First, we booked our trip through Alex at Lonsai Adventure(email@example.com). Interestingly, by doing this, we saved money and we received more bang for our buck. I know. It doesn't make sense that you should save money by not booking with Phoenix Safari direct, but we did.
Second, we requested an open 4x4 vehicle and it is totally worth it. Not only do you get better photos(no glass) but you also have better access to the animals. Many times, we would not have been able to see one of the big five animals if we were in a mini-van. Spend the extra money and book an open 4x4 vehicle.
This is our second time at the Mara Siria. We did not have a perfect experience on our first visit, but we also don't sweat the small stuff. When you are in the bush, we expect minor flaws. This isn't Fifth Avenue. Do you really need on demand hot water? Can you get by with an umbrella when it is raining?
We realized that what makes a safari camp great is not the luxuries in the tent, it is the staff. The staff at Mara Siria warmly welcomed us. In fact, some of the staff welcomed us back by name. Roll the Cheers music. Incredibly, Vitalis(who had not seen us since last year) remembered our names and even where we were from. The guy deserves a gold star for going above and beyond the call of duty. The staff made our children feel special and allowed them to roam freely around the property.
What makes Mara Siria special other than the staff? First, it affords an unparalleled view of the Mara. Wake up early and catch the early rays of the morning sun. Next, because of its smaller size(14 tents), you have the opportunity to interact with other guests at dinner. On the Friday night that we were there, we sat in the new(since our last visit) Nyama Choma stone house with guests from the United States. Great to hear their stories and hear a new perspective on Kenya. Finally, after an all-day safari, we did enjoy some family time in the plunge pool. This is probably best suited for a couple on honeymoon, however we kept a careful eye on the children and they had a blast.
What are some things for the Mara Siria to consider if they want to take it up a notch? Food could be improved. You don't necessarily want to eat the same kind of food that you would eat at home. There could also be some changes made to the packed lunches. We asked for customized lunches(ham and mustard in a crepe for example) and Vitalis gladly accommodated our requests. However, this could be something that is offered automatically. Also, if this is truly an eco-friendly camp, they should think through ways to become even more eco-friendly. You could pack the lunches in tupperware instead of paper boxes.
Choose Tent #5 as it provides a good view of the Mara from inside the tent.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.