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“Superb Experience”

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Ngerende Island Lodge
Reviewed August 17, 2012

We recently spent three memorable nights at this property a couple of weeks ago and were amazed at the level of service and attention provided by all the members of staff. The resort has an excellent location within the conservancy and is a mere 5 min drive from the airstrip. But the minute you get into the resort, you will experience service at the highest level. Raphael, our butler was excellent!! There are no words to describe his personalized service! The quality of food was fit for a king and the accomodation facilities are out of this world! You have not experienced Mara until you experience Ngerende! Thumbs Up!

Room Tip: The honeymoon suite is awesome
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rishi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 30, 2012

We spent 3 days at Ngerende with another young couple, after two in our group had been providing medical care near Nairobi for several weeks. Each of us had a bit of prior safari experience. Yet nothing we had previously experienced came close to the experience at Ngerende: the immersion into the Masai culture with the staff, our driver, and our guide; the unparalleled cuisine which was succulent yet regionally inspired; the full head-over-heels experience of early wakeups, unparalleled game drives, surprises throughout the day and evening as the staff sought to make the experience once-in-a-lifetime. Which it was. We cannot recommend Ngerende highly enough -- as a very cool, hip and fantastic safari retreat, yet also a deeply-moving experience with a very special group of Masai.

Room Tip: All of the lodges have fantastic river views
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank seattleafar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2012

The service was perfect; better than any other hotel we've ever visited. Our butler, Rafael, felt like part of our family by the time we left. Not intrusive, just helpful at every turn.

We brought our 4 children ages 17, 15, 10 and 7. The two youngest stayed in a lodge by themselves, which allowed my wife and I to lodge together (and enjoy the romantic atmosphere). They have a walkie talkie system that allows quick communication between rooms. The system is monitored by the staff 24 hrs per day. The two youngest felt safe and comfortable throughout the stay (which is saying something because they are not particularly adventurous).

The game drives were awesome. Our driver, Leng, spoke perfect English and had encyclopedic knowledge about the animals. He helped us see the big 5, plus everything else. He was patient with our children and kept us safe.

The Maasai Mara is broken into two parts: the Conservatory in the east and the Game Reserve in the west. Because Ngerende is in the northeast corner of the Conservatory your game drives will be here. We spent a couple of days in a lodge in the Game Reserve before coming to Ngerende. Basically the Game Reserve and Conservatory have the same types of animals, but the Game Reserve has a higher quantity. We were a little bummed at first with the Conservatory, but by the end we had seen some things in the Conservatory which we didn't see in the Game Reserve (like watching a cheetah hunt and kill a Thompson's gazelle). One upside to being in the Conservatory is that the drive to Nairobi is a little shorter.

Every meal was an event. The food was spectacular and imaginative. Livingston, the chef, would prep us before meals to make sure we were happy with what was coming (they don't have menus). One of our children is a very picky eater, and they did everything they could to keep her happy. One unexpected bonus was that by the end of our visit our children had learned to manage silverware during a five course meal!

The rooms were awesome. All of them are situated on the banks of the Mara River. They are covered by a canopy of trees so they are cool during the hottest parts of the day. They have fireplaces, soaking tubs, beautiful furniture, basically everything you'd expect from a luxury lodge.

The spa was, well, minimalist. It was a room on the banks of the river with a couple of massage tables. My wife and two oldest daughters used the spa and enjoyed the experience. The cost was very reasonable.

One thing you must be aware of is that Kenya in July is COLD! At night and in the morning the temperature is in the 50's. They don't have heating or air conditioning, so bring warm clothing. You'll be up at 6 am to go on the morning game drive. Bring layers, bring jackets, bring a warm hat. Once you are in bed you'll be toasty. And they do everything they can to keep you comfortable.

One other thing to be aware of is that hippopotami are noisy. The rooms are on the banks of the Mara River. The portion of the river adjacent to the lodge is filled with hippopotami. It's really cool to watch them from the porch during the day. It's not as cool when they snort and bellow in the middle of the night and wake you up. You get used to it quickly, it's not a big deal, just be aware that animal noises are part of staying at a safari lodge.

Overall our family loved the experience. We will definitely stay here again if we return to the Mara.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Central_Jersey_NJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2012

We enjoyed a memorable stay in the Honeymoon suite last week and with 35 staff looking after 4 guests it was a very special experience.

Walter, our exceptionally perceptive and attentive butler, Willington our chef who created extremely tasty food on the deck of our lodge overlooking the hippos in the river, Daniel who made great cocktails every day, Len our driver who took us on some great game drives, Dan, our wise and knowledgable Masai guide and Linet and Rosemary who massaged us for a couple of hours every day, together with the 15-20 Masai who welcomed us and returned for a surprise birthday ceremony collectively made the experience exceptionally memorable for us.

