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“Trip of a lifetime.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Saruni Mara

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Saruni Mara
C14, Keekorok | Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Swindon, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Trip of a lifetime.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

We travelled to Saruni Mara for 3 nights towards the end of March for the first part of a twin base honeymoon. As it was our honeymoon we spent more than we would usually spend on a normal holiday and we were far from disappointed with absolutely everything we received from Saruni Mara.

Being met straight off of our Safari Link flight by our guide Jackson who then took us on our first little game drive back to the lodge was an experience of its very own. Whilst Jackson provided us with cold drinks and some home made biscuits at the side of the Mara River we managed to take in crocodiles and hippos...not a bad start for our first 15 minutes on safari.

From the moment we arrived at the lodge, every bit of the service was wonderful, the staff were extremely friendly and attentive and the food was absolutely fantastic. Your safari experience is entirely down to you and what you want to do, the guides are happy to advise you on what you might want to do, you choose, and they make it happen.

We went for early morning game drives and a bush breakfast for our two full days, were greeted with fresh juice and coffee with our wake up call at 6am and then off we went for the morning to spot the local wildlife before having breakfast overlooking beautiful plains.

The one thing that is fantastic about Saruni is the knowledge and cunning of the guides to get you to see exactly what you want to see on your trip. Whilst they will also admit there is a slight bit of luck involved, their knowledge of the animals and their behaviour enabled us to always be first on the scene when our favourite big cats were around which meant in one day we spotted lion cubs with their mums, leopard with a kill, cheetah mum and cubs and then lions hunting in the evening.

The bonus of Saruni's personal approach is that it was just my wife and me in a Land Rover with Jackson and we shaped our day around what we wanted to do and see. After early mornings out and returning for lunch, we would return to the plains to see the animals before having Sundowners in the middle of the plains.

As for the facilities, the lodges are perched on the side of a large hill with a view between two other large hills overlooking the North Conservency of the Masai Mara. The lodges are all decorated with individual little touches in accordance with their theme. Due to the remote nature of the lodges, each lodge had its isolated water supply which was heated by solar panels. Some of the workings of Saruni Mara reflect the isolated nature of its location but these little eccentricities make the place what it is and enhance the experience.

We are convinced that we would not have had this incredible experience if it had not been for the personal and very flexible approach offered by Saruni and for the local knowledge of their guides. Being able to see and do what you want in your own Land Rover with open sides is the only way you will now catch me going on Safari and having the flexibility to go out when you see fit and return after dark was the very best way to see the animals at their very best.

The staff all have their very own stories and it was absolutely fascinating to learn more about the culture which I think is important when visiting somewhere like the Masai Mara. My wife and I very much loved their company at dinner each night and we will be looking to keep in touch with them such was the impact that they had on our incredible experience.

  • Stayed March 2013, 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
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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, July 3, 2013
Thank you very much for your detailed, wonderful feedback. I'm particularly happy to hear that you like our service: we aim at being very very detail-oriented. And of course I like the fact that you appreciated the special knowledge and understanding of nature of our professional masai guides, all people who were born in the Masai mara and were raised among the wildlife of this fantastic conservancy.
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94 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Just returned from Saruni, had travelled over Easter with the family. Although some of the staff especially in the restaurant try, the place is basic. Would not recommend travelling in rains as their cars were leaking inside. If you have a big family you have to look for people to replace firewood in the water boilers so that the last person can also shower. It did not help that when the first day everyone got wet in the car and we asked for another car we were told nothing available, but one better one was kept for some travel agents who had come down. Then we were explained that they had paid before ... did not quite get the logic if they car was an option when paying. We were in Cottage 3 which was meant to be observatory, and the decor was nothing like the on internet. So if you go it is ok but think for the amount they charged not worth. Also when they say all inclusive clarify as that changes like found another group asking for Whisky and were told nothing is offered in that even the most basic. Also when raining asked for hot water bottles for sleeping they said it was raining, had to fight to get it done and get wood put in the boiler. So should be ok if you go when not raining and not in family with expectations of basic place. Having their resident Elands was exciting for the kids.

Room Tip: Apart from the family room which has two rooms, all other rooms are exactly the same apart from arti...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, July 3, 2013
Thank you for letting us know that you were not entirely happy about your experience with us, but I'm afraid I do not agree with the points raised in your review. I'm sorry that the heavy rains of those days made the experience less enjoyable that it should have been, but not only our vehicles are among the best in the Masai Mara, but our rooms look exactly as they are in the photographs. To the point that one of the common comments we hear from guests is "but your images do not do justice to the reality!" (which is a comment that I do not necessarily share with our valiant photographer, Stevie Mann). On the rate charged: I hope you appreciate that the rate you were charged are the special and very discounted "residents rates" crated to make easier for Kenyans to visit their own country. Please come back during the drier days and I'm sure you will see the entire situation with different and more positive eyes!
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Chudleigh, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

