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.
- 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