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“Experience of a lifetime” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mara Explorer Camp

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Mara Explorer Camp
5.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   C14 Keekorok - Talek River in the middle Masai Mara Reserve-, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Experience of a lifetime”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

My husband and I had the pleasure of staying at the Mara Explorer Camp in early August. We had six nights in the Masai Mara and had contemplated splitting the time between two different camps, but as we were looking to really relax, we decided to stay all six nights at the Mara Explorer Camp. It was the best decision we ever made. Steve, the incredible manager, kindly moved us midway through from tent 6 to tent 4, with each offering their own reward: tent 6 had monkeys hanging out that we didn't see anywhere else during our stay. We were also treated to a baboon show and a herd of elephants late one afternoon. Tent 4 has the extraordinary view of the hippos. What we loved most about the explorer was the understated but impeccable service. You feel as if you're in the jungle, but it's the most luxurious jungle imaginable. All of the staff are genuine, friendly and caring people who provide an incredible level of service while making it all look effortless. And the food isn't simply good food for a camp in Kenya, it's great food, period--delicious, creative and beautifully presented. I live in London and eat out a lot and I still miss the food at the Mara Explorer, not to mention the scenery at the restaurant, which is pretty hard to beat, as was the service we received from the lovely Jeremiah. I'd been dreaming of going on safari for more than 20 years, and the Mara Explorer did not disappoint. It is difficult to imagine that there is a better place to stay in the Masai, or elsewhere. From Joseph our excellent guide to James and Samuel who looked after us in our tents, to the kitchen staff and the lovely Masai gentlemen who escorted us to and from our tents at night, our thanks for the experience of a lifetime.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Explorer Camp, responded to this review, December 15, 2012
Hello Guest,
As you may know i do comment on all comments posted on this forum. There are many which are correct that i need not add any comment. This is one of them. So glad you made the Mara Explorer.
Group Operations Manager
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247 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 (92)
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Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

This was one of the BEST vacations I've ever had. You MUST stay here if you want to see animals and be pampered at the same time. Vincent was the best guide ever. We saw 27 different types of animals (not including birds) in 3 days. We saw the Big 5 and we were lucky enough to see a wildebeest/zebra crossing during the migration. We thought we had missed it but the migration took place later this year so we were very lucky. Vincent is very patient and knows the animals and their habits very well. And then there is the camp itself. Wow! Steve does a super job of running this place. He is genuinely concerned about his guests and interested in their animal sightings. He must hear the same stories over and over but you can tell he truly enjoys his guests' delight in the wildlife. Steve loves to plan surprises which makes a stay at this camp lots of fun. We were told we were going to be "king and queen" one night for dinner. As a surprise, they had set up a lovely table on our deck and dinner was served by the staff. This was no small feat since our tent was one of the farthest tents from the kitchen. Then to top it all off, we were entertained by Masai dancers. I actually had tears in my eyes! Another night, as we were walking to the dining area for dinner, we were told to follow the lanterns in order to see a "white elephant". The staff had set up dinner in a clearing under the stars and that was our surprise. But the real surprise was when an angry hippo came up from the river to snort at the chefs while they were cooking! It was a little tense for a few moments but it was something we'll never forget. The tent accommodations are wonderful and the outside bathtubs are a great idea. We watched hippos and baboons one evening from our bathtub! How good is that? Now, I'm saving the best for last-THE FOOD!!! We are good cooks so we're rather picky about meals. The chef is fantastic and also consistent. Even the box breakfasts are good. Take my advice. Make your reservations fast. The Mara Explorer Camp is the best. It should be #1 on Tripadvisor.

