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“A Wonderful Experience”
Review of Ashnil Mara Camp

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Ashnil Mara Camp
Certificate of Excellence
East Grinstead
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Wonderful Experience”
Reviewed November 7, 2011

My husband, daughter and I have just returned from the trip of a life time to the Ashnil Mara Camp on the Masia Mara. We spent 4 days there and wish we could have stayed longer. We went of 2 game drives a day with an excellant guide and saw the Big 5 which was an amazing experience, The camp itself is wonderful, our 'tent' overlooked the river and we could see hippos and crocodiles without even leaving our balcony. The food, service and attention to detail were second to none and we are already trying to figure out when we can get back there.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jo P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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618 reviews from our community

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Stockholm, Sweden
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2011

After a long and bumpy drive from Nairobi to the Mara, we arrived at the camp feeling extremely weary and exhausted. Our first impression of the camp was great; they immediately took care of our luggage, gave us a refreshing fruit drink and made us feel comfortable and welcome.

Our tent was beautiful (we stayed in tent 6), and had a terrace facing the Mara river. It was quiet and at night you could enjoy the sound of hippos roaring and grunting. The tent was tastefully decorated, and we were especially impressed by the bathroom – the shower was hot and had great water pressure and by far better than any other we have experienced in Kenya so far! It indeed felt like luxury camping, being in a tent with all the mod cons and yet having the experience of being in a “tent” close to nature.

The service was top notch and really impressed us. The small things make all the difference; like getting a hot water bottle in your bed before bedtime, or putting your mosquito net up after dark, or having a waiter that is especially appointed to you. You feel like you are in a 5-star hotel!

We also really enjoyed the food. They serve a buffet both at lunch and dinner that offers a good variety of things to choose between, and everything fresh and tasty. Other facilities include a bar, pool and a curio shop (that also has sun screen, sunglasses, swim wear etc. in case you forgot something at home!).

The location at the Mara river is great, you can see (and hear!) hippos and crocodiles just a stone’s throw away. The Ashnil camp is located inside the park, quite far from the gate and other camps which gives you a great feeling of being in the middle of the savannah. On the downside, we found that you have to drive fairly far to be able to spot big animals like rhinos or lions. Which can be achieved anyway, just make sure you have enough time for your game drives! We managed to see four out of The Big Five in our three days, all at about an hour’s drive from the camp.

Note:
There were heavy showers every day when we were there (they lasted about half an hour to an hour), so make sure you bring clothes for all kinds of weather. It can get very chilly in the evenings, especially after heavy rain. Good and waterproof shoes are recommended!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JHD_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wakefield
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2011

We had 2 nights here as part of our somak cheetah safari. like the samburu tented camp this is also an amazing experience. The staff are friendly and welcoming and nothing is too much to ask for. The tents are spectacluar and very comfortable. 5 star luxury :-)
The views are not so good from your tent if you are round the back and not over the river but this didnt bother us. There are plenty of places to view the hippo in the bar and lounge area.
The food is brilliant as were the waiting staff. The bush breakfast should not be missed and was in a stunning location and full on cooked and champagne breakfast. The pool could perhaps do with some updating but was still good for a cool down after a game drive.
A perfect experince staying here one not to be missed.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank garethandlara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SH
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2011

The camp is a little far from Maasai Mara NP gate. It's near Mara Lake and very quiet. The bath room is good. But the electricity there is not 24 hours. When it's raining in the afternoon, it's a little dark in the room. And also in it's lobby and resturant at night, the light is a little dark.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank netprudence
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bize-Minervois, France
Level 6 Contributor
66 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2011

I loved this camp last year and it is still my favorite. On my return this year I was treated like royalty by both management and staff, who I like to think are all my friends. The tented accommodation is a delight and the food has to be the best available in the area. I have stayed in other camps in the Mara but for value Ashnil has got to surpass all of them. I stayed 4 nights this time and wished it could have been longer. My guide Francis went out of his way to find my big cats and we saw a fabulous variety of animals and birds. The morning chorus in the Mara has to be heard to be believed. A thoroughly relaxing and memorable visit. Mama Simba says thank you to everybody at Ashnil Mara. Here's to the next time

Room Tip: All tents are superb
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank newgranny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Level 4 Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed October 20, 2011

My husband and I have just returned from a 7 night safari, which concluded with 2 nights at the Ashnil Mara Camp. We loved it and wished we could have stayed a little longer!

We were booked into Tent number 4, which was in an excellent spot not too far from the central area (restaurant etc) but not close enough to suffer any noise. We didn't explore the whole camp but I did overhear some people saying that their tent was quite a walk away, so if that would be a problem for you, make a special request when you make your booking.

The tent was beautifully appointed inside, with nice extra touches like bathrobes, torches, an electric fan (note: no A/C) and a four poster bed with mosquito net. Hot water bottles were delivered every evening. Our tent was right next to the river (not sure if they all are), so at night and in the morning we could lie in bed and listen to the hippos "grunting". You will love it!! There are some excellent spots to view them from in the central area of the lodge. On the patio there was a huge circular sofa, plus a small table and 2 chairs. The perfect place to relax and unwind after a long game drive. The tents were reasonably close together but not as close as at other camps. We didn't hear any noise from our neighbours, just the hippos! The tent has a solid wood door (not a zip like in some camps) and there is also a safe inside so there is no need to carry all your valuables around with you. Plenty of plug sockets for charging up cameras etc too. We had stayed at the Ashnil Samburu earlier in our trip, and the standards were the same there too.

The bathroom has a separate w.c. and a separate shower. Beware of the showers: the water is VERY hot when it comes through and DO NOT let anyone else use the sink or flush the w.c. whilst you are in there, as they will take the cold water and you will burn!!

As with all the camps we stayed in during our trip, the power (provided by generators) is turned off twice per day (4-6pm whilst most people are out on game drives and from midnight to 5am). I really don't understand why these camps don't use more solar power - then there wouldn't be any need for this.

Wi-fi Internet access was available in the main lobby (only) for a charge of $15 for 24hrs. We are currently living in Kenya so we brought our safaricom dongle with us - and that worked fine.

The food (buffet style) was excellent and the staff were all very friendly and efficient. Please note that if you order a bottle of South African "Four Cousins" wine (red or white) from the menu you will get a shock when it arrives - the bottle is 1.5L!! It doesn't tell you on the menu. Our waiter suggested that we could drink half one night and he would put the remainder in the fridge for us to finish on the next, which was very helpful. For only 2,500Ksh, this was a good buy and very drinkable.

We didn't use the pool but we did take a quick look. It's only small and there were not many loungers. That said, most people don't go to the Masai to sunbathe, and if you're on a safari tour you don't really have a lot of spare time anyway! If this camp is at the end of your tour, it would be a real treat to stay an extra day here and just relax. It's such a peaceful place.

This camp is well inside the Masai Mara, so it will add extra time to your inbound journey. However, once there, you are perfectly placed to see all the animals within a very short drive from the hotel. It's well worth it. I'd recommend this place to all adult travellers. As I've said in my reviews of other camps, they're not ideal for people with babies or small/noisy children, simply because there is no "noise" privacy in a tent and it would really spoil it for other guests.

On a separate note, our tour company offered us an excursion to visit a Masai Village, at $40 per head. To be honest we didn't really enjoy it. There is very little to see (just the inside and the outside of mud huts!!) and therefore it felt really "contrived" having the warriers and the women come out and dance for us. We were the only tourists there at the time, but more arrived just as we were leaving. The 'main man' who was showing us around was also extremely pushy in trying to make us buy stuff - from scaps of wood used to demonstrate fire lighting, to carvings. At the end of the "tour" we were led to an area packed with stalls selling their beaded stuff and other crafts, and again faced a hard sell. To be honest I've seen much nicer things at the Masai Market in Nairobi, and I bet they are less expensive too. The only good thing about it the visit was they actively encouraged us to take photographs of them, which I would considered rude and inappropriate in other circumstances. For example, we broke down on the way into the Masai Mara and some Masai came to investigate. Other tourist vans stopped also, and some people got out and started pointing their cameras in their faces (without even asking). The Masai people were saying no and putting up their hands, but the tourists still carried on. I felt very uncomfortable with that. I mean, how would you like it??!!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Indigo1613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2011

On a recent holiday to Kenya which started with a 3 night safari to Tsavo West followed by a 11 night beach extension to Mombasa, we decided to take a 2 night excursion from the hotel staying at this camp, enjoying every minute of it!! As I have walking difficulties, we were given a tent nearest to the amenities, over looking the river, and the staff couldn't do enough to help. The tent was really spacious, clean and comfortable. Due to the camp being 5000 ft above sea level, the early mornings and nights were quite cold but a hot water bottle was put in the bed both nights, a thing I really appreciated as I feel the cold.
The nights were quite noisy with the music of the night, in the form of the hippo's partying; the hyena arguing and the lions talking to each other - but listening to this compensated for the loss of sleep! We have previously done 2 other safari's on the Mara and apart from the odd hyena calling, didn't hear anything so I thought this was a bonus.
The game drives were done in the lodges 4 wheel drive vehicles with a Masai driver/guide whose knowledge of the area and animals was great. We got to see the big 5 minus 1 as the few black rhino were in hiding and saw several of my favourite cats, the cheetah.
If we are fortunate to ever visit Kenya again, we would most certainly return to this camp, but staying longer than 2 nights!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SKEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ashnil Mara Camp

Property: Ashnil Mara Camp
Address: | Narok County, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00100, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #28 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ashnil Mara Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 56
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
ASHNIL MARA CAMP The game drive experience offered at Ashnil Mara Camp is guaranteed to fascinate any safari enthusiast. For those in love with flora and fauna, the drive to go on safari is triggered by the desire to see wildlife and vegetation in their natural habitat. We give you an opportunity to spot wildlife on a running commentary of information given by our experienced driver guides. Our game drives are conducted in 4x4 vehicles, which are equipped to cover the rough terrains associated with safaris. The camp comprises 56 luxurious tents set overlooking the picturesque vast of Mara. Come catch the wildebeest migration amid a raw blend of luxury and the wild. A true destination with a difference. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ashnil Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Ashnil Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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