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“Luxury on the Mara River” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Olonana

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Sanctuary Olonana
Certificate of Excellence
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
82 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Luxury on the Mara River”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

O(for outstanding)lonana Tented Camp, located on the Mara River, is a "small luxurious camp with stunning river views". The river was so high and rushing that it upset the Hippos and babies, who loudly protested! We watched and heard them all night. I think it was my favorite place to stay on the safari. The food and detail of everything was perfect! The staff was wonderful. Our deck had comfy couches to relax, drink our wake-up coffee, read or just relax and watch the hippos!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MsWitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you so mch for this lovely review, much appreciated!

We are so happy that you enjoyed your stay with us.Thank you for your kind comments about the food and especially the staff, they absolutely loved hosting you.

We look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (71)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Big Sky, MT
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

Last month we spent a week at Olonana on the Masa Mara in Kenya. The lodge was outstanding, the food excellent, and the equipment in good condition. The most impressive part of the trip, other then the wildlife drives, was the operation led by Mr. King. He and his staff (Mr. Nixon, Phillip, Ambrose, and Kristine) made us feel at home. I could tell by all of the staff that Mr. King motovated them. The were clean, prompt, and pleasant.

Another bonus of the trip was our driver and guide, Joseph. Last year he was selected as the top guide, out of 700 guides in Kenya, in the entire country. He was knowledgeable in all the flora and fauna in the area. He constantly found the big five as well as many species of birds and smaller mammals. Joseph provided bush breakfasts and lunches out with the wildlife.

Room Tip: All rooms in this tented camp have wood floors, bathroom, and a view of the Mara river 25 yards awa...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank heartlake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, April 18, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for this lovely review,much appreciated!

We are absolutely thrilled that your experience with us was such a positive one. We shared your feedback with King and the team, they loved hosting you and are very happy that you enjoyed your stay.

Thanks once again and we look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

I pretty much agree with the reviews already written on here, we had a fabulous couple of days, very attentive staff, food standard and quality was of a very high standard, the tents were well equipped and it was a bit cool in the evening and the hot water bottle in the bed was a lovely touch. We wanted for nothing the whole time we were there, we loved it and plan to come back. Thank you to everyone who made our stay fantastic.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sharon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Dear Sharon,

Thanks you so much for the lovely review.

Delighted that you and your family had such a fabulous time with us. We shared you feedback with the rest of the team, they were thrilled with your comments.

Awesome that you planning to come back,we looking forward to seeing you again.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naples, Italy
Level Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

A friend recommended Sanctuary Olonana to us, and we learned firsthand that Maurice and the friendly team at Sanctuary Olonana run a first-class establishment with excellent service. We stayed in two tents during our stay: one night in the standard tent, which was quite nice; and two nights in a honeymoon tent which can only be described as exceptional. Very roomy, outdoor showering option, extremely private, and an excellent view of the river and a sizeable, but not overly vocal hippo family. The food was fantastic, with three-course lunches and dinners, good quality South African wines, and we really appreciated that the produce used at the camp is grown in the camp's garden. The camp also has a good partnership with the local Masai villages, and we enjoyed the visit to a nearby village to learn about the Masai. The game drive vehicles are quite versatile, and our guide (a Masai) was knowledgeable on all the flora and fauna and was very accommodating. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CTB78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, February 5, 2013
Dear CTB78

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience at Sanctuary Olonana on Tripadvisor. We are definitely pleased about your friends recommendation and even more pleased that you decided to stay with us. Maurice and the rest of the team were delighted to learn that you appreciated their efforts.We are very glad that you enjoyed your stay with us.

We look forward to welcoming you once more and making your next stay with us as enjoyable and memorable as this one.

Warm regards
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Braunfels, Texas
Level Contributor
309 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

All of the previous reviews are pretty much spot on as far as the hotel being beautiful, the staff gracious, the roaring rapids and the rejuvenating spa by the river. We had a wonderful time during our short visit, but I would have given it an excellent rating had our particular room been cleaned more thoroughly. We were really the only ones in our group that felt like our room was not properly taken care of - we had many dead bugs around our sink and on the vanity as well as on the floor. We found a really nice pair of sunglasses on the floor by one of the trunks (the rooms are somewhat dark) so easy maybe to miss a dark pair of sunglasses when cleaning. I wonder how long they had been there though? Otherwise, we loved the hot chocolate and cookies brought each morning with our wakeup call, the hot water bottles brought every evening and nestled in the sheets, the wonderful hour at the spa by the river and the meals nicely served. We were in #9 and it was located right by the rapids. The rapids were quite loud and it was hard to discuss the day's adventures without appearing to yell at each other. I think two of the units actually had outdoor showers plus those units had more of a view of the hippos in a pool of water in the river. These were located on the opposite side of the main building from #9. I don't know if there was a price difference in those type of rooms. Overall a great experience!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank zinniaqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, January 14, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review on TripAdvisor.

We are happy to hear that overall you had a great experience, however we would like to apologise for the substandard housekeeping, rest assured this has been discussed with the team.We are actively working to improve our standards and your feedback has proved valuable.

Thank you for your honest feedback and we hope to welcome you here again soon.

Warm regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012 via mobile

We were in Sanctuary Olanana between 21 th and 25 th December 2012. We had amazing holiday with great hospitality and service. if you go Masai Mara you can stay in Sanctuary Olonana Camp. it is amazing. Location is very good, camp is very nature. We have seen manykind of wild animals and very nice lands. Manager Maurice, quide Duncan, Philip and The Cook 'Big John'. :)) Thank you so much for everything...

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Tanercan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, January 14, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post this lovely review.

We are delighted that you had an amazing holiday with us. Thank you for your kind comments regarding the "great hospitality and service" and the "very good location" of our camp.We have passed on your comments to Maurice, Duncan, Philp and Big John, who were very pleased that you appreciated their efforts.

Thank you again for your comments.. We hope to see you again soon.

Warm regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pune,India
Level Contributor
36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

Words seem insufficient for my experience at the Sanctuary Retreats !! This was my first experience in the wild and was completely worth it !
We spent 4 nights here, with the best intuitive service and excellent Gourmet food!

Rosemary (based in Nairobi) assisted us with all the booking, picked us up at the Nairobi airport and drove us to the local airport to take the short flight to the Masai Mara. Tip: Carry minimum luggage, cause the local flight has a weight restriction.

About an hour later we landed in the jungle on an airstrip used by Zebra's to roll on....We were greeted by the Resort Staff with a local Masai....do not forget to click pictures with them :)

On arriving at the hotel, they welcomed us with a refreshing drink and the whole staff singing a welcome song with a guitarist accompanying them....a really special welcome I must say !

We had a corner cottage overlooking the river full of Hippo's that woke us up every morning, just in time for the Morning Game Drives...

The cottage comes with a butler...and ours the most pleasant and intuitive as ever! Beautiful shower here (overlooking the river) !
Tip: Test the walky-talky that is provided to you, since that is the only mode of communication with the reception/other staff for any kind of service.

Since we were here in December 2011, the climate was perfect (warm during the day and chill during the nights).

The chef created a new dish every singe day, and kept our likes n dislikes in mind...Food, drinks, everything was just perfect.
It starts with a flask of hot tea and some cookies, as your wake-up alarm before your morning game drive....then either breakfast on returning or a super safari breakfast in the middle of the jungle can also be arranged!
It moves onto lunch and then a light snack before the evening game drive.
Then sun-downers on the way back to the resort..followed by an excellent much awaited dinner!!!

The evenings are the best at the Sanctuary Retreats, with the fire place, wine, beautiful live strumming of the guitar, candle-lit ambiance and really hospitable and interesting people at the resort to spend time with. They share their experiences and can tell you about the Masai Mara like nobody else !!

Lucas was our guide for the 4 days of awesome Safari Experience we had here. He knows the jungle and is one of the best guides you can get !!!
Tip: carry your rain-jackets, since it rains during this time...

This was my first safari experience and ever since have had 5 more, but Sanctuary Retreats was by far the best....

PS: Don't forget to try the spa as well !!!!!

Room Tip: For a romantic experience, the corner last cottage on the left was what I loved !!
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Soniya A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Sanctuary Management at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, December 7, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your feedback on TripAdvisor following your recent stay with us at Sanctuary Olonana.

We do appreciate your kind comments with regards to the welcome you received, the chef, your wake-up tea and cookies and your meals. We will definitely pass your comments onto Rosemary, Lucas and the rest of the team who will be happy to learn that you appreciated their efforts.

We are delighted that you had an awesome 04 day safari experience with us and that you found Santuary Retreats by far the best!.

Thank you once again for taking the time to post your review on TripAdvisor, and we hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Sanctuary Olonana in the near future.

Warm regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Olonana

Property: Sanctuary Olonana
Address: C14, Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 135 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Olonana 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sanctuary Olonana, our award-winning tented camp situated on a private stretch of the Mara River, recently undergone a significant upgrade to the public areas of the lodge as well as a soft refurbishment to the tented rooms and pool area. The interior decor reflects a contemporary design using a combination of light earthy tones and the local Maasai women played an active part in the refurbishment using the same traditional technique used in their own houses to “mud” the interior walls in all of the main areas and curio shop. From the main viewing deck see and hear the family of noisy hippos who colonise the banks below the camp. Relax with a good book in the library, cool off in the pool or for an extra special treat, experience traditional African remedies and spa treatments in the mini-spa. Oversized Safari Tents – Built on the banks of the Mara River, the twelve canvas tents at Sanctuary Olonana are extremely comfortable and spacious. The ensuite tents all have two four-poster beds with floor to ceiling mosquito netting – making them perfect for families travelling with small children. Each of the private verandas overlook the river and offer the perfect spot where guests can relax and watch the resident hippos wallow in the water. There are also two honeymoon suites with each featuring outdoor showers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Olonana Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Sanctuary Olonana Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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