Thank you all for taking care of us and delivering phenomenal personal service.

Room Tip: The Honeymoon Suite is the best option even if you are not on your honeymoon.
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank ZM2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2012

If you're looking for a really special safari location then this is it! We had a wonderful honeymoon here last month. From the moment of arrival - when we were greeted by the local Maasai tribesmen performing a great welcome dance, to our departure - we were treated with the most wonderful personal service.

The level of service is truly remarkable, with personal butler service to take care of your every need. Evans really went out of his way to ensure everything was perfect. If the idea of arriving back to your lodge after dinner, to an open fireplace and hot waterbottles in the giant bed - then this place is for you! It does get quite cold at night, as you're at an altitude of c. 2,000m - so these little touches are really appreciated.

The food is also fantastic, time and again we shook our heads and laughed at the standard of food we were eating in the middle of the savannah. The Talapia was a particular highlight. Any allergies/dislikes etc. are discussed at the start of your stay and then after that you just sit back and be amazed at the meals that Edward and his staff are able to come up with! There is a large list of inclusive drinks to wash them down also.

Like any safari, the day does start early, anywhere from 5-6am but if you don't want to go on a game drive then that wouldn't be a problem either! We had Daniel as our guide, and John and Steve as our drivers - all were excellent. How Daniel was able to spot animals from hundreds of yards away we'll never know! The vehicles were very good also, modern soft-sided Landrovers and Landcruisers in excellent order. We saw so much wildlife that it was bewildering! Lions, buffalo, huge crocs, giraffe, hippos, elephants in large numbers - not to mention the endless antelope and wildebeest.

This is the type of place that you would be quite happy to go to even if it didn't have such an amazing backdrop as all that eye-opening wildlife, we wished we could have stayed an extra day or 2 just to relax there and go to the pool etc! The lodges are very spacious, with big verandahs are most comfortable. The honeymoon suite even has its own little plunge pool.

Most people will arrive, as we did, by small plane from Nairobi. It's not the smoothest experience in the world, but the staff are excellent. And then once you arrive all is forgotten, as you settle in to what we can honestly say was one of the best holiday experiences we will ever experience.

The minus points were absolutely tiny and you felt you had to search hard for something when the staff asked you to review the lodge on departure. Why only 4/5 for value you may ask, well it is an expensive experience, but actually for that money Ngerende does provide great "value". At the end of the day, not everyone is willing to spend that money, but we would encourage you however, to push the budget and go for it as Ngerende is truly an amazing experience and one that we have wholeheartedly recommended to everyone.

Go and enjoy!

Room Tip: Honeymoon suite was just perfect, has a little private dip pool and very large verandha
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sunseaswim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2012

We chose Ngerende Lodge as the location for our wedding. We arrived and were greeted in the way others have described - Masai singing and dancing and all the staff waiting to greet us.
We were booked to stay for 5 nights to incorporate the wedding and the safari experience, also giving us some time to relax.
We have the Honeymoon suite (room 7) which has the same facilities as the other suites with the addition of a plunge pool. Unfortunately, as the pool is covered all day so not getting any heat from the sun, it was absolutely freezing so not usable.
We were a little concerned about how we would feel with such close attention from staff, as this is not something we are used to or have experienced before. These fears disappeared pretty quickly and we started to relax with the staff and enjoy their company. Walter our Butler was amazing, he gave us the right amount of attention without being intrusive - just perfect for us.
Linet and Rosemary were also wonderful with us throughout the whole stay and deserve a special mention.

The game drives we managed to schedule in were delightful experiences and we managed to see all the big 5 in the time we had, which we were delighted about.
We experienced a hot air baloon ride on the morning of our Masai blessing - I would highly reccommend this experience to everyone.

We effectively had 2 weddings at Ngerende, a masai one and the formal one. The masai experience was unique and special involving the whole of the local village incorporating us into their traditional wedding celebration.
For us the wedding day was perfect. All the organising had been done in the background, involving me and my Husband in the decisions they needed our input on, and leaving any additional sorting out of our minds allowing us to enjoy completely and worry free.
The flowers and the location were beautiful and again the local villagers attended and made our wedding photos the most amazing unique photos.
The day was perfect from beginning to end and I can truly say that our friends at Ngerende made the day extra special.

We hope to come back and see everyone again sometime in the future, this place will always be extra special for us.

If anyone would like any further info about the wedding experience, I am happy to share that info.

