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“"Nice big rooms, average food"” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tipilikwani Masai Mara Camp

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Tipilikwani Masai Mara Camp
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C14 Keekorok -Masai Mara Reserve- | Parklands Road off Waiyaki Way, PO Box 42475, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00100, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Nairobi
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“"Nice big rooms, average food"”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

We stated at Tipilikwani for 3 nights in early August. The camp has 20 tents, most of which overlook the Talek river. The camp runs a mobile spa service and treatments are carried out in individuals rooms.

Points of interest:

1) The tent size is massive! So is the bathroom :) and both are fairly clean
2) Found some stains on the bedsheets (which was a put off for me) but if you're not OCD then you won't have an issue
3) Meals were mostly served to your table or on some days they have a buffet service. The vegetable soup was delicious!!
4) Packed lunch can be provided if you wish to be out on full-day game drive but please ensure you specify your dietary requirement or risk being surprised!
5) Power is switched off between 7.30am and 6pm and then again between 11pm and 5am - at least this was what we experienced when there. Electronic gadgets can be charged inside the restaurant.
6) Water for showers is nice and hot in the evenings ..

Overall, this was a nice place to stay although I wouldn't go back here due to proximity of game viewing ..

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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105 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
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Pune
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

The tented rooms at this place are amazing. They are ENORMOUS and the bathroom is huge as well. It is a true tent - ie the room cannot be locked and there was no safe so we left our valuables locked in our luggage which was fine. Also, there were (surprisingly) no bugs in our room. We had a double room and my sister who is single had a "single" room which actually had two queen size beds! - easily would have fit four people except you would have had to share the bathroom.
I slept here very deeply although my husband was kept up by barking dogs and the sounds of the maasai guards screaming at something?! Apparently a hyena had entered the camp ... that was the rumor anyway!

The rooms also had an outdoor wooden deck with a view of forest and the mara beyond where we could see the wildebeest grazing. Chef Moses makes the best macadamia nut fudge - must try!!! Their lounge/dining area has some outdoor seating as well where you have the view of the mara and the wildebeest which is very nice.

The only downsides were that service was very slow and the camp is actually outside the park. Although it is on the edge, there were two drives where the driver actually drove outside the park and through a little village where there is alot of plastic/garbage on the road.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

Pros:
Staff friendly, manager is quite a presence
Nice size rooms
Amenities there; good water pressure
Restaurant is open-plan and spacious, really comfortable to hang out in
Ask for Jonathan for the game drive.

Cons:
Rooms felt worn down
Long distance walk from restaurant to low numbered bungalows
Have to drive through dull farmland to get to property (but: there is a bridge which you can take directly to the game drive)
Tent flaps were functional and there were no mosquitoes
Lighting was not pleasant in the room and on the property not very good covers.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

This was our last stop on a safari through Kenya with three nights to enjoy the incredible sights of the Masai Mara. This property is very well setup and located to do this, and while the scenery was absolutely 5-star, Tipilikwani Camp struggles to deliver the same kind of experience.

There is a lot to like about the accommodation: firstly, its only a short drive to the National Park, which is a good thing as the roads are so awful (this is not the fault of this property). Actually, as a general observation, I found the dirt tracks inside the National Park to be better than the roads outside, which are supposedly "maintained" by the government. Please see my comment below about travel to the Masai Mara.

Secondly, the buildings/tents are quite spacious and we thought very comfortable, well provisioned with toiletries, generally well maintained and were always kept clean by the housekeeping staff. The evening turn-down service was discreetly done, and involved closing the blinds for additional privacy at night. Like the other tented camps we stayed at, security escorts at night made sure that you could move around safely.

The general areas were well maintained, like the tents, and the restaurant in particular was very large. A pedestrian bridge over the river connects you to the National Park (this was a blessing as it meant we didn't have to endure the road trip back on a couple of occasions) which provided a really delightful means of seeing some of the wildlife: we caught some spectacular views of a journey of giraffe on our final night.

What lets this property down is the manner in which it is managed: like another TA reviewer, we stayed at this property as it was run by the same operator as the fantastic Elephant Bedroom camp in Samburu (which we also stayed at - see my review on that!). It came as a surprise to us that everything that had been done easily at Elephant Bedroom, was a chore at Tipilikwani. Almost every service interaction, while always friendly and polite, was slow, involved regular reminders ("may I please have that coffee"?) or had some condition (you could settle your room bill with a credit card, but had to pay cash for the laundry service) that didn't reflect the premium price paid.

On one morning, we were offered breakfast leftovers after returning from our early game drive where you would expect food to be available. We searched for kitchen or management staff, but everyone had gone missing. Someone was ultimately found after about half an hour and food was promptly cooked and served, but clearly there is a disconnect in the way the property should be, and is, managed.

