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“Best Birthday Ever!” 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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Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Best Birthday Ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2014 via mobile

Wow! By far the best trip we have ever taken! The service was impeccable from beginning to end.
From meeting us at the landing strip and to the awesome accommodations. There was never a time our guide GG and his spotter Nebu we're not on their game. From the amazing game drives to the awesome picnic lunches.
Then there is the big 5. We saw all of it! With the determination from GG and Nebu we were destined to see it. It was finally on the last day of our stay we saw the "elusive" Leopard. Not just one... three! It was absolutely amazing. With Nebu's keen eye and GG's gold knowledge they won't disappoint.

The camp staff also was absolutely amazing. You will be greeted by Charlotte and James the camp managers who will help answer any questions you may have. To Kevin the amazing head chef. Who made me the best birthday cake. Then there was our personal steward Sinte. He was flawless. Anything we needed he was there making sure we were comfortable and well accommodated.
The staff is what makes Cottars amazing.

My only critique would be if you want to check emails or
conduct any business the internet is very spotty and SLOW.

Highly recommend the camp.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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, April 25, 2014
Dear Gemgemm, this is accolades indeed! Big five with three leopard, and all on your birthday! GG, Nebu, Sinti, Kevin and our new managers did us all proud! On the internet issue we have contracted access Kenya to sort us out which they will complete when all equipment and masts are installed on the hill and in camp.. Next time you come it will be so fast and everywhere that we will have to slow it down and have wifi free zones! Many thanks again, kindest regards, Calvin
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204 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 (43)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
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  • Italian first
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English first
Citta di Castello, Italy
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2014

A friend and I recently spent a dazzling four days at Cottar's, and it was the best experience that I have had in many years of world-wide travel. Our expectations - which were very high - were exceeded in every way. Ken and Paramelia, our guide and spotter on our daily game drives, were simply the best and located everything from a new-born elephant to a pair of mating lions. The staff at the camp anticipated our every need - and always with a smile that would light up a room. Charlotte and James, the new young managers, are knowledgable and professional and provided us with a warm welcome that we will never forget. We were fortunate to meet Calvin and Louise Cottar and their engaging son Jasper, who spent a few days at the camp while we were there. Calvin gave a slide presentation one evening and talked about the generations of his family who have been in the safari business for almost a hundred years. What a treat! Calvin's knowledge of Kenya and its wildlife is prodigious, and he graciously answered all of our questions about wildlife preservation as well as the camp's many-layered history. Cottar's has it all - an incomparable staff, delicious food, a stunning location, passionately involved owners and the atmosphere of an authentic 1920's safari camp. Thanks to the Cottar family and to all of the Cottar's Camp Team for the most glorious travel experience of a lifetime!

  • Stayed March 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 1
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calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, April 25, 2014
Dear AnneM, so many thanks for your wonderful post; so graciously written and heartfelt! What it shows is our truth, we do care - and so do our staff. Many thanks again and come back sometime in the future ! Kindest regards, calvin
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Shenzhen, China
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2014

We had the opportunity to stay at this amazing camp last October, it was near the end of the Big Migration, where should I begin?

The pick up at the landing strip was excellent, they were already waiting for us once we landed, friendly greeted and they helped us with our luggage, other camp cars were parked next to Cottar's vehicle and something within me was hoping the "nice looking one" was Cottar's, and it was the one waiting for us. So first impression, checked and very good!

Our guide Ken and our Maasai Spotter Lesasi were very friendly and attentive to every detail, car packed up with some snacks and beverages, electrical outlets and all...

Once we left the landing strip our safari began only 3 minutes from the strip, lots of wildlife around. Only about 35 minutes into our trip they spotted a pride of Lions, nice way to start a safari and be welcomed to the Mara.

