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“Cannot recommend highly enough” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Oldarpoi Mara Camp

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Oldarpoi Mara Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Maputo
Level Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Cannot recommend highly enough”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2010

I'm not even sure where to start with Oldarpoi, other than to say you shouldn't even consider anywhere else in Masai Mara. Really.

I fell in love with the idea that the camp is owned and run by someone actually a part of the Masai people, and that the profits support wonderful initiatives there. Why give your money to some corporation or rich person who lives in Europe or whatnot? That enough was reason for me to choose this camp.

After sending the initial request for info, Nelson (the owner) called me up just to say he had received it and could he answer any questions right then? Wow. I booked right there, and the price was cheaper than most (actually all) other camps I had looked into. A second and third reason to choose this camp (service and price).

Nelson sent me periodic emails or google chat messages to check in and ensure he had the details right on our arrival date afterwards. By the time he picked up my mother and me from our hotel in Nairobi, I felt like he was an old and dear friend. He and our driver, Cosmo, were funny and pleasant and so incredibly knowledgable.

The oldarpoi camp itself is a rather no-frills place just outside the park. The room are large permanent army-type tents with bathrooms built onto the back. The beds were twin size and oh-so-comfortable (though they didn't look like it at first, but even my mother raved over how great the mattresses felt). The bathrooms were very basic but functional, with hot showers and all. We didn't have water one morning for about 20 minutes due to a pump problem, and the next morning had trouble with hot water, and the staff were SO upset about this. We got profuse apologies and it was fixed immediately. I've learned that even plush hotels often have issues with the plumbing or hot water, but I rarely get this kind of service in response to minor complaints. The food at the camp was excellent. My mother plotted on how to steal their cook and take him back home with us. Reason 4 for this camp - good accomodation with great food.

The safari drives were out of this world. I've been on safari in Amboseli, Lake Nakaru, Krueger (S.Africa), Park W (Niger), and a few others. This one topped them all. I got close up pics of a cheetah with 2 cubs, a leopard in a tree, over 2 dozen lions (no joke), the wildebeest migration, you name it. Nelson was so good at using the radio and colleagues plus his instincts to find the right places, that we were even backtracking to find a german group of tourists and lead their tour guide to the good spots. I felt sorry for anyone there with any tour guide other than ours! Reason 5 to choose this camp - experienced guiding in the park.

We spent our last day and a half in Lake Nakuru, which was also arranged through Oldarpoi. Nelson couldn't be our guide, as he was picking up a new group, but he made all of the arrangements and ensured that we had a top notch guide that would lead us through the last part of our trip (which was also excellent). We were dropped off at the airport for our outbound flight on time and exceedingly happy with our entire experience.

So there you have it. Your money goes to a good cause, you get fantastic service, the price is right, the accomodation and food are great, and the safari tours are excellent. I will be recommending Oldarpoi to all of my friends and family.

  • Stayed September 2010
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank AmyMoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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176 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
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English first
Rochester, NY
Level Contributor
53 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2010

We arrived in Kenya knowing little about the country, knowing nothing of the Mara and knowing no one at all. After spending a week at Oldarpoi, we left with greater knowledge of the land, the people, the plants and animals and we felt we now had family and close friends at Oldarpoi. Stay at this authentic Masai safari camp and you will leave with the same feelings as our family did. Nelson and his camp staff are simply some of the best people we have ever had the good fortune to meet. Not only are they wonderful hosts, polite helpers and knowledgable and trustworthy guides and protectors, but they open their own lives and homes to you in a way that is truly special. We spoke with several other travellers during the subsequent week we remained in Kenya after we left Oldarpoi and while most had visited Masai villages and spent time with Masai guides, none had the truly authentic experience with the Masai that we had - We went to the villages and met the families of three of our hosts and I was welcomed to join our hosts in a Masai bar to watch the World Cup final. We shared food, stories, card games, language and culture with our Masai hosts and we fell in love with the children whom we taught at the local primary school. Oldarpoi is not a luxury camp - the accomodations are comfortable but consist of basic tents - the food is plentiful and filling but not gourmet - the bathrooms have flush toilets and hot showers but are not fancy in any way - yet we would not chose anywhere else to return to but Oldarpoi as the modest natureof the accomodations are more than made up for in the exceptional people who run this camp. Best of all you truly have an opportunity to give back by simply staying at Oldarpoi as the proceeds of the camp are shared directly with the local Masai villages - and if you have the time and the inclination see if you can arrange some time to visit and teach at the local school - it is a poor community with a rich cultural heritage and warm, welcoming and friendly people - young and old. You will not regret booking at Oldarpoi - Enjoy!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank kengor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 24, 2010

As a solo female traveler, I was a little anxious when I first arrived at the camp. However from the moment I arrived, the staff at the Oldarpoi Camp made me feel very welcomed and safe. They introduced me to members of their own families and after just a few days I began to feel like a part of their community. The game drives were wonderful and the guides very knowledgeable and skilled at finding magnificent animals. My experiences at the local school were life changing and I will carry many precious memories of the students in my heart forever. Oldarpoi provides a very personal experience of community involvement and allows the serious traveler an opportunity to really know the Maasai Mara and its people. I recommend Oldarpoi Camp to anyone who wants a genuine Maasai safari experience.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nolatuesha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 24, 2010

There isn't anything to not like about my experience staying at the camp. Its location close to the Mara makes for easy access for game drives, and the surrounding Maasai villages added the sounds of singing to the birds.

