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“You won't see cheetahs here” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Swara Plains Acacia Camp

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Swara Plains Acacia Camp
Ranked #24 of 183 Specialty Lodging in Nairobi
Ukunda, Coast, Kenya
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“You won't see cheetahs here”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

I liked this place and was delighted by the rustic charm and sense of isolation you get so close to Nairobi. The only real eyesore is the cement plant next door which limits your photography angles!

The main criticism I have is their use of cheetah photos and motifs on their website. I was told on arrival by a Kenyan staffer that they'd had a pet cheetah that died; as for wild cheetahs, no one, including the English lady who manages the accommodation, knew anything about their existence. It is not impossible that cheetahs could be around, since they can squeeze through tiny gaps in fences, etc, and like other cats are highly enterprising about getting kills. But don't come here expecting to see them perched on anthills as you would in the Masai Mara.

Honesty is always appreciated in advertising, and I would have to say that Swara is somewhat misleading in their promotion of the place.

I camped for a very reasonable US$12 which included the conservation fee. The rooms are expensive going by the price list, but on arrival I was offered a room for a deeply discounted rate of 2,500 shillings, about $30. So use your bargaining power, especially in low season.

Meals are definitely overpriced. US$25 is too high for a set dinner, although breakfast at $10 seems more in line with the other mid-range lodges in Kenya.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ChristopherH932
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Sandy, UK
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

After 8 weeks of overlanding on a truck through South and East Africa, I needed a few days peace and relative luxury before setting off on the next lap!

Swara Plains was all I could have wished for...... very peaceful and relaxed, lovely surroundings, a comfy bed (much needed after 8 weeks on a sleepmat at age 57!), great food - and especially so as I am a coeliac on a strict gluten-free diet.....

And above all - lovely people who, like everywhere else in Africa - were genuinely great and willing to put themselves out for you!

Walked around for hours in the early morning savouring the wildlife, came back to the camp for breakfast and relaxed with a book and coffee, more walking after lunch, then off for a sun-downer with Raine after dinner.....

Hugs and kisses all round when I left and very fond memories a year later.......

  • Stayed February 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
Helpful?
Thank mieke v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed here one night to get away from Nairobi and it was absolutely fantastic!!! I can't wait to go back. We went for several walks and saw gazelles, giraffes, ostriches, and all different types of birds. The staff were really great- friendly, relaxed and not over-attentive. The little huts/ rooms were great. The food was delicious and they catered well to vegetarians. The only trouble we had was that they didn't have any rooms with a double bed available- despite the fact it seemed we were the only couple there.
If you want to get out of Nairobi, or if you have a night or two to kill in Nairobi, come to this place. It's a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. It's also very reasonably priced with full-board, especially compared to so many over-priced, not that great places in Kenya.
When travelling down Mombasa road, the turnoff is at "Kahama hotel".

  • 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
Helpful?
Thank LRaberts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

My girlfriend and I were looking for a place to stay not in Nairobi itself but a shortish drive form Nairobi and chanced upon this absolute gem of a camp. It's perfect for a few days away from the madness of Nairobi or if you are looking for comfort and convenience within easy access of the airport but still in the wilds so to speak.

We were greeted by the extremely friendly and attentive staff on the first day and taken to our lovely cottage. The food was simple but really tasty and, frankly, by far and away the best food we had whilst in Africa beating all the four and five star hotels we had stayed in. Nothing fancy but everything perfectly cooked - three gorgeous meals a day with the beef an outstanding example of how to cook meat to perfection. The snapper fish was delicate, yet powerful on the palate and cooked how fish is supposed to be cooked. How strange we thought that this camp did the best food we had on our entire trip to Africa - and hungry we never were with a large buffet meal every night. Indeed we bumped into people who come to the Camp at weekends specifically for the food - it is that good and tasty.

The camp was lovely and peaceful at night and the owner has two dogs which are playful and docile - and enjoy chasing the monkeys! We went on a walk around the large private ranch which the camp is based on our second day by ourselves and found ostrich and Wildebeest, baboons and secretary birds. We also saw a Giraffe. We have read in another review that the dogs bark at night - this is not our experience at all.

There is snug too with a TV and the bar is run by a very friendly and pleasant man called Michael who like the rest of the staff is genuinely happy to help guests. The camp also arranged a sensible and safe driver to take us to the airport on our last night.

