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“Attentive staff, and incredible location”
Review of Offbeat Mara Camp

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Offbeat Mara Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 26, 2013 via mobile

I can't say enough about the experience I had. The accommodations and the setting within the conservatory was fabulous. Add to that a staff who wants this to be a trip of a lifetime and you have a great combination. Thanks again to each of them for making my safari so special.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank sanibel472
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2013

Thank you very much for your review here. I am thrilled you had such a great time and I will pass your comments onto the team.
We hope to see you again at Offbeat Mara soon!
Piers

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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168 - 174 of 238 reviews

Reviewed June 20, 2013

After three weeks in Kenya with a group of college students, I was eager to visit Offbeat Mara. My Masai guide and spotter (David and James) met me at the airstrip and provided the first watching experience on our drive to camp before lunch. I was amazed by how many species we saw over three days, including two lionesses and six cubs on our way to my farewell flight! Being virtually unplugged was actually a relief--wifi available in the office tent in the evenings, and I didn't miss TV at all. Meals were superb with great service in the mess tent! Oh....and love the superbly stocked bar! Can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Ask for one of the outer tents in order to get unobstructed views of the hillside in front of the ca...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2013

Thank you very much for your great review here and I am very happy you had such a great time.
I will pass your comments onto Katie, Jamie, David, James (Mukenye) and the rest of the crew.
We hope to welcome you back to Offbeat Mara soon
Piers

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

My first visit to Offbeat Mara was three years ago with my then 16 year old daughter, and it was heaven on earth! EVERYTHING was perfect and we decided this was our "happy place." I returned the following year with two of my closest friends and they agreed, HEAVEN! Back AGAIN, this past January with three more friends who have not stopped thanking me for sharing this amazing experience with them!!! I am now planning my fourth trip for this coming July with my daughter, AGAIN!

In my opinion the North Conservancy is perfection. Some days you can go all day and only see a few other vehicles, usually in the distance. The game is ridiculous! Cheetahs, Leopards, and the Offbeat Pride EVERYDAY! And the Offbeat Maasai guides are unbelievable, we always request Joseph and Kimani although they are ALL amazing. Kimani is one of the funniest guys you will ever met.

The service is topnotch and the comfort level high. The food is wonderful, the wine plentiful and the camp management is beyond. I work in both the US and Kenya and can go months without a day off but just 3 or 4 days here and I can completely recharge my severely depleted self. I can jump back into my crazy life not only rested (best sleep ever when I am there) but filled with a sense of calm and focus.

OK. I have run out of superlatives and hate redundancy, so I will sign off, for now. I am sure you are going to have the time of your life.

Cheers.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank mamamary001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this reviewResponded June 4, 2013

Than you very much for your great review here on TripAdvisor and we are thrilled that you love Offbeat Mara so much.
Great your friends had such a good time and we look forward to seeing you and your daughter again in July.
I will pass your comments on to Joseph and Kimani and the rest of the team and see you soon!
Piers

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Reviewed May 25, 2013

Our 2 weeks in Kenya started with 2 nights at Offbeat Mara camp and what a fantastic beginning to our holiday. Everyone was surprised we were going on safari with a 2yr old and 5 yr old but they loved it and it all worked out brilliantly without compromise.
We went on early morning game drives and late afternoon ones and the boys would just have a snooze on the back seat which worked particularly well when we were enjoying our beer at sundown!

We had an amazing couple of days, and nearly ticked off the big 5 on our game drive from the air strip on the 1st day. There was always an animal on view which I think is lucky but also down to the skill of the guides and being in the Mara Conservancy. You also feel like its very private as there aren't that many other vehicles and the ones you do see it's nice to say hi briefly and then go your separate ways.

Our guides David and Orgayai were fantastic and our boys loved them, especially when they were able to sit up front and when they were digging us out of the mud!
All the game viewing was amazing but a highlight was seeing the lions cubs eating a Zebra and one of the mothers carrying her cub over to encourage him to eat the Zebra and breakfast with the hippos.

The camp was fantastic, the staff were excellent, Rosie, Camp Manager and Sammy were excellent hosts and nothing was too much trouble and when half the staff got stuck the other side of the river due to a flood which added to the the excitement we wouldn't have noticed as the staff were so good at rallying around. Our tent was fantastic and such an adventure for the boys, beds were extremely comfortable. We loved our hot showers after a game drive followed by gin and tonics and nibbles. Then getting the boys to bed, guarded by a masai while we enjoyed our delicious dinner and wine.

