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“An amazing experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Porini Amboseli Camp

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Porini Amboseli Camp
Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya   |  
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Leeds, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“An amazing experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

After a long 3 and a half hour drive to the camp it was great to be greeted with a cool drink and a nice chat. The camp is beautiful and remote, with the tents spaced nicely so that every one is private. The only sound you hear is that of the wildlife around you.
The game drives around the Selenkay Conservancy and in Amboseli Park were made great by our guides, Andrew and Daniel, who explained all about the animals well without needing any promting. On the drives there is always a selection of drinks in the cooler (coke, water, fanta, etc) so you dont need to take your own. The jeep was also a really nice one; comfy!
Due to the low number of guests its lovely to sit around the campfire at night and chat before/after dinner, and timings are always relaxed so although your up early, you dont feel you have to rush to get going.
Dinners are lovely, three course with good drinks and top ups. I would recommend the sundowner, as we really enjoyed this, watching the setting sun with views of Mt Kilimanjaro, seeing hunderds of birds drinking from the pond and elephants walk past (all whilst with a glass of wine and nibbles)
The Maasai village was an experience for sure, although I think it is hard to make a trip like that feel natural, it was done well and just the right amount of time.
You do a lot in 3 days, and they seem to fly by. We both would love to come back again some day.

Room Tip: We were in room 8, lovely spot with a tree overhanging it
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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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218 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
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English first
Stockholm, Sweden
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

I and my sister have made many trips to East Africa going on safari. A few years ago we discovered Porini Amboseli and fell in love with it. This year we returned for our third visit and also went to Porini Mara and last to Porini Lion so now we have three loves!
We are both elderly (72 and 76 years) and not so agile any longer but all three camps can be highly recommended also to elderly people who are still young in mind.
The service is absolutely firstclass. All our wished were fullfilled also some we did not know we had!! The staff, guides, drivers, camp staff including the manager always made sure that we were well looked after from the early morning tea outside our tent to the hot water bottle in the bed.
The tents were large and well equipped, food was good and ample both when we had our meals "at home" and as picknik lunches during the safaries.
Sundowners by the waterhole watching elephants was great.
We saw a very great number of animals both in the Selenkay Conservancy and in the Amboseli Park. The guide was very good at spotting those and also know how to get the best possible angle for taking good pictures. The driver was good managing the rather rough roads.
Visits of Maasai villages were a highpoint beeing able to watchihg some of the activiies.
We spent three nights in Amboseli Porini this year and finished each day happy and exhausted after a day crammed full of experiences.
The camp can be highly recommended and we certinaly want to return.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 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.
Waterlooville, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

Sadly we had a bad guide and so although the camp was fine and the game is of course wonderful, I would not recommend booking with this company. They messed up our booking in Nairobi (we have 2 younger children and our rooms were miles apart !) and they did not deal with my complaint about aspects of the holiday but dismissed with a reply that was not really admitting the problems.

The main problem at Amboseli camp was with Felix. We have self guided, but because of the excellent guides we have had since we had children, we pay extra for this now. He just wasn’t interested in helping us to see wildlife or to get good photos. En route to the conservancy, or in it that evening, we saw wildlife we weren’t going to see again such as Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Vervet monkeys, but he always seemed to think we could get a better photo another time and he wouldn’t stop. He said this about the vervet monkeys but he forgot to show them to us at the lodge in Amboseli. He never tried to position us well for photos. He did answer our questions but these were brief answers and he never volunteered much information. He mainly chatted to the driver or the spotter.

The walk with Masai that first evening was disappointing as the warriors seemed very bored with the whole thing and they stood in the shade each time Jackson stopped us on the road. There was no tracking and we just walked up the road with occasional explanations e.g. of the river legend and tree uses. Jackson, who never spoke to the kids or acknowledged them, left us in the blistering sun until I asked him if we too could stand in the shade. I asked specifically in my e-mail of 9th August if the Masai warriors would show the children activities and I was told on Aug 11th they would eg show the kids how to throw a spear. But they didn’t interact with my kids at all and the dance was done as if it was all very tedious. The Masai warriors then got a lift back in the jeep to pick up their bikes which they had left on the road where we had met to start our walking safari.
On the full day in Amboseli, we were keen to get going early to see the main game there in good light. We were happy to get up early but breakfast was slow and we were impatient to get going. Then after we had driven 10 minutes or so, Felix realised he had left the smart card behind. He didn’t explain or apologise but we asked why we had returned to camp and this delayed us a further 25 minutes. So we got to Amboseli quite late and we saw some game and elephants but by now Kilimanjaro was covered with cloud and the light was terrible for photos. We had a good 2 hours though. But after lunch, at 1.30pm, Felix asked if we wanted a sundowner that evening at camp. I specifically answered that we would like to, but not if it would shorten our stay in Amboseli. I had hoped we would see a big cat or something similar as we had not at that point. Felix seemed to jump on the fact we had said yes to a sundowner so I checked again about leaving the park. But straight from lunch, we left the Observation Hill area and started to drive for the half hour to the Park boundary during which wildlife was scarce. I was watching out carefully as I had realised we were going back towards camp, but I thought may be we were going to a different part of the park. But then when we got to the bore hole near the hill up north out of the conservancy, I queried Felix again, saying that it looked like we were leaving. It was now 2pm and we had seen no wildlife for the last 30mins and he was about to take us the 1 hour drive back. Felix got very cross, saying that I had said we wanted a sundowner and that, actually, how did I know the way back. He started to bang the steering wheel with his hands and he shouted at me. The children became very upset as well as my husband and me. He said he had never had any difficulties with a client. (To which I had to bite my tongue not to reply that I had never had a difficulty with a guide).

