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.
- Also Known As:
- Mara Sopa Hotel
- Mara Sopa Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Mara Sopa Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve
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