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“Images from a Dream” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Saruni Mara

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Saruni Mara
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C14, Keekorok | Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Images from a Dream”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

The Saruni lodge indulged me in the impression of the Mara that I didn't know I wanted to find. The location of the buildings on the hill side allows you to overlook another wooded hill side as well as the Mara. We saw elephants there when we were enjoying our afternoon coffee.The interior design is imaginative yet tasteful and overwhelms you with the thrill of past times safari.

We had some exceptionally good game drives due to our guide Jackson, and spent some wonderful morning hours touring the plains. The staff was overall friendly and present and taught us more about the North Conservancy, Kenya and wildlife. Saruni seems to have a firm grasp of finishing touches such as a hot water bottle under your duvet when the night has gotten cold and coffee at 05.30 before your game drive begins. Overall, the lodge has a small, intimate feel to it, which suits the atmosphere and leaves you feeling close to nature without having to miss any of the comforts from civilization.

If you would rather live on the plains or near the river, this location would not be for you.

Room Tip: I believe we stayed in "The literature room", which was in perfect distance from the dinin...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, January 13, 2013
Dear Ida, Thank you very much for your feedback and we are all very happy that you loved Saruni and the Masai Mara. Yes, we are proud of occupying a position that is unusual: sitting on our mountain and looking into the famous Mara plains. As you have probably been told, we have as a mission the conservation of the forests that are still thriving in this corner of the Mara North Conservancy, so precious for the Mara habitat and for wildlife. Thank you again!
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113 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Travelled to 17 different countries alone in 2012, and stayed in numerous 5* accomodations. This is certainly one of the best accomodations I had. My first trip to Kenya, Masai Mara is really beautiful. Saruni Mara lodge had everything I looked forward to: beautiful rooms with really comfortable beds, hot water showers and excellent food. Loved your resident Elands who are ever so friendly. Jackson was really great as a guide. And I liked the New Year's eve Masai performance by Alex and his friends so much. Loved the cultural trip to the Masai Village very much as well - the Masai people provided the best photo opportunities. Would highly recommend this to my family and friends. Thanks to all staff at the lodge and our guide Jackson for a wonderful trip!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, January 13, 2013
Thank you very much for your review and I'm very glad that you loved the experience. I have passed your comments to Jackson, your guide. Coming from Asia, where the level of service and attention to details is always very high, I'm glad that we have not disappointed you. We look forward to have you back one day!
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ahmedabad
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

we came to mara after saruni samburu !! mara saruni was good 1 hour drive from the air strip, but its the eco system of mara which makes it such a wonderful place.. animals in samburu looked like struggling to live in hardship, whereas mara animals looked much more happy and in abundance with nice green pastures and forest with big old trees !!
Staff at saruni is A + again, rooms are fantastic, views from rooms are ok, but its fine as most of day tourists would be in the MARA..
Try to visit far end of mara, near the reserve as many times as you could during your visit. ( you need to take breakfast and lunch packs), its worth the trip.
make use of night safari, we were luck to spot mountain lion pride which stays not far from lodge.. we believe the leopard ( at leopard gorge ,who was expecting babies) is going to be ok with those sly hyenas stalking her badly !! dont forget to support the rhinos !! just 2 were left in the jungle with heavily armed soldiers... make a visit there in evening with relaxing sundowner..
thanks for making this trip successful !!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, January 13, 2013
Thank you very much for your fantastic review. And thank you for your recommendations on those special activities that are really interesting and make a difference. We look forward to have you back and hopefully the next time there will be new rhinos in the sanctuary!
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Christchurch, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

