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“Unbelievable Experience”

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Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 17, 2013

The recent reviews for Encounter Mara are spot on and reflect the reality of this superb camp.

I travelled with a Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) company called HAWK'S HEAD PHOTOGRAPHY with the aim of encountering the wildlife of Kenya and to improve my photographic skills. The company arranged all the travel and connections as well as overnight accommodation in Nairobi. All my expectations were exceeded with the help of Hawk's Head's leaders Alan & Trai and the camp's guides Moses, Sammy and Dickson whose skills and knowledge are immense.

The site: In the middle of the savannah, miles from anywhere and surrounded by the animals I wanted to photograph: a local pride of lions, herds of elephants, gazelle, antelopes, hyena, warthogs, giraffe, hippo, crocs and a wonderful variety of beautiful birds; kingfishers, splendid starlings, rollers, birds of prey. The list goes on.

The accommodation: would rival any 5 star hotel. Spacious tents with toilet & shower, tented lounge and dining room. Beds made up and turned down in the evening with a hot water bottle for good measure. Luxurious little touches. There's a day bed on the verandah and a hammock slung in the shade of two trees with a fine view over the savannah. Mozzie nets and a spray keep the unwanted wildlife at bay...

The food: A recent review mentioned tv's Masterchef which was a comment I made when we sat down to our first dinner - the food was first class with dietary requirements catered for all served with finesse after evening drinks by the campfire under the stars.

The staff: Nothing was too much trouble. Ask and they would do their best to oblige. They were helpful and most polite as well as knowledgeable about the surroundings. Chris & Sam have the camp running like a well-oiled machine and the dining staff wouldn't be out of a place in a top hotel.

The drives: Early morning starts and late afternoon outings in well-adapted Landcruisers which the guides can take almost anywhere. Every drive was an eye-opener as Moses, Sammy and Dickson dressed in traditional Masai clothing knew how to find those animals. We even spotted the elusive leopard albeit a brief encounter! Their driving skills in rough terrain are incredible as is their respect for the animals they track.

Culture: We visited a local school (we took small gifts such as pens and pencils) and enjoyed the enthusiastic curiosity of the youngsters. We also visited a boma which is a traditional Masai settlement. The brightly-dressed women of the camp gave a demonstration of singing and dancing.

Why would I recommend Encounter Mara?

For all the reasons above and more but especially how they make every effort to limit their impact upon the land and its wildlife. If you want to see these species before they are lost for ever but don't want them to feel threatened then Encounter Mara is the place to do it.
If you don't mind joining the hordes of second-rate vehicles chasing the animals as they do in the parks then go elsewhere. If you're concerned about the welfare of the wildlife and our impact on the environment, Encounter Mara is the place to be.

If you're considering a Kenyan safari I recommend, without any reservation whatsoever, Encounter Mara.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Wainwright007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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271 - 277 of 348 reviews

Reviewed September 15, 2013 via mobile

Harris and I just returned home to Seattle after four remarkable nights at Encounter Mara, and we're still riding high on the joy of it. Every detail here is handled with great care, and we felt so welcome and supported. Managers Chris and Sam, together with all the other wonderful, committed people here, have somehow managed to create an experience of both wilderness and luxury. Gourmet brunch at a table under the acacia trees while watching zebras and impala graze nearby. Hot showers in our own private, gorgeous tent after enjoying the crimson sunset with gin and tonics on the high plains. The music of lions and hyenas nearby at night. We loved the attention to environmental stewardship, with extensive use of solar power and careful disposal of waste. Considerable expertise and regard for both humans and other creatures provided us with rich exposure to Masai culture and to scores of exotic birds, plants and "charismatic megafauna" such as lions, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, baboons and even an elusive leopard. The special solitude of the Naboisho Conservancy gave the game drives an added feel of exclusivity. Give yourself the gift of this experience of a lifetime. You won't regret it!

