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“Weekend house party rather than lodge”
Review of Karen Blixen Camp

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Karen Blixen Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Cambridge
Level 6 Contributor
41 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Weekend house party rather than lodge”
Reviewed July 6, 2009

We spent three nights at Karen Blixen and were treated as if we were at a private house party for the weekend. The staff were so friendly and even the manager, Gerald, came to personally greet us and, in due course, wave us off. The setting by the Mara river is just perfect. As we arrived an elephant was just wandering along the far bank and a resident "herd" of Hippo were bathing and playing in the water below the terrace. We had lunches watching impala and baboon and a leopard came down to drink one afternoon ( I've heard!) whilst we were out on a game drive. It is an amazing experience to lie on an Oldy worldy chaise longue on your private deck watching the game wander along the river bank or drink morning tea within a stone's throw of a crocodile basking in the sun. The "tents" have electricity, hot water bottles at night, and proper flush toilets. - feast your eyes on the website but it is even better when you get there. Drinks by the open fire in the evening and a cosy lounge area to exchange stories with fellow guests add to the intimate yesteryear ambiance. We loved it!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank TillyS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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343 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
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English first
Nairobi
1 review
Reviewed June 22, 2009

I have just been for the third time to Karen Blixen Camp. I'm lucky I live in Nairobi for six years now and tend to have a lots of friends coming over who all wants to go on safari so during my time here and I have visited lots of different camps and lodges, but never till I visited Karen Blixen Camp first time in January last year have I been to a place which for me has it all. The location is stunning, the game experience is fantastic - never does it get overcrowded in the corner of the Masai Mara as at gets 8 months of the year in the reserve, the atmosphere, the friendly staff, the food and of course the wonderful tents. There are so many touches to the details yet nothing is over done making you feel you are at some hotel resort, but you have everything you need even electricity 24 hours along with hot running water. Also the camp is very eco friendly with all running on gas and/or solar.

I have quite a few times just relaxed in camp while my eager friends get up early for a game drive and more than once have I seen +30 elephants drinking from the river right across from the restaurant. Most of the day you can actually see lots of game directly from the camp - it is lovely and goes very well with a glass of wine...

Karen Blixen Camp is not the cheapest camp in the Masai Mara, but I think you will find it very hard to find something at a better value. You should not cheat yourself from visiting this camp if your are planning a safari to Kenya and Masai Mara.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Katsens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, Yorkshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 10, 2009

I've just returned from five nights spent with my girlfriend at The Karen Blixen Camp and I'm amazed that anyone could consider the experience "absolute perfection". After a true five-star safari in South Africa last year, we were utterly underwhelmed by the Karen Blixen.
Firstly, however, the positives. The staff are, for the most part extremely friendly and helpful, and the setting on the Mara is indeed stunning; as well as the resident hippos, impala and elephants were daily visitors to the river bank, and we even got a brief sighting of a stalking leopard.
But the main issue with the camp is that many of the small touches that are provided as standard - indeed, taken for granted - at other top class camps and lodges, are missing.
No tea and biscuits with your wake-up call , or high tea in the afternoon (believe it or not, you even pour your own tea at the Karen Blixen); no stopping for a morning snack or for 'sundowners' on your game drives - the first time we went out we were stunned to discover we didn't even get a bottle of water for a four hour excursion, which is borderline scandalous; when we deceided to take out a packed breakfast on the drive it was poor and not as requested; and EVERY drink has to be paid for (I ended up with a drinks bill of around $130 for five days, which included only 5 glasses of wine; I therfore spent roughly $100 on bottled water and one or two bottles of Coke each day).
More fundementally, our local guide was less than inspirational. Leaving aside the difficulty we had in interacting with him (his English was broadly fine, but he couldn't understand mine, which I also regard as acceptable) he often looked bored, and, amazingly, even spent a large part of one trip on his mobile phone. Furthermore, he was knowledgeable with regard to the wildlife, but a long way from being authoritative. If you're already interested in conservation and biodiversity, you're unlikely to learn anything you didn't already know from your guide.
And despite the great spot on the river, I'd recommend a camp situated within the main Mara reserve ahead of any outside in the conservancy areas; the big game is much more plentiful in the reserve and the surroundings in the vicinity of the camps so much more spectacular.
The tent interiors are okay, no more, no less. The 'double beds' are two singles pushed together and the matresses are rock hard, which I found extremely uncomfortable. They also allow kids, which we'd rather aviod on our holidays. And you won't want to swim in the mirky pool.
The point is that this place is generally okay, but it's five-star expensive. And that means it's very poor value for money, because other five-star camps and lodges do this type of holiday so much better; give you so much more. Try Marataba in the Limpopo region of South Africa; Pricewise very similar, but that place really is perfection, from the setting, to the cottages, to the service, to the quality of the guides.
The game viewing in Kenya is outstanding, but the Karen Blixen Camp wouldn't be my recommedation to anyone wishing to visit the Masai Mara.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank TimPak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kenya
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2009

