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“Breakfast with hippos”
Review of Sanctuary Olonana

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Sanctuary Olonana
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Breakfast with hippos”
Reviewed April 26, 2014

I stayed as a single traveller in mid March - very few other guests, one night there were only 3 guests in the entire lodge. The main lodge is spacious with a long veranda by the river and the meals are excellent. The lodge is wonderful, placed on the Mara river and sitting on the tent front porch I watched the hippos and local weaver birds darting to and fro. The staff were friendly and helpful. We saw the big 5 even finding 3 rhinos although from a distance. The migration is in the South at this time however the we saw 3 prides of lionesses one group with cubs, a leopard and kill in the branches of a tree and cheetah chasing jackals for the fun of it. Would recommend staying here as it's far enough from the maddening crowds that often our land cruiser was the only vehicle in sight.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank AliBtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for this wonderful review!!

We are very pleased that you enjoyed your time with us and thank you for all the kind comments.

It was indeed a great pleasure hosting you and we do hope to welcome you back soon.

It would be great if you can 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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283 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
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Luanda
2 reviews
Reviewed April 21, 2014

I stayed at Olonana for 4 days and each day was fantastic. The food is amazing, and you finally get away from those horrible white boxed lunches when you eat out on the safari. The rooms are incredible, each with a view of a hippo-filled river, and indoor-outdoor showers are a cool addition to very luxurious rooms. I will definitely go back.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sobrietyavenger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for this amazing review, much appreciated!

We are very pleased that you enjoyed your time with us at Olonana Camp. We shared you review with the rest of the team who loved your feedback, we are thrilled that you will definitely be coming back!

Until then you can keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreat and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search ‘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.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
42 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed April 21, 2014

I have stayed at many lodges and camps in the Mara and this is definitely one of the best. The camp is expertly run by Maurice and Christine - from the wait staff to the tent attendants and the drives. The tents are beautiful and spacious and well-appointed and the decor throughout the camp is understated elegance. They all sit just above the Mara River and the sound of the rushing water and the hippos day and night is really lovely. The food was delicious and beautifully prepared and presented. The game drives were wonderful and Abdul is extremely knowledgeable - I learned so much this time thanks to his vast knowledge and clear articulation and explanations. He was very willing to accommodate our requests and helped us to share in his love of the Mara. The only thing I would say is that the camp is about 15-20 min. to the park gate so that time does need to be factored in. However it is a lovely drive anyway. I would definitely go back and definitely recommend. Great value.

Room Tip: Tents 1 - 8 have great views. Tent 9 is blocked by trees and I didn't see 10-12. 14-15 seem ar...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank IntlTeacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Dear Guest,

What a stunning review, thank you much appreciated.

We are very pleased to learn that you had such a wonderful experience with us at Olonana.

Thank you for all your lovely comments, we would love to welcome to back again, hopefully soon.

We would love to see you and your family again, until them it would be great if you could 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.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed April 10, 2014

We were having a Safari family holiday and stayed at the Sanctuary Olonana for 2 nights and 2 days. We could have easily stayed another 2 nights and will definitely try to do that sometime again.The team led by Maurice The Manager were Simply Outstanding!!! The tents were very spacious and every amenity had been provided for our comfort.the hippos outside the tent in the water just added to the awesome experience.
Big John and his team cooked us amazing food and Herman and his colleagues looked after us very well through all the meals. The Bush dinner organised one evening just for the three of us was Unbelievable!!The effort etc the staff took .in every way ..just to make us feel so special....Thank you Maurice and Team.
Definitely recommend a visit if you are looking for something out of the ordinary...

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gadbad25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your experience on Tripadvisor.

We are very happy that you and your family enjoyed your time with us at Olonana and we are very appreciative for your kind comments.

We would love to see you and your family again, until them it would be great if you could 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.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2014

Olonana is situated along the Mara River which makes it a cool environment to relax. The sound of the dashing river makes one quickly forget the hustle and bustle of the busy city life one is used to. It's close proximity to the river makes it a wonderful home for lots of hippos. The staff are very friendly and know everything about their surrounding. The food was quite exceptional and the welcome juice something to die for. The rooms are very spacious and comfortable. Thanks to all the staff at Olonana, continue with the good work. I will be back and that's a promise!

Room Tip: All rooms are well positioned facing the Mara River
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NgureTharao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Dear Guest,

Great review thank you !!