We have now visited the Saruni camps 4 or 5 times.
There is nothing I can say that has not already been said The Saruni Wid Camp in the Mara is outstanding...food great, staff and service absolutely superb.The lodge itself is spectacular, beautiful and the views are too die for.
Wonderful, wonderful camps both in The Mara and Samburu.
I CANNOT RECOMMEND THESE CAMPS HIGHLY ENOUGH, especially if you enjoy being off the beaten track and away from "tourists".
Expensive, but worth every penny. A huge thank you to everyone involved.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 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, July 3, 2013
Dear Jane, thank you very much for being so generous with your feedback and for having visited us so many times. We consider you now a friend and not only a guest. And you are right: we - both in Samburu and in the Maasai Mara - appeal to those who want to be far form the beaten track. And these days when somebody says "worth every penny" I feel very proud: we want to give good value for money and I think we have achieved it. see you next time, hopefully soon!
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Italy
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

I have just come back from a holiday in Kenya, during which my family and I spent three nights at Saruni. Great things have been written on this lodge and I totally agree with all the positive comments. I was personally impressed by the staff and their attitude: we felt really welcome and cared for by everybody. We loved being greeted with great smiles in the mornings and when returning from game drives. We were travelling with a 6 year old and the chef did a great job in keeping him happy for the whole stay (my special thanks to him!). Food was excellent and plentiful and our room (n. 2) was beautiful. We appreciated our guide (Dixon's) being so flexible and able to accommodating all our requests (including leaving one hour earlier than planned on our last day!). He is a lovely guy and a knowledgable guide (I learned a lot and he even tested us on the last day to check we were listening!!), last but not least he was so nice and patient with "the little white warrior".
The only drawback I can find in Saruni is that you have quite a long drive (both ways) everyday along the same stretch of road before reaching the plain and the wildlife in the Conservancy. It is not the end of the world, of course, and - guess - a fair price to pay in order to enjoy in full the remoteness of Saruni's location. Still I felt I had to mention this.
Thanks again for the wonderful hospitality.

Room Tip: We stayed in number 2 which is quite close to the main building. This was perfect for us having a k...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, July 3, 2013
Many thanks for this review and particularly for praising the service given by our attentive staff. Travelling with a child is sometimes challenging but I'm very happy that we managed to make the experience easier for you. On your point on the same road done in and out of the lodge: you are right and we are now repairing an alternative road across the mountain that offers an alternative - and very scenic - route. Hope you will enjoy it the next time you are on safari with us!
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Berlin, Germany
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

When I picked up my parents from the airport they were still absolutly enthusiastic about their trip to Saruni. They were really overwhelmed by the hospitality of both your camps. They felt so welcome and so well and warm beeing taken care off. They loved the guides!!! I have seen their pictures and having been on safari a couple of times myself in tansania, I was really impressed what they got to the see in both conservation areas. Incredible leopard encounters! Lions and all you could only wish for... . They also loved the possibility to get in touch with the local people in a natural, authentic way. And the way how the local people are part of the saruni concept.
An extra thank also from myside for the great and 100% reliable organisation even for the rest of the trip beyond saruni. Good to know that there is a helping hand at the airports and where ever they were. For me this was of great importance as my parents don´t speak english and have never been in Afrika before. A big Thank you to you and your team from my parents and myself for this phantastic experience beeing your guest!!!

  • Stayed January 2013, 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
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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, February 22, 2013
Thank you very much for your kind review and we are very happy that such an important occasion for your parents and for your family went so well. They were lovely people to have on safari and we enjoyed showing them the best that the Masai mara has to offer!
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norwich
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

I recently returned from a family trip to Kenya. The first three days of which we went on Safari in the Masai Mara.

We stayed at Saruni who made our experience exceptional. The lodges were well fitted and decorated, and also luxurious which you might not expect when on the side of a hill in the middle of a conservancy.

The manager Marcus looked after us throughout our stay and the staff were all very polite and helpful. All our meals were very tasty and enjoyed amongst a great atmosphere in the main lodge with Marcus and the other guests.

We were allocated one guide for all three days, William. Thanks to William we had some amazing game drives where we saw every animal we wanted to. His knowledge of the area and the animals was second to none.

We booked through Emma (the Kenya specialist) at 'Imagine Africa'. She was great and sorted every last detail out for us so all we had to focus on was enjoying our holiday!!

Can't recommend Kenya and Saruni highly enough.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this review, February 3, 2013
Thank you very much for your enthusiastic review and I have passed on your comments to William, who remembers you fondly and says hello. And I'm glad you liked the re-styling and the new decor of the camp: Larissa Hoops, a Nairobi-baed designed and artist, is the one who did id and she will be glad to know that you approved!
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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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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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #25 of 108 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 
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Also Known As:
Saruni Mara Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Saruni Mara Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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