Room Tip: Tent #4! Oh my! Be prepared for 12 hippos outside your tent flap. I had to smile every time I sa...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Explorer Camp, responded to this review, December 15, 2012
Hello Guest,
I will add nothing or negate nothing on this review. I will only thank you for sharing with the World what Mara Explorer is all about.
Regards,
The Mara Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Croydon, Surrey
Level Contributor
76 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

We stayed here for 3 nights with friends for the second time. Steve, the manager was delightful and couldn't do enough for the 4 of us. The staff were so obliging, helpful, kind and funny. The food was to die for, the tents were absolutely luxurious. The setting on the Talek river was glorious. Best of all was John, the tracker/guide and his knowledge and eyesight was unparalleled. He found just everything we wanted to see. We knew him from 4 years ago and if anything, he is exactly the same, funny, knowledgeable and a joy to be with. Nothing was too much trouble. We unreservedly recommend this camp as the best in the Mara. We hope to go back in 2013 and we know that it will be exactly the same glorious, intimate place we've grown to love. Really sad to leave when our 3 days were up.
I don't know what else to say but anybody who goes there, will absolutely love it and will never want to leave. A complete and utter joy. Everything was wonderful.
As I said above, the food was of the highest order and the variety was excellent. Steve and Chef organised a wonderful bush dinner on our last night with lanterns, candles and incredible food. Drink flowed and all the staff anticipated our choices without having to be asked. That is a sign of a very good staff attitude. They were always happy, smiling and willing to help without being over familiar. Welcoming doesn't really cover their attitude. Everything seemed to be a pleasure for them. They should definitely be Number 1 in the Mara. I can't praise them enough. Don't even think about Explorer - just go. You won't regret it, I promise you.

Room Tip: The tents are all the same, but if you are a geriatric like me, possible a tent near the public area...
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  • Stayed October 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Explorer Camp, responded to this review, December 15, 2012
Dear Guest,
Allow me to thank you for taking time to post this wonderful review. It is such a pleasure for me to comment on it though two months later.
We in Heritage Hotels are kept going by the Team. The staff are awesome and in my books, the best in the World.
I feel singularly honored to work for such a Team.
I am truly so glad you came, You Saw and you immensely enjoyed. You are welcome for a future visit and I pray it is soon.
The Mara Explorer Team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Carolina
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

Last stop on our 3 week S. African, Tanzania and Kenya trip. Great way to end. Very relaxing on the Talek river.Loved hearing the hippos,lions,elephants,etc at night. Staff with Steve as manager was great.Coffee wake up in the am was terrific, Quick escorts to dinner (or early breakfast) from the tents to the reception/lunch/lobby area. All tents very secluded. Wish we had the time to enjoy the outside tubs on the deck but the animal viewing from the land rovers were too good to pass up. Great location, close to the airstrip. Really hope to be able to return with more family and friends.

Room Tip: I think they are all great and secluded.
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  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, GOM at Mara Explorer Camp, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Hello Guest,
We are so excited you enjoyed. We look forward to hosting you again soon
Regards,
The Mara Explorer Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas
Level Contributor
56 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

My wife and I spent two nights at Mara Explorer at the tail end of an East African safari trip and absolutely loved it. If you are on your honeymoon, a reunion trip with family or friends, an anniversary trip or any other special visit, this is absolutely the place to stay and be extremely happy:

The 'tents" are high luxury, permanent tented cabins, beautifully appointed, extremely comfortable, with the type of bathroom you'd expect from a super high end hotel. Each tent/cabin is seculded away from others. I believe each has river views. Special features are the outside bathtub (again, as you are secluded from everyone, you have plenty of privacy to use it) and the outside porch.

Service is excellent and exceeds even very high expectations. The small number of tents ensures personalized service and the lodge manager Steve does an incredible job of creating magical moments for the guests. Frankly, its as if he and the staff are compensated based on how often they are all able to suprise and delight their guests. Which is quite often. A few examples:

- Our second night there, the staff arranged for the guest to have a dinner in the bush, setting up tables and grills in a groove area a short walk from the camp. Then then arranged for a Masai troope to come in to dance.

- Our second morning, we were driven to a breakfast in the bush, again, with fully set tables, wait service, full breakfast menu. Just way cool and a great way to take advantage of the settings.

