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“Amazing!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cottar's 1920's Camp

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Cottar's 1920's Camp
5.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Olderkesi Private Reserve | Olderkesi Private Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
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Oakland, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Amazing!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

You know the place was special the moment they gathered you for the landing strip. Cottar’s which sit just outside the Mara is a beautiful open landscape on the boarder of Kenya and Tanzania. The wildlife was present at all hours of the day and it didn’t take more than 30 min into our drive back from the strip before stumbling on a pride of lions keeping cool in the shade.

This is a special place you will have to see to truly believe. Cottar’s was the second stop on our honeymoon. We felt so blessed by the accommodations and service of our previous location we didn’t think you could top it. Cottar’s did! The tents and grounds were incredible and it truly took you back to a different era. They greeted you with a team of people to help settle you into your stay and they look for every opportunity to make your trip special (for us it was an upgrade into the grand honeymoon tent, not charge). The family style dinners at large tables in the main tent were a treat in the evening. We enjoyed sundowners before every meal and shared stories with the group of our adventures of the day. We were usually treated to tall tails by Douglas of past trips that had funny or sometimes unusual ending.

The team of guides works so well together at Cottar’s. Mixing a seasoned guide with the right social elements with a true tribesmen to give you a well rounded experience. We went on safari for the animals and the experience of the open planes of Africa, but we go so much more. We got an education on the habitat, animals, history and culture of the land. This was truly an eye opening experience for us. It also helped that we had a Gold certified guide to show us around (Cottar’s has 3 of the 12 total Gold guides in Kenya).

Everyone at Cottar’s helped make our stay special and if the opportunity presents itself in the future we will be back.

  • Stayed July 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.
calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, July 20, 2013
Caleb, thank you for your wonderful post and please do come back again some day! From all of us at cottars, Asante sana.
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192 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (42)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Adelaide, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

This was my second visit to Cottars and I will be back again. If you want to do a safari then this is the place for you. It has so many redeeming features that is hard to know where to start. The quiet, tranquillity, lack of clutter, away from the rest of the world, the beauty, the majesty, the privacy, the animals, the Masi guides, the endless scenery, the yummy food and tents and the service are all the die for. It may seem a little pricey but once you are there in paradise - there are no add ons - no dipping into your pocket for a game drive, or a wine and so on. Plus the experience of Cottars is well worth every dollar spent. It is simply special and stunning.

Room Tip: try and ask for a tent close to the pool if you like the idea of a dip.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, July 22, 2013
As a past visitor, your positive post is very appreciated and valued by us at cottars because you can compare with your previous trips and maybe other camps...

We do feel incredibly honored to host more and more multi-generational safaris, with the cottar safari experience being an important 'coming of age' ritual for the children of our past guests.. some families have been on safari with us over four generations.. Thanks again! Calvin
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Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

This was one honeymoon stop on our African Safari Honeymoon. We had stayed at a private reserve and this was so different from other parts of Africa we visited.

First of all was the airport pickup. The guide (which was highly certified) was there with our spotter to pick us up on time. The vehicles are top of the line with everything needed for every occasion. We had blankets for the morning, water etc. They were very nice and informative all of the trip. They stayed with you for the duration of your stay and were at your service the whole time. They would adapt to your schedules and were very good at recommending times and areas.

On the way from the airport to the hotel, we were not expecting a safari but got to see a lion eating a buffalo, cheetah brothers and a herd of Hippos. This was the best welcome to the Masai Mara!

Hotel & Rooms(tents)

We arrived at the hotel (about hour drive from airport) and were greeted with wet towels and refreshments. We were taken care of from start to finish. We were walked to our room, (River Tent) which was spectacular. Every single detail in the tent sent you back in time to the 1920's. The beds, old trunks as tables, furniture, toilet, typewriter, lighting and pretty much everything was old style but luxurious. We felt like English Royalty from the 1920's! It is amazing how they give you the luxury and service deserved of a 5 star hotel in a tent in the wild. The feeling of just relaxing in the room or terrace, having a spectacular view of the Masai Mara with no one around is difficult to describe.

Food

The food was actually pretty good. Food was simple but always very good. Times were set up to your own convenience which is different from other lodges, there was no pressure to return on a specific time, again all done to your time table. You could eat at the pool, main tent, your room or wherever you pleased.

Safari

The only negative point about this specific hotel is that it is about a 20 minute drive from the animals at the Masai Mara. The drive will be through lot of local farm and sheep herding lands. It is not a big minus since the place is great but Safaris will start about 45 minutes earlier than other locations. This was not a big problem for us but could be better. The guides communicate often and will let each other know of any specific animals or events around the area. We did get to see some baby lions thanks to this. Again, the guides are awesome and I do recommend to have Breakfast in the Bush( bush refers to the wild in Africa) February was an awesome time to go, we got to see most animals with their young which is a spectacular sighting.

Dinner

We were offered private or community dinner. We had a private dinner the first day which was very good and decided on a community dinner on the second and third. We met some great people at the hotel and even got to have dinner once with the hotel owner, Calvin. It was such a great experience since he has so many stories from his family's legacy. We recommend a private dinner by the fireplace but also get to know the people at the hotel, it will lead to great stories!

Private bath and Massage

We asked for these at our room. They set up a bathtub and a massage table at your tent and with the view for sunset. Again, difficult to describe.

Night

We had a Masai Warrior outside our tent all night. He spoke no English and it was actually a fun time communicating with him. He is there to guide you to the dinner tent at night for protection although not needed. We actually took a night safari to go look for leopards which was great

Overall, we would love to return someday and had a top of the line experience at this place. The service, safari, hotel and rooms are second to none and had no complaints at all. We recommend this hotel as not only a simple hotel, but a whole experience which will be found nowhere else in the world. It is a delightful experience back in time with no sacrifices!