  • Stayed: September 2013
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Thank heididewa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded September 27, 2013

Thanks for your feedback.
We are really pleased you had a great time and hope you arrived back safe and sound. A visit to Africa, especially the bush is an unforgettable experience and we are so pleased you enjoyed the magic of The Masai Mara.
Please come back and visit us soon

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

My husband and I were lucky enough to spend 7 nights at Encounter Mara last week. It is very hard not to use too many cliches to describe what an amazing exoerience we had. Suffice to say that the camp is excellent in all respects - efficient and caring management by Chris and Sam; friendly and competent camp staff; cuisine which at times looked as if it belonged to a Masterchef programme; excellent well-trained guides - ours was Moses who introduced us to the wonders of the mammal and bird life in the Conservancy and in the Mara reserve, and who helped us with trees, small plants and grasses - the complete guide; fabulous game-viewing every single day and great animal sounds at night too; top organisation for everything that we did. The extra touches like a hot water bottle in the beds at night, the friendly Masai spear-armed guides who took care of us to and from dinner at night; the cheerful fillers of the bucket shower; the impressive use of solar power and the keyrings when we departed, not to mention the people sent to stay with us at Olseki airstrip till our plane came in all added to a great week.Thank you so much for a truly memorable time with you all; it will be a treasured memory.

Room Tip: No need - they are all great tented rooms.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Umvumila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2013

My sister and I were with Encounter in August. We rate our experience 10 out of 10. Tented accommodation -10 (we loved the special touch of the hot water bottle at night, hearing the lions at night was amazing, bucket showers, views to the bush with zebras/wilderbeest far away ). We saw incredible animals in the conservancy (and what a beautiful sight during sunrise and the sunset...stunning colours) and with luck saw the Mara Crossing. This would not be possible without our Maasai guide, Daniel. We certainly enjoyed the sundowners and the company of another American couple who were a pleasure and laugh to be with. Safari - a 10. We met with some amazing Maasai staff at the camp who was ever so ready to provide excellent service. We enjoyed chatting to them. We also enjoyed meeting the Maasai people at the Maasai village. On the last evening, we were taken aback at our own private dining outside our tent...it was truly a special special beautiful evening. Thanks for the experience.
We are so taken with the beauty of the people, the scenery and wildlife and Encounter made it possible.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Munfoon Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

I've been around the world a time or two (25, actually) in the past 5 years. When I set a goal to visit 30 countries before I turned 30 I knew I'd get to see and experience some amazing things. But rarely is there something that I'll stop to write a TripAdvisor review about because I want everyone else to make it a bucket list item as well.

Encounter Mara is that item.

Every SINGLE DETAIL was considered and taken care of on our trip. From our guide (Nelson) and his incredible knowledge to the campground property, I was continually impressed and blown away. And we're not even to the animals yet. BIG FIVE. Sunset cruises. Night-time safari. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

Basically, I want to take everyone I know here. It was simply amazing. Do it. Don't look around. Just book Encounter Mara now.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank bradjward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BwanaKev, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded September 5, 2013

Thank you for your review, its feedback like yours that makes it really worthwhile. Especially from someone who is as well travelled as yourself and has a lot of experience. We love what we do and we try and make every experience for each guest as memorable as possible and we are so pleased you share our enthusiasm and passion for the Mara and the camp.

Report response as inappropriate
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Reviewed September 2, 2013

This was a holiday that was planned out for me, so I had know idea what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised it was over and above my highest expectations.

The tents were equipped with flushing toilets and solar power. The food was like gourmet style ( camping style). There was fresh juice every morning, noon and night.

The safari it self I saw every animale I wanted to.

What an experience I highly recommend booking your safari with Encounter Mara Safari Camp you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank elizabeth h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2013

When you arrive, its like walking into a part of the bush along a secret path. The public areas are hidden amongst the trees, over looking a salt lick often covered in Wildebeest and Zebra. Our tents were hidden away on the edge of bush with a view across the Mara, where we sepnt afternoons watching the northern migration.
Lovely staff and special mention for our Guide Dickson, who was our favourite across all of our safari.
Wonderful sundowner, the sky looked like it was on fire.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank antondotreks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa

Address: Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 142 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $954 - $1,482 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the sought-after Mara Naboisho Conservancy, award-winning Encounter Mara is the stuff safari dreams are made of. Enjoy some of the best game viewing in Africa all year round from the low-key yet lavish comfort of this superb eco-camp. Shaded by a thick acacia forest, Encounter Mara enjoys glorious views of the surrounding savannah, while closer at hand a salt lick attracts a range of animals throughout the day, from plains game to big cats. The sheer comfort of the traditional-style safari camp combined with the opportunity for bush walks and night drives mean that there are few more rewarding places from which to experience this slice of wild Africa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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