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“Good overall accommodation” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mara Sopa Lodge

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Mara Sopa Lodge
C14, Keekorok, Oloolaimutia valley (Masai Mara Reserve) | Oloolaimutia Gate, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Alsace, France
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“Good overall accommodation”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

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.

Room Tip: The rooms are reached by level walkways, but if you have walking difficulties you should ask to be s...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
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English first
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2012

We stayed here for two nights n our safari and we enjoyed everything here in Mara Sopa lodge .Restaurant and bar, food ,rooms ,were excellent.Also staffs are friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 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.
Vancouver, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2012

The lodge was OK. The location is good. The rooms are a little dingy and the wall very thin. Luckily our neighbours weren't too noisy. The bathroom was a little grungy. The staff were mixed - some nice, efficient, friendly and others (including the waiter) provided very poor service and stood around our table taking to co-workers. The food was OK. The porters leered as you walk by - not all that comfortable.

I personally would not go back there but it wasn't horrible. I also read rave reviews in the guest book and couldn't understand why - it was really lackluster

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Bristol
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011

We stayed here for 2 nights on our safari.

The restaurant and bar areas are pleasant and the food was good. Staff were friendly and helpful. The swimming pool looked nice but appeared to be out of use when we were there (maybe due to the wet weather).

However our room was very dark especially during the day when the electricity was not available. There is no way you could sit in your room and read a book during the day. We even had difficulty locating such item as cameras and binoculars as we couldn't see them. It was also surprising that no torch was supplied (as at other lodges). The rooms also had very thin walls so you could easily hear your neighbours.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
194 reviews 194 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2011

We moved to the Mara Sopa Lodge after being at three previous properties in Kenya -- all tented camps -- so that is the perspective from which I am writing.

Good: Buffet and food quality/choice better than other places. Very decent wine selection for being in the middle of nowhere. Really appreciated our waitress, Annie. She was helpful, friendly, and didn't try to gouge me by suggesting the most expensive bottle. Plenty of hot water. Interesting lounge area, decent gift shop. Interesting "feeding" at night with the hyenas. Seems a bit strange and barbaric, but they throw out carcasses each night and the hyenas come to feed like crazed starving animals. So, my husband watched it and thought it was very interesting. Staff is very friendly and professional.

Not as good: Thin walls and a long walk to rooms. Porters carried our bags back and forth -- always waiting for a tip, of course which we were happy to pay, but...the rooms are rather basic with mosquito netting that can be drawn around the beds. It was nice to be in a room and not a tent, so it was just fine.

Remember -- wherever you do decide to stay, the hotels near Masai land are mandated to hire Masai as employees. Always carry some 100 to 200 schilling bank notes for tips.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
sacramento
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2011

This hotel is right in the middle of the Kenyan bush and is surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. The panoramic views are stunning and the pool area is wonderful. We saw a dik dik on the property which was really fun and their resident monkeys were really cute but apparently aggressive if you have food. The service was good and they even have a doctor on staff, which is convenient because we had a sick family member. Anyway, we had a great time and the only reasons this place did not get a 5 star rating from me was because:

1. The food is ok but not great. Their packed picnic lunch was deplorable at best.
2. There is no TV in the room. I know, I know it's a minor thing and we are in the middle of the bush and really should not expect a TV in the room but there is virtually no other entertainment on this property so a TV would have been nice.
3. There is no clock or phone in the room. An alarm clock would have been nice. If you need anything from the staff, you have to walk quite a long distance to the reception, which sucks when it rains.
Otherwise, all good!

Room Tip: Choose a room closer to the reception to avoid a looong walk to the dining room especially when it r...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, England
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2011

Well hidden complex on a hillside in a bank of trees. Not suitable for wheelchair users as lots of flights of steps. Strong Masai influence to the hotel, with Kevin the Masai welcomer and nature guide. Each spacious hut consisted of 2 large bedrooms and their shower rooms, with a shared indoor seating area, and further individual outdoor seating area. Large bed, mosquito nets and safe in the room. Swimming pool overlooked the Mara reserve. The buffet meals were good – we found the best dishes were those cooked to order by the chefs. Electricity and hot water restricted to mornings and late afternoon/ evenings as all generated, but this was not a problem. Wild game was fed at 10pm below the hotel.
Good service all round – bags taken to rooms by porters and collected at 6.15am on departure. Game drives were excellent - saw almost everything on first excursion -one evening we even caught a leopard in the headlights just a mile or two from the hotel.

  • Stayed October 2011, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Mara Sopa Lodge

Address: C14, Keekorok, Oloolaimutia valley (Masai Mara Reserve) | Oloolaimutia Gate, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #73 of 108 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Also Known As:
Mara Sopa Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Sopa Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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