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“Fantastic camp” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ol Seki Mara Camp

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Ol Seki Mara Camp
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Innisikera River, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
claygate
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Fantastic camp”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

Spent 3 nights at this camp which is by far the best for tented accomodation,food and location
that I have stayed in.Easy drive to Masai Mara to watch river crossing of wildebeest although
seeing crocodiles take them under is not for the faint hearted.Patrick our guild found most of what we wanted to see although he is still looking for the leopard.

  • Stayed September 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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61 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 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 (18)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

Really loved Ol seki. Delicious food, a very stylish and comfy tent (the Simba), a wonderful view, a quiet location, wildlife in abundance, a fantastic guide (David - we miss you!~) altogether a very luxurious place to stay. Easy to drive into the Masai Mara for the experience (the wildebeest crossing and equally numerous mini buses) but its even nicer to spend time driving around the quiet , perfect environment the lodge is set in. And an authentic Masai village to visit. If travelling with a child as we were, do book the Simba suite . All areas of the vast triple tent are connected so there is less drama! The charming private chef was also very nice about catering to our fusspot . The Simba suite also has the most amazing deck ever with a view of animals we won't forget!.

Room Tip: Simba suite best for families as all areas connected . Its also very beautiful, spacious and has a f...
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  • Stayed August 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Reading, Pennsylvania
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

I didn't know what to anticipate for our safari in Kenya. The Masai Mara and the Ol Seki Camp were our second stop on a two week trip and it blew me away. The staff were outstanding - from the chef and his team to the camp managers and the safari guides. The small size of the camp (accommodates up to 27 people I think) allows the staff to provide you very individualized service. The camp's managers dined with the group each evening - providing just that extra bit of attention to a group of diners from various parts of the world. There is also something to be said for its location on the private conservancy (Naboisho) - it allows you a lot of opportunity to truly explore the area and all the animals in their home. It also allowed other special touches - like a four course meal complete with china and glass, outdoors in the bush, for our last evening at the camp. Also very impressed with the local education programs and internship programs the owners (Hemingways) are involved in - namely in encouraging and supporting educational opportunities for local Maasai women. In the Maasai community, women are traditionally not given the opportunity for advanced education beyond what the village provides. Hemingways and their Ol Seki property are providing women these kinds of opportunities in their company - this is an impressive endeavor and I commend them. Daily laundry service (you put it in the basket in the morning, it is returned by evening) is complimentary and very convenient for the long duration traveler. I look forward to returning here in the future and it is a highly recommend on my list.

Room Tip: If you have special needs for your room, such as you are traveling with friends and would prefer a s...
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  • Stayed August 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

I've been dreaming of going on safari in Kenya for many years, and in my mind I had the idea of what a perfect experience would be. Ol Seki made that dream a reality. First and foremost, the camp staff members were incredibly friendly, helpful, and accommodating. The camp can only host around 20 guests, so the service is very personal. Our camp manager, Jeff, was a delight to interact with. David, our tour guide who is the head guide at the camp, did an excellent job on our safari drives and was very knowledgeable about the area. Most of our drives were focused on the Naboisho Conservancy which is a private conservancy next door to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. We went into the reserve one day to watch the wildebeest migration which was an amazing experience, but you are around many more tourists in the reserve. An advantage of staying in the conservancy is that you don't encounter many other people while driving around, and the scenery was a bit more lush and there were more hills than in the reserve - while it's a personal preference, I thought the conservancy was more beautiful than the reserve, so being located there was definitely a benefit in my mind. I also enjoyed learning about the projects of the conservancy including the tour guide school that is exclusive to training members of the Maasai tribe to be tour guides, and their specific efforts to encourage more female Maasai to pursue tour guiding careers.