My husband and I spent 3 nights here after also staying at the sister camp in Samburu. This camp is very different from Samburu, it has old world charm and felt like a home away from home. As with Saruni Samburu nothing could be faulted. The guides, lodge staff, food is to die for, and the game viewing so abundant. We had previosly met Hen (manager) at Samburu and were welcomed by her like old friends, we had also met Riccardo at the other camp and were pleased to be able to enjoy conversations with him over dinner. We were fortunate in that the other guests at the lodge had also been at Samburu so we already had a bond and throughly enjoyed our time here. As with Saruni Samburu - which I recommend you also go to - game drives are in open Land Rovers which we loved. Our guide Lemeria had eyes like an eagle - we had a list of game that we wanted to see and he found it all, we were not left wanting.
Lovely touches like making sure the fire was going when we returned wet right through after getting caught in a thunderstorm and hot water bottles in your bed are little things but things that make it all the better. Your laundry is done for you and all you have to think about is how long you want your game drive to be the next day. The fact that you have your own guide and can tailor make your day to suit is just fantastic. You most definately will not go wrong staying here, I cried when I left, I just loved this place so much. There was only 1 negative that I took away with me and nothing to do with the lodge, but the Masi village that we went to. We were told by everyone that the cost to go to the village was $10 per person, when we got there they wanted $20 per person, my husband didn't want to go in at that price but it was one of those things I wanted to do, we paid the extra money and enjoyed the experience but felt like perhaps the price was made up on the day ? Worth $10 per person, but not the $20 that we paid.

  • Stayed September 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, November 17, 2012
Thank you very much for your feedback and for your fantastic feedback. And thank you above all for sharing with us your disappointment about what happened at the masai village: in fact, it is our policy not to visit masai villages unless our guests are 100% sure that they want to do it (we focus our cultural experiences in Samburu instead!), so I'm honestly surprised not only that you were requested to pay 20 instead of 20 dollars, but you went at all. I'll speak to Lemeria about this and will remind him and the other guides of our policy. Thank you and see you enxt time in the Masai Mara or is Samburu!
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012 via mobile

We booked our honeymoon through Imagine Africa, who recommended Saruni as a great place for safari. We were slightly nervous about the logistics but we shouldn't have been! We were met at Nairobi airport by our driver Steven and transferred to the local airfield. When we arrived in the Mara, we were greeted by Lemerien, one of Saruni's guides who took us to the lodge via a mini game drive that included a drink and biscuits watching some hippos!!!

When we arrived at the lodge we were greeted by the team with welcome cocktails and escorted to our cottage - the honeymoon sweet! Our room had a view to die for and was equipped with organic products! The room was very comfortable, with the daily hot water bottle one of the touches that made the stay so great!!!

Food throughout the stay was amazing!!! We are desperate for the chef to write a cookbook so we can try to recreate the dishes! The menus are largely Italian, my favourite was the courgette pasta!

Throughout the day we went on lots of game drives, guided by John who had the most amazing eyesight! We saw the big 5 and more - out particular highlight was watching a leopard for about an hour!

The service was the best I've ever received and the hosts Matt and Henrietta made us very welcome - nothing was too much trouble!!!

Gareth and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone! We'd definitely recommend Saruni to anyone looking for a once in a lifetime holiday!!!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, October 26, 2012
Thank you for your lovely review and and thank you for choosing us for such a special occasion. I'll pass on your compliments to John and to our team. We look forward to have you back in the near future!
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London
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

We returned to Saruni Mara for 5 nights in mid September 2012 (one year after our first visit). Once again we had a fantastic stay and were pleased to meet the staff again. Saruni now has a family villa which was great for my wife, daughter and me. The villa has two seperate, luxury suites with a huge lounge/dining area linking the two suites. In the evening we experienced showering whlist watching a herd of buffalos grazing close to the tented suite. Lemeria was again our wonderful guide and we experienced some amazing animal sightings, including watching a lioness successfully hunt a wildebeest and gazelle within 10 minutes of each kill, and lions mating. There were large herds of wildebeest in the North Mara which attracted the normal predators (leopard, cheetah, lions and hyenas). Dining at the camp is mainly based on Italian dishes and was superb. One big plus is the small size of the lodge which enables one to interact with staff and other guests around the fire before dinner in the evening. This gives a casual and friendly ambience at the lodge. The spa facilities are also very good.We were also fortunate to visit the local livestock market and attend the Sunday church service (this lodge interacts with the local community) We will certainly be back at Saruni in the near future.