- We did a hot air ballon ride our first morning, which sets out from another camp. On our way back from the experience, we shared the car trip with the two balloon pilots. The next morning, we slept in and were awakened by a weird sound coming from outside the tents. Hippos? No. Hyenas? No. Lions? No. It was, in fact, the two hot air ballons we had been on who buzzed our camp. While there is a small chance this was mere coincidence, given that the camp staff all knew that these were the ballons we had been on (there are *many* ballon companies), I expect it was arranged between the balloon pilots (Jon and Steve) and the camp.

Food is terrific. Seriously great. If this was a restaurant in our home city, we'd likely eat there weekly. Don't skip on desserts!

Game drives are great: we shared a 4x4 and guide (Vincent) with a wonderful couple from California and the drives themselves were amazing: leopard momma and cub eating their kills, cheetah momma and cubs trying to track down wildebeest. Great pictures.

Overall, highly recommend staying here if you are visiting the Masai Mara.

Room Tip: We stayed in Tent 4 which overlooks a bend in the river where the hippos hang out. We also saw a cro...
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  • Stayed September 2012, 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.
BeutifulKenya64, GOM at Mara Explorer Camp, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Hello,
Glad you came you saw and you were were elated
Regards,
The Mara Explorer Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

I would have to say this was a truly memorable stay, I have been on safari on four separate occasion and this had to be the best. Ver small lodge with 10 permanent tents all looking out on to the river. Excellent food and wine, being shaken about in a vehicle for 4-5 hurs a day w's a dsaver for the waste line. The staff to a man (all male staff) were delightful, entertaining and helpful, led by their enthusiastic manager Steve. The game in the Masai Mara was very plentiful, leopard, lion, hippopotami, gazelles waterbuck wildebeest. The bird life was also spectacular, vultures, storks, hornbills eagles and many smaller birds. A couple of highlights was a lion bring back prey for her cubs and a short burst of the wildebeest migration. Fantastic. One small gripe no WiFi.

Room Tip: All are excellent
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  • Stayed September 2012, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Explorer Camp, responded to this review, October 20, 2012
Dear Guest,
So glad you enjoyed your stay with us. You will have noted we are rated 2 out 89 units in Maasai Mara and we are glad you apart of this wonderful rating.
We hope to see you again
Regards,
The Mara Explorer Team
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

We stayed at Mara Explorers Camp for 2 nights in September 2012 and then stayed a further 3 nights at their sister camp, Mara Intrepids. Having been to Kenya before we knew what to expect from a safari lodge but the time we spent at Explorers & Intrepids exceeded all those expectations. The main thing that stood out at these lodges was the staff. Steve, Godfrey and all the rest of the staff at Explorers, Francis, Abby and the staff at Intrepids and our expert guide Sammy who was with us at both lodges all looked after us so well that we really did feel sad to leave them. The food at both camps was very good, especially Explorers, and the tents were very comfortable and we quite enjoyed the more rustic feel of a tent over a normal lodge. Sammy was excellent on the game drives, and was very knowledgeable about the area and all the animals. He really got us in to some great positions and the amount of game we saw was amazing. His vehicle was very well kept, well stocked with water/drinks and was completely washed and cleaned after every game drive. I definitely hope to return to Explorers and Intrepids again in the future and would gladly recommend these camps to anyone wishing to see the Mara but also have a great holiday in a relaxed atmosphere with friendly staff around you. Kenya has always held a special place in our hearts and after such a great experience on this trip I can’t wait to go back and visit again!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Explorer Camp, responded to this review, December 15, 2012
Hello Guest,
What shall i say other than thank you for having such an awesome review for the Units. We are so glad you came.
The Mara Explorer Camp
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Additional Information about Mara Explorer Camp

Address: C14 Keekorok - Talek River in the middle Masai Mara Reserve-, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 132 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Mara Explorer Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the world famous Masai Mara, Mara Explorer Camp is set on its own private peninsula, with each of its ten luxurious tents opening to the Talek River and the stunning savanna. The tents, equipped with all mod cons are set on wooden decks opening out to a private verandah where you can enjoy time alone in the wild away from it all. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mara Explorer Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Explorer Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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