We are sad in a way to write this review - we feel like we are giving away our little secret(!) but Acacia Camp was the very nicest place we stayed at whilst we were in Africa. Family run, cosy, friendly, value for money and great for a little independent safari on the back of a long trip we will be back.

Julian Hunt

Barrister

London

June 2012

Room Tip: We had the family bungalow which was huge with doors opening onto the garden
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tammy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

friendly welcome, although a slight mix up with the rooms to start off with. if you are after a basic, no frills accommodation then perhaps this one is for you. Prices have gone up ( then I guess they have everywhere in Kenya over the past year) and I'm not sure that I would still call it value for money.
There is a definite charm about it (after you recover from driving on the Mombasa road) and I would rather stay somewhere like this if I wanted to say somewhere convenient to the airport.
Read some older reviews which complained about the owners dogs, yes they were here there and every where but they were fine. +no barking through out the night as others have reported.

Other guests I spoke to where every enthusiastic, so this will appeal to some.

If you want luxury go some where else, but if it's basic frills then perhaps this is your sort of place.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Safari-chelsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2012

This place needs to be known better. The food is superb! The staff, friendly and responsive. The setting is very relaxed and beautiful. The value for money is top.

Room Tip: I've never stayed here. Only eaten here many times (close to our home). They have 12 bungalows...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chip K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, UK
Level Contributor
109 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

We were looking to stay outside Nairobi but within easy reach of the airport for the final few days of our Kenya trip. We found this camp on the internet and despite the fact that none of our friends in Nairobi had heard of it,we decided to give it a go.
Once we got off the main road between Nairobi and Mombasa, we passed a huge cement work on our way to the Swara main gate. This was not the best of starts. However, when we arrived in the camp we were greeted by Patrick with a warm welcome. We were directed to the largest of the 13 little cottages right at the end of the row. As it turned out we were the only guests and had therefore been given the family cottage. Large windows looked out into the bush. The cottage was spacious and had everything you need. It was all very basic but clean and quiet. For lunch we were served three courses where the first one would have been enough. The chef, Anton, cooked us delicious food meal after meal. My boyfriend is vegetarian and Anton delivered a different, tasty option for him every time. After only one lunch and one dinner, we realised we would be leaving weighing twice as much as we did on arrival. Excellent food!
It is possible to go on game drives here as well but because we had done this for the previous two weeks, we were happy to just read, sleep, eat and go for walks. This is something you do not normally get to do in safari camps. However, Swara is on a cattle ranch and since they do not have large carnivores, we were allowed to walk around by ourselves. This way we got to see things you don't normally stop for on a game drive. Amazing insects, little birds, burrows of porcupines, warthogs and others. We found skulls and whole skeletons, but also a tree with 15 vultures. We did manage to get within 20 metres of a group of giraffe.
Back at the camp the two lovely dogs of the manageress kept us company most of the time. A water hole at the end of the garden attracts wildlife in and is a great place to view. Unfortunately, the two dogs very often took great pleasure in running up to the wildlife and barking loudly. This was amusing but also slightly annoying. During the first night the dogs decided to lie outside our cottage (as their owner was away, the dogs staied in the camp overnight). We first became aware of this when they sarted barking at some creatures they could hear or see in the woods. This carried on all night and we were woken again and again, every time close to a heart attack as the dogs were literally metres away from our bed.

The whole place could do with a bit ot TLC and a lot more attention to detail. For us it did exactly what we needed it to do, but the place has potential to be a lot better. The staff are fantastic. They are knowledgeable, helpful, fun and always happy to do anything you ask for. Thank you Patric and Anton in particular.
On our last evening we were picked up at 20.30 , arrived at the airport 30 minutes later and went on our late night flight home. Even if you are just looking for a first or last night hotel this is much better than any airport hotel could be.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TPLSouthampton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Swara Plains Acacia Camp

Property: Swara Plains Acacia Camp
Address: P.O. Box 47272 | Athi River, Nairobi, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 183 Specialty Lodging in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Acacia Camp - Swara Plains is situated on a 20,000 acre ranch, teaming with plains game - only 35 kms from Nairobi city centre, with very easy access to Jomo Kenyatta International airport. It'is a rustic camp, consisting of 13 wooden banda's and delicious food! Ideal for game walks/drives, bird watching, biking, fishing. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Swara Plains Acacia Camp Hotel Nairobi

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