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“A remote and private Masai Mara experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Leleshwa Camp

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Leleshwa Camp
C12 Keekorok - NE Masai Mara Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00200, Kenya   |  
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3 NIGHTS FOR 2
New York, NY
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A remote and private Masai Mara experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

You know what I love about this camp (besides everything)? It is the remoteness and authenticity! I've been to the Masai Mara three times now and as wonderful as it is throughout (and I highly recommend visitng there) you just cannot get away from the fact that other people are around. Leleshwa Camp allowed us to get off the beaten path, away from crowds right on the edge of the Masai Mara. It is set up in a private reserve and as we approached I almost couldn't even see the camp until I was fully in my tent; the seclusion and privacy and beauty is like no other place I've seen in the Mara. We did walking safaris, game drives and had the time of our lives. I'd recommend spending a few nights at Leleshwa for sure and maybe mix it with a few nights inside the Masai Mara Reserve itself to combine the seclusion of Leleshwa and the prolific--if sometimes crowded--wildlife viewing in the reserve.

  • Stayed March 2012, 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
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69 reviews from our community

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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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • Any
English first
UK
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2011

Without doubt this was the best safari we have ever been on. Leleshwa camp and staff are excellent and the level of comfort, food, guides and flexibility would be hard to beat. Our host, Mike, was friendly and knowledgeable and made our short stay one that we will remember forever. No minibuses here!! but our own personal 4 x 4 Landcruiser and being on the Conservancy complete privacy to observe the animals without having to wait in line as you often do on the game parks. However when we did a full game drive in the Mara we saw all the big five thanks to our splendid quide, Nicholas and our spotter Kimarin. Their knowledge and friendliness made this a great trip. The accomodation was a large airy tent with the biggest bed I have ever seen. Have no reservations about going to this tented camp as the facilities are five star. You can make your own itinery whether you want a game drive, game walk, visit a genuine Masai village or just relax. The staff will make your visit just what you want, nothing is too much trouble. Thank you all for such a great holiday.

Room Tip: All tents are located in their own private area.
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  • Stayed November 2011, 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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Nanyuki, Kenya
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

Leleshwa Camp has managed to find the balance between a real safari in Africa with all the comfort you would expect in a top-end hotel. If you have chosen to go on safari you have opted for a holiday with a difference. You want, and Leleshwa succeeds where so many fail in giving you a genuine experience without having to rough it. To be honest, when I first looked at the camp website I was somewhat concerned that it was too pretentious, that I would be expected to dress up for dinner and that the "rawness" of Africa would be diluted within a Westernized environment that just happened to be situated within one of the world's greatest wildlife areas. The camp is very well furnished with high quality yet functional items, and tasteful without going over the top accessories, it shouts quality whilst encouraging you to enjoy it.

The camp is not within the Mara National Park, it is located within a well-kept conservancy, itself home to a huge range of East African mammals. Sundowners, on our first evening in camp was shared with a breeding herd of 40+ elephants! The Mara itself, is of course the main attraction and full day game drives into the park are an integral component of your safari. The drive into the Mara is uncomfortable, but the rewards are high and easily outweigh the discomfort. At the end of day arriving back at camp you are greeted with hot or cold towels (depending on the time of day) to wipe away the safari dust.

The Leleshwa kitchen is excellent, a wide range of dishes well prepared and presented, forms a part of your game drives too. There is nothing that beats sitting in the middle of a game reserve having breakfast. The sun begins to warm you, your original impression that there is absolutely no wildlife in the vicinity changes within minutes as the tapestry in front of you evolves, and your driver and spotter recount endless stories from the bush. There are times when you feel that there is no one else on the planet but you. In the Mara however you are never completely alone and particularly during the migration there are "herds" of white minivans wherever the Big Five are!

This is for me where Leleshwa comes into its own. You set the pace, you define what you want and when you want it...and to a large degree how you want it! If you have never been to Africa and want to see every possible mammal you can, your driver will accommodate you. On the other hand, if you want to escape completely and see whatever happens to be where you are, sit in a lugga, by a river or under a giant acacia for the whole day not seeing another human being then they will find your refuge.

The tents are light, spacious and contain everything you need from gowns and slippers to Cinnabar Green bath products. Being well spaced from other tents gives you a real sense of privacy and of being "in the bush". There is every likelihood that you will wake in the night to the sounds of a hyena "laughing" or the roar of a lion and know that they could be metres from where you are sleeping! This is Africa at its best.