We are glad you had memorable experience with us at Olonana and we are very pleased to hear that you will be back, we are holding you to that promise!!

It would be great if you could 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.
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2014

We spent 4 nights here and did not want to leave - could have stayed extra days just to relax and enjoy the lodge. Management and staff were genuinely frindly and helpful, food fabulous (thanks to 'Big John' and kitchen staff), 'tent' - spacious and very comfortable and the resident hippos made sitting outside most interesting as did the odd elephant and crocodile (thankfully, they were across the river!). The game drives were great and we highly recommend a hot air balloon ride across 'the Mara'. It was fabulous, especially arriving an hour later somewhere in the Mara Triangle to a fully cooked breakfast complete with white linen tablecloths, champagne and hot coffee. This visit was in March 2014; low season, so only few tourists but still saw all the animals. Would love to return in high season to witness the migration but don't know if I could take the crowds as we so enjoyed the quiet and easy pace. Highly recommend Sanctuary Olonana.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Portside000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Dear Barbara,

What a lovely review thank you!!

We are very pleased that you enjoyed your time with us and thank you for all the kind comments.

We shared this your review with the rest of the team and they were thrilled with your feedback, especially Big John and the kitchen team.

It would be great if you can 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.
Stratton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2014

We spent 4 nights here in January 2014 and enjoyed every minute.
We took a flight from Malindi to the mara in a little cesna aircraft that took 2 1/2 hours and only had 2 other passengers ( Hi to ozzy and wife, sorry don't know how to spell your name!! ) much better than a long road journey. Picked up at the landing strip by Nelson who was to be our guide for the safaris and driven to our camp in about 15 minutes. A nice welcome followed with a cold drink and towel for dust removal and piper giving us a tune. Escorted to our tent- 5 - which was a two minute walk along a pretty pathway (escorted at night by a minder). They are called tents but are quite substantial with flushing toilet, pair of wash basins and a lovely hot shower. Our tent had two comfortable double beds with mossi nets (did not see any) two wardrobes and plenty of room to move around in. Outside was a lovely patio area with comfy chairs overlooking the Mara river and the hippo pool. You don't need an alarm call as they wake you up just before dawn with their 'fog horn' calling when they come back from grazing all night to enter the river.
In the morning you are delivered a tray of coffee/tea/chocolate with biscuits before you go to breakfast, which was a lovely choice of eggs cooked to order with bacon, sausages, etc ,cereals and fresh fruits - just what you need before a long day on safari. Lunch was a packed lunch which we ate in the wilds, a lovely picnic with all sorts of Chicken, pasta, rice, salads, fresh fruit and even a bottle of Sauvignon blanc if you fancied it!
The safari trips were amazing and we saw the big 5 plus lots more and our driver (Nelson) was so knowledgeable, parking up besides large male lions, cheetas, black rhino and even a hippo that was having a mud bath on the side of the track. Very scary at first but you get used to it. It was better than Tsavo East/West safari that we did last year(although we did enjoy it) because you could drive off the main tracks and get incredibly close to the animals who did not seem to mind you being there.
We also did a walking safari with Julius and an armed guard just outside of the camp, walking along the river and identifying all the different animal droppings and tracks for an hour - amazing!
The next day we walked past the masai village and up the side of a steep escarpment to the top of the ridge which gave us fabulous views of the river and the plains, quite strenuous and not for the faint hearted, but well worth the climb/scramble to the top which took an hour to get up.
The food in the lodge was great with a choice of starters and main courses, all well presented, and the service was very good, with some nice wines to go with it.
A hot water bottle was even put in your bed during the evening so it was nice and warm when you got in - a nice touch.
Thanks to Christine who gave me some burn cream after I managed to frazzle my knee whilst out on safari one day, the sun is very strong, and in the truck you don't notice it as you are moving about so much and there is a cool breeze.
All the staff were very attentive but not over the top, well done to all.
We had a really great time and would recommend Olonana as a great base to do your safaris on the mara. We intend to go back one day.
Our thanks to all for giving us a memorable time.

Room Tip: Only 12 rooms and all great
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank steve p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, July 10, 2014
Dear Steve,

Thank you for this amazing, detailed review!!

We absolutely loved your feedback and the staff we very happy to learn that you had a memorable stay with us. We cannot wait to welcome you back, hopefully soon...

Until then it would be great if you could 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

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 #24 of 139 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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