from a balloon is really something unique you must do!

I went around June 10th through the 20th so the weather was perfect. The nights and mornings were chilly, perfect for sleeping in a tent outdoors. During the day time I would wear pants and a shirt and start out with a hoodie until it was comfortably warm. I travel a lot to Kenya, Rwanda, and the D.R. Congo and it can get pretty hot and dusty so take care to choose your travel time wisely if you are finicky about being hot and sweaty.

Room Tip: If you can splurge for the luxury tent--do it! Worth every penny. I did see the Kitchen Tempo tents...
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  • Stayed June 2012, 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
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Vadodara, Gujarat, India
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

We had a beautiful right in the bush seeming room. It was luxurious and very tastefully done. The food and service is exquisite. I would recommend this place any day! Its pricey but if you're looking to indulge go for this one, it wont let you down. The safaris were gorgeous, the landscapes were wonderful. Our guide was very knowledgeable and very courteous. Sigh...I want to go back!!

Room Tip: Try to find out how far your room is when making reservations. Some rooms can be quite a walk.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
San Francisco, CA
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

Our favorite camp in Kenya - just a wonderful place! It is really cool to fly into a private airstrip - that was a first! - and be met by the Bateleur team with a warm towel and a cool drink. The great hospitality starts as soon as you step off the plane. Impressive. We were met by Joseph, the manager, and Priscillah, the food/beverage manager, who consistently took excellent care of us during our stay. Everyone was warm and welcoming - they made it personal - they welcomed us "home", and made it feel like home. Upon our arrival in the camp, we were introduced to Francis, our room steward, and Chef "Tallest" Joseph. We could not have felt more like honored guests. The main lodge is a nice gathering point for meals, drinks, etc., and it is like a journey back in time - what you imagine safaris were 75 years ago. Lots of interesting artifacts from days of yore. I also enjoyed the collection of old books on wildlife and the amazing old collection of National Geographic Magazines. The food and drink were excellent! Chef Joseph is very personable, and his meals are something to look forward to. His soups, in particular, are outstanding. He also has an excellent touch with beef - max flavor and so tender. The rooms are pure luxury with the true tented safari feeling. Everything is clean and very well appointed, nothing is lacking. The bed is fantastic, and we enjoyed the addition of the hot water bottles at night - to help soothe an aching back from bouncing around the Masai Mara for spectacular game drives. In summary, Bateleur Camp is dynamite! You should definitely consider staying there for your once in a lifetime, amazing visit to the Masai Mara. Highest recommendation! LOVED IT!

The bush dinner was a highlight with a singing/dancing extravaganza put on by the Masai. Totally great fun! I have an audio recording of some of the chanting that we'll cherish for a long time.

A few words about the Masai Mara - WOW!!! I repeat, WOW! What a beautiful place - and quite different to the rest of Kenya. We had great "cat" viewing - lion, cheetah, and cervil. Truly amazing! Watching the "crossing" of the Mara River as part of the Great Migration is indescribable. What a spectacle! Even more amazing is the sound of the thousands of zebra and wildebeest hooting it up!!! We saw a crocodile or two snap up a couple of wildebeest - that was pretty wild! We took a hot air balloon ride - which was very expensive but totally worth it. Definitely end your trip at the Masai Mara - it is definitely the icing on the cake.

Room Tip: We were in Number 9 which was very secluded but only a 5 minute walk from the main lodge
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  • Stayed August 2012, 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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Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

We were originally booked at the Luxury Tented camp and checked into rooms 35 & 36. These are furthest away from the main areas and a good 10 minute walk. I generally prefer the rooms furthest away for their solitude and peacefulness but these were just a bit too far in the heat, and carrying heavy camera bags.

Luckily we immediately got offered an upgrade to Bateleur Camp, rooms 5 & 6, and our bags were moved whilst we were out on game drive. Again, this room was the furthest from the main area, but only a minute or two’s walk. The tents, in addition to the main tent opening at the foot of the bed, also have a proper door (so much easier late at night). There is a decked area outside the tent entrance with a couple of comfy leather armchairs.

There are two double wardrobes, a desk & chair, ceiling fan, large shower with good pressure, twin sinks and a separate flush toilet. Power is switched off in the camp for about 3 hours in the late afternoon, when guests are on game drive, and again about 23h30 until the early hours of the morning.