After driving and spotting more animals we made it to the camp where yet another surprise was awaiting, the beauty of the camp itself! We were greeted by the Manager and she cut to the chase with our paperwork and all the camping formalities. It took less than 10 minutes to get us all ready to be shown our "Tent"

We were amazed at our tent, it was the Honeymoon Tent and it is a real beauty, very large in space and again all the 1920's theme inside of it, including "vintage" furnishings and just that touch of cool that would set this camp apart from other ones.

That afternoon we witnessed how camp staff spotted an orphan elephant on the campgrounds and they called the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi so that they could rescue her, she got rescued by the Orphanage's rangers and everyone on camp was helping them, guides, spotters, managers documenting the whole thing and we even got a chance to be next to them to see how things developed, they were very careful and finally took her on a Caravan back to Nairobi, we were told if she wouldn't have been rescued that day, it was very likely to be eaten by hyenas that same night.

As for the animals, well the level of expertise of the guides here is very high, I could say amongst the top in Kenya, EVERY guide we talked to was very friendly and knowledgeable.
One day we saw 3 black rhinos within 2 hours of seeing the first one.

Overall our experience was AMAZING, think of something you might want to know about this camp and the answer is AWESOME,
Accomodation = top of the line,
Food = very well balanced and delicious,
Service = lovely people that make you feel welcome (Thanks Daniel),
Drives and guides = wonderful with tons of experience (Ken and Lesasi) they will tailor your safari to your every need, you wont miss an animal.

They are also very involved with the Maasai community and keep a good balance with tourism, visiting helps the communities and helps sustain the wildlife balance too.

One of hundreds of memories from there, last morning drive, sun is coming up on the horizon and we are already on the Mara, the picture is a golden sun bathing the savannah while we contemplate a field where a little over 24 lions were scattered around, some finishing their meals, some cubs playing, one of the most peaceful moments in our lives, nature at its best!

Will visit again, no doubt about it!

Room Tip: Honeymoon Tent is really big, lots of space and very well located.
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  • Stayed October 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.
calvincottar, Owner at Cottar's 1920's Camp, responded to this review, April 25, 2014
Capvito, so many thanks for this amazing post on your visit to camp - I am really sorry I didn't honor you with a response earlier as you put so much into it .. Your post was very descriptive, brought all the best elements to life and will go a long way to showing other prospective visitors the truth of staying at cottars. Many thanks and see you back at camp one day! Kindest regards, Calvin
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california
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

My partner and I stayed a week at the Cottar's Camp - and it has to be the most extraordinary experience amongst our many travels. From management to every staff member they go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of you. The house and the grounds are so beautifully kept and decorated. Ziporah the house manager, Jarat the housekeeper were so friendly - attentive. We fell in love with Francis - the butler - who makes perfect martinis and spoils you. The chef - Levi - is a master. Special kudos to him for I'm a vegetarian who doesn't like to eat simple carbs and he whipped up amazing meals every day.

Our guide for the game drives was Mako - and we were in incredible hands with him. We got to see all the Big 5. He is so vastly knowledgeable about the culture and history of the place. We also felt extremely safe and well protected under his guidance. He works closely with a spotter named Kitipa - who is able to spot leopards and rhinoceros and cheetahs in the most remote places. They also taught me Swahili - and within a week - I was able to speak and communicate. We highly recommend taking a bush walk with Moses - the man is incredible. And he shows you footprints and what they mean - he explains plants - and you get an amazing sense of the surroundings.

I could go on and on about Cottar's. It's an fantastic company/resort/safari. First class - and 5 star treatment. Whatever the price is completely worth it.

  • Stayed March 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, April 25, 2014
Rogerad, many thanks for this wonderful post - particularly the comment at the end that whatever the price , its worth it! ..The good thing is that we at cottars are very reasonably priced compared with some of the newer boutique camps that have appeared recently around the Mara, and at least with cottars you get a whole load of safari soul, and authentic history to boot! Many thanks again ! Calvin
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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
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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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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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
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
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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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 #10 of 110 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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