The staff of Leleshwa are fabulous, offering you real service with a genuine smile when you need it without overcrowding you.

Why book a safari at Leleshwa? I hope that Mike (Owner/Manager) will not mind me plagiarizing his words..."To see Africa through an African's eyes". Yes, you will see more animals and birds than you can imagine but more importantly, you can experience Africa, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

To Mike and the Leleshwa team - "Thank you for making dreams a reality"

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

I love Safari, I have done for 20 years, and I have now found my new home. I have the great privilege to live in Kenya and as such have visited many camps in different areas; this is the place to go if you want a camp that has it all.

First, location: Situated in the Siana conservancy it is within a stones throw of the Mara, this gives it a true safari camp feel, you are not surrounded by other camps jostling for position and adding to the light pollution at night, at night it’s night, no lights to be seen and just the sounds of the African bush. The conservancy has it all, if you are looking for the big 5, they are here. If you want to be a bit more adventurous you can hike in the hills, have a sundowner with the Elephants or visit the true Masaai, not a tourist attraction that has been especially set up but real people going about THEIR real day-to-day activities.

Second, camp: Leleshwa is an extremely comfortable camp, almost like visiting a good friends home, nothing is too much trouble, there is not a one size fits all solution. Our hosts Mike and Gary were both personable and professional, within minutes of arriving at camp we were all chatting like we had known each other for years.

We were upgraded to a “SUITE” tent, as it was our wedding anniversary, it was excellent, for the first time since I was 17 I have slept in a bed where my feet don’t hang over the edge. I’m 6ft 4in, the bed is 7ft x 7ft. With only 7 tents it is small and intimate, each tent situated well apart from each other and you truly feel that you are in the bush, this is no Disneyland make believe, this is AFRICA!

Food was excellent without being over the top. Well prepared and thought out, and if you get the chance have the chocolate soufflé. The meals that were prepared for our game drives were equally excellent and varied.

If I had to use a word to best describe Leleshwa I would struggle. I hate the word luxurious, it masks many sins, look at our fancy food and flashy decor, but please ignore the fact that we dump our waste into the land and river. You will not find that attitude here, there are ethics running behind the scene here too, the camp is staffed with locals, they support a local school and they recycle as much as possible. There is a soul to Leleshwa, this is not a cash cow, this is a way of life.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2011

Leleshwa is a unique place! It's located on the Siana Conservancy, just outside the Mara itself. I think this is actually a real advantage and makes for a more authentic experience. For a start, not being in the National Park means you have a greater range of opportunities than you might otherwise have. So for example we were able to go out hiking, swimming and even dusk/night drives and sundowners (when the animals are most active). The same animals are there as in the Reserve - local residents include herds of Giraffe and Elephant, plenty of antelopes, baboons, monkeys, lions and a leopard to name just a few, but the difference is that these animals aren't quite as accustomed to the heavy safari traffic that the Mara gets. On the Mara you will often find yourself watching animals with 10 other vehicles (after having jostled for a space) whereas out here you really get to appreciate the animals in their natural habitat without feeling quite so intrusive. We still went on safari in the Mara (and saw the migration!), and it was as spectacular as you'd expect, but we felt we had the best of both worlds by staying on the Conservancy.

Another unexpected highlight was that we got to experience first hand what it's like for the Maasai communities who share their environment with the wild animals who live on the Conservancy. Unlike in the National Park, the grounds here are mixed used (just as it has been since the earliest days of human habitation). We joined a group of Maasaai who were taking their herds out to graze and later visited the local village.

As for the accommodation itself - well, the website photos speak for themselves. It really is a luxurious place to stay. The meals were incredible! The perfect balance of healthy and tasty food. Each tent is set well apart from the others so you can relax and enjoy the surrounds (or, if like us you have three kids, they can play without fear of impinging on anyone else's peace and quiet!). We stayed in the family tent and it was more than generous in size. Another thing - as far as ecological impact goes, Leleshwa's footprint is minimal and they are actively involved in the local community through a variety of activities, so if that's important to you you'll feel no guilt at this camp!

Thanks to Gillian, Joe, Keean, John, Pat for making our stay so welcoming and comfortable, but especially to Nicholas and Samuel for their skill, knowledge, patience, humour (not to mention adventurous spirit!!) on the safari drives; their company was the highlight of our whole trip. And also to Mike, for organising e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! (that's another thing, Leleshwa fixed up all our in between transfers and onward accommodation bookings - they really go the extra mile!).