Besides the safari drives, other favorite experiences included a dinner in the bush and going on a night drive to spot animals with an infrared spotlight. As with any tent camp, the accommodations, while luxurious, are also slightly rustic, but that's to be expected with such an experience - if you're looking for marble tiled bathrooms and strong water pressure and fully controlled environment, you probably shouldn't stay in a tent camp anyway! I really, really loved my 4 days and 3 nights at Ol Seki and highly recommend it for anyone looking for a special experience while on safari in Kenya.

  • Stayed August 2013, 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.
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

We spent 3 nights at Ol Seki and were treated to wonderful hospitality, fabulous game viewing, excellent dining and extremely comfortable accommodation. Ol Seki is located on a private conservancy bordering the Masai Mara. The beauty of camps located within a private conservancy is the ability for off road driving whilst game viewing and there are far fewer vehicles in the conservancy than one would find inside the National Park. Melinda the camp manager made us feel welcome from the very 1st minute as did all the staff. The food was sensational and they catered for guests with various dietary requirements. A highlight was the bush dinner - set up in the middle of no-where everything is carried in and out - just amazing. As we travelled during the "migration" of the wildebeest we spent one full day inside the Masai Mara National Park. As others have reported it is a long drive to the Mara River (in excess of 2 hours each way and longer when you stop enroute) so my recommendation during migration season would be to spend 2 nights at a camp close to the river and 2 nights at Ol Seki. The tents are enormous with hot showers, decks look out to beautiful views of the plains, lovely comfortable beds, timber floors, plenty of power points. Internet can be slow and is only accessible in the library tent - but who wants to check emails whilst on safari ? Somehow the hot water bottles that are popped into the beds whilst you are enjoying your evening meal stay warm until morning. The game viewing is incredible - lion prides, cheetah, rhino, elephants, buffalo and a river crossing of the wildebeest and zebra. We didn't find the elusive leopard - have to save something for next time. We travelled as a couple and I hope to return with our teenage daughters - the suites are awesome for families.

Room Tip: The suites for families are enormous and private with amazing views.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Kampala, Uganda
Top Contributor
184 reviews 184 reviews
102 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
179 helpful votes 179 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