Room Tip: Suite Tents are the best, Look for edges or corners to have more privacy. River Tent was Spectacular...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, July 20, 2013
Many thanks for your honest and positive review.. On the important issue of cattle and villages on game drives, while we don't lack for wildlife on game drives at cottars (we just had 2 days of big five sightings for example) , we are cognizant of the effect of having high numbers of cattle in the area to our guests experience, and in response we have developed a plan for a wildlife conservancy together with the olderikesi land committee. this was to start on July 1 st but the opening did not happen because the newly elected county representative needed to vet the conservancy agreement to ensure it is fair (a process that we fully support though the delay is frustrating!). Having said this, we have been advised by the land committee that the conservancy should be in place by mid to late August. We shall inform you all when it actually happens, inshallah !

Inside the Mara reserve proper, all we can do is hope that the new county governor will be able to emulate what he has managed to do in the former transmara part of the reserve over the last few years, and control the illegal grazing of cattle using his senior warden and rangers.

Many thanks for all your support again, and please know that your patronage to cottars is the key to wildlife conservation in the area (we support the only anti poaching efforts in the area) as well as for the future olderikesi wildlife conservancy.
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

you get the colonial feel right from the transfer in the vintage car.
staff are fantastic. cottars is set in its own private section of the mara, making it so much more pleasant (you dont get 20 cars converging on some poor cheetah cub simultaneously). We loved the outdoor baths they set up in our room at sunset, the masai dances around the camp fire and the quality of the food (for africa). Dinners are all communal tables (like most safari) but the guests were great.
re the wild life; masses of lions, some good cheetah viewings and we saw 2 migration crossings, one which saw a leopard take down a wildebeest due to good trackers! awesome. NB you are a couple of hour drive from where the crossings usually happen.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Shanghai, China
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

We stayed 3 nights at Cottar’s during our honeymoon beginning of June 2013. How to describe an incredible place? We were wowed upon arrival and continued to be during the whole stay. The staff is charming and most-friendly; service is impeccable; the surroundings are out of this world; the food is fantastic. The game-drives and our guide were.. well, absolutely the BEST. Thank you Cottar’s for a truly perfect stay: we will be back.

Guido & Lo-May, the Netherlands.

  • Stayed June 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amman, Jordan
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

Cottars Camp is a stunningly beautiful property. The tents are luxurious, spacious and decorated in a lovely 1920’s theme. The villa is equally impressive with breathtaking views of the Mara. The camp is surrounded by nothing but nature and wildlife as far as the eye can see with no other camps or vehicles in sight. The guides are experienced and engaging, the staff professional and friendly and the management and owners warm and hospitable. The food is fantastic as is everything else about the Cottars Camp experience. Definitely a must visit camp, the only thing more amazing than the Mara experience is the Cottars Mara experience.

  • Stayed June 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laredo, TX
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

Cottar's is simply put the most remarkable, breathtaking place on Earth. The symbiotic relationship between life and death is at the forefront of every moment framed in the luxurious setting of the golden age of safari.

Although checking "The Big Five" off some list was not part of my itinerary my amazing Masai guide Enock pulled it off and even tracked down the elusive leopard during our first game drive. However, one could simply be out in this magnificent setting for a week, not see a single animal, and it would still be the trip of a lifetime. That being said the skill of the guides is as promised, second to none in Africa. Cottar's is at its core a guide service and the result of 100 years in the business is nothing short of perfection and absolute professionalism. I was lucky enough to have the entire camp to myself for a while and the interaction with some of the other guides as well as Calvin himself was such a privilege.

The camp overlooks both the Masai Mara and Serengeti which makes waking up every morning a treat. I'd actually sit up at night gazing at the beauty of the landscape which was lit by a full moon. The tents are sublime and completely transport you to a different era. The private villa is spectacular considering the remoteness of the locale yet still honors its surroundings by being luxurious yet unobtrusive. I could go on and on but would only be repeating what has been mentioned in other reviews. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the swimming pool which in my opinion is the finest on the planet.

This is the most difficult review to write because there is so much one wants to say but yet can't be conveyed in words. Many of the stories would be difficult to believe but those who were at the camp experinced THE buffalo kill and "Tony Soprano" at his finest. I will thus leave it as such and simply urge anyone who is reading this while trying to decide where to go on safari that there is no place else. Finally, my heartfelt thanks to the Cottar "family" for taking me in and sharing the week of a lifetime.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, June 15, 2013
Memo, and all of you past travelers whom have posted such positive experiences at cottars, we are indeed extremely thankful!! Because of your posts, and because of the hard work and teamwork of our excellent staff, cottars today received a tripadvisor 'certificate of excellence' award!

Many thanks and please visit again!
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Additional Information about Cottar's 1920's Camp

Address: Olderkesi Private Reserve | Olderkesi Private Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 108 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Cottar's 1920's Camp 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Cottar Safari tradition began in 1919. Nearly 90 years on, we continue to provide an unparalleled safari experience to discerning clients in Africa. Extending an era of luxury and quality, we return to the original spirit and essence of "safari", reminiscent of a golden era; an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. Situated in the Masai Mara, in an untouched exclusive concession bordering the Serengeti and Loliondo reserves, the area guarantees privacy and an abundance of wildlife. The camp accommodates up to 22 guests in authentic white canvas tents, which are spacious and luxuriously furnished. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cottar`s Camp 1920`s Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Cottar's 1920's Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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