My wife and I took our honeymoon in Tanzania and Kenya, and we stayed at Sanctuary Olonana for four nights at the end of August 2013. We had been in Zanzibar for four nights and a camp in Amboseli National Park for two nights prior to arriving at Sanctuary Olonana.
I've traveled extensively (Western Europe, USA, Australia/New Zealand, South Africa) and lived overseas (Australia, Ireland; currently live in the USA), and I can say that Sanctuary Olonana was **by far the best travel experience I have ever had**. Every aspect of our stay was five-star and I wholeheartedly recommend Sanctuary Olonana to anybody looking for a luxurious, private, but relaxed and fun safari.
Accommodations -- we had the honeymoon tent, number 14. It was perfect, with a large room, beautiful deck overlooking the river and hippo pools, and an outdoor shower. Our room steward, Duncan, would turn down the room every night and bring us coffee in the morning before our game drives (often at 5:30/6am!).
Food -- Big John is an incredible chef, and my wife and I ate like royalty while at Olonana. The breakfasts were made to order most days with a delicious buffet one day; the lunches were delicious salads/lighter fare (but with dessert!); and dinner was truly exceptional, with options between two appetizers, two mains, and two desserts that were varied and delicious every day. We were fortunate to have Shadrack (the Head Waiter) be our server for every meal, and he was extremely personable and professional and a true pleasure to get to know over four days.
Lodge -- the camp itself is relatively small and it is perfect. There is a very nicely appointed main lodge with books, fireplaces, boardgames, a library, and a deck overlooking the hippo pools. There is also a gorgeous spa where my wife had a hot stone massage from Elizabeth overlooking the river. Appetizers and drinks are served in the main lodge before dinner every day. There's a great gift shop with local Masaai displaying their jewelry/woodwork/etc. Most of all, Maurice (the Manager) always would say hello when my my wife and I were passing through the lodge and ask if we needed anything; he was extremely kind and attentive and always wanted to see if he could make our stay better.
Game Drives -- these were incredible, and much better than at Amboseli. We had the Head Guide, Abdul, be our guide for four days and it was a joy to have him guide us, and for us to learn from him. He would stop and educate us about animals as we saw them, get to the best location for the best picture when we saw game that was expecially interesting (e.g. cheetah, lion cubs, a river crossing), he even got out a tablecloth and put it on a platform on the hood of our car where we ate lunch in the bush for three of the days. My wife and I have absolutely ALL good things to say about Abdul -- he is funny, smart, dedicated to finding great game for us to see, and most of all, an incredibly kind and enjoyable person to be with. We learned so much from him and he made our stay that much better. If you go to Sanctuary Olonana and have Abdul as your guide, you will be very lucky and impressed -- as my wife and I were!
Overall -- Our stay at Sanctuary Olonana was truly wonderful. The camp is in a gorgeous setting, the accommodations are well thougth out, the food is delicious; but most of all, the people are what make this place special. I am not one to be overly emotional, but both my wife and I teared up when Abdul dropped us off at Kichwa Timbo airstrip for our flight to Nairobi at the end of our stay. We had just spent the best four days of our honeymoon at a wonderful place around extremely kind and warm people who welcomed us to Olonana and Kenya with open arms, and we were sad to leave. We planted a tree at Sanctuary Olonana as we left, and it is our sincere intention and desire to return for an anniversary in the future. If Duncan, Big John, Shadrack, Elizabeth, Maurice, and Abdul are there when we come back in the future, we will be very fortunate and so very happy!
I hope you've found this review useful, but in short -- this is an absolute five-star place, and if I could give it six stars, I would in an instant!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Firstly congratulations on your marriage we wish you many wonderful years together. Secondly delighted that we were able to host you for your honeymoon and last but not least thank you very much for this incredibly detailed and absolutely awesome review of your experience at Sanctuary Olonana.
It gives us great pleasure receiving positive feedback from our guests. This is indeed a lovely review and we will definitely share this with Duncan, Big John, Shadrack, Elizabeth, Maurice, Abdul and the rest of the Olonana team, you will no doubt be thrilled that you appreciated their efforts.
We are very happy that you felt like royalty and that you would give us six stars in an instant!
We are hoping to have the pleasure of welcoming you back; perhaps for your one year anniversary... in the meantime you can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for "Sanctuary Retreats"
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.