So, he agreed to drive to another area of Amboseli, but the atmosphere was dreadful. The row had woken up Jackson who had been sleeping. He then did look out for us, and we did see several lions which was fun. Felix didn’t have his own binoculars, so he wanted to use ours when Jackson said there was a lion. It was impossible to really talk to Felix as the atmosphere was so awful. At 3pm we suggested we head back, but Felix took us a different longer route and made a point of stopping for everything. He then told us that there wasn’t time to get back to camp and have a sundowner- we would have to go directly to sundowner or not have one. (By the way – we were never offered G&T at Amboseli Porini- it was lovely at Lion Porini to finally be offered what was on the brochure).

That evening, I told Tony (as did Felix) about the row, and I was told that Mohanjeet would speak to me the next day (I thought he was director). He was too busy that evening as he was having dinner with clients. The next morning, we set off to the airport and we were 10 minutes late leaving because of the delayed breakfast, but then Felix said there wasn’t time to go to the porcupine den that we had wanted to see. In fact I insisted and we saw it and got to the airport at 8.20am for a 9.05am flight! Then to our dismay, Felix persuaded the pilot to take him too.
When we landed at Wilson in Nairobi, we met Kamal who was due to take us to the next camp and Felix spoke to him and it was obviously about us. Felix then got a lift with us. I had booked the flight to get to Nakuru for an afternoon game drive as recommended by a compnay advisor on , and the ‘plane was late arriving, so I was somewhat concerned that we shouldn’t detour to take Felix home. I kept asking Kamal about this and he assured us that going up Kenyatta avenue in the terrible traffic was all part of the journey to Nakuru. So I got out our maps and there was clearly a direct route to Naivasha from Wilson, avoiding the city centre. When Kamal heard us talking about this, he did drop Felix off, but not after a considerable time spent in traffic jams unnecessarily.
WE then arrived at our next camp and they had no intention of taking us for an evening game drive. Beware and don't book if you value time on safari with the wildlife and not with lazy guides!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
TunduziNyama, Owner at Porini Amboseli Camp, responded to this review, October 31, 2012
We are very disappointed to see your comments urging people not to book with us and stating that you had stayed at Porini Amboseli Camp within the last 12 months in November 2011 when, as you know, your actual date of stay was over 4 years ago in late October 2008.

You will recall that you had brought your complaints to our attention at that time, 4 years ago, when you let us know that although you considered it to be a lovely eco-friendly camp with very helpful staff you felt that the guide Felix had been rude and had wanted you to come back from the day in Amboseli Park too early. You also informed us that you were unhappy with the traffic on the route from Nairobi to Nakuru and that you felt that the driver had taken you via Kenyatta Avenue in order to give Felix a lift whereas when you got out a map you felt that he could have take a different route from Wilson Airport to Naivasha.

We had written to you at the time to apologise for your disappointment and to express our regret for this and to confirm that we would be taking immediate disciplinary action if we felt this appropriate after investigating the matter with the staff concerned. We did note that once you had made clear to Felix that you wished to continue game-viewing in the park, he followed your wishes and you stayed longer and saw lions. We also confirmed to you that our driver had indeed followed the correct route from Nairobi towards Nakuru. At that time in 2008, our drivers were instructed to use the main thoroughfare along Uhuru Highway, Kenyatta Avenue and till today we do not divert to go through the slum areas of outer Nairobi which would have been the case if we had followed the route you were suggesting. We need to ensure that our drivers follow only the approved routes and avoid diversions through areas which may not be considered ideal places for our guests to go. Today in 2012 there are new highways and fly-overs in Nairobi which have eased the traffic situation considerably.

After writing to you to apologise for your disappointment with the behaviour of the guide and to assure you that we had taken careful note of your comments and would be taking corrective action we did not hear from you again until seeing your review just posted this week some 4 years later. In fact our Operations Manager had immediately visited the camp shortly after your stay to interview the guides concerned and they both left our service shortly afterwards and are no longer employed by us.

