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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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Coulsdon. Surrey
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

Just back from a short stay at 'Cottars' in the Masai Mara, and it was amazing!
Perhaps we were just lucky but the game drives were much more than we expected saw Lion (many) Elephant & Giraffe (dozens) Buffalo (hundreds) Zebra (Thousands) Wildebeest (hundreds of thousands) and Baboon, Ostrich,Gazelle, Antelope, Various Monkeys etc.etc.etc
The camp itself is magic, the tents (more like luxury apartments with canvas walls)
had fantastic views, The Mess tent wonderfuL the food was excellent and all of the staff, without exception, exceeded our expectations. If you are thinking of doing a Safari in the Masai Mara, stay here, you will not be disapointed!

Room Tip: As far as we could see, It does not matter, they are all fantastic.
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  • Stayed August 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
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, September 7, 2013
Dear Cymag, amazing review, thanks for your support! I hope that with the initiation of the Olderikesi conservancy on 1 st October 2013, this will boost the value for guests staying at Cottars as - after much research - it seems the main reason for the perceived 'less than perfect' value of staying at cottars is that (1) our prices are high in relation to other properties, and (2) the presence of cattle that frequent the community land near camp seems to detract from the expected wilderness experience of our guests.

Our prices are relatively high because we pay our excellent staff well, we are a small property so don't have the advantages of economy of scale of larger properties, and we are in an extremely cyclical tourism location (70% occupancy is earned within 3 months of the year!). We also a family legacy, not a pure commercial commercial business, and we are proud to have shaped the safari concept from day one through our history. So while we make no apology for what we charge, we also ask for understanding by our guests as to what you are actually paying for.. Which is a life changing experience, and land for wildlife ..

Let me explain this land issue.. besides the camp lease itself, we already pay for much more land around us to NOT be turned into agriculture and new low end lodge developments, this being the only way to keep the land free for wildlife, and to provide the wilderness experience that Cottars is proud to be able to offer...

The Olderikesi conservancy will be the culmination of over a decade of work by us to explain, train, legal setup, land survey and demarcation work, providing educational visits for hundreds of elders to many other conservancies and workshops - all to create the political and legal environment conducive for such a conservancy to be a possible amongst our 10,000 extremely conservative cattle loving Maasai landowners..!

In the meantime, prior to the conservancy opening date, we continue to go the extra mile and take our guests into the Mara Reserve proper for most of our game drives, relying on our highly capable staff to find the wildlife, avoid the minibuses, and provide special experience you have come to expect of cottars! !

We thank you for your support again, and please do come back and experience Cottars again after the Olderikesi conservancy has started after 1 st October 2013!

Calvin
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185 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 (40)
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English first
New York City, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

It's been two and a half months since we returned from a magical honeymoon to Kenya and my wife and I are still raving about the trip to our friends! We stayed at Cottar's 1920 for four days / three nights and can vividly recall every moment of it. At Cottar's you feel transported to a different time by the antique furniture, serene wilderness views and refined, luxury service. Out on Safari the guides are truly top notch and at the pinnacle of their profession - in the Mara all the vehicles from other camps tried to follow us around because we were always to first to spot the cats. We highly recommend Cottar's to anyone who's considering it; it's a really special place and we hope to return to visit it again some day...

Room Tip: Honeymoon tent is spectacular
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 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, September 7, 2013
So many thanks for your wonderful feedback, very very much appreciated! We are looking into the sleep quality issue which seems to crop up now and then .. At this time of the year the katabatic winds from the east do tend to flap the canvas at night and there are plenty of animal noises as we are in their territory here .. maybe we should recommend future guests bring ear plugs, or we do what the lions do and do a big siesta in the heat of the day! From all of us at cottars, we look forward to having you back at camp in the future !
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NYC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

My boyfriend and I just left Cottar's 1920s Camp four days ago and I can't stop thinking about it. We are sitting on the most beautiful beach at Amanpulo in the Philippines and yes, I have Africa on my mind. We travel often and have stayed at some amazing places, but this was different. The only thing I can say is there are no words to describe the experience I had there. T.I.A. (thank you GG ;) Our guide was GG, and he is now our brother. I heard that the other guides were amazing too, so I can't speak about them, but know that coming here will be a life changing experience...at least it was for me. This was my first time coming to Africa and my boyfriend brought me here because he came to Cottar's 4 years ago, and although he has traveled the world he has always said he wanted to take me to this special place. I am so grateful he did and that we experienced this together. I now know why he wanted to bring me there.

The reviews were correct that you read; you get to see the animals alone, without other 'vans'. Yes, mini vans where people are crammed in and the windows are closed. Once in a blue moon we saw one and kind of chuckled (guilty). We kind of viewed them like the animals: "Vandabeast spotted!!" I only say this because there was no heart and soul behind a tour like that. I don't think the drivers were even guides...? And I have no clue how you get around the terrain of the Maasai with a Mini-van. I mean we were crossing deep rivers and going way off the beaten path in the most amazing, open Land-Rover type thing.