This place is just amazing. The location is a bit of a drive from the airfield and it's not in the park itself but is in the conservancy just outside- still the drive to the camp is fabulous and full of game viewing. The Camp itself is pure magic-I don't think it gets any better than this! The tents are comfortable, and spotless, the outside shower is a treat and the team are just incredible- they treat their guests like friends and from management to drivers and guides "nothing is too much trouble" seems to be everyone's only motto. The food is super and enjoying a sundowner while watching the hippos in the river is the perfect way to end a day. We saw lots of game and had the best driver and guide who also really went out of their way to try to show us as much as possible- even organising a packed lunch so we could stay out all day in the park. There's poor cellphone reception at the camp except in one spot of reception, but instead of being a disadvantage I thought being out of touch was wonderful and a perfect way to literally switch off and absorb the gorgeous scenery- and cell reception comes back as soon as you get back onto higher ground.
I actually can't say enough great things about this place- I would recommend it to anyone. My only hesitation in recommending it, is that I don't want it to become so popular that I can't get a reservation! It's the experience of a lifetime and I can't wait to return.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank totoKenya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2009

Danish managed camp just outside game reserve (40 mins to gate, 1.5 hrs from air strip).

Stayed 4 nights with family (other half + children 5, 9, 13 yrs). Everyone had a great time. Very nice ambience in camp as its quite small (c. 40-ish people max). Staff are great. Quiet, nice old fashioned style - lots of wood everywhere.

Driver & Guide (Dennis & Lente) were fantastic. Took us all over, saw loads of everything. Sundowners at the river where camp iis located were a highlight - hippos, crocs and other animals turn up.

"Tents" were great, very luxy - was a bit chilly at night - they put hot water bottles under the duvets for us. Chose this one partly for the swimming pool (good for middle of day with young children). Pool was a bit murky, but didn't matter in slightest.

As a family we stay in lots of pricey hotels all over the world, this was definitely up there in our top five 'hotel' experiences.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank MrZippo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 15, 2009

The Karen Blixen Camp is located on the most magical place on earth! You have the Mara river running closely beside your luxery tent, where the animals come to every day for a drink of water and the hippos are entertaining you with their funny noices and playfullness with oneanother.

The staff are absolutely excellent! always friendly and attending to your every need. And big compliments to the chefs, the food was always great and there was plenty of it.

The drivers on the camp were very experienced and showed us every animal in book you could think of, we saw the big five and small cheetah and lion cups - it was fantastic!

We would recommend everyone to go there if your main purpose is to see fantastic wild life, and if you do not want to comprimise in regards to comfort and the real safari experience.

  • Liked — I like everything
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank SafariL0vers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 21, 2009

I was visiting this place in may, it was a great experiance for me because I traveled so far first time.
As i was traveling with travel agency Albatros, they recommended to stay in Karen Blixen Camp. And i am very glad that I listen to them. The perfect place to stay.

No problems with people working there, everything is clean and nice.

  • Liked — Amazing view
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank jeka5252
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Karen Blixen Camp

Property: Karen Blixen Camp
Address: Marula Lane 40C | PO Box 9913-00100 GPO NBO, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 139 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Karen Blixen Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Karen Blixen Camp in the Masai Mara offers an authentic ’yesteryear’ experience for visitors wishing to gain that little extra from their safari. Set on the bank of the Mara River; the location is spectacular. Throughout the day elephants, giraffes, zebras and impalas come for a drink while a large hippo pod rest lazily in the river. The Camp gives a feeling of the early 1920’s era with beautiful and comfortable furniture. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Karen Blixen Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Karen Blixen Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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