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“A wonderfully African Experience”

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Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A wonderfully African Experience”
Reviewed February 3, 2012

Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most truly beautiful places on earth. However, this is not the place for tourists looking for a western experience-you can find that elsewhere. If what you're after is an authentic African safari then look no further than the Masai Mara camp. The bumpy journey getting there further enhanced our African experience, as it is surrounded by luscious greenery, wildlife and the clearest sky I have ever seen. Immediately upon arriving we were greeted by the staff, who are not only wonderfully friendly, but they're Masai and brimming with knowledge about the culture and animals. The tents, if you could even call them that, are equipped with both a shower and a toilet, two beautiful beds and screened windows with a gorgeous view of the land. We couldn't have felt more secure as every employee went above and beyond our expectations to make us feel safe and welcomed. Waking up to that view every morning (always well-rested, I might add) was a gift, especially with the anticipation to see the most majestic animals in the world. The food was delicious and the staff went out of their way to accommodate us. I cannot imagine how anyone could come away from such a gloriously peaceful and wonderful experience with such negativity. I have never in my life seen something so beautiful as Masai Mara. It would take a truly pompous and bigoted person to not recognize that. But, unfortunately for the world, those people insist on leaving their houses. I fell in love with Kenya in previous travels and had doubts that anything could ever top it, but the camp in Masai Mara proved me wrong. Masai Mara will forever be in my heart and was worth every second. If you're looking for an adventure that is otherworldly and exhilarating beyond belief, then come to the camp at Masai Mara.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
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1 Thank SarahPotts
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English first
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed February 3, 2012

Our group wanted to experience a real, authentic safari and camp, not Animal Kingdom and Mickey's luxury disney den. The entire experience, including the "bumpy" ride was incredible. We off-roaded for probably a few hours, however, it only added to our experience! Of course there were no paved roads near the National Park, it's a NATIONAL park, not an animal zoo. The vans are specially made to handle to bumpy terrain, and yeah our van got stuck once and our group had to get out and push the van. However, it was one of the most empowering moments of our lives! Once we got to the camp, it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Although it is a LUXURY camp, the development doesn't compromise the purity of the environment. The employees were Masai people, which equally added to the experience! Just because their uniforms, didn't look like they worked at the Ritz Carlton, it doesn't mean they were anything short of professional and courteous. In fact, they were genuinely friendly and made sure our stay was the most comfortable as possible. Peter, the main over-seer of the camp was one of the most nicest people I've met in Kenya. We had a small leak and we called him and he came over and fixed the problem right away. As for the security, I felt more safer with the Masai worriers than I would have even with an American solider with an AK-47. Remember, Masai worriers use to attack LIONS with their bows and arrows.

The tents were absolutely beautiful! The inside didn't even look like a tent. Everything was clean and the bed was the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. I'm pretty sure it was a Tempur-Pedic. I woke up every morning so well rested and I couldn't wait to get back in every night.

As far as the food goes, yeah there were "buffet" style meals, but they do that so we can PICK and CHOOSE what we want to eat so we don't have to be limited to what they serve you. Once again, just because it was a "buffet" it was nothing short of delicious! I felt comfortable eating the meat and drinking the milk. The kitchen staff was very accommodating and made sure we enjoyed our meal.

If people want their safari experience to be filled with uniformed workers, gated fences and western influenced EVERYTHING, they don't need to be traveling outside of their home country. When you go to other places, you should be OPEN to new things.

The authenticity of this camp is remarkable, and not once did I feel as if it was anything less than a 5 star facility. Masai Mara and this camp experience was the Mac-Daddy of all safari experiences! I plan on spending my honey-moon here once I find a man and every anniversary after that.

For sure, one of the best hotels (camp) I've ever stayed in and I've traveled to many places, including Dubai. Everything from the staff to the huts themselves was AUTHENTIC! After all, isn't that what you're paying to see? If you want a bougie hotel then go to your neighborhood 4 Seasons, if not then this is the place for you!!!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Vitalie007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
194 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2011

We were offered this lodging choice through our safari tour organizer. It is a relatively new camp (which is still under construction) outside the border of the Masai Mara National Reserve. DO NOT GO THERE.

First, the term "luxury" is very loose here. We experienced luxury tented camps in two other locations and they truly were luxurious for a tented safari camp. I have NO problems with staying in a tented camp, but don't call it luxury if it is not.

Getting to this lodging was torturous. We drove for three hours from Narok to Masai Mara. Most of it was bumpy, potholed, and just horrible. It was not a long drive by kilometers, but be prepared. The tour vans had to cross a few riverbeds and mud. There were some stuck vans. People had to get out and push.

