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“Excellent!”
Review of Sanctuary Olonana

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Sanctuary Olonana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 21, 2013

Sanctuary Olonana in the Masai Mara is a wonderful, 5 star property just outside the Masai Mara. It is a 45 minute flight from Nairobi from the Wilson Airport There are 12 luxury tents overlooking the Mara River. Having stayed in various tented camps throughout Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana and Uganda, this is one of the best! In completing a survey, we could not think of anything that could be improved on!

The rooms are large and clean with running water and flush toilets. Each tent has a deck with day bed and chairs, overlooking the Mara River where the hippos spend their days. Each morning, we were awoken by the call of hippos returning to the river at around 5:45 am! The camp is fenced so there is limited risk of animals passing through camp (although this can provide an added sense of adventure to any safari). Peter, provided security at the entrance, as well as to escort us to our tent after dinner. His enthusiasm was refreshing.

Joseph took wonderful care of our tent, ensuring we always had bottled water (and they refill glass bottles rather than using individual plastic bottles). Joseph also woke us each morning with hot coffee and biscuits to enjoy while watching the hippos and preparing for our day of safaris. Each night our tent was freshened with beds turned down, a short story on the bed and a hot water bottle under the covers.

Shaddrack, Henry and Herman were professional, attentive and had a sense of humor! They ensured our glasses and stomachs were always full! We do not care for hovering service, but the staff at Olonana was attentive and there when you needed them, without the feeling they were looking over your shoulder. The food was delicious, nice presentation and plentiful! We always ordered one of each item so that we could share and enjoy everything! Breakfast included a choice of any (or all) fruit, granola, yogurt, pancakes, eggs to order, breads/pastries, fresh squeezed orange juice and I'm sure things I missed. Lunch and dinner always offered 2 starters (usually salads), 2 entrees (fish, chicken, pizza, pasta, lamb) and of course, dessert. Afternoon tea and sundowner were also offered before and after game drives.

Although we arrived at the 'end' of the migration (the end of November), the wildlife was still plentiful! We saw many elephant, giraffe, wildebeest, hippo, and zebra. Lukas fulfilled our requests and we were fortunate to see the Black Rhino (with baby) twice, 2 leopards, 7 lion cubs, 2 lionesses, 2 male lions and 2 cheetah! We also enjoyed watching the zebra and wildebeest crossing of the Mara River - fortunately (for me), we only witnessed one wildebeest kill by a crocodile.

Asante Sana to those noted above, Maurice, Christine and all of the others at Sanctuary Olonana for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. We hope to return again!

Room Tip: All rooms overlook the Mara River. Tent 1 is closest to the dining/main area and Tent 12 is closest...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank nimett1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded July 10, 2014

Dear Guest,

What an excellent review, much appreciated!!

We are so happy that you had a relaxing, enjoyable holiday with us, we loved hosting you and cannot wait for you to return..

Until that day, please keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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126 - 132 of 294 reviews

Reviewed December 8, 2013

We stayed here for the first part of our honeymoon. It totally exceeded our expectations, and we could not have asked for any more.

The staff were friendly and attentive. Nothing was too much trouble. They even set up a surprise candlelight dinner on our terrace the last night, which was amazing. They were all fantastic, and went above and beyond to make our trip perfect.

The room was stunning. So comfortable after a long journey! It was very secluded, and the terrace was gorgeous overlooking the river. There was a story put on the pillow each night, which we loved. We need to stay longer next time to collect them all!

The game drives were fantastic, Lucas took us all the way to the Tanzania border, we saw much more than we had thought possible.

The food was absolutely delicious, tasty and fresh.

We honestly couldn't have wished for anything more during our stay, except that it was longer!

  • Stayed: November 2013
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2  Thank snobooflo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded December 13, 2013

Dear Guest,

Congratulations on your marriage - we wish you a long and happy life together!

Thank you for this fantastic review we are honoured to have hosted you for this auspicious occasion and absolutely delighted that we exceeded your expectations.

We would love to welcome you back one day, hopefully for your anniversary next year…

We would love for you to keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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Reviewed November 17, 2013

great location and excellent management, the food was nice and tasting! almost every requests were granted without any hesitation.Our game driver Joe was so excellent that we spotted everything we wanted to see in a day.! Maurice and Christine were very helpful and even delivery the battery charger which I forgot to Nairobi. We will be back for sure!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Patricklu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded July 10, 2014

Dear Patrick,

Thank you for this excellent review!!

We are thrilled that you were so well looked after and that your every request was granted without hesitation.

Glad to hear you will be back, we cannot wait..

Would be great if you could keep up to date with latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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Reviewed November 12, 2013

I have been on multiple game drives on multiple trips to Africa but this experience and lodging were the best yet. The lodge sits on the banks of the Mara River and you are awakened every morning by the sounds of the resident hippos. The views are simply amazing as you look down or upstream of the Mara. The management especially Maurice and Christine were tops and best in their fields. No request is ignored and almost every wish is granted. I wanted to photograph a particular type of unusual chameleon and one was found and presented to me for a photographic subject. The game drives were simply stunning and with an excellent and knowledgeable driver/guide as Benson we were able to see almost every animal in the Maara. Sightings included multiple male lions, lionesses and cubs, cheetahs, black rhinos with baby, leopards, elephants with great ivory, plus we caught the tail end of the migration. If you are looking for classic Africa and top service plus accommodations this is a must go. I will not stay in any other lodges except Sanctuary properties from now on!

