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“An unforgettable Mara experience, with the luxury and incredible service!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cottar's 1920's Camp

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Cottar's 1920's Camp
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5.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Olderkesi Private Reserve | Olderkesi Private Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“An unforgettable Mara experience, with the luxury and incredible service!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

Cottar's has not left one stone unturned. The luxury, comfort, safari setting, mindful plans designed specifically for our group and the staff were absolutely EXCEPTIONAL! Ken, Paramelia, Richard, Francis, William were just PHENOMENAL in meeting our needs as a family group! We were with a family for children, 9,11 and 13 and they were treated with such kindness. The pool was a great addition for the kids. The experience was magical and the the staff were so considerate to our needs. The tents were just gorgeous too. The sundowners, bush breakfasts, Masai village visit and dance just added to our days in the bush! Thank you Cottar's for a trip of a lifetime. A big thank you to Charlotte and James too. Ken our guide was SUPERB!!

  • Stayed March 2014, 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.
calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, April 25, 2014
Sarinnabelle, what a wonderful post; we are so glad to hear how much you liked your experience at cottars! You touch on such a key thing when you talk of the kindness of Kenyans, and our staff in particular.. My kids were brought up by the same folks, and it has given them such a good balanced outlook of the world.. Many many thanks ! Kindest regards, Calvin
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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
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English first
Santa Monica
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

I stayed in the private house for a week at the end of February 2014. As I was the guest of a friend I cannot comment on the value proposition. However, I can say that this was an amazing experience and if you have the opportunity to go you should not hesitate.

The house itself is huge, thoughtfully laid out so that every bedroom suite is completely private. The furnishings are perfect -- comfortable and elegant without being fussy. The views are incredible, in particular the sunsets, when you can see in the distance the Masai herding their cows back home.

The staff is attentive and accommodating but not at all intrusive: Levi the cook, Francis the waiter, Ziporah the house manager, and Jarat the housekeeper -- wonderful people, all.

The grounds of the entire Cottar's camp are beautiful. I can't comment about the tents because we didn't stay in them. I do imagine that they would be warmer than the house, as they are at a lower elevation. The pool is beautifully situated. The main dining tent does indeed summon up a twenties feel, and when I saw a lunch table being set out on the lawn just beyond, I felt I was looking at a painting from that time period.

Of course we went out on game drives, and with our Masai spotters we saw a lot of animals. We actually never went so far as into the Masai Mara National Reserve. Instead, we went out mainly at sundown and sun-up for drives not far from Cottar's -- I'd say we were never more than 45 minutes away from the camp. There were two virtues of not going all the way to the Reserve: 1) We didn't have to pay the daily entry fees of $80/person, and 2) We were not 'competing' with groups from other safari camps all looking for the same lions or whatever. We rarely saw another safari vehicle, and if we did, it was always a Cottar's vehicle. We were also fortunate to go on a nature walk near the property with a gentleman named Moses who has worked at Cotter's as a guide for many years and has an incredible knowledge of the medicinal uses of different plants.

Cottar's is clearly a good citizen/neighbor of the Masai, as well as being a lessee of the Masai lands. Cottar's visitors are charged a conservancy fee, which is directed to the local community. We visited a local Masai village and were then taken to their elementary school, where the principal told us that Cottar's pays half the teachers' salaries.

Cottar's has a little gift shop with a nice variety of gifts of uniformly high quality. Prices seemed reasonable.

This was a trip I'll remember all my life. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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, March 20, 2014
Calla99, your post with its long and detailed description of camp and the house is much appreciated!! Many thanks, calvin
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Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

Judging our experience at Cottar’s as simply another "safari" would be trivializing its lasting impression. Having traveled much of the country, stayed at numerous resorts/lodges, and hosted many visitors, my wife and I are confident in saying it was hands down the best excursion/vacation we've had in Kenya. Not exactly sure how the balance was achieved, yet somehow Cottar’s managed to provide a truly magical experience without compromising authenticity and integrity. Since there are plenty of reviews with specific opinions on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of each experience, I won’t bother going into that level of detail. However, I will call out a vital component to the experience’s success…our host and guide, Gigi. Overall, everything was outstanding, everyone was overly considerate and attentive, and all the pieces fell together smoothly. Not much more I can say other than I look forward to our next opportunity to stay with Cottar’s!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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, March 20, 2014
James R, wow your post meant a lot to me.. We have taken our lifetimes to get the balance right, something that is rarely appreciated or understood, and looks so easy to do.. But it's not! Thanks for pointing this out and sharing this important element. Its impossible for new places to get this balance. And GG is of course a star of any show he is in! Many thanks again! Calvin
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Houston, Texas
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2014

This was truly a once in a lifetime experience and the entire staff at Cottar's made sure my experience was flawless. Everything was over the top - the rooms in the main lodge, the food, the guides and spotters, the sundowners with bitings, and of course, the real reason for the trip, the daily excursions to see the beautiful animals up close and personal - first rate all the way. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Ed Smith
Houston, Texas