Room Tip: If you are a family, try for the family villa. However, all the tented rooms are outstanding
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, September 27, 2012
Dear Roy, many thanks for your review and thank you for coming back to Saruni and to Kenya. yes, the new family villa is really special... we have fantastic feedback about it. And I'm glad you mentioned how closely we work with the local community: the own the land we operate on and we owe them the existence of the Masai Mara! Hope to see you the next time and as we say here asante sana!
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jackson NJ
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2012

We returned to Saruni again this year after our wonderful stay there in 2011. This year we spent 2 nights at Saruni Wild and 5 nights at Saruni Camp. Located in the Mara North Conservation area one has access to the Mara national reserve and the joy of game drives every day in the less crowded Mara North Conservation area. Our guide William was wonderful. We were on game drives with him from from dawn until dark every day. The staff art Saruni was very attentive and the accomodations top notch. The only thing we missed was visiting with host and owner Riccado Orzio who was away on business.

Special thanks to Martin, Thomas, all the staff at Saruni and most of William our guide and new friend. I would highly recommend Saruni if you plan to visit the Mara and Mara North Conservation area.

Room Tip: Cottage 5 or 6 killer views!!
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  • Stayed August 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, September 27, 2012
Dear Kit, I'm enormously proud that we are getting such good feedback from return guests like you. It means that we have managed to obtain a consistency that is the most difficult aspect of any hospitality business. Above all, I'm very glad that your experience with us, especially with our super-guide William, was so meaningful and so satisfactory. Good guiding has always been a crucial element of the Saruni experience. Thank you for your encouragement: it means a lot to all of us.
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Additional Information about Saruni Mara

Address: C14, Keekorok | Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 110 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Saruni is a small, luxury lodge in Mara North Conservancy, the best wildlife area in the Masai mara ecosystem. We have one family villa and 5 cottages. Our masai guides are among the best in Kenya and to discover the amazing wildlife of the Mara with them is an unforgettable experience. In July 2012 Saruni Mara opened the doors of a brand new family villa and completed the refurbishment of its existing villa’s in to six beautifully designed, themed rooms.The stylish new villa has two en-suite bedrooms and a large lounge complete with dinning area and comfortable sofa’s sounding the welcoming fireplace. There is also an impressive large veranda overlooking the magnificent scenery of the Masai Mara. The remaining villas have been refurbished to incorporate themes that will engage with guests passions whether that is art, astronomy, photography, literature, natural history or simply romance. All furniture, carpets, lamps and bedding was either sourced locally in Nairobi or designed by Kenyan interior decorator Larissa Hoops and then made by local craftsmen.The Art room will inspire creative guests with an easel and paint as well as a desk with drawing materials.For star gazers, the Astronomy room has a vintage brass telescope, moon map and selection of interesting material on all things cosmic.Book worms and budding writers will enjoy staying in the Literature room with its vintage typewriter, leather reading chairs, desk with brass reading lamp, quill pen and leather blotter. There is also a selection of classic and African literature. For clients that prefer to view life through the lens, the Photography room has an old box browning camera, antique photographic equipment catalogue and stunning prints adorn the walls. The Family villa also doubles as the Natural History room and is decorated with a selection of antique and vintage prints. There is also relevant reading material such a books on mammals, reptiles, tree’s and birds.The Honeymoon room has been simply designed for a relaxing romantic break with comfy furniture and beautiful antiques.Saruni Mara is owned and run by Italian author Riccardo Orizio. This resort is the Masai Mara’s smallest permanent lodge and guests enjoy an exclusive experience with their own private vehicle and guide. Evenings can be spent relaxing in the common area enjoying fine cuisine influenced by Riccardo’s Italian family heritage. Guests can also enjoy bush breakfasts and dinners in breathtaking settings such as in the middle of an acacia forest. Saruni Mara is extremely active in local community and conservation projects and works very closely with the local Masai communities. The lodge is the proud recipient on the Silver rating by Ecotourism Kenya.Rooms at Saruni Mara start from US$390 a night. Prices are based on two people sharing on full board including all house drinks, park fees, game drives and airport transfers. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Saruni Mara Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Saruni Mara Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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