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“Amazing Experience - Thank you Porini - Gamewatchers” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Porini Amboseli Camp

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Porini Amboseli Camp
Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya   |  
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San Diego
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
“Amazing Experience - Thank you Porini - Gamewatchers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

I have been meaning to write this review for some time. In August, I took
an eight night safari with Gamewatchers at three Porini Camps, Amboselli, Lion and Rhino Camps. I will review the others in additional reviews.

I am a single woman who traveled solo. From the beginning, the experience with Porini was professional, easy and completely comfortable. I booked with Julie at Gamewatchers nearly year in advance. She was amazing!

I landed in Nairobi and was met by the Gamewatchers staff. I transferred to a hotel for the night and was picked up and flew to Amboselli by Safari Air. You can drive but I would suggest flying to save the time.

I was met at the airstrip by the guides who where both Masai. The way the Porini camps work is that they pair you up with a driver and spotter who you are with the entire trip. The open air jeeps seat 6 so you have up to 6 people on game drives with you. The jeeps are really nice and two steps up from the other ones you see. I loved my guides the entire trip. I enjoyed talking to them and learning about their culture. They are so good a spotting animals since they grew up doing it!

We game drived for the day after the pick up. The camp itself is on a conservancy which means that it is land owned by the Masai. The park boarders the conservancy. The benefit of staying on the conservancy is that there are not rules. You can drive anywhere at anytime, even at night. I would say it takes 30- 45 min from the park boarder to get to the camp.

Amboselli is known for its elephants. There are sooo many of them. They are supposed to be friendly. They definitely seemed less phased by people then in other parks. The highlight of my game drives was seeing the "elephant crossing" where 100+ elephants walk from the forest to the swamp and cross the road right in front of you! Make sure that you leave early enough on your game drives to see this.

The camp itself is really nice. The "tents" are about 200 square feet with full beds and flushing toilets. You can have warm showers via the bucket shower - The camp staff pours a bucket of water in a contraption outside your tent and you take a shower normally via the plumbing. You only have a bucket so you need turn the showers off when you are soaping up and back on when you are rinsing.

You eat in a community dining area. When I was there, there was a total of 6 of us there. It was fun to sit together and talk to people who love animals and are from all over the world. Food is good. I am a vegetarian and not once did I have a problem having something to eat. They were so accommodating. When I was there, the BBC was staying at our camp filming for an upcoming series called Africa. One night we sat around the fire talking to the entire crew.

One other good thing about Amboselli is that you have the opportunity to visit a real Masai village with someone who lives there (that also works) at the camp. Dont miss this! This will be a bit out of your comfort zone and I am sure most people have never seen anything like it.

We game drived every day and took several night drives which you should not miss. One thing I will say is do NOT miss a game drive. Someone told me this and the one I missed in 8 days ended up being amazing.

What I can say about Porini is they are awesome. They are accommodating, knowledgeable and first class. What I do need to say about my Porini experience is, these camps are for people that love animals and really want an experience. They are nice, not luxerious. There isn't internet or washing facilities. There is weirdly enough cell coverage in the parks and you can wash your clothes in the sink. You hear noises at night (animals). It is very safe but its still Africa in the middle of the bush. Game drives are long compared to other camps which is good since that is why we are there. You are up early everyday since this is the best time to see the animals.

Here are some tips about my trip/stay:

* take planes between camps this saves time
* bring glasses since it is really dusty and you will not want to wear contacts
* If you go during the "winter" USA summer, it is COLD. I had a scarf, gloves and hat and I wore them. It is 40 degrees in the morning and colder as you are in an open air jeep
* Bring deet bug lotion and aways where it
* Dress in layers
* Buy a rolling duffle - the weight limit for the safari planes is 33 lbs total!! This means your carry on too. My duffle wasn't rolling and I regretted it
* Bring a flashlight/headlamp
* Do not bring anything you care about besides a camera - it is so dusty and dirty you will want to get rid of all your clothes at the end of your trip (give to the locals)
* Bring small bills for tipping
* You do not need a lot of clothes - buy the kind you can wash out and they dry fast.
* Wear hiking shoes vs flip flops ( you can step on things or get bitten)
* Bring dramamine if you get motion sickness since the game drives are bumpy
* Ladies - only wear sports bras on the game drives. It is harder on your body then running * Although you will be tired, do not miss a game drive
* Bring disinfectant wipes and wipes for your camera. Yes you go to the bathroom behind a tree a lot
* Bring TP with you on the game drives plus a zip lock bag
* If you can, stop on your way to africa to get acclimated to the time change. So if your plane stops in Istanbul, take a day or two there to get used to the time change
* I took Turkish Air along with many people we met, it was amazing
* I am so passionate about this trip, please email me at vickymann2000@yahoo.com with any questions!