Large beds, with views over the plains. At night, only the fly screens were down at the front of the tent, enabling gorgeous views out over the Mara by the light of the full moon. Every night there were hot water bottles in the bed, although they weren’t really needed. Jars of sweeties were on the desk, although the food was so plentiful these didn’t even get touched.
Food was well cooked and plentiful, but unfortunately the menus are not quite up to the 5 star quality one would expect.

As darkness falls, you see the Masai security guards patrolling, some with spears, some with bow and arrows and, very occasionally, one with a rifle.

My thanks especially to Magdelle for the upgrade, for being the perfect hostess, and for managing such a well-run camp.

Although the camp is set on a private conservancy outside the Oloololo gate, it only took 10 minutes to get to the gate and into the Mara Triangle and we were able to drive on the conservancy outside park opening hours. On the first evening we saw a lioness kill a warthog and then the lioness and a young male go ousted from the pride, with a lot of snarling and plenty of blood.

During dinner it rained and chucked it down, but sleeping in a tent with the sound of rain hitting the canvas was strangely soothing. The tents are fully sealed, so there is no need for a mosquito net.

On our first full day we left early and saw four black rhino, two servals, three cheetah, a journey of over 35 giraffe, large herds of elephant, topi, eland, thomson’s gazelle, buffalo, zebra and, of course, wildebeest. We stopped on the border with the Serengeti/Tanzania where our guide Moses cooked breakfast – probably the best eggs in my entire trip. After returning to the lodge for a bite of lunch, we were soon back out for another game drive. Hurrying back to the gate before it shut for the evening, we came across two bull elephants pacing each other, one on either side of the road. One was is musth, and they were often challenging each other. Eventually they came to blows and blood was drawn. We had to radio the gate to let them know that we wouldn’t make it by the time the gate shut at 6.30pm and why.

Our second morning we were up at 4h45 in order to leave camp at 5h30 for the drive to the balloon sight. We crammed into a small landrover and the road we drove on should never be titled as such. Craters and potholes over a metre deep made this one of the worst road trips ever. It was still dark when we arrived at the balloon sight. We were lucky to be in a balloon where there were just 6 guests – some of the others could take up to 10-12. We took off before the sun came up and, for the early part, skimmed the top of the grass only rising to avoid crashing into trees or another balloon. It was a totally new perspective looking down on giraffe and buffalo. I’d thought it would be colder being high up, but there was no wind. There was no noise, other than basket brushing through the tops of trees and the sound of the gas burner. Later on, we rose up higher and higher, giving almost infinite views of the endless plains of the Mara. All too soon it was time to land. We crouched down in the basket and held on. The initial landing wasn’t hard and then we were being dragged through the long grass – until we hit a termite mound with an almighty thump, which hurt! After you land, there’s sparkling wine and a cooked breakfast. Yes the balloon ride is expensive, but I thought it was totally worth it.
After breakfast, Moses picked us up and off we went on game drive. My first wildebeest crossing, although small, was no less amazing. Moses had brought a picnic lunch which was just as good if not better than you’d get in the lodge.

On our final full day we had a lie-in until 7h00 when we rose and ate breakfast in camp before leaving for another full day’s drive. We nearly saw a second river crossing but, just as the first wildebeest got up the courage to venture down the back, a lone lioness rushed out of the bushes and smashed the wildebeest. The rest of the herd stampeded away from the river whilst the white vans full of tourists rushed in and surrounded the lioness with her kill.

I can’t wait to return to Kichwa Tembo.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, TX
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

Your stay at Bateleur will be one of many surprises and unsurpassed quality. At the airport, we were greeted in a ceremonious manner by the Masai warriors with a full bar set up in the bush. There is not terminal – you land on a dirt runway and you are there. Refreshing ginger lemonade awaits you in crystal glasses. Tell me what airport in America does this?? The Bateleur camp is 20 minutes away and the manager Malik greeted us and rode back with us to the camp to provide all the details. She is warm, friendly and very enthusiastic about making your stay incredibly special. She succeeded.

Accommodations: Bateleur is divided into north and south camps with the north being newer (this is the one we stayed in). Although newer, it is the one that actually looks the oldest and is most consistent with the fantasy of living a scene from Out of Africa. When the movie was filmed, the actors actually stayed at the neighboring Kembo camp which is bigger and less luxurious but has more amenities available like a gift shop (north Bateleur was not built at that time). The rooms at Bateleur are large with raised balconies overlooking giraffes and elephants – these can be viewed directly from your bed. Since this a permanent camp, there is running water including a rainfall shower. There are many little wonderful touches including hurricane lamps with candles that you can light, little candy jars filled with treats, old National Geographic magazines scattered about, and wonderful bath products. At night, they fill up hot water bottles and put them in the bed to keep you cozy. Housekeeping was top notch with fresh towels, bedding and laundry done daily.

