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“An oasis of experiences” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Amani Mara Lodge

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Amani Mara Lodge
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“An oasis of experiences”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2014

I have been to the Mara before but didn't have the same oohs and ahhs like I did when staying at Amani Mara. Amani is a Swahili word that translates to 'peace' and the place lived to its name in the 3 nights that I was there.
The staff was more than helpful and entertained me with stories about their escapades with wild animals. Ashif, the owner was very hands-on in ensuring that our stay was smooth. Since there are 9 cottages there is a personalised approach in terms of service.
The rooms were clean and well maintained. The dining area has a breath taking view of a river full of hippos. The swimming pool is on a cliff giving it an amazing aesthetic feel.
I will definitely stay here again when I'm down at the Mara. It was a delightful experience.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Imbuhira
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

We stayed at Amani Mara in September 2013 in a double room for 3 nights. The rooms were great, they were clean, luxurious, comfortable and quiet. You get all the benefits of 'camping' without actually camping with the the big zip up windows and personal patio out the back putting you right in touch with the wilderness.

The service was excellent, Alex looked after us each day and couldn't have been more helpful. The food was great each day, from breakfast to dinner, they even put on an African night for us to experience some local cuisine. Our Masai guide Joseph took us on game drives each day and knew exactly where to take us including the spots to stop and enjoy a beer.

We felt like the private guests of Ashif who went out of his way to ensure we had a great time. I would highly recommend Amani Mara to anyone looking for a luxurious camping stay away from the bigger, more commercial lodges.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Scott S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taipei, Taiwan
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2014

What is there to say that hasn’t already been said by so many? Amani Mara is a paradise in the Mara, and the owners make their guests feel like part of the family. We were fortunate to be there over Christmas, and there happened to be no other guests there at the time. Even for an intimate place, Ashif, Shelina, their two sons, Boniface, Sammy and all of the staff, made us feel like family. Everyone was so generous with their time and attention. They adored our young sons (5 & 2) and made every accommodation, and never once made us feel stressed in having kids spill food, not eat, or be noisy. Heck, we also learned tons about animals, local environment, local culture, history, and child rearing!
The game drives and nature walks were first rate. We saw 4 of the big 5 (excluding elusive rhino), and Sammy our guide pointed things out and explaining at every chance. Within our first 30 minutes on the way from the airstrip to the camp, we probably saw just about every animal, except a male lion, leopard and cheetah, which we saw on other days. Otherwise, we saw them all immediately. They took us to a marketday in town for a real local masai flavor. Ashif arranged to take my family (esp our sons) to a local fishing hole for their very first fishing trip. As it turned out, our older son caught his first fish ever in a few minutes. needless to say, a great memory.
Starting on Christmas Eve, the team arranged for a Christmas tree and trimming session complete with wonderful traditional Christmas meal of turkey and all the side dishes too! They even brought in a surprise performance of a masai youth choir to sing and dance masai Christmas carols. The food was different everyday, cooked to order and wholesome without additives. We ate western, African, and even Indian specialties.
The camp’s setting, though technically not in the bush, is wonderful. Set up on a ledge, overlooking a hippo pool and crocs, you can see animals in the distance, not to mention see and hear animals just outside your doorstep. This is real nature, not some fenced in version of African wildlife. I watched a croc devour a baby hippo, just like out of a national geographic special. and each night, we heard the hippos grunting and splashing. If you listen closely, you could hear the lions roaring too.
It was a huge plus not to have internet/wifi. This was the first vacation where we weren’t checking emails each day, and I quickly forgot what day it was. It is a relief for us city dwellers to take a break from our gadgets. It was entertaining enough for our five year-old son to forget about playing on the ipad.
While the staff encourage guests to make plans each night for the following day’s activities, there was no pressure to be on time or actually do anything at all. Having said that, in such a wonderful place, with so much to see, it would have been hard to sit too still and let the wildlife go by.
I highly highly recommend Amani Mara if you are visiting masai mara. It was nice to hear and see how Ashif and staff are making efforts to be ecologically friendly in Masai Mara with land surrounding the lodge. Before departing, they provided an opportunity for our sons to plant their first trees. This was our first African safari, and we look forward to being back for more at Amani Mara.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank familyof4traveler99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2013

We went in the month of July right at the beginning of the wildebeest migration from the Tanzanian Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya. This was such an incredible experience as we were able to witness the mass migration and the symbiotic relationship between the Zebra and Wildebeest. If you are an environmentalist, this is the perfect destination. The owner, Ashif, is working in partnership with the WWF to protect the local environment and is extremely knowledgeable about the area, the animals, the culture, the language and is a fantastic story teller. I would recommend having some wine with him after unwinding from a long day of sight seeing.
Further, the infrastructure of the lodge is intertwined with the surrounding landscape. A dam has introduced the perfect hydrologic conditions for hippos and crocodiles and forms the most incredible backdrop from the lodge. The rooms are so beautiful and clean, and if you listen closely, you can hear the lions roaring at night, because they are that close!
Overall, the lodge is surreal, there is so much tranquility, beauty and harmony.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Boniface2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
33 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2013

This was a great find in Mara - beautifully located near a hippo pool. Loved the rooms and the central patio for sitting out to watch the animals. Great hospitality from Ashif and the staff. I particularly remember Simon, our safari driver - very knowledgeable and a great tracker. Only downside - food options are somewhat limited. But the cosy lodge more than made up compared to the much larger hotels in Mara.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank allisoniain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Monica, CA
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2013

Wow - a gem of a place! The owner and host clearly has a passion for Maasai Mara and has brilliantly created both a rustic and refined lodge to take in the beauty. It was amazing to watch the hippos and crocs in the river below the lodge and all sorts of animals meandering across the spotted plain. Even more animals were found on game drives, but my favorite game-viewing and photo opportunities were walking with their Maasai staff out beyond the river. Stunning!

Each room was its own cabin essentially - they were classy and provided privacy and sensational views. It really felt like a dream getaway. The food was delicious, the lobby a comfortable and cozy place to hangout pre-meal and reminisce about the day, and the abundant and friendly staff went out of their way to make our experience a special one. I look forward to returning someday!

Room Tip: All the views seem equally amazing. You may have a preference of whether you want to be closer or f...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Darren J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alabama, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2013

(I hesitate to write this because I think this place is the best kept secret when it comes to the Masai Mara)

This was my first time to the Masai Mara. I chose Amani Mara b/c I wanted a more rustic experience. I didn't want a typical western hotel/resort in the middle of the reserve, with cable TV/spa/multiple floors/etc. Amani Mara was perfect. The most striking thing to me was the...silence. You are away from everything in the middle of the reserve. Hippos are milling about just below the reserve and sweeping views are there just outside your window, so you don't have to leave the grounds to experience the reserve. Also, the service was excellent. Ashif and Anna greeted me personally and were wonderful. The staff went out of their way to provide personal attention. The lodge and rooms are out of a movie. I didn't want to leave, and I can't wait to go back with my family. The food was excellent as well.

Staying here is in my opinion the best way to experience the masai mara.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank saw2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amani Mara Lodge

Property: Amani Mara Lodge
Address: Maasai Mara National Reserve 61394 - 00200, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #94 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amani Mara is a peaceful haven located in Olare Orok on the the banks of the Ntiak Ntiak river in the World Famous Maasai Mara National Game Reserve. It is a small and exclusive boutique lodge with exquisite accommodation, with each structure beautifully designed to give unobstructed views of the scenery with minimal impact on the environment. Guests are able to view a variety of game right from the comfort of their own rooms. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amani Mara Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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