Room Tip: We stayed in the lodge - all 5 rooms were very large, with nice cross ventilation, comfortable beds...
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  • Stayed January 2014, 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 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, March 20, 2014
Ed S, thank you for posting such a wonderful review of your safari to cottars! karibu sana for another visit! Cheers, calvin
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Dallas, Texas
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2014

Cottar's Camp more than exceeded our expectations. It was a trip and experience of a lifetime! Scenery is spectacular, saw all of the wildlife with the exception of the wildebeests (who were on migration) and the rhinos. It was truly amazing. And our guides, especially the one I was with the most, G. G., knew and explained all about the animals so vividly. The food was delicious, most of it fresh and picked right from their gardens prepared expertly and served equally as well. Best of all were the people at Cottar's - friendly, warm, always smiling, eager to fulfill every expectation - who made the trip exceptional. Highly recommend Cottar's. BTW, we were a party of 10 and all stayed at the Cottar's Homestead. This was one of my favorite vacations.

Room Tip: The room we had was on the second floor and had a balcony with a terrific view; also close to the gr...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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, March 20, 2014
Billie B , we appreciate your wonderful post on your trip to cottars, and for particularly pointing out the fantastic staff at camp! They are a special team, and we are very honored to have them all with us! Also your comments about staying in the house.. Thank you...Next time you come out, our new big swimming pool at the house will be ready! Cheers, calvin
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

We stayed at Cottars for 6 nights in January as part of the first week of our honeymoon. We had the honeymoon tent - which was a tent in the loosest sense of the word! It was huge with a four poster bed, armchairs, dining table for two, separate bathroom area with flushing toilet and hot shower - glamping at its very best! We had a lovely tent porter called Isaac, who would wake us up each morning for the game drives by bringing us coffee.
The game drives were sensational - our guide Ken and spotter Salash we outstanding - we saw the big 5 in the first two days of our trip - plus so many more animals including giraffe, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, baboons, crocodiles, snakes etc. And we managed to get within touching distance of them all - which is utterly brilliant if you're a keen photographer! It was low season so there was basically no one else around - we had the Mara to ourselves! Every morning a breakfast would be packed in to the back of the jeep and we'd eat by the river or under a tree with stunning views - absolute bliss. One morning Cottars prepared an original 1920s breakfast for us in a beautiful clearing in a forest area - we sat at a table with linen table cloth and served pancakes, eggs, bacon, cereal and tea and coffee - utterly brilliant! Lunch and dinner are both of a high standard and really tasty.
On our last day we went on a walking safari to a waterfall where we swam and caught catfish on fishing lines made out of sticks and twine! Lots of fun and interesting to get a different safari perspective on foot.
There is also the option to have massages and hot canvas baths outside your tents - we did both and can highly recommend them!
The only slight gripe we had was the communication error about paying for alcoholic drinks - which we were offered readily for 2 days, only to be told half way through the stay that actually we had to pay for them. The management had been having some teething problems with new policies and they hadn't been fed through properly to various booking agencies - however the management sorted it out for us and in the end we didn't pay - but I would suggest checking with your booking agency before you go.
Overall I would definitely recommend this camp - it was an amazing start to our honeymoon and we made memories that will be with us forever.

  • Stayed January 2014, 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, March 20, 2014
JV, fantastic feedback, thank you.. Your observations on wifi not working and drinks being under a new policy are taken on board and perfectly valid.. Wi if we are now sorting out with a new internet provider which will hopefully be in place by end of march..We have indeed got two drinks options for our guests whereby you can book your stay with drinks included in the price (as before), or you can have an option whereby drinks you consume are noted down every day and you simply pay for them at the end of your stay. This may save you money - or not depending on your drink flow rate! Either way, management are fully on top of it now and such confusions around charging for drinks should not reoccur ! Thanks again for your support and let us know when you head back to cottars! calvin
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

3rd visit to Kenya and the 3rd time at Cottars. We feel like family as most of the staff were there when we visited the first time 3 years ago.

We saw all the big 5 in our first 3 days including leopards (3 sightings), a black rhino, uncountable elephants and buffalo and numerous lions (20 in one morning)! Even had 2 baby lions wrestling in the grass while mum and dad tucked into a buffalo.

The tents are excellent, clean and plenty of hot water for showers. The views across the Mara and Serengeti were amazing from our tent.

GG, our guide, organised everything from meals to our daily schedule around what we wanted to
do. This place is world class. Go!

Room Tip: If you want the best views of the Serengeti and Mara the smaller tents are better than the family on...
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  • Stayed January 2014, 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.
calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, March 20, 2014
Donsnut, fantastically enthusiastic post..Thank you, your loyalty and repeat visits mean a lot to us! Let us know before you come for your 4 th ! Calvin
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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 #11 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 
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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