Upon arriving at the border of the camp, we saw the long line of tour vans go off to the right. They were going to the lodge inside the Reserve. We went left. Uh oh. This was not a good sign. We immediately hit muddy roads and then a virtual impasse. We had to cross a muddy strip of road, right into a riverbed, and up the other side. Needless to say, all of us in the van got out, put rocks, branches, and sand into the deep grooves of the road. We had to push the van up the other side....this is a private road and should be maintained by someone, but whom? Certainly, the tented camp owner didn't think it was his responsibility. We were already late for our "buffet" lunch -- it was after 3 pm and we hadn't eaten since 6:30 a.m. that morning so the blood sugar was low and I was very cranky. At the camp, the dearth of clients should have been another clue that we'd made the wrong mistake. We were taken to our tents where the bathroom is ensuite. It was very rustic, there was no hot water, and far from what we'd experienced at Amboseli (Sentrim) and Nakaru (Flamingo).

Lunch was quite bad. There wasn't really enough left of the gamey stew and there were flies on the apple streudel looking dessert. It was quite sad, really. Dinner was not much better. The best part of the meal was the hot milk and cocoa mix. After dinner, we wanted hot showers. Our tent's plumbing wasn't working properly so someone had to come and fix it. During the night, there was a leak discovered and our hot water shut off. It took awhile to get someone to fix it.

The camps and lodges have to hire Masai as employees. In most places, it is professionally done and they are wonderful. At this camp, as with others, they were porters and provided security. The security was against zebras and cattle? I wasn't really sure. However, it was a bit creepy to see a band of three Masai with arrows hovering outside a tent. Each tent contains beds, usually enough for two or three lodgers. During the night, our friend's tent was "broken into" by someone at 0300. By this, I mean they unzipped the tent and was about to go in but my friend was awakened by the noise and scared the intruder away with a flashlight. We were all freaked out by this. Her children were staying in the tent next door and so were vulnerable to a night-time intruder. My friend's husband got up and looked for staff members or security. It is a small camp. He couldn't find anyone to help. There is supposed to be 24-hour support. We told our guides what had happened and we packed up and left, never to return.

This was a very poor experience, but reflective of the rather haphazard running of this business. The staff hired by the Kenyan owner (himself a tour operator) was very eager to please. They tried very hard, but between the chef and the lack of true security, I would never return or recommend this camp to anyone.

Again, the accessibility was an issue. When we'd first gotten there and relayed the news about the impassable riverbed, the answer was to send two Masai with shovels and machetes to the riverbed with us in the hopes of creating a makeshift path. In reality, all of us pitched in, got muddy, dirty, and had some fun (admittedly), but it got old the third time. Again, would never go back.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
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3 Thank Tampann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KEN097, Owner at Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp, responded to this review, January 31, 2012
Am the Director of this camp in maasai mara!! am very sorry for your unfortunate experience at our camp in maasai mara.After getting this complaint,i left for maasai mara and put everything in control!! i have changed all the security there and added more maasai security in the camp and more experienced ones including a new experienced manager who has also put a lot of things into place.
As for the camp in general,we have completed building and all is set awaiting clients.The road to the camp has been done and its quite good now.I would also like to bring to your attention that most of the roads down to maasai mara in all the camps and lodges are done by Narok county council and usually it has been a little problem all the way from Narok to maasai mara.
Thanks for letting us know about this problems.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
American in Okinawa, Japan
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2011

At approximately 3am on December 20th 2011 (Tuesday) an intruder entered our tent at Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp: http://elangataoleraicamp.com/

I was awakened by a creaking noise and when I felt a presence in the room, I shined a flashlight at the end of our bed and the intruder fled. Luckily, no one was hurt and nothing was stolen. He/she had entered the tent by unzipping the front entrance flap.

When my husband left the tent via the now open flap to check on our children and friends sleeping in nearby tents (as well as to report the incident to the front desk and security), there was no one seated at the front desk and security was nowhere to be found after 15 minutes of searching.

Bottom line: do not book at this camp unless the owner can assure you that security measures have changed. In the camps we stayed at prior to this one the security personnel patrolled the grounds all night, protecting us from both human and animal intruders. Regretfully, Elangata Olerai has not perfected this routine.

Two more suggestions for Elangata Olerai: add lock boxes to each tent and provide all campers with a flashlight (luckily we had our own, provided by our friends).

PS - I DO want the owners to know that the wait staff, the valet, and the kitchen personnel were absolutely wonderful; I felt bad for them when we had to change camps for our last night since none of us felt comfortable staying at Elangata Olerai for another night.

PSS - the other problem we encountered with Elangata Olerai is that you have to cross a deep creek to get to it and EVERY time we crossed the creek we got stuck in the mud (thereby losing an hour each way while all of us got out of the vans and helped dig our way out) . If you want people to stay at the camp then you need to build a bridge at the creek.

Good luck!

Room Tip: 1) Make sure you lock all 3 flaps to the tent when you go to bed! 2) Bring a flashlight (cos the...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank AmericaninOkinawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp

Property: Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp
Address: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #112 of 138 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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