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“Luxury on safari”
Review of Saruni Mara

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Saruni Mara
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 15, 2013

This was the second stage of our safari holiday, the first stage having been spent at Saruni Samburu which had set an extremely high example of wonderful safari accommodation and experiences. With an extremely hard act to follow we were unsure whether Saruni Mara would, or could, meet our expectations. We needn't have worried! From the first glimpse of the beautiful lodges hidden among the lush green of the surrounding trees we felt reassured that this would be a fabulous place to stay. This was confirmed by the extremely warm and friendly welcome we experienced on our arrival. Much needed after our journey.
The layout of the hotel is beautifully and carefully arranged with exquisite furnishings. The main area is somewhat reminiscent of a ski chalet with its enticing open fire (much needed for the cool evenings) and comfortable seating. The lodges are all separate and very private, each with its own verandah where it is very enjoyable to sit and watch the passing wildlife, such as zebra, buffalo, baboons and gazelles. We were delighted to meet the very tame eland, which has been reared by the staff, as it tried to join us for cocktails one evening! Our lodge was very cosy and tastefully furnished. The hot water bottles placed in our very comfortable bed was a welcome touch and much needed on the cold nights.
The staff were, once again, delightful, friendly, solicitous and extremely polite and helpful. We were treated like long lost friends and made to feel as if we had been invited into someone's home. This was the real meaning of hospitality! Special mention must go to the relief managers, Raymond and Chelsea, for whom nothing was too much trouble and whose presence and amiability added greatly to the convivial atmosphere and bonhomie.
The good food, good wine and communal dining increased the feeling of being at a weekend house party and enabled us, once again, to meet a range of interesting fellow travellers with whom we could share stories and experiences of safaris and travels.
Our drivers and guides were friendly and very knowledgeable about the environment and wildlife and we enjoyed a wonderful guided walk where we learned much about how the Maasai people make use of trees, plants and elephant droppings! We are now the proud owners of Maasai toothbrushes, made for us during the walk from one of the trees (I know I should remember which one but I can't. Thank goodness there wasn't a test at the end!)
We were very sorry to leave Saruni Mara and hope, very much, to return one day.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Linda H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Thank you very much for the very detailed review. I really love it when our guests feel so much involved and welcome that are become almost part of our "family". And I love it even more when the "competition" about who and what and where is better is among the different Saruni properties! As you rightly say, the two places are different, but both have their own special personality. Than k you again for being so appreciative: we look forward to have you back!

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Reviews (230)
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145 - 151 of 230 reviews

Reviewed September 13, 2013

The best part about Saruni is it's physical beauty: beautiful (and large) private cottages with balconies overlooking the valley, the open main lodge and fire place, and the general mountainside setting. I was traveling for two weeks in Mara and Zanzibar after, and some of my favorite views of the whole trip were of the valley from my cottage. Service was incredible, food was outstanding, wine was free flowing, and the overall experience was luxurious but not overdone. The guides were knowledgeable and friendly (and bush walk was a really cool alternative to a drive), but it did take a little while each day to get to the start of the game drive (~30-40mins through smallish villages).

Overall, I'd highly recommend Saruni.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Zach B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2013

Thank you for this fantastic review! And I'm glad that after all the travelling to wonderful destinations in East Africa you found the view from Saruni so satisfying! And I hope the this impression lasted even when the wine stopped flowing....

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Reviewed August 30, 2013

The lodge is very nicely decorated. Rooms are spacious. (we took room no.5). The hospitality and fireside chats in the evening are very nice. The safari experience is very rich. Our guide, William, was amazing. The nights were very cold, much colder than we expected in August. This was our forth safari and so far the best one!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank LaleD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this reviewResponded September 2, 2013

Thank you for your nice review and I'm glad you enjoyed your safari. yes, the weather is July and August is cold: we look forward to have you back to Kenya in January, February, March, when the weather is warm! Thank you again!

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Reviewed August 27, 2013

An excellent, eco-friendly accommodation. It was cold at night and in the morning and our bed came equipped with a wonderful hot water bottle! The fellowship around the fireplace was a very nice prelude to dinner with almost all of the guests coming from different countries of origin. The Masai guides/drivers into the preserve were absolutely excellent. For two of the three days, our guide was John. He was very patient and persevering. We would find lions, elephants, cheetahs, etc., and he would wait with us as a "story" unfolded. Other lodges guides would drive up, the people would take their photos and off they would go. We stayed and thereby got to see the drama unfold. For example, we came across a treed lion (actually several, but one was plainly visible). The cape buffalo had the tree and area surrounded. We took our photos as did others who drove up. They left. We stayed. Eventually other lions did a flanking action and the cape buffalo moved off to intimidate these newcomers. The treed lions got free. We also had wonderful lunches out on the preserve. An incredible experience!!!!

