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“Short but sweet!”

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Naboisho Camp, Asilia Africa
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Short but sweet!”
Reviewed April 9, 2012

I stayed at Naboisho for just two nights in late March 2012, and it simply wasn't long enough! The camp is beautiful, and the tents are probably the best safari tents I have ever seen (and I've stayed in quite a few!)

The outdoor showers were AMAZING - there is nothing like enjoying a hot shower under the African sky with noting but the crisp air and sounds of the African bush to distract you... It's moments like these where you have to pinch yourself and see if you're awake or dreaming!

The other really impressive thing about Naboisho was that the small things were always taken care of and at a very high standard. I was really impressed with the packed breakfast - complete with table-cloth and all. Most other camps just throw food into a cooler-box and send you on your way, but not at Naboisho. It was impressive and was one of the things that really made me realise that these guys care about their guests! (wow, that sounds cheesy, but it's true!)

Also, Roelof was a great guide - we went for a short walk from the camp into the Conservancy and it was brilliant! It's hard to describe the feeling one has when they are walking in the African bush, knowing that there could be elephant or lion around the next corner... Roelof was really knowledgable but not patronising when you ask questions (I can somewhat understand why some guides can get sick of answering the same questions after a while, but then again, it is their job!). Anyway, it seemed as though Roelof was really proud showing off the African bush and sharing it with guests.

The camp itself is located in the middle of nowhere in the Naboisho conservancy, just north of the actual Mara reserve. I was somewhat hesitant staying in a conservancy rather than in the reserve, but trust me, after experiencing both, I would stay in the conservancies EVERY TIME from now on. The wildlife and game viewing is exactly the same (if not better), but the best thing is you do not have to share your sightings with another 30-40 vehicles like you have to do in the Mara. At one stage in the Mara there were over 40 vehicles around 2 male cheetah who were just walking (not on a kill or anything!).
You can also do day trips from the conservancy into the Mara (which is only about 1.5hrs away anyway).
I strongly recommend looking at staying in the conservancy and venturing into the Mara for short trips...

Thanks to Roelof and Helen - great camp, great hosts, great game viewing, great activities and THE BEST SHOWERS IN AFRICA!
:)

(I know this sounds like it's too good to be true... but trust me, I pinched myself and know I wasn't dreaming!)

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
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English first
Stamford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2012

A short 5 day safari staying at these two camps and being guided by Jackson and Mbtinga, just doesn't get much better!
We had our annual "fix" at Rekero, hosted this time by Clea, Conway and their great team...this is a stunning camp on the river with game activities going on day and night...and followed by exciting morning and evening game drives, ending with an African sunset holding a glass of chilled wine or a cold beer...this is paradise!!
.All the tents are very comfortable, totally private with a lovely view cross the river and any amount of game on the far bank.
The friendly service and meals could not be faulted...we shall return again!

Next stop, Naboisho Camp, that only opened last year, and managed by Helen and Roeloff, who we first met in 2006 at a camp in Zambia...a pleasant surprise to find them here. These two are wonderful hosts and Roeloff's knowledge of the bush and wildlife is amazing...he's your man for walks!
We saw plenty of game, 4 lion kills, elephant and thousands of wilderbeast (about 400,000) according to Jackson, on a "mini" migration, a lot of bird life and those wonderful African noises throughout the night from our tent. Cheetah and leopard unfortunately went AWOL, but were around.
This is a great camp with wonderful views from all the tents, which are the nicest and most comfortable we have ever stayed in, but certainly not "over the top". It never fails to amaze, that from some fairly basic facilities such wonderful meals are produced, with serevice to match! Sadly our stay was all too short ...but we shall be back and look forward to seeing the change when the water hole in front of the camp is in action!!
Thank you Helen, Roeloff, Jackson and all the team for making our stay as good as ever.
Liza and Mike, Stamford Lincs UK
PS, We have been fortunate over the years to "safari" in 7 other African countries, but for the past 5 years have returned to Kenya and the Mara...boring? no, never, when you are being looked after and guided by some of the best in the business.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Michael H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chichester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 11, 2012