High praise to the chef, the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners were excellent and we enjoyed meeting your friendly bush babies

It was such a magical experience sleeping under canvas and hearing the roar of a lion just outside your tent but feeling completely safe at the same time and waking up to a wonderful view of a herd of elephants only 30 metres away.

Thanks so much it is a trip we will always remember and definitely will recommend your camp to all

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Faye L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this reviewResponded June 3, 2013

Thank you very much for your lovely review here on TripAdvisor.
I am glad you had such a great stay at Offbeat Mara and that the Mara North Conservancy was looking so good.
I am sorry you had so much rain, but sounds like it did not dampen the spirits. Early April can get quite wet in the Mara!
Great that the bush babies came to say Hi at dinner and that the guides did such a good job.
I will pass your comments on to Rosie (who was the relief manager at the time - the new manager from Jun3 2013 is Katie), Sammy and the whole team.
We hope to see you back again soon and that the safari bug has hit your children at such a young age!
Piers

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Reviewed May 16, 2013

This review is grossly late, but I figured better late than never! I stayed at Offbeat Mara for 4 days in October of 2012 and it was beyond incredible. This is as close to nature as you can get! The guides were unbelievable (ask for James - he sounds just like Morgan Freeman!). I saw everything there is to see without any of the tour buses. I even got to see a gigantic herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara river which was astounding. The tents were very comfortable and the food was delicious. This is a very unique place to stay and I am so glad it was recommended to me. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank damsel_in_a_dress
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this reviewResponded May 19, 2013

Thanks very much for your great review. I am glad you had a great stay and I will pass your comments onto James and the rest of the staff.
We hope to see you back again soon!
Piers

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

We spent 4 nights in February. Mara looking green and the abundance of game was amazing. leopard, cheetah and offbeat pride of lion viewings before breakfast, both mornings! We were going to go into the Southern reserve for a day, but the viewings were so exciting in the North Mara Conservancy that we stayed and had viewings on our own or at the most only 2/3 other vehicles. It was like our own private camp and game reserve! The guides are fantastic, so enthusiastic and informative, and with the camp staff so friendly and wanting to make your stay as comfortable as possible. the food is excellent and the tents kept to the highest standard.
The camp only has 6 tents and this lends itself to your stay being very personal. I loved every minute and can't wait to plan another trip. it really is Africa and it's wildlife at it's best!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank BelPope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2013

Thank you very much for your great review here on TripAdvisor. Yes The Mara North Conservancy is in great shape and we are currently having HUGE rains! As such the area will stay lovely and green and bring in the migration in the coming months. We hope to see you back at Offbeat Mara soon
Piers