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2011

We just returned from a 2-week trip to Africa and Leleshwa was by far the highlight of the trip. The staff went out of their way to make sure our group was comfortable and well-cared for. The tents are lovely and the food excellent. The drivers and spotters were amazing and incredibly knowledgeable about the Mara, the Masai community and the environment making the game drives wonderful learning experiences. We were traveling with children and Mike arranged for the guides to take us on a walking safari and "Masai Olympics" one morning which allowed the children to try out the bow and arrow and spears carried by the guides. I cannot say enough about how fabulous this experience was for our whole family. Leleshwa is truly an unforgettable place.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Delray Beach, Florida
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2011

We recently spent two nights and three days at the Lesleshwa Camp---an incredible experience but not nearly enough time for our first safari. We make all of our traveling plans independently--no travel agent or tour operator. My wife began exploring this trip with Mike North, the extraordinary managing partner of Lesleshwa, over a year before we arrived.

From the moment we were greated at the entrance of the camp until we got on the plane back to Nairobi everything was perfect. Before we arrived Mike was very patient in answering our many questions and concerns and was gracious enough to book our flight from Nairobi to the Masai Mara. As these are small plans and can easily fill up in advance, it is wise to book the flight asap.

We had a wonderful guide in Nicholas, one of only 200 silver level guides in Kenya and the Masai spotter nicknamed "Mo." We saw a lioness teaching her cubs how to hunt,.We saw the "great migration" of the wildebeest and zebra. Somehow Nicholas was able to find a lonely leopard in a tree. We were able to see over 35 different species of animals, and I know we missed some of them. One of the nice things about Nicholas is that he gave you all the information you wanted without talking your head off. As you can be with him for over a 12 hour streach having some "down time" was much appreciated.

The "tents" are exceedly comfortable---about 500 square feet of space plus en suite showers and bathrooms privately spaced throughout the camp. Mike insists that the guides eat diner with the guests--unless the guests wish to have a private dinner. While the communal dinners can be very nice and interesting, if you get a bore ( as opposed to a boar) at dinner, as we did one night, it can impede on your experiences. However, the food and wine served is more than adequate and the meals---either at camp or on the safari--are very pleasant. I undestand that having the guides present a dinner is not a common experience in most camps.The first afternoon we arrived the spotter even built a fire while we have "sundowners" (happy hour for Americans) as the sun set over the Mara.

Mike is a very extraordinary and knowledgable person. He is a former Coca Cola Exec. who has "gone native." His knowledge about the area, and his willingness to help in every way enhanced our entire trip. For example, he rearranged our departure location so that we were able to get an extra several hours on our last day in the Mara.This added time enabled us seeing a Leopard we might have missed as well as a Maribou Stork. He spent about an hour with us going over our trip in the Garden Route in South Africa where we were headed after we left Kenya. His suggestions greatly enhanced that part of the trip. Mike does these things very graciously and does not give you the feeling that he is being put upon.

I cannot compare this to other tent camps as this is the only one we have stayed in, but I can not imagine a better experience. We had three other day safari experiences while we were in Africa---one in Nairobi, one in Chobee in Botswana and one outside on Port Elizabeth in the Addo Elephant National Park. While all of these were worthwhile, they can not be spoken in the same breath with Lesleshwa. We thought this would be a once in a life time trip, but we already are contemplating when we will return.

Mike, Nicholas, Alister and all the rest of the staff were the best! You would do well to book this camp early as there only are seven tents. I imagine there are times of the year---particularly in peak season-- when they are sold out.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Leleshwa Camp

Address: C12 Keekorok - NE Masai Mara Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00200, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #45 of 111 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Leleshwa Camp is an intimate tented camp situated on the Siana Conservancy on the North–Eastern edge of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. Resting along a stream valley overlooking picturesque hills and rolling plains dotted with resident game, Leleshwa Camp seeks to give its guests an authentic African experience. The camp offers simplistic elegance and style in a relaxed environment with six spacious permanent tents privately situated and designed to blend in naturally with the surrounding nature.We also offer a private traditional Mobile Tented Camp, also with six spacious ensuite tents that can be located anywhere in Kenya. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Leleshwa Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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