We spent two nights here on a short safari. I had specified that I needed guaranteed overnight electricity for medical reasons and I was delighted to find that that this was supplied (because that's not always the case in National Park accommodation) and I didn't have a single powercut.
The downside to this is that the electricity goes off from 10 - 12.30 and 14.00 to 18.00 during the day. This makes the rooms very dark (even with the curtains open!) and I fell over the coffee table more than once! The other downside to the rooms are that the party wall between your bedroom and that of your neighbour is very thin and noise carries easily! Best try to share a bedroom unit with those you know and who know you!!
The beds were very comfortable and the large mosquito nets meant that you could stretch out in bed without fearing putting a limb outside the 'safety zone'! Rooms had easy chairs, a safe and space. There was no TV nor Wifi. The bathroom was large and clean. There were sufficient and good towels plus toiletries and water. Hot water was in limited supply - hours are shown at reception - but this never caused me any problem. Power and water restrictions are normal for this sort of situation.
There is no telephone service to wake you for an early morning safari departure, but personal wake-up calls are offered and they wake you up at the time you've asked for!
During the hours of darkness we were escorted to our room by an askari (security guard), and the askaris also helped with luggage porterage.
The complex was not built yesterday, and this dates it slightly, but in a nostalgic way! There is a bar adjacent to the restaurant, one by the pool and another at the bottom of the complex with a TV that showed football during our stay. There is a free tea/coffee/hot chocolate station outside the dining room, which is available for most of the day and evening ... just the thing before setting off on an early morning trip, with a variety of teas and herb teas.
The bar/lounge has a large central fireplace which was used during our stay. It is also the venue for Masai dancing on some evenings and the feeding of the delightful bushbabies (18.30 and 19.00).
The restaurant is also a large building, with a buffet area, including show cooking, and guests sit at their own reserved tables for every meal. The meals are varied with a good choice, but when the restaurant is under-occupied (as happened on one of our two nights) the buffet is replaced with a 5 course set meal (with a choice at all courses including vegetarian) served at your table. The meal we sampled was good and copious, though as I'd been looking forward to another curry, I had to accept an alternative!
A good choice of wines is available and the hotel offers cocktails.
Another regular mealtime was the feeding of the hyenas at 22.00 from the terrace at the bottom of the hotel. You need to be on time for this! A few minutes and the table will be bare and the guests dispersed from whence they came! There were about 8 who made an appearance during our visit and they made short work of the bones and meat on offer! It was somewhat discouraging to hear the bones being crunched so close to us! A bit of humour was offered by the arrival of a massive mongoose who foraged amongst the hyenas without any fear, and who enjoyed all the bits that the hyenas considered un-transportable (they mostly grab a joint and run away), and also the two hotel cats who also turned up nonchalently and frightened off the hyenas!!! The howling (laughing?) or the hyenas later in the night was a unique sound and reminded you that even if you were lodged half way up a decent hill with a protected access road and perimeter, you were still in 'wild' Africa!
The hotel has a small unheated pool with a lovely view on a terrace jutting out over the savannah... though might need to supervise their non-swimming children carefully, because although there is a line at the bottom of the pool to show where the 'shallow' part ends, there are no depth markings and the pool slopes steeply away from this. There is a changing room and pool towels are provided.
There are only two down-sides of the hotel. One is a lack of wifi or computer facilities. The other is to my mind more contentious. The hotel has a 'Masai village' attraction within the grounds and this is a disappointment and a money-making opportunity which for me takes away from the dignity of the Masai. You go down a path, where two young ladies in Masai dress are waiting, and they escort you to an enclosure where there is a mud house with a thatched roof which you can look inside, scantily furnished with a mud partition (a bedspace) and a couple of wooden stools, and then you are firmly escorted to a series of stalls with handicrafts. The prices asked initially are far higher than those in the Lodge's shop, and the quality inferior. If you don't buy, you are encouraged to pay a fee to the ladies for having given you a 'guided tour'. I don't think this adds to the facilities offered by the Lodge and would like to see it be removed!
I would return to the Lodge as it meets my expectations for a base for a safari holiday, but would not return to the 'village'!
This is a relatively large lodge - 100 guests, mostly short stay on group tours, with adequate but functional staffing.
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- Also Known As:
- Mara Sopa Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Mara Sopa Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve