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“Luxury Safari Experience - joint review for Mara&Samburu Intrepids”

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Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 13, 2011

The Intrepids tented camps in Samburu and Maasai Mara are an outstanding, luxury experience. The tents combine the comfort of a 5 star hotel with the experience of living close to the nature, in the middle of great natural parks. Especially in Mara I could hear lions roaring during the night and in both camps you'll wake up with the most exotic bird chirping sounds.
The services are first class, all employees are keen to make your stay a memorable, pleasant experience. The food was remarkable in both camps. I've never expected such a variety and such exquisite food on a safari. The General Managers of both camps get personally involved, from greeting you when you arrive to asking you at dinner, or lunch if everything is ok, or if there is anything you might need. This very personal, carrying service is something I have not experienced before and I've travelled a lot through Europe, Middle East and the Americas.
The game drives are very well organised and we've seen more than we expected. Samburu has very special animals you can only see there, but in Maasai Mara you can be sure to see many big cats. We've seen in 3 days more than 30 lions in Mara, a leopard and a few cheetahs, one with a wonderful baby. Silas, our guide in Mara is a great person and a knowledgable naturalist. I can warmly recommend him. In Mara you get 3 game drives a day and in Samburu 2. I think 3 is better, but depending on how tired you are, 2 is also a good choice. In the end you can swim in the pool and relax a bit too.
Finally I would like to recommend some of the extra activities. Very pleasant are the bush breakfast and the sundowner. Make these as a surprise to your partner or family! Absolutely remarkable and a lifetime experience is the hot air balloon trip, which is available only in the Mara. Most of the time the ballons fly just 10-50m above the ground and we've seen lions eating and wildebeest running below us. It was sensational!
Also, do not miss the evening presentations of the naturalist in Samburu and the Samburu dancers! If nothing changes, you can skip the visit of the Maasai village.
My last tip, be generous when you tip. Tip is at your discretion, but will be very welcome.

Room Tip: When you book, ask for a family tent if you need one.
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank RaduZaciu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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682 - 688 of 845 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2011

We stayed at Mara Intrepids at the beginning of July for 3 nights and had a delightful time. I've been fortunate enough to go on several previous safaris over the last 20 years, in various parts of Africa, and I've not experienced the sheer volume of animals, including 7 leopards, numerous Cheetahs, Lions, Rhino as well as herds of Elephant, Buffalo and the awesome sight of the Migration, and not withstanding the smaller and very interesting residents. The service that we received was gracious and efficient. This was from all the staff but James, our game expert, was exceptional at locating animals, including leopards traversing rivers (as well as being great company) and Grace who joined us on a couple of rides and again was perfect company. Nelson, our main waiter, also took great care of us. High lights included having breakfast surrounded by several 10,000 head of wildebeest. We had the family tent which was very comfortable and we were not impacted by noise from other tents. We had a lovely view of the river and watched hippo and antelope grazing in and round it. The food service was very good and the food was good - not exceptional and I would concur that the salads could be much better presented at lunch time. My family (including a 16 year and 18 year old) preferred the food at dinner to lunch and they all liked everything. I would say that dinner wasn't as high end as previous safari's but still acceptable. The game rides were a perfect length for us, though if there is an opportunity to reintroduce evening game rides (including "free" sundowners) that would be a welcome return. Word of warning, the trip to the Masai Village was interesting However, felt very ripped off after purchasing from their on site store. Make sure that your Intrepids representative ensures that they provide single item pricing. Overall, a really enjoyable experience.

Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
Thank BullersGR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2011

We are really looking forward to returning to Mara Intrepids in september, this will be our 11th visit since 2000.We have always been impressed with the camp and the people who work there.
In recent years the tents have been tastefully refurbished to a very high standard.They are spacious and comfortable with lovely fourposter beds and excellent ensuite facilities.We love to just sit and relax on the tent's veranda between game drives listening to all the different sounds going on around the camp.We do have a favourite tent which is right beside the Talek river and sometimes at night you can hear the Hippo walking along the river.It's great at night to lay in bed and listen to all the different sounds of the African night and then to be woken up in the morning by a friendly voice saying Jambo and having a flask of hot chocolate and home made biscuits brought to the tent before going on a game drive.Great
We have been on many excellent game drives.The drivers are very experienced ,knowledgable and respectful.They try very hard to find as many animals as possible for guests to see.We have been very fortunate to see the "Big 5" on seven of our visits to the Mara and each time is just as exciting as the first.Also over the years we have been lucky enough to see many of the animals featured on BBC'sBig Cat Diary in particular Bella,Chui(leopards) Kiki,Shakira (cheetahs) to name but a few,we were very lucky to have Kiki jump onto the bonnet of our truck while her cubs were playing around the truck,it was great.One of the things we also enjoy very much is taking out a picnic breakfast on a game drive. The drivers always manage to find a good spot for breakfast and it gives guests the opportunity to stay out longer looking for the animals.Each game drive is very different you never know what you will see.
The service in the dining room is excellent.Breakfast and lunch are usually buffet style with quite a wide variety of choice.Evening meals are very good,there is a different menu each day with excellent choices and the presentation of the food is fantastic the chef and his staff obviously work hard to produce a very high standard.
In 2009 we spent our 45th wedding anniversary at Explorer sister camp to Intrepids we had a wonderful time there and were very grateful to Mariana and the staff at Explorer for making it a very memorable time for us,one that we will never forget.The day started with breakfast beside the Mara River then we watched the Wildebeest crossing.We returned to camp to find our tent had been decorated and a bottle of champagne on ice.In the evening we had a lovely candlelit dinner overlooking the Talek River.It was a very special holiday for us.
We are often asked why we keep going back to Intrepids.The answer is easy for us,we love the very friendly atmosphere of the camp,we enjoy the excitement of the game drives and the people that work there always make us feel so welcome and at home.Each time we have been to Intrepids has been very different we never get tired of watching the animals in the Mara and enjoying the company of all the people that work there.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Nobby193
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2011