Anyways, run, don't walk to Cottars if you are trying to decide on which camp. Also, I couldn't imagine going to a 'Lodge' when trying to experience the real Africa. Must go tent style. They are luxury tents so you still have all the amenities you could ever ask for. We saw Zebras just hanging out in front of our tent the first night. So neat.

We got to know Calvin (the owner) a bit as he was around the camp. Great guy, very passionate about conserving the land and very involved with the government about it. We invited his sons on safari with us for one day and the oldest son, Danni, spotted a water bottle that was thrown on the ground in the Mara and had our guide stop so he could jump out and pick it up. I thought that was very classy and said a lot about the Cottars and how they were raised.

Another very neat thing was the (optional) communal eating for dinner and lunch. They serve everyone in the big tent and it allows you to laugh and talk about your experiences with the other guests. Many, many laughs were had with our crazy stories of our game drives and what we all saw. We made lasting friendships because of this ;)

This is my first review on tripadvisor because I couldn't believe Cottars was #13. Such an amazing place. We will definitely be back sooner rather than later!

  • Stayed August 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 6
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, August 27, 2013
Thanks for the fantastic review G+T.....Cottars should shoot up the listings with this ! The Boys enjoyed being your assistant guides alongside senior Bwana GG... Cheers for now and see you back soon! Calvin
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

This was our first stop on our safari, spending three nights in a family tent with our children. As a mom, I was nervous about our first safari with kids but Cottar's made everything so easy and so enjoyable. The family tent was set up perfectly and having two bathrooms made getting ready in the mornings and evenings much more efficient. The game viewing was utterly spectacular -- hundreds of thousands of wildebeests including finding a spot with no other people around for our own private crossing. Tons of lions, hippos, zebras, elephants and giraffes along with so many other species that it became a game every night to try to remember them all as we kept track in our journals of everything we saw. Our guide and spotter were so wonderful and had a great rapport with our kids. A huge highlight was spending time with Louise Cottar and her daughter as they did a run through of a Masaii Warrior Camp idea for children that they may implement (Please do it! It was so much fun!). Food was superb, plentiful and always timed perfectly with whatever we were doing. We packed so much in at Cottar's that if our safari ended after just those three days, I would have felt as though I had seen it all. Wished we had stayed longer.

  • Stayed July 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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, August 27, 2013
Dear B, many thanks for your positive response on tripadvisor - they are very important for us, especially yours that show that we are kiddo friendly what with the warrior school! Many thanks! Calvin
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Mequon, Wisconsin
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

I feel guilty – My wife and I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world and I use Trip Advisor all the time but never leave reviews – After being at Cottars and seeing it rated as #13.-(it should be rated #1). - I had to write one. We had the opportunity to stay at Cottars for three beautiful days - Calvin Cottar, the crew and the managers Paul and Louise were all absolutely fantastic. In 13 days of Safari in both the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti - Cottar's was the only place that was not full of radio equipped vans and Land Cruisers rushing to see a lion with 30 other vehicles in line....for two days with our driver and Maasai spotter we saw no one - the other day we saw one other vehicle also from Cottars. We didn't see quite as many animals (although we saw plenty) but when we saw them we were alone...without a bunch of vans parked two feet away with cameras with bazooka lens..we had time to take it all in and enjoy it with peace and quiet....Dinner was family style which was extremely enjoyable as we all sat around and shared our experiences...Cottars is more expensive..but you get what you pay for..and there is not the nickel and diming (like paying for water and drinks) that you get elsewhere...Cottars is a place where memories are made and it is a great value....The accommodations, food, and staff were all excellent...Cottar’s takes great pride in what they do –have been helping to preserve the Maasai Mara – take great care of their staff (some have been with them for over 20 years) and bring the real Safari experience to life.

  • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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, August 27, 2013
Chandler, Asante sana... We appreciate your choosing Cottars for your first tripadvisor review ! We also don't understand how places are rated on tripadvisor.. must be a computer program... but we hope that any prospective future guests can read between the lines and feel the heart and soul of what our past visitors feel, and come to their own conclusions.... Thank you again !
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Wokingham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

My third safari and by far the best. If you are going on safari look no further as Cottars 1920's camp it is incomparable. Accomodation, food, guides, service levels, game drives all beyond amazing, I am well travelled but this is just the nicest place I have ever visited. A tranquil stunningly beautiful location. I cannot reccommend it highly enough - go there!

Room Tip: All tents are amazing, request GG as your guide he is excllent.
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  • Stayed July 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
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, August 27, 2013
So many thanks Bill, we feel honored to have your endorsement! From the cottar team
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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
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
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
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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Additional Information about Cottar's 1920's Camp

Also Known As:
Cottar`s Camp 1920`s Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Cottar`s Camp 1920`s Hotel
Cottar's 1920's Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve
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 109 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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