Room Tip: We stayed in the first bungalow to the right of the main lodge - beautiful views of the river and it...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Charles R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded November 15, 2013

Dear Charles,

Another AWESOME review from you, thank you so much!!

We are thrilled that you had the opportunity to experience Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp as well as Olonana and even more delighted that you had an amazing experience at both!

Thank you for your lovely feedback we shared your comments with the team who loved your remarks, especially Maurice and Christine. They loved hosting you and do hope you return one day soon.

“I will not stay in any other lodges except Sanctuary properties from now on!” all we can say is thank you and welcome to the Sanctuary Family!

You can keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Gorilla Forest Camp by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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Reviewed October 30, 2013

Located to the north sector of the Mara triangle in sw Kenya, on the banks of the Mara River.Wonderful camp, fabulous staff , food is remarkable. Guides are knowledgeable and flexible to their guests needs and requests . Could not have asked for a more wonderful experience .

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Susan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded November 4, 2013

Dear Susan,

Thank you for this lovely review of your recent stay at Sanctuary Olonana. It was great to hear you had a wonderful experience.

The team at Olonana loved hosting you and look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

Until then please keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana liking us on Facebook, just search for “Sanctuary Retreats.”

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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Reviewed October 21, 2013

My wife and I spend part of our honeymoon at Sanctuary Olonana, and since then we've been planning our return. This is by far the best holiday we've ever had.

Prior to going into further details, Olonana wouldn't be that successful without its team. King, Maurice, Abdul, Big John and Shadrak, our stay wouldn't have been that enjoyable if it weren't for you guys.

Given we have no complaints whatsoever, i will just go ahead and tell you what we've enjoyed the most.

Location: The camp's location is out of this world. Situated on the banks of the Mara River, you will be able to enjoy the sighting of hippos while having breakfast or while sitting in your room

Rooms: I don't think we have ever stayed in room so simple, yet so beautiful. The scenery right outside of your room makes you forget the need for technology. The outdoor shower is yet another great perk the rooms have to offer. You barely notice you're staying in a tent. Very luxurious interior. Each room has a nice little veranda where you can enjoy watching the hippos.

Staff: I have never been in a hotel (and i have been to a lot of 5 star hotels) where the staff is as friendly and helpful as Olonana's staff. You're practically being pampered once you open your eyes in the morning. First you are served the coffee of your choice in your room to get your day started (btw. best coffee i have ever had, and looking forward to having it on our next visit). Following your morning ride your greeted with a cool towel to cool off from the heat of the sun. Following your evening ride you're greeted with a hot towel to warm up after a sometimes chilly ride. Every single staff member will show interest in your daily activities. They will share stories of their first encounters with the various animals. They manage to build this beautiful friendship with the residents; it's just impressive.

Food: The food there was DELICIOUUUUSS!!! Soups were amazing, salad is homegrown, and each dish is tastier than the one before. Despite feeling full, we just had to try the dishes being served. We didn't want to miss out anything :)

Ride: We had an AWESOME guide, Abdul, who made Olonana a memorable experience for the both of us. Not only did we see "the Big 5", but we also got to see lion cubs up close!! Abdul knew exactly where to go, and he was always spot on ;)

Tip: Go see the Masai village, it's worth it. If you're in the mood of spending some money, go take the hot air balloon ride, again, it's totally worth it

Oh and one more thing. Please make sure you go to the toilet prior to starting the ride. The number of toilets throughout the ride are limited. There is one on your way into the park, and another at the hippo pool. If you're not close to one of both, tough luck (I found out the hard way..hehehe)

This was by far one of the most beautiful destinations we have been too! Can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: All rooms are amazing. you may want to chose the one farthest away from the reception area, if you c...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Nomadic W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded November 4, 2013

Dear Ahmed,

Thank you so much for this very detailed review on your experience at Sanctuary Olonana.

We are thrilled that this was your best holiday, this is an amazing review and will no doubt assist any future travellers to Olonana.

We shared your positive feedback with the rest of the team, they were very happy that you appreciated their efforts especially Abdul. He loved guiding you and glad that he made it a memorable experience for you.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
The Olonana team look forward to welcoming you back and we do hope that day is very soon.

You can keep up to date with all the latest from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search “Sanctuary Retreats”

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Reviewed October 19, 2013

My wife and I had an incredible honeymoon at Sanctuary Olonana this August.

Our holiday was first class from the moment we arrived in the Mara until the moment we left.

The room was a lovely, isolated cabin overlooking the river with nice little verranda from which we could watch the pod of Hippos opposite. The room service, level of cleanliness and care was first rate.

Our game drives were impeccably run by Nelson, our great meals sorted by Big John, and our lives organised by Shadrack and Maurice.

We could have asked for nothing else. A wonderful, wonderful holiday. Everything else I have done pales in comparison. Thank you all so much for your hospitality.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank andyho_uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded July 10, 2014

Dear Guest,

We are so happy that you enjoyed your honeymoon with us and thank you for sharing your experience on Tripadvisor.

We loved hosting you and hopefully have the opportunity to welcome you back soon, perhaps for your first anniversary...

Until then please keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

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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Additional Information about 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 #33 of 146 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $225 - $450 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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