We stayed at the Intrepids at Masai Mara as the second part of our honeymoon having spent the first half at the "sister" camp at Samburu Intrepids. While I will try to keep the review objective, I have to start by saying that the Samburu Intrepids beats the Mara Intrepids hands down, in every way.
The camp is very near to the airstrip which is kind of funny as you wait for a driver and are in the car for 30 seconds! Our first disappointment was that we were told that we couldn’t have a double room as they were full, and that we would be swapped the following day, although to be fair to them when they realised we were on honeymoon the problem became “sorted”, although I’m sure someone else would have had the same problem.
The accommodation is OK, it’s on the same standard as the Samburu inside the tents but unfortunately the “roof” (above the tent) is another canvas covering as opposed to thatch (Samburu) so if you’ve ever experienced the noise rain makes when you’re in a tent you’ll know how annoying it can be. There was no real view to speak of, and the tents are very close together (again, unlike the Samburu) and you can hear people’s conversations quite clearly (or their screaming kids *sigh*)
The food was tired. It was the same kind of food as in the Samburu but didn’t look anywhere near as appetizing, and the salad was horrendous. The service was very good, polite and as quick or as slow as you’d like (I don’t know whoever claimed the Africans are slow at serving, you could literally eat a 6 course dinner inside an hour)
There were the same evening activities as the Samburu, but the local Masai warrior was nowhere near as engaging and didn’t hang around for questions etc. Also I noticed that the activities offered were all at extra cost (bush dinner etc) where at the Samburu they were included.
Whilst it’s no real fault of the site, on our penultimate day a group of 30 New Zealand school teenagers arrived which killed it off completely. The teachers did nothing to stop them treating the small, quite intimate pool area like a club 1830’s in Ibiza. The wildlife instantly vanished and I am still left wondering why on earth people like that go on safari at all.
There are 3 game drives per day in the Mara (2 in Samburu) which my wife and I found very tiring, although our guide John was very knowledgeable and a general pleasure to be around. We were fortunate that we had our own 4x4 for the duration so we could pretty much do as we pleased.
All in all it wasn’t a bad effort on behalf of the Intrepids, I just can’t figure out how another site run by the same company less than 500 miles away can be so much better.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank HRHFiBi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2011

Dear Guest,
I acknowledge your indepth review of your finding in our two Units. Obviuosly you have given us a challenge that we want to stand up too.
Just that records are right the two Intrepid Units are supposed to be at par.
Thank you for taking time to post your feedback

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2011

Very comfortable luxury tents , with all amenities . Large and spacious too and thoughtfully done in a very ethnic way with all wood and thatched roof. Consistently excellent service by every staff member, always smiling and attentive. Our game drive guide Dixon was extremely knowledgeable and we saw a fantastic range of wild life including the rare black rhino , other than plenty of big cats. Food is very well presented, and everything in the place is well organised and runs like clockwork. There was not a single failing of service.

Do be aware that the power is shut down every morning from midnight to 5 am, and you need to use a torch ( provided ) if you wish to use the toilet at this time. They are ensuite of course, so not a big issue. Mornings are chilly but they do provide excellent blankets in the Land Rovers if you wish to cover up.

A once in a lifetime experience, thanks to the place where we stayed and its very well trained staff !

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank RamjiRA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded July 5, 2011

We are gratefull you found time to visit our Unit in Maasai Mara. Thank you for taking time to post your feedback to the Tripadvisor.
We are excited about the accolades you have showered us with. You will be happy to know that by mentioning Dickson and his driving skills and knowledge of Game, he does qualify for an inhouse incentive that we have in the Group.
We cant wait for your next visit.
Good day

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2011

My wife and I spent a wonderful 5 nights at Mara Intepids. Staff service was superb and was at the least the equivalent of any 5 Star hotel. Food was excellent and accommodation excellent. The game driving was the highlight and was enhanced by an extremely knowledgeable and friendly guide.

I can recommend without hesitation

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gamewatcher114
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BeutifulKenya64, Group Operations Manager at Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded July 1, 2011

Thanks for the Tripadvisor entry that you recently posted. We are glad you enjoyed yourself immensely and do look forward to hosting you again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2011

We researched camps in Masai Mara to great detail before finally selecting the Mara Intrepids Club. And it was definitely the right choice.

We booked directly through Heritage (the holding company, www.heritage-eastafrica.com), and they gave us a great deal. The supreme quality of service they offer came through quite clearly right from making the reservation to when we sadly checked out and flew away.

The tents are impeccably clean, with toilets and showers. The food is delicious and plentiful. The staff went out of their way to make our stay pleasant and comfortable.

On the game drives we saw everything we wanted to see and more. The Big Five, predators feasting on preys, we even got to see a chase and kill on our last morning!!

They offer many activities - but the sundowner is one not to be missed. Watching the gorgeous African sun set over the park by a campfire, sipping on cool drinks and nibbling canapes. Amazing.

We had a truly wonderful time and can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MaiAbaza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp

Address: C14 Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 141 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $495 - $1,156 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp 4.5*
Number of rooms: 30
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Also Known As:
Mara Intrepids Club Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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