Our guests’ satisfaction is a matter of great importance to us and we were very sorry that you were so unhappy with the guide when you stayed with us in 2008. However as we had taken action immediately to follow up after your complaint 4 years ago and the 2 persons you mention in your review have not been working at the camp for a long time now, we feel it is most unreasonable to suggest or imply that our current guides are lazy! From all the reviews preceding yours you can see that the guides are often mentioned by name by many of the guests in the over 100 reviews posted since the time when you stayed and we believe that they are doing a very good job now. We are sorry if that was not the case when you stayed back in 2008 and we will endeavour to see that the present high levels of satisfaction from recent guests is maintained.

Jake Grieves-Cook
Managing Director
Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

This was our 3rd visit to this camp in 3 successive years and each visit has surpassed the previous (which is amazing when you consider we were completely blown away on our very first visit). Our second trip was like visiting old friends, and this time it was like visiting our family. As always, the staff were happy, friendly, nothing was too much trouble; and the food and accomodationtion were faultless. The camp is located in Selenkay Conservancy which provides a true wilderness experience. The only vehicles are those from the camp so there is less interference to the animals' environment, they are not restricted to staying on 'roads', and night drives are available - all added benefits compared to the National Parks - PLUS Amboseli National Park is adjacent too. The vehicles are all open-sided 4 x 4 so can go anywhere - and do! thus providing better photographic opportunties. The animal population in the Conservancy is on the increase - both in terms of species and quantity - this time we saw baboons, leopard and lions in addition to all the species previously seen, together with larger numbers of elephant and giraffe. Two other additions were a new water hole, and local airstrip which cut the journey time from Nairobi from 4 hours to 1/2 hour and as a bonus provided a bird's eye view of Mount Kilimanjaro en route. If you want saunas, swimming pools and TV don't go here, but if you want a truly exceptional life experience next to African nature you must visit.God willing, we shall return yet again.

  • Stayed October 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milford, Delaware
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

You can read all about Africa in books, see it on TV, but arriving at my first Porini camp was nothing short of awesome. After a 4 hour drive from Nairobi driving through the Kenya countryside, the warm welcome from the Maasai staff with cool aromatic towels to wipe off the dust from the road trip just hit the spot, along with a cool juice drink to quench my thirst. Then off to the tent; large, clean and welcoming with everything you would expect in a deluxe hotel - even an ensuite in the tent. The stay was for 2 nights in each of the Porini camps. This first camp set the tone for the rest of the trip - attentive staff, great and plentiful food, exciting game drives where I was to see one big game animal after another on each trip out. There were many bird species right in camp too. Maasai staff and a trip to a Maasai village was a highlight of this camp stay. And never a dull moment. It was Julie, the North American safari representative, whose enthusiasm about the camps sealed the deal on which safari itinerary I chose. And she was right on. I was not disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

This was our first stop on our Kenyan safari. Everything at the camp was great ... the service, the food, the accommodations, the people! The only detraction is the location. It is a long way from everything (an hour or so to get to Amboseli, 4 to Nairobi). If you want to see Kilimanjaro and all of the elephants, this is a must-stay location, otherwise it may be a little off the beaten path for you.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TunduziNyama, Owner at Porini Amboseli Camp, responded to this review, October 9, 2012
Thank you for your review of our Porini Amboseli Camp in the Selenkay Conservancy and we are delighted that you considered the service, food and accommodation at the camp to be great and that you judge it a "must-stay" place for anyone interested in seeing the Amboseli elephants!

However we note your comment that the camp is a long way from Nairobi and takes 4 hours to drive there. To offer an easy alternative to a long drive on bumpy roads, we have recently opened our own airfield close to the camp and we are now operating daily flights from Nairobi to Selenkay from July to October and from December to March. The flight takes only 35 minutes and from the airfield to the camp it is just a brief drive inside the conservancy with the chance to view the wildlife from the moment you land. So we recommend that all our guests take advantage of the short flight from Nairobi and fly in rather than drive.

Jake Grieves-Cook
Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottumwa, Iowa
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

We spent 8 nights at the Porini camps, 2 Amboseli, 2 Rhino, 4 Lion, and every day got better. Wonderful accommodations and service and the game drives with Wilson as our guide were thrilling. Overall this was a great value. .We followed the advice of Julie, the US and Canada rep and were very pleased as we felt we had the right balance of time at the three camps.

  • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Porini Amboseli Camp

Address: Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Amboseli Eco-system
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Amboseli Eco-system
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Selenkay Conservancy lies a few miles north of Amboseli National Park, is an important dispersal area and rangeland for wildlife migrating out of Amboseli. The number of tourist visitors is limited to eighteen per day. Accommodation is at Porini Camp. The facilities include 9 spacious tents, comfortably furnished with en suite bathrooms and solar-powered electric lighting. Game drives in open 4x4s with qualified guides, bush walks, sundowners and night game drives are all included ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amboseli Porini Camp, Selenkay Conservancy Hotel Amboseli Eco-System

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