Room Tip: We had a two bed cabin just down from the office/gift shop with a sweeping view of the hills and val...
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Judy5816
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this reviewResponded August 28, 2013

Thank you very much for your comments and I really appreciate that you enjoyed our guides and heir ability not to "tick a list" but to tell a story. Good guiding makes a huge difference!

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Reviewed August 22, 2013

You want to feel one with nature and its inhabitants, to drive with experienced drivers through a wonderful landscape, to be part of the great migration during august or september and to do this all from a small private lodge with a wonderful view. To have a bush beeakfast or a bush dinner, to have the Masai dance for you, go to this magical place and be part of Kenya and its animals and people.

Room Tip: alle kamers en er zijn er slechts 7'zijn even mooi en liggen even goed
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank EllenReeuwijk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this reviewResponded August 29, 2013

Thank you Ellen for this wonderful review, your kind and generous words mean a lot to us all! Hopefully see you soon again!

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Reviewed June 28, 2013

This little 6 cottages hotel is the best there is when you go on safari to Kenya. It's 1st class accommodation and services, the guides are Masai and knowledgable, they will take you to find what you want to see. I went out early and they even had breakfast ready in the car where we stopped in the middle of no where with wild animals around us and had breakfast laid down for us.
The food at the hotel is all great all meals included with the price.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Nabeel M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this reviewResponded July 2, 2013

Thank you Nabeel for your fantastic review, we are proud to have given you such a great experience.

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Reviewed May 1, 2013

The game drive started right from the airport.... saw volumes of animals.... loved every moment. Thanks to all the staff for such a memorable trip. Our guide William was fantastic. Not only did we appreciate learning about the wildlife, we learned about the Maasai people and culture. Don't miss out to see the resident Elands.....

Most of all, we loved the 1.1 attention you got - all of your game rides were determined by when you wanted to go, see, etc.

Next time I would like to see a Masaai village and get to know the people better.

Thanks Riccardo for the Italian influence in the kitchen :)

Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Service_Sommelier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Mara, responded to this reviewResponded May 22, 2013

Thank you for your wonderful review and I'm glad you liked the Italian influence in the kitchen. And thank you for noticing that we do indeed pay individual attention to our guests and we design the experience around their needs and wishes. Hope to see you again in the future!

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Additional Information about Saruni Mara

Address: C14, Keekorok | Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 141 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $1,133 - $2,072 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Saruni is a small, luxury lodge in Mara North Conservancy, the best wildlife area in the Masai mara ecosystem. We have one family villa and 5 cottages. Our masai guides are among the best in Kenya and to discover the amazing wildlife of the Mara with them is an unforgettable experience. In July 2012 Saruni Mara opened the doors of a brand new family villa and completed the refurbishment of its existing villa’s in to six beautifully designed, themed rooms.The stylish new villa has two en-suite bedrooms and a large lounge complete with dinning area and comfortable sofa’s sounding the welcoming fireplace. There is also an impressive large veranda overlooking the magnificent scenery of the Masai Mara. The remaining villas have been refurbished to incorporate themes that will engage with guests passions whether that is art, astronomy, photography, literature, natural history or simply romance. All furniture, carpets, lamps and bedding was either sourced locally in Nairobi or designed by Kenyan interior decorator Larissa Hoops and then made by local craftsmen.The Art room will inspire creative guests with an easel and paint as well as a desk with drawing materials.For star gazers, the Astronomy room has a vintage brass telescope, moon map and selection of interesting material on all things cosmic.Book worms and budding writers will enjoy staying in the Literature room with its vintage typewriter, leather reading chairs, desk with brass reading lamp, quill pen and leather blotter. There is also a selection of classic and African literature. For clients that prefer to view life through the lens, the Photography room has an old box browning camera, antique photographic equipment catalogue and stunning prints adorn the walls. The Family villa also doubles as the Natural History room and is decorated with a selection of antique and vintage prints. There is also relevant reading material such a books on mammals, reptiles, tree’s and birds.The Honeymoon room has been simply designed for a relaxing romantic break with comfy furniture and beautiful antiques.Saruni Mara is owned and run by Italian author Riccardo Orizio. This resort is the Masai Mara’s smallest permanent lodge and guests enjoy an exclusive experience with their own private vehicle and guide. Evenings can be spent relaxing in the common area enjoying fine cuisine influenced by Riccardo’s Italian family heritage. Guests can also enjoy bush breakfasts and dinners in breathtaking settings such as in the middle of an acacia forest. Saruni Mara is extremely active in local community and conservation projects and works very closely with the local Masai communities. The lodge is the proud recipient on the Silver rating by Ecotourism Kenya.Rooms at Saruni Mara start from US$390 a night. Prices are based on two people sharing on full board including all house drinks, park fees, game drives and airport transfers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Saruni Mara Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Saruni Mara Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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