Pristine location, well equiped and comfortable tents spaced an adequate distance apart. Very comfortable and atmospheric bar and dining area with open fire at night. Good viewing from tents and bar. We had 3 sunrises with prides of lions on kills one in the camp close to a tent. Don't miss the walking with Roeloff it was exceptional particularly if you like birds. In 3 days we hardly saw another vehicle. Thanks to everyone at Naibosho, first class guiding and attentive hosts. Go before it gets found out! David and Wendy.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank david r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Verona, Italy
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2012

The short safari in Maasai Mara had to be the fulcrum of our journey for the twentieth wedding anniversary. In February there isn’t the famous migration (it seems to me that big herds are moving in Tanzania), but we were not interested in an astonishing event. It was our first safari, and I was searching for an unforgettable stay, not in a popular lodge, but in a romantic, high-end tented camp.
I immediately spotted Asilia Africa camps; they are very beautiful and made with attention to the smallest details. Especially Naboisho Camp is a new little camp, not situated in the National Park, but in a neighbouring, not crowded conservancy, densely wooded with acacia.
In these conservancies it is possible to make walking safaris, unlike the National Park, packed by cars with a lot of “paparazzi”…
I contacted a responsible of Asilia Africa, who suggested me to address to True Africa Tanzanian agency, for booking flights and stay. The general manager Tom was very precise and accurate in booking, and he added the “Flying doctors” insurance for emergency evacuation. He sent me all the travel informations and answered all my questions. The only mishap was the confirmation of the return flight from Malindi, booked in advance and then cancelled because there were not enough passengers, but I think it was a problem caused by the airline company Mombasa Air Safari.
So we changed flight and we choosed to leave from Diani (Ukunda airstrip) and return to Mombasa, because I had already booked the hotel in Watamu, for the last three nights.
The outward flight leaved on time, indeed half an hour early.
It was an aircraft of 32 seats, very well piloted (we did three landings in the Mara). The journey took about 2 ½ hours, with a breathtaking view of the region, including the snowy peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Natron, a saline lake in a lunar environment ...
Third landing, Olkiombo airstrip. We were received by the huge smile of Benjamin, our guide, with Christine, a girl twenty years old, who is doing a training in Naboisho, because she studies at the local school for the guides, the meritorious Koiyaki Guiding School.
Benjamin and Christine belong to the Maasai people and they are great: smiling, helpful, capable and competent. It's been an honour to make their acquaintance and a pleasure to travel with them on the comfortable and well equipped jeep. During our trips we chatted about everything: from habits of elephants, zebras and buffaloes, to the mozzarella PDO (!); from the behavior of melting lions , to the the Shakespeare's drama “Romeo and Juliet”...
The journey to the camp lasted nearly two hours, but it was a real game drive, with stops and turns to find the lioness that Benjamin had seen while coming to pick us. For us, everything was new and wonderful. The close encounter with the lioness, quiet and sleepy, was exciting. From an open, flat land, we arrived in the area of Naboisho Camp, more undulating and shaded by acacia trees.
The welcome was warm and friendly. All the staff was introduced, and while our luggage was placed in the tent we had a little chat with Helen, the wife of Roelof, manager of the camp. The young couple come from Johannesburg and have a very particular way of life. They host this wonderful camp, living there with two adorable young daughters.
We made a pleasant discovery: we were the only guests, for those three days. The largest tent has been assigned to us and we had all the staff at our disposal. We felt pampered and protected, but the most important thing was the feeling of being welcome visitors, not "bwana" tourists, only served and tolerated because they paid for.
This feeling has been with us throughout our stay, and we have to thank Roelof, who made his best to organize all the excursions we prefer, though his little daughter, just 14 months, had a high fever and had to be transferred by air to hospital in Nairobi, with his mother. Roelof is very friendly and competent. And the habit of sharing meals in the dining room or under the trees is nice; you can talk about everything, practicing your English, and also receive some useful lessons in photography!
The tent: superb, just look at the pictures. There is nothing for granted, everything is perfect: the plaid on the chaise longue in the verandah, the shower gel, shampoo and body lotion geranium-scented, enclosed in aluminum bottles decorated with shells, the hot water bottle under the covers at night, the washing line decorated with little pearls, the thermos always filled with hot water on the sink, the perfect shower, inside or outside the tent, with cold, warm or hot water, specially prepared after a phone call by the guide, prior to our arrival at camp. Every desire is not satisfied: it is simply anticipated! And will remain in the memory the sweet smile of Jackson, welcoming us after the safari with wet and warm towels for the hands and the face, and preparing tea in the comfortable living room, accompanied by fainting brownies…
First evening. After a pleasant game drive, during which we meet giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, gazelles and antelopes, dik-dik and many types of birds, we get closer to a small hill to enjoy the last light of the sun. Benjamin hears a strange cry of jackals, and soon he realizes that nearby there is a big predator. Down the jeep and filled the glasses for drinks, we see the two jackals and a hyena approaching cautiously. Benjamin immediately spot the leopard, jumping on a big tree with a gazelle in its jaws. We come back in the jeep and get closer. We did not see the sunset (but there is a great sundown every night, and even more spectacular sunrise every morning), but seeing one of the "big five" just the first day was absurdly beautiful.
First night. A concert, a symphony. The verse of the hyena and the roar of lions: unforgettable.
Day two. In the morning, a beautiful walking safari, accompanied by Roelof and by a ranger with a rifle. We did not do special sightings (the lions were not far away, but well hidden in the bushes), but it was great to walk on this wonderful land, breathe the fresh air, hear the swishes, look for tracks. A small gazelle ran like a rocket toward us, chased by a jackal who could not take her. An old elephant was giving lessons to his pupil, while he protected him and helped him. Vultures hovered silently above us. The bees made quietly their honey, on the top of acacia trees…
In the afternoon, we crossed by car a beautiful meadow, with zebras, wildebeest and ostriches. We had a close encounter with a huge elephant, a "big bull”, as they call them. He was lying under a tree, appeared to be dead. We approach them with the jeep. He gets up and pretends nothing has happened, then he turns around, waving the enormous ears and comes closer menacingly. Benjamin back up like a rocket, awesome! It was there that I explained the importance of the proverb: "Don’t wake up a sleeping dog"…
The aperitif at sunset, along the bend of a small river, was truly romantic. There was also our sparkling white wine from South Africa, exotic fruits-scented… The return by the dark, with the headlamp carried by Christine, allowed us to see the bright red eyes of small bush-babies among the acacias, and the hyenas moving in the bush.
Day three. A full day game drive in the National Park. The entrance fee to the Park was not included in the arrangement, but it was offered to us, as well as all the extras. It's been a long journey in the savannah, on the banks of the Mara River to see hippos and crocodiles, warthogs, marabou storks, zebras, elands... We saw a lonely, hurted lioness , by her sweet look of resignation. We peered through binoculars between the roots of a tree, to find mother leopard with her cubs. We were looking for the rhino, the only one of the “big five” that we had not seen yet, but we had no luck. It was hot and he did’nt come to wallow in the mud. We had lunch under a lonely acacia in the middle of the prairie, evicting a family of poor warthogs overheated. In the afternoon, to return, we met three young brothers cheetahs, however a little pressed by the presence of other jeeps. Then the lions during the siesta. What can I say? The "melting lions", the big male in abstinence from food because of this loving period, and his beauty, a little difficult and simpering, gave us romantic and spectacular pictures.
Day four. Visit to a Maasai village and to the local primary school. I very much enjoyed this excursion, because we went to visit a family of three brothers, with their wives and their many children. We were visitors, not tourists. Nobody had anything to sell, but we were greeted simply and with dignity in a home of cow dung, we picked up some of their tools, we admired their cattle, and laid our hand upon the heads of their children, as a sign of greeting.
Benjamin and Christine were fantastic. They explained many things. They are a sign that it is possible, for the Maasai people, to grow and advance in the knowledge that their precious land needs to be protected, it needs educated people who do not go to Nairobi or on the touristic coast, lost in painful trade like drugs, weapons or prostitution. The development of tourism in Kenya can be a great resource if it don’t becomes overexploitation of territories and people.
And the work that the local primary school is doing, is really important. We met the children, divided in their classrooms, sitting at their desks, with their uniforms a little worn, their books, pens and notebooks. Benjamin is thirty years old, and says that his school was under the trees, with simple crock to write on the ground. The teacher of Benjamin, Robert, is now the director of the school. They have a kitchen garden to grow vegetables to feed their children. They have plenty of space for recreation, children can safely play football and they can race breathlessly. They are trying to complete all of the primary classes, building two apartments for the teachers, who must live at the school. It 'a real mission, a challenge for the future of these people.
Return to the camp, quick lunch, trip on the big jeep with Roelof and his blonde little girl (it's the first time we see her, because the father did not want to disturb the guests!). We are going to the airport. A small plane of 14 seats is expecting for us; it is leaving just half an hour early, driven by an energetic veiled woman. We're leaving, with a lump in our throat. They are waiting for mummy and healed sister.
Thanks, it was an unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Ohio_66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vedbaek, Denmark
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 31, 2012

Dear Helen, Jackson, Ben, Mbtinga, Roeloff and the rest of Naboisho Camp!
Thanks for a wonderful experience in the Naboisho area.
Mostly I would like to keep Naboisho camp to my self! Want it to be my own little secret..
But I choose to share it, so Naboisho will keep having many guest, keep being such a great camp!
We had the most wonderful stay. GREAT, GREAT walks.. Beautiful sundowners and .
Your love, knowledge and enthusiasm for Kenya wildlife... Jackson, Roeloff, you guys are the best! So enjoyed all your stories..
Would love to come back..Yours kindly Lotte (Denmark)

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lotte K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bridport
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 24, 2012

We stayed at Rekero Naboisho in late October 2011. This was our first visit to Naboisho, although in January 2011 we had visited the neighbouring Ol Kinyei and Olare Orok conservancies. Between them these private wildlife conservancies currently offer the best Big Game Viewing experience in Kenya, with far fewer vehicles than you see in the adjoining Masai Mara National Reserve. We were privileged to have Jackson Ole Looseyia as our guide and had tremendous sightings of leopard, cheetah and lions - especially the gang of five hefty subadult males we named "The Libyans". The camp is comfortable and unobtrusive. The food is excellent and the staff were wonderfully caring and considerate. This was my 30th safari, and was as good as it gets. Thank you Maryana, |Jackson and everyone who made us so welcome! Tutaonana tena!

Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Annabelle J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
124 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2012

We stayed at Naboisho Camp in the last week of December 2011 - an Australian family currently living in the Middle East. This was our second stay at Naboisho after visiting in August/September 2011. I think we were the camp's first repeat guests since its opening.

This time we had our oldest (15yo) son Ben with us as well as our 5yo son Tom. The camp has new managers from South Africa - Roelof and Helen - a lovely couple with their 2 young daughters who got on very well with Tom. They have a great background and loads of practical experience in wildlife. They did a fantastic job looking after us. Roelof took the 3 of us for walking safaris while Tom stayed with Helen and the girls (for a couple of hours) which we thought was great family focussed service over the Christmas/New Year period. We didn't expect it but Helen was very accommodating in helping us out. The camp had a good family atmosphere with the young girls playing with our youngest boy.

One of the major changes from our first visit was the amount of grass that had grown in the previous 4 months - it was amazing growth that followed torrential rains which caused major wash-outs of roads and crossings. This made the roads rougher for the safaris but all part of the adventure. We still had a great time.

The camp had the same high quality food, facilities and service - nothing had changed since our first stay, so great consistency throughout. The food for Sundowners was lovely - cheese and olives to accompany the wine and spirits.

We can't recommend this camp high enough. It's a great place to stay and nothing is too much trouble. The highlight for us this time was doing the walking safaris with Roelof. We didn't do that on the first visit and really enjoyed them. Roelof is very skilled and professional and has great technical/scientific knowledge of the entire eco-system. He gave us some great insights into how all the different parts of the environment interact and help each other to survive which we thought was excellent. He's extremely passionate about what he does and has some great stories to tell. We approached a very large bull elephant which was very exciting and also a highlight. They will tailor make a program based on your interests and taste for adventure. We felt very safe with Roelof leading the way.

We had Tim and Wilson as our Masai guides. They were also great. We had Wilson the first time and he was waiting at the airstrip to greet us again upon our arrival. It was lovely to see him again and we did another visit to his village which was great for both our boys.

If you have a family with young children, many camps won't accept you but Naboisho not only accepts but excels in looking after you and your children. It's a great family venue with guides and staff that show a genuine interest in their needs. At this stage they don't promote it as a "family camp" per se, but we felt it was one of their strengths, particularly with Roelof and Helen and the girls - along with Wilson and Tim. They couldn't have been more hospitable and accommodating.

At this stage the camp has 8 tents and it's very personalised service. More details from our first stay are also posted on this site - scroll back down. We had another great time but perhaps didn't see quite as much wildlife because of the very long grass and of course the migration had well and truly finished. We saw loads of elephants, giraffe, zebra and gazelle. Also lions and just about everything else. Rhinos are scarce in the entire region and leopards are also very hard to find, so don't expect to see heaps of those. Everything else can be pretty well found on the conservancy and there's no real need to head down onto the Masai Mara reserve which tends to have quite a bit of traffic and loads of people. The strength of Naboisho is that it's quite exclusive and only limited numbers can access it, so you don't get the busy traffic rolling up to every sighting. You're pretty much on your own and may come across a few other vehicles from the camp, but rarely.

Tips - the camp can do your washing daily, so you don't have to take loads of clothes. They collect in the mornings and it's back there in the afternoon/evening. If you have kids, request the family tent which has a king bed and 2 single beds in a side annexe. There's really room for another 2 beds in the front section as well but not sure if they'd do that. It would be worth asking if you have more than a family of 4. It's all very very comfortable and lovely, well appointed tents. There's no power points in the tents but you can re-charge cameras, phones and laptops at the dining/lounge area. There's powered lighting in the tents. If you need access to phone and internet, you can get service with your Blackberry or i-phone if you're in the right spot.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank AS_IT_IS_24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Naboisho Camp, Asilia Africa

Property: Naboisho Camp, Asilia Africa
Address: Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 138 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Naboisho Camp, Asilia Africa 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the 210 km² private Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Naboisho Camp offers spectacular game viewing, from the herds of antelope that dot the plains of this wilderness corridor throughout the year to the high concentrations of predators, including lion and cheetah. But the real magic of Naboisho is its sheer exclusivity - you'll experience a level of safari solitude and serenity simply unheard of in the busy Serengeti and Maasai Mara reserves. With just nine spacious tented suites, Naboisho is an intimate and elegant safari camp that balances your wilderness experience with discreet creature comforts. Even better, it is one of just two Asilia camps where you have the option of fly camping. If you have a truly adventurous spirit, don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in the magic of the African bush. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Naboisho Camp, Asilia Africa Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Naboisho Camp, Asilia Africa Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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