The Ol Seki experience begins already at their own airstrip after landing, when their staff approach you with an iced and scented towel to wipe the sweat off and then hand you a chilled drink. Transfer time to Ol Seki is a mere 8 minutes though this can vary as a result of game sightings and a first round to capture them on - in the old days film and now on disk.
Melinda, the camp manageress, was waiting for the cars to drive into the camp parking, her staff lined up to escort guest to their tents, after being given a short briefing.
Did I say tents? Oh well, these supersized creations, made of canvas, leave nothing to be desired in terms of furnishings or other facilities. Electric light, using a combination of generator and photo-voltaic panels, is available 24 / 7, not a standard everywhere in similar camps, the water pressure is high and hot water available, though a shower after lunch, when the temperatures have rising in to the high 20's or low 30's may be best enjoyed cold.
In the morning however, the lower temperatures demand hot water, and again, unlike in other locations experienced in the past, the water was indeed piping hot, at 5 in the a.m. ahead of a full morning gamedrive a well appreciated feature.
The public areas, like the tents with extended timber decks and sweeping views across the vale below and the hills in the distance, are limited to the Library and the dining tent. In the Library, which also serves as lounge, bar and general meeting place for the guests - with 6 tents and 2 suites there never will be a crowd - is where one meets for aperitifs before and digestives after a meal, to check on bird and game sightings in the available reference books, read a little or just even drift off for a nap. The cushions on the sofa sets are certainly inviting enough for that.
Drinks, wine, beers, spirits, soft drinks, juices and of course tea are included in the accommodation and meals package, a gesture not too common yet in other establishments of this quality.
Evans, the head chef, makes a regular pre-meal appearance to explain the menu of the day, and dietary requirements, non gluten, non dairy, vegetarian, vegan even, are strictly observed.
Bread and buns are camp baked, what else, the soups rich in flavour and the main courses, during my stay, varied, well presented and tasty. The camp is not striving to be Michelin rated but succeeded in putting excellent meals on the table every time and the silence, as the main course was devoured by the guests around the communal dining table, spoke volumes, of being hungry but equally of appreciating a good meal. Veggies and herbs are grown in a vegetable garden near by, hence fresh and guaranteed of organic origin, while all other items on the menu come from Nairobi, such as meat and fish. All biodegradable refuse is used for composting while empty bottles and plastic waste go back to Nairobi for proper disposal. Notably have many of the wine bottles been turned into glasses, pitchers even, at a Nairobi based glass workshop, with stunning results, and of sizes which could easily find use in an episode of Cougar Town.
Lunch and dinner conversations tended to go back and forth across the table and Melinda's tales, combined with every one else's, made for animated discussions.
At night, when the stars illuminate the sky above, telescopes are available to do some star gazing, while others may wish to lounge about in the Library, a final night cap in hand, perhaps using the hotspot to send some tweets or post the day's pictures on Facebook, or write some mails home, which content no doubt will turn every one there green with envy.
The location of the camp, on a ridge overlooking the valley below, gives sweeping views and game coming to the waterhole below makes for a constant stream of coming and going, action with predators apparently included on a regular basis.
Located on the Naboisho Conservancy, one of 8 lining the boundaries of the main Masai Mara Game Reserve, the camp is set far apart from the maddening crowds of minibusses, and for most of the year, visitors not even need to go into the reserve proper, unless during the 3 months of the great migration sweeping through the Mara. The river crossings and the countless wildebeest and zebras are then best, if not only seen inside the reserve. For the rest of the year though, predator sightings, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and plains game, AND birds, are aplenty on the conservancy, where, an added bonus, guests can do night game drives and escorted walks with the bronze (minimum standard) and silver rated guides of Ol Seki.
Every stay there is too short, certainly mine was, and it takes a hard swallow when saying 'Kwaheri ya kuonana' to the staff and to Melinda, all of whom will have become friends while staying at Ol Seki, but friends with one thing in mind, to make one's stay most comfortable by being at guests beck and call.
Be it a bush breakfast, a picnic lunch along the river or a bush dinner, weather permitting, they will make it happen to provide those very special memories, as for most, after all, it will be the holiday of a life time. Well done all round Ol Seki, and remember, I VILLL BE BAGGG!

Room Tip: Treat yourself to something special - book one of the two suite tents! Located away from the other...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 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.
atlanta
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

We traveled to Ol Seki in June of this year....my husband, 18 year old daughter and her friend, and my mom and her husband. What a treat to pull up our home at Ol Seki, a tent called Simba, truly the penthouse of tents....a stunning two bedroom "home" with a living/dining room and kitchen in the middle....spectacular! We were introduced to George, our driver/guide and after a delightful lunch in the tent we headed off on a game drive. A spectacular morning drive the next day with a special coffee break under an acacia tree...the scenery of the Masai Mara never gets old. Our last nite I reluctantly agreed to a night drive (do it, there is NOTHING to be afraid of), and was treated before the drive to the most delightful, unexpected bush dinner. Melinda, you, Evans, Josephat and the team are spectacular and meeting Marcel from Fly4Elephants was a bonus! The library tent at camp is awesome, the views over the endless plains do not disappoint....and the sounds at night are such a treat. To Melinda, James, Josephat, Galgallo and the team at Ol Seki, we cannot thank you enough for such a magical stay.....

  • Stayed June 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ol Seki Mara Camp

Address: Innisikera River, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #28 of 111 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ol Seki Mara Camp is a luxury tented camp, boasting 6 spacious Nina tents and 2 two bedroom suited tents. Located in the Maasai Mara, just outside the famous National Reserve, Ol Seki offers guests the chance to enjoy big 5 game viewing in pristine environment away from the hustle of mass tourism. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ol Seki Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Ol Seki Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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