We also noticed that there was also nothing "special" done by the camp: our visits to Elephant Bedroom and Mbweha (in Lake Nakuru), both run by the same operator, we had been spoiled by outstanding service and both had sprung a really nice "surprise" to enhance our stay. Clearly the operator knows how to do this, it just isn't executed by the property management.

One final recommendation for guests travelling to the Masai Mara: we got there by 4wd Landcruiser, travelling from Lake Nakuru. The last 2 hours of that 6 hour drive were spent on dirt roads getting to Tipilikwani: I found it to be almost the worst experience of our safari and I wouldn't recommend it. We flew out of the Masai Mara to Wilson Airport in Nairobi, and I would certainly use this method again. There wasn't much to see on the road trip and the violent shaking and jolting of the Landcruiser on the very poorly maintained roads removed whatever pleasure was left in viewing the landscape.

All that said, nothing can detract from the brilliant experience of being on the Masai Mara: there is so much to see and experience that we would definitely go back, however we would probably try another property as there is plenty of good options available.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms, but as per my review, my tip would be to fly in/out of the Masai as the road...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jude b, Operations Manager at Tipilikwani Masai Mara Camp, responded to this review, August 29, 2012
We are glad to know you liked our Tipilikwani Mara camp and thank you for your comments on Trip Advisor, we have found them to be very useful. As a company we encourage and appreciate any information that can help us improve on our product and guest satisfaction. Your email has enabled us focus on the areas in the camp service delivery that you pointed out shortcomings.
Your comments on our service have enabled us to address areas of weakness and though some of them came as a surprise to us, we have communicated them to the camp manager. Various steps have been taken to address the speed of service as well as attention to detail by our staff including, ongoing training to sensitize staff on the importance of attention to detail. We are determined to ensure that no other guest has an experience similar to yours at this or any of our other camps. Payment of bills at the camp using a credit card is perfectly acceptable.
We welcome you to visit Tipilikwani Mara Camp again and assure you that all services will meet and probably exceed your expectation.
Yours Sincerely

Jude Baraza Boy
Operations Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2012

Nestled in a curve of the Talek River and surrounded by wilderness and wildlife, hyenas cackling in the night, odd bits of bone to deter intruders, and an armed guard to guide one through the meandering paths between the tents and main house ... this is really an adventure. Rustic but with all the amenities. Dark wood, colorful Masai fabrics (including a cosy bathrobe), comfy beds (with a hot water bottle at night to keep the footsies warm). Terrific meals. Handled our safari party of around 30 with style and grace; very friendly and accommodating. After a fulfilling day of animal-spotting all over the Mara, all the bumpy roads led to home ... Tipilikwani. Spent 3 nights there, and it was not long enough. Looking forward to a return visit.

  • Stayed September 2011, 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.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2012

This was our last stop on our trip through Tanzania ans Kenya so it easy to compare accommodations. This camp had the largest tents and probably the best bedrooms we experienced. I had a king size bed, large lounge and nice desk with suitable furnishings. The bathroom area was also large and suitable but we did experience better.
Sitting on the deck area of the tent overlooking the river and having an afternoon drink was very peaceful.
An interesting feature was that each tent had their own Masai Guard to escort you to and from the dining area at night. It was certainly implied that they should be tipped at the conclusion of your stay.
I did a walking safari for $US 20 with two Masai and we found the animal tracks and use of different vegetation interesting. I was disappointed we did not see any animals. Having done walks in the Chitwan area of Nepal where we encountered Rhino and sloth bear it was a little tame. Perhaps those that accompanied me were happy we did not see similar animals.
We found the food good but not excellent. The bar had a wide variety of drinks and we enjoyed some late nights trying some digestifs.
Wemwould rate this as our second best camp.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Geneva, Switzerland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

As soon as Dee, our Masai guide, picked us up from the airstrip, I knew that we were in good hands. Firstly his control of our 4 by 4 open jeep was masterly as we navigated the rutted mud splattered tracks leading to the camp and secondly he was a mine of information about the wildlife. Over six safari drives he and his assistant Francis were a joy to be with as they spotted herds of buffalos, elephants, antelope as well as the sleeping cheetahs and mating lions. We shall never forget the pride of 11 lions who snuggled up to our jeep for their early morning siesta.

Further honours should also go to Peter, the barman for his sundowners from crocodile tears to doua - whose secret receipe I shall not reveal as it is up to you to go and experience the delights of Tipilikwani!

  • Stayed May 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tipilikwani Masai Mara Camp

Address: C14 Keekorok -Masai Mara Reserve- | Parklands Road off Waiyaki Way, PO Box 42475, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00100, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #67 of 116 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Tipilikwani Masai Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Tipilikwani Masai Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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