The facilities were great - very comfy beds, own toilet & hot shower, huge tent (I haven't even had hot showers in Nairobi yet). For a tented camp I couldn't ask for any more. The staff were great doing their work and then a pleasure to sit around and relax & chat with, they all felt like friends by the time I left. And the food cooked up by Willy always hit the spot too :)

Mike drove some great game drives - we saw pretty much everything including a leopard just metres away from the vehicle, while also giving the animals room when they were moving around.

The camp benefits the local community as well through the school and rescue centre, so not only is it a great spot to stay, it's doing good as well.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Matt_Werner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2010

If you're going on safari to the Maasai Mara, you have plenty of options. There are guides, camps and hotels to suit every possible budget and every set of expectations. For my wife and I, we wanted relatively comfortable accommodations, competent and friendly guides, edible food and a fair price. The Oldarpoi camp exceeded every one of our expectations.

Our tent was very comfortable...two beds, table and chair, private shower & toilet (!) & very effective bug-proofing (I freak out at even small insects, and there are much bigger ones found in the Mara...I love this camp for keeping me from shrieking in front of the Maasai warriors who staff the camp).

Nelson, our guide, is a Maasai junior elder. This proved helpful as he knew everyone in the park (who gave us recommendations on where the "action" was that day). He helped us understand the Kenyan & Maasai cultures, pointed out camouflaged animals on safari and made sure that every detail was taken care of. He even found us in Nairobi afterwards to return some things we left behind!

Every meal was prepared by Chef Willy at the camp. Our expectations were exceeded in both quality and quantity of food. He made a spaghetti sauce that is literally the best I've ever had...which is even more astonishing given that it was prepared over an open fire in a small room on a hillside! The camp also provided a bag lunch on our safari days and a surprise sunset "snack".

The price was very fair. We traveled during the high season and booked very last minute. We felt we got a good price, especially knowing that there are camps with the exact same facilities, literally around the corner from Oldarpoi, that charge 5x as much. And, and the end of the day, we're all looking at the same lions, the same scenery and driving the same roads!

But most importantly, as we left to return to Nairobi, we stopped by the school and rescue center that our money went to support. We were able to meet the children, many without shoes, who were getting a basic education in a three-room schoolhouse. We also saw the work that volunteers had done to create a rescue center for girls facing FGM (look it up, if you don't know what that means).

We left Oldarpoi & the Mara with the knowledge that, while we came for the selfish purpose of having an enjoyable safari vacation, our money was going towards improving the lives of children who don't have very much and are at risk of enduring terrible things. Nelson and the Oldarpoi camp are on the front lines of improving the lives of hundreds of children and you can support their work by experiencing the majesty of the Maasai Mara.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jimkrunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 2, 2010

It's taken me a while to sit down and write a review of this place, but better late than never. I stayed here two nights back in January of 2009. I was traveling in Kenya with my girlfriend on independent study. Like many of the others who have visited this camp, I learned about it through an article in the New York Times, which described it as a magical and truly unique experience, both of which are gross understatements. This camp was beyond my wildest expectations. After visiting, a bar had been set for all of my future endeavors in Kenya and throughout Africa.

Nelson has constructed an amazing sanctuary located on the outskirts of the Maasai Mara Reserve.

Highlights from our stay: Being awoken in the middle of the night to hear Zebras outside our tent, spotting three cheetahs hunting their prey just before sunset, visiting Nelson's home, the food was amazing.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank conorsanchez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bruges, Belgium
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2010

We were counting on good luck when we decided to follow the sign to this campsite. And it turned out that luck was on our side. Like the reviews below say it was a very nice and quiet camping (one of the best of our trip). More important the campsite people make the beste out of it - Willy is really a great cook! Also the security seemed more than ok. To put it short, we look with a big smile back to those days.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sliene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Oldarpoi Mara Camp

Property: Oldarpoi Mara Camp
Address: 3 KM to Sekenani Gate,Maasai Mara | Sekenani-Keekorok Rd, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya (Formerly Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp)
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #72 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Oldarpoi Mara camp, is operated in partnership with the local Maasai community. The camp is concerned with the welfare of the local community .Our vision is to transform the local community, socially and economically.We support the Ole keene primary school with teacher's salaries, children sponsorship programs etc.The school has more than 300 children and we built classrooms for them including a rescue center unit to accommodate young girls running away from cultural practices such Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM ) and early marriage.We also plan to establish a community library which will include a learning center and conservation projects.Guests who would like to volunteer in any of our projects as part of a unique safari experience are highly encouraged to do so..This will make a difference to the community.The camp has permanent tents with beds, bedding, complete solar Water heating and lighting system, flush toilets and hot showers - all the trappings of home! We are also an accomplished safaris outfitter with best trained Maasai guides! We offer safaris and tours to different destinations throughout East Africa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Oldarpoi Maasai Safari Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Oldarpoi Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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