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Reviewed March 2, 2013

Let's start with the good points: the camp is isolated, so early morning and evening your vehicle is on its own. As you venture towards the more "commercial" area of the Mara you'll find yourself looking at a cheetah with up to half a dozen other vehicles, which turns the event into a circus rather than a safari. This said, our guide Josphat was very good in keeping us away from the crowds and most days our vehicle was on its own. The game is abundant and very easily approached, giving ridiculously easy photo opportunities. Our guide was absolutely charming as well as competent and devoted. Breakfast out on the plain was unforgettable as were the picnic lunches under a lone tree with views across the waving grass to a line of distant hills. So the game drives get 6 stars.
Now to the less good points:
The first dinner was fine, good food served hot.
The next day a party arrived with children plus another party of four adults; the camp filled up and everything changed. The camp wanted us all to dine together, but because of the sheer numbers the children had to be fed and put to bed first. Only when the parents returned were we allowed to start dinner. But the food was almost cold. Why? Our travelling companions said that the children were eating the same food as us and that all food had been prepared in one go and the adult food had been allowed to cool off. Perhaps they had no means of keeping it warm. Maybe tomorrow night will be better?
Next evening the family group were taken on a night safari, watching lions hunt with spotlights, so they returned late to the camp. Their children then had to be fed and put to bed. By the time dinner was served it was stone cold. Only the sauce was hot. This was galling. To rub salt into the wound, our little group, though staying more "tent nights" than the family group, were not even offered a night safari!
On the third evening shared with family food was again cold. Such a pity, cause I think that hot it would have been quite decent.
Please note that I am not criticising the family, but why did camp rules not allow us to eat while the food was hot?
On the last morning we set off in a new direction to look for a group of lions new to the camp. The family group had overslept and were late.Nonetheless, after about ten minutes our guide decided (or was ordered?) to wait for the family group to catch up with us. Why? When they caught up, they were allowed to continue the drive away from the camp to look for the new lions while we were ordered back to the camp, from where we drove on trails already covered previously. Astonishing!! Certainly made me feel like a second class citizen. If you think I'm a complainer, please read my other reviews, as I'm generally fairly happy go lucky.
The only other complaint was that our toilet flushing water supply ran out twice, both times at night. First time we thought we'd overused water, so next day we paid great attention to rarely flushing. Next night (our last) no water, so we spent the last night in an odour that was not of roses!
Another point: don't shower in the morning. I did. They brought the hot water for the shower but didn't replenish the jug of hot water for shaving and partner's washing. So half the hot shower water had to be run off into the jug before starting my shower.
Finally, avoid tent 4. It is close to the track into the camp, so any late vehicle will wake you up (as happened). Also, the footpath to two other tents goes very close to your bedhead and even closer to the bathroom, so if your neighbours rise early then so will you!
Best tent is the number 3 as it's isolated from the rest of the camp and has the best views.
Would I go back? Definitely, but when the camp is full the staff are overstretched and struggle to cope. And a nice hot dinner after a day's safari would have been so enjoyable!
Which is why you must avoid school holidays!
ps I didn't post early because I didn't want to cause any problems for the manageress Miia, who was a nice lady and doing as best as she could to cope with the numbers. Now she's back in South Africa I feel freer to write my report.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cliffordchambers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OffbeatKenya, Owner at Offbeat Mara Camp, responded to this reviewResponded March 6, 2013

Thank you very much for your review and I will pass your cooments onto Miia and Josphat - I am glad you had excellent drives and the Mara North Conservancy really does lend itself to fantastic game viewing.
I am sorry that not all your expectations were met and below I will try and explain why these happened (from speaking to Miia and the staff). I would also like to point out that the reviews here titled "Fantastic Safari for all the family" and "Awesome Experience" were both written by guests who stayed at the same time as you and the guests who wrote "Awesome Experince" in fact shared a vehicle with you.
Your headline "Avoid school holidays" - Offbeat Mara Camp is a family/child friendly camp and is always busy with families in shool holiday times - July/August/December/early January and February and October half terms. We only cater for 12 guests and have a staff of at least 25, so we are well prepared for a full camp - in fact we are very busy most of the year. All out agents/tour operators know we are family friendly and we have children and teenager rates.
Cold food and eating late - We normally aim to have dinner at 8.30pm and I believe this is the time you ate whilst at camp. We do try and feed children early, not beacuse of lack of space, but they tend to want to eat early and then the parents can relax over dinner. Cold food is a particular pet hate of mine and we have a warming oven to make sure food/plates are always very hot. I am not sure why yours was cold - i know some of the nights you stayed were raining and damp which may have taken some of the heat away.
Tent 4 - yes it is quite near the road but I think has great views and it does not look onto any other tent and has its own private sunloungers.
Night Game drives - The rule in Mara North Conservancy is that cars are not allowed out after 10pm. The family that stayed when you were in camp did not go out late after dinner as they were fed early as you have mentioned. So I am unsure how you were woken up by a vehicle at night. Our afternoon drives usually come back after dark and with the aid of a spotlight we try to find nocturnal animals. I believe this is what you are referring to with the family drive and I also think that you came back after dark with spotlights too?
As for your last morning drive. I believe you went out early and came back so that you could change/eat/pack and then head off for your morning flight out of the Mara. The guides all know their way around the conservancy and there is no heirarachy amonst them so I do not understand why you felt you had to wait for another car and then come back early. You did have to come back, as I am sure was explained the evening before, so as not to miss your flight.
I hope this has cleared up this and I am sorry you feel this way about families. We do hope to see you again in the Mara and perhaps next time avoid the months I have mentioned as rarely are families with us during term time.
Piers

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Additional Information about Offbeat Mara Camp

Address: | Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 146 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $330 - $460 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Offbeat Mara Camp is a seven tented traditional safari camp situated in the Mara North Conservancy in an area rich in wildlife. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Offbeat Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Offbeat Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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