Cuisine: Of the meals that we had at a variety of & Beyond camps and lodges, the chef Evans delivered the most consistently good meals and honored in a sophisticated way my request to eat African cuisine. He was also in charge of a surprise dinner in the bush that involved a performance by the Masai warriors that was also top notch.

Game drives/Mass Migration: The time when the animals cross the Masa Mara River can occur any time during July, August or September and is dependent on status of the grasslands in the Serengeti (south of the Masa Mara plains). If it is a very dry season in the Serengeti, the animals will migrate sooner in the year in search of grasses. If there has been a wet season, the animals will remain in the Serengeti longer and the migration will happen latter like this year. What is not widely known is there are approximately 10 areas on the river were the crossings take place – each one is named. The one that most tourists are taken to is the Maui Maui area. This is the spot where most of the National Geographic footage is taken (in fact they were in the van next to us shooting during one of the larger crossings of 20,000+ animals that occurred on August 22nd). The crossings can occur anytime of the day (not at night) and many people wait all day in order to view this spectacle. We were unusually lucky in that we viewed two crossings in two days. The second occurred during the astute observations of our guide Acatch who noted dust arising from a less frequented area of the river. He immediately drove to the area (Caribo) and we and only one other vehicle witnessed a crossing that day (August 23rd) of approximately 5,000+ animals. I was told this was the preferred location of the BBC to shoot footage. It was an amazing location since we were so close we could photograph the eyelashes on the wildabeasts as they successfully ascended from the Mara River to the Mara plains. Of note, we were extremely lucky in that the longest we had to wait to view these was 30 minutes; however most folks waited for 10+hours with no luck on some days. You are not allowed to leave the vehicle ($200 fine) so if you must use the toilet you lose your viewing spot. At Maui Maui, there are at least 200+ vehicles vying for premium viewing spots (there are only about 50). Watching the game drive vehicles jostling for positions is also something of a spectacle in of itself.

There are of course other things to do like visit the Masai warriors village, balloon rides, horseback riding etc. A visit is a highly recommended life experience.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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.
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2012

This camp was a dream come true. Upon arrival, after we had snacks and mimosas at the airstrip by the jeep, we were greeted by the whole staff singing Jambo Gwana - our favorite song now.
Our tents were dreamy. We all felt we had traveled in time back to Hemingway's time in Africa. The beds where like no other together with the hot water bag they placed inside the bed each night.
The lounge (upper area of the camp) was so beautiful we all wanted to spend most of our time here.
We fell in love with all the warthogs going around the camp as well as the breathtaking views of the Mara.

Our Ranger - Alice - She was amazing. So nice all the time, always on top of any news going around on the radio during our game drives. Also, very attentive to our needs and very nice while setting up our bush breakfasts or sundowners. She has an amazing sense of humor and was open to answer our questions about the wild life, the Mara or the Masai culture where she is from. We were laughing the whole time we spent with her. It was a lot of fun.

Staff - They were all so nice, knowing each one of us by our name. We were specially close to Massibo and Eunice. We all felt like we belonged and like family while we were at Bateleur. Massibo always with a smile, so charismatic and father figure. Eunice, so cheerful and attentive.

Food - It was completely spectacular. We wouldn't miss a soup bowl for the world. I honestly couldn't believe the soups. Our Chef was very nice always seeking to satisfy our pallets - vegetarians or carnivores. He was very kind to share some of his recipes with us. When he handed the recipes to my mom she cried of joy.

Upon departure - the whole staff came out to see us off singing Jambo Gwana once again.
Some of us cried again while saying good bye. We were sad to leave and think of how much time will go by till we come back and see them all again. My sister and I even added Alice and Eunice on Facebook to keep in touch.

  • Stayed July 2012, 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 andBeyond Bateleur Camp

Address: C14, Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 117 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — andBeyond Bateleur Camp 4.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set among forests on the very edge of the Masai Mara, each elegant tent at andBeyond Bateleur Camp replicates the style and glamour of vintage Africa. A world of hardwood floors, polished silver and sparkling crystal is juxtaposed against the romance of the open Mara plains, with their abundant herds of wildlife. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bateleur Camp At Kichwa Tembo Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
AndBeyond Bateleur Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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