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“A really nice place...yet perhaps just a notch below other parks' lodges” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mara Sopa Lodge

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Mara Sopa Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   C14, Keekorok, Oloolaimutia valley | Oloolaimutia Gate, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
144 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 237 helpful votes
“A really nice place...yet perhaps just a notch below other parks' lodges”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

Well, beware that although the lodge is very near the Ololaimutiek gate and inside the park (so you don't have to put up with throngs of sales Masai during entry to the park every game ride), this gate and this lodge is very distant from the center of Masai Mara and from the Mara River. Worse is the condition of the road between the lodge and the gate and thus main road from the gate into the park. Thus, game drives can be LONG when based at this lodge. We were here 2 nights as part of a KETS safari itinerary. Also, the last of the road from Narok to this gate was so poor it will soon be impassable. Several concrete bridges were broken and in some cases the chasm too steep to employ the typical method of driving through the chasm beside the totally broken bridges. Several rocky paths were incredibly rough. We left the park via the Sekenani gate and indeed the road between it and Narok was better - but entry and exit there will add to your road time.
The room seemed a little cramped compared to most others we had (except Ngulia was similar). We used the floor of a former chimney now skylight as more clothing and luggage area. As others stated, we could easily hear the person in the adjacent (shared wall) room snore. And we could hear the people in the room on the other side of us almost whenever they were talking. We could hear hyena at night, both nights. Cool. The rooms are somewhat elevated, with short steps up to a small landing/patio. We sat one afternoon and watched dik-dik across the pathway in the beautiful garden plantings.
It was one of the best bathrooms for washing and drying (hanging) clothes.
Like every other safari lodge we stayed in, it shared the features (to us, downsides) of extremely hard beds and a pool with cold water (OK, it WAS "winter" in Kenya). Thankfully, we were prepared by bringing our camp mattresses.

The food was average for these safari lodges, some good, some not so good. What had more impact on the meal experience was the fact that the lodge was full or nearly full during our stay (migration time in the Mara) and the dining area really couldn't handle so many: tables were very close together, aisles very narrow, sometimes a real line for food. It was VERY crowded. Also, the soft drinks and alcoholic drinks were the most expensive we encountered at lodges over a 9-day safari.

We enjoyed the evening bushbaby feeding in the lounge/bar area. We enjoyed the Masai song and dance presentation after dinner in the lounge area. Fortunately we attended the first night as the second night it did not occur (I think it is normally nightly, so check if you want to see it). There was WiFi in that area but as with all lodges it was danged slow. After THAT, there was a feeding of the cats (presumably various wildcats such as African Wild Cat, Serval, and Caracal but mostly the former) down in a clearing beyond the lower bar. Ask for directions! This was a bit anticlimactic and camera flashes are widely purported to drive away hyena, mongoose, and jackal. However, the next night someone reported that a hyena did show up and ate.

Why is this the one safari lodge we didn't rate "5": extremely crowded meals, sound carrying from adjacent rooms, very difficult road from lodge gate to park gate and/or road branch points into the Masai Mara. I'd give it a 4.5, if that was possible.

Aside about Mara (the whole reason to put up with the road from Narok to Mara Sopa):
Everyone seems to love the Mara and have great wildlife experiences but we were spoiled by seeing so much at the start of our safari at Tsavo East and West. We generally saw the Big 5 much closer in Tsavo. However, the hippo watching (and crocs) at the Mara River was stupendous and we DID see plenty of the hooved animals plus lions.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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460 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (76)
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
75 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

The resort is set on a hill top overlooking a valley. All rooms are set in a line along the ridge line either side of the Reception area.
As others noted, rooms are ajoined, two rooms to a unit. If your neighbour is noisey you can hear them clearly in the night. We had noisey neighbours on the two nights we were there, talking at 4 am each morning, not a good start to a 12 day Safari. A knock on the door asking them to shut up on the second morning, did the trick. It is not the walls that are thin it is the concave roof with no insulation that is the problem. Beds are large & comfortable but on the hard side.
Some rooms are quite far and if you need something from reception, you need to walk quite a way on sloping slate paths as there are no phones in the room. We were in room 19, a 3 min walk to the reception.Guards patrol the area the whole night.
Service was good with staff keen to help. The dining area had a huge ceiling with a central chimney.
Free wifi in the reception area when the power is on, do not forget to charge your electric appliances.
Food was good with plenty of choice at the buffet for all meals.
The road the lodge was probably the worst part of the road we travelled on.
We were spoilt on our first evening Safari as we saw a huge number of animals 4 of the Big 5.

Room Tip: Closest to the Reception area if you do not like a long walk at night.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Toronto
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

Beds were comfortable enough. Food was exceptionally bland. Service was adequate rather than exceptional. We had rooms which were at the further end of the resort so it was a bit of a hike getting to the rooms and back each time we went on a game-viewing excursion.
It was fairly nippy during our visit so we did not try out the swimming pool.
The lounge area's fireplace was warm and inviting.

Room Tip: Definitely ask for a room that's closer to the reception area unless you're game for a good...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

Location everything needed and expected . Rooms comfortable and adequate, clean if not immaculate - hey this is safari !. Food very very good : choice and quality. Service ok. Pool fantastic - views amazing. Sopa got it right.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
90 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here as the first stop on the 5 night Kenya classic safari, it is literally right in one of the entrances to the park which makes for easy arrival and superb access to game drives. The first evening game drive from here was like safaris greatest hits seeing 4 of the 'big 5' within that time. Rooms are nice and spacious, although the adjoining walls are very thin which meant we could hear our next door neighbour urinate! Staff were friendly and food was tasty and of a good variety. This is not a 5 star safari lodge but my advice would be to stay somewhere like this because in actuality you will spend very little time in the hotel and even less in your room. This hotel had everything needed for an outstanding safari. We also took the balloon safari from this hotelx which was the highlight of the holiday,pricey but when will we ever do that again?

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Worthing, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

Friendly welcome with hot towels and fruit juice, the lodges are arranged along a hill side overlooking a valley. The lodges are spacious and a split into two rooms per lodge, note that the dividing wall is very thin and so you can hear most of what is going on next door. As with a lot of lodges the water and electricity are not on during the afternoon and the night so you need to plan showers and charging electrical goods. The food was good and the buffet gave a good choice. A great base to see the Masai Mara.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Aussie
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

And now I was here. A horrible road to get there but it was all worth it. The lodge was excellent providing good food, buffett style for lunch and dinner in a very African style building. Very comfortable beds with nets and clean neat ensuite.. A good opportunity for relaxing , no TV no WIFI and no Phone. The safari drives here were amazing I loved every minute.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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 Mara Sopa Lodge

Address: C14, Keekorok, Oloolaimutia valley | Oloolaimutia Gate, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #87 of 133 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Mara Sopa Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 90
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Also Known As:
Mara Sopa Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Sopa Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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