  • Stayed August 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
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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

Traveler rating
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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
  • English first
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English first
Camarillo, California (Near Los Angeles)
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Amboseli Porini Camp was one of the most magical parts of my entire African holiday. Ordinarily, my idea of camping is a Hyatt. But camping at Porini Camp was a bit like staying in a Hyatt with a tent around it. The attention I received from the people who worked there was very loving and they put a lot of effort into ensuring that I was happy. For example, they have a gourmet chef. Great for most people but I'm a fussy vegetarian. So they made a special pasta with sauce just for me. The team work between the guides and the camp staff was exceptional. I would definitely return.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Washington DC
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

We took our 8 year old daughter, and her 80 year old grandfather on this safari for two nights. It was an ideal family trip made all the better by the fantastic team at Amboseli Porini.

The service was faultless, the staff were incredibly knowledgeable, and the facilities excellent.

Its important to stress that if you want the "spa" safari, this is not it. This is safari as it should be - low key, low impact and in tune with the environment.

We had plenty of time to share experiences, learn about animals and about the Maasai culture. It was an eye opener for our 8 year old.

We were also very fortunate to have a chance to walk in the conservancy, learn about some of the smaller animals and insects, and begin to appreciate the ecosystem.

This was the first time I had been back to Amboseli after some time. And I would definitely go back again to this same camp.

  • Stayed December 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

this was our first porini camp. we arrived from wilson airport in nairobi via 6 person propeller, the highlight being zebra on the runway. amboseli is remote which is the best part of the experience. the staff are just amazing, our guide wilson and maleta our driver were prob the best we had at the three camps. food was very good. my biggest issue with the camps is that they are very rustic. a safari shower is a 5 gallon bucket of water, no electricity, etc. however, this provides a much more authentic experience. so that said and done, as a family of four we had the time of our lives. wildlife at your doorstep, night drives were sublime, and the other fellow guests were just lovely.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

I looked into Porini Camps because of the recommendations of Trip Advisor. The Porini Camps are organized by Gamewatchers Safaris. We were picked up, by a young man from Gamewathers Safaris, at the International Airport in Nairobi and driven to our hotel, The Southern Sun. It was beautiful. The next morning we were picked up and taken to Wilson Airport for our flight to Amboseli. They took care of us from the time we left the visa line at the airport until we were dropped off at the airport at the end of our trip. They did an excellent job. We organized this trip through Julie Roggow at Gamewatchers in the US and she has to be one of the nicest people I have ever worked with. She made the process easy and her advice from camera lenses to camps was perfect.

The experience we had at Porini Amboseli was more powerful and awe-inspiring than anything I had imagined or dreamt of. We saw elephant families one after another pass within 5 feet of our car. Our guide Andrew and driver Richard were fantastic. We saw lions, a golden jackal, fringe eared oryx, gerenuks as well as hippos, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, Thomson's gazzelles and some amazing birds. I told Andrew and Richard if we did not see another animal on the rest of our safari, this experience in Amboseli would make our trip to Kenya worth every penny.
I am watching The Big Cat series this week on TV and they are talking about the last 20,000 lions. The big problem seems to be encroachment by man. The Porini conservancies support local people who return land to wild status, and we saw lion prides using the conservancy at Amboseli. We saw lions at Rhino Camp and we saw leopards, cheetahs and several lion prides at the Mara Camp. I applaud Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps for the wonderful work they have accomplished in Kenya.

'Tour Operator of the Year' in the 2011
The Eco Warrior Awards 2012
"Community Conservancy of the Year 2012"

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

We would like to extend a big thanks to the entire Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Safari Camps staff & crews.

We had a fantastic time at Amboseli & Porini Lion Camps and our trip was amazing--better than anticipated. We are very impressed with all of the Gamewatchers and Porini Safari Camps staff. Everybody was very personable with an easygoing demeanor, which made for a good comfortable experience. We are also very impressed with the overall customer service mentality, high work ethic, and motivation of everybody involved. Porini Safari Camp crews & guides crews are professionals in every sense of the word and many other high-end service businesses can learn from their example.

We highly recommend Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Safari Camps to anyone interested in exploring wild Africa. Truly it is an adventure experience of a lifetime!

Warmest regards,

Craig D & Family—Los Angeles, California USA

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Doha, Qatar
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

Porini Amboselli is well worth a visit, everything was done so well. The tents are very spacious with all the amenities you could wish for. We have visited Amboseli before but never had the opportunity to visit a Masaai village.They greeted us with a very warm welcome and showed us their traditional way of life, incredible. The game drives were excellent and the drivers/guides are extremely knowledgable. We enjoyed pre dinner drinks sat chatting and relaxing round the campfire after an action packed day. The food was good and lots of it served with plenty of drinks!
I would recommend this place for families, couple and friends. We will definitely be returning soon!

  • Stayed November 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
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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