Room Tip: All the rooms are excellent.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Andrea C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

My husband and 4 year old triplets spent 3 nights at Ngerende, as part of our first exploration into the Mara. The hotel had been highly rated and we have fairly high standards. We'd received excellent communication from the team and the cherry on top was that my family was provided with 2 luxury tents, as a single tent couldn't comfortably accommodate us.

We arrived to be greeted by singing Maasai warriors who enveloped us and walked us to the reception area. We were ushered onto the deck for cocktails and introduced to the ENTIRE staff. From that point, our every whim was met, literally. We had a personal butler who liaised with us regarding preferred meal times, turned down our beds, drew our kids baths and ensured that my husband had a beer in his hand from the moment we arrived until we left for the airstrip! The chef also spoke to us about the planned menus and dietary requirements. To provide variety, almost all our lunches and dinners were provided in various locations around the camp.

The lodge itself is not an actual island but surrounded on 2 sides by a river. The river is teeming with hippos. For city people, this was quite a shock, as they were literally meters from our rooms. It was also suprising how noisy these animals were, as they barked and splashed throughout the night. The kids and I slept comfortably, but my husband needed earplugs. The tents themselves were GORGEOUS, superior quality. Taking a luxurious bath, overlooking the river, can't be beat. Unlike some other tents of other establishments, the wooden deck with couches is a huge plus. We spent many an afternoon lazing about.

We had a dedicated driver who took us on our twice daily drivers. He was incredibly knowledgeable. As we entered the vehicle, my toddlers would tell Steve what animals they wanted to see and in true Maasai form, he was able to deliver every single time. The only animals we didn't see was a leopard and a rhino, but a spotting of a sun-bathing cheetah, lion kill, copious zebras, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest and buffalo, more than made up for it.

We were also impressed that there was a Maasai cultural advisor present, who provided insights into the culture. He also took us on a nature walk, explaining the different vegetation and healing properties. We were impressed that he was a local (his village just over the hill) and his knowledge and pride of his culture was clearly evident.

The lodge is all inclusive so after the initial payment, we could fully enjoy all our meals and copious drinks. Breakfast is to order, lunch is 3 courses and dinner is 5. The only aspect that was slightly disappointing was the meals. Even though the chef was happy to accept our input, we found the overall quality lacking and uninspired. We enjoy rich food but found the use of oil excessive.

What Ngerende lacked in food, it made up for in everything else. I can truly say that we had a magical time. With only 7 rooms, we wanted an exclusive, personal hotel and that is what we got. No request was too small. If we wanted to lay in the grass as our kids played, blankets appeared. If our kids wanted to catch 30 mins of cartoons, we were directed to the tv room (with satellite tv). My husband and I wanted to catch the hippos grazing one night, the driver fired up the car, the butler occupied our kids and off we went!

Leaving after 4 days of being spoilt was a challenge. Our plan is to return during migration time and we'll certainly return with any visiting friends and family.

Room Tip: All rooms face onto the river and are fantastic. Honeymoon suite has a bigger bath and plunge pool...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Madame_Trey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngerende Island Lodge

Address: PO Box 1274 | Karen Connection Complex, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00502, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #74 of 146 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $390 - $1,801 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Ngerende Island Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ngerende Island Lodge has only 7 luxury en-suite canvas and wood suites all with raised platforms giving panoramic views of the Mara River and the woods on the opposite bank. Each suite has polished Mahogany floors (including the terrace) and is very spacious providing open plan sleeping and living area complete with wood fire, a separate bathroom providing both Villeroy & Boch massage shower, open air bath (if desired) hand wash basins and flushing toilet. Comfortable seating is provided both in the living area and on the terrace so that the true tranquility of the lodge can be best appreciated. The distance between each suite has been maximised to reduce any risk of disturbance that may be caused by other guests. There is one honeymoon suite isolated from the main lodge, has a private plunge pool and Jacuzzi and has stunning views of the Mara river. Lovely touches as flowers on the bed, fire in the suites, bubble bath with essential oil prepared by your personal butler, hot-water bottle set Ngerende Island Lodge apart from the rest providing a memorable experience. The lodge has been designed to complement the safari experience so as to give comfort, luxury and service naturally. There is an abundance of wildlife both on the Conservation Ranch and of course within the Masai Mara Game Reserve to include Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Hippos and many others. A feature of the Conservation Ranch is an exclusive project to rear the White Rhino so that they can take their place back in the Mara society to which they belong in greater numbers. Over 180 varieties of birds have been spotted within the lodge itself and there are 3 Hippo Pods strategically located around the lodge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ngerende Island Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Ngerende Island Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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