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"
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.