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“An excellent place to stay in Naboisho conservancy”

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Ol Seki Hemingways Mara
Certificate of Excellence
Polk City, Florida
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“An excellent place to stay in Naboisho conservancy”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 26, 2012

We had planned to see the migration, but it is late this year partly due to the amount ofmrain in Tanzania, and partly due to that country burning the grass near the border to prevent the animals from leaving Tanzania.

However, the place is great! The tents are roomy, well appointed, and comfortable. Melinda is the manager and is accommodating and a pleasure. We were fortunate to have the corporate chef Omar as a visiting chef, and made us amazing meals especially considering my wife and I both have dietary restrictions.

The wildlife is there, but it is a new conservancy, and large so some looking in the right places is necessary. Our guide David was knowledgable and informative.

If you have any plans to visit the Naboisho conservancy please take look at this camp. Hemingways took over the camp in 2011 and is doing an excellent job.

Room Tip: All of the tents are excellent, if traveling with a family consider the new family/suites.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank nrhareiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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122 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 19, 2012

If you're looking for a place that stands out as memorable BEFORE you've even had a chance to stroll the grounds, this is it. Anyone with the money to spring for the private suites (I'm in love with the Simba suite) DO IT! Yes, I'm talking to you: honeymooners, double couples on holiday together, families... Of note are the private chef and butler, and such comforts as one would expect in only the nicest of places in the suites... and ALL of the bandas offer a view to die for, plus special extras that mentioning would only spoil some of the fun for those who visit.

Be sure to take at least two nights though because such exclusivity comes with a drive that you don't want to take on the way in one day and then immediately the next day on the way out. The other reason, of course, is that you just won't want to leave once you get there and get settled in. Trust me on this!

Disclosure: I am a tour operator specializing in Africa. I see a lot of properties and thought this was a great one that people should hear about. I don't get any kick backs for telling you my opinions... (darn!)

Room Tip: All rooms (bandas) are great but you'll want to upgrade to the suites (there are two) if you are...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank AdventureGirrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2012

The standard of service at Ol Seki is absolutely not what you'd expect from somewhere that is so expensive. The camp is located on a private game reserve; it offers daytrips to the Masai Mara, a good two hours ride away.

We thought the camp was OK: the views are beautiful but the tents offer no privacy. Our biggest gripe however was with the level of service we received.

Our trip to the Mara was a shambles: as well as being an extremely long and exhausting day, as other reviewers have pointed out, we had a dreadful guide and driver (we got stuck in a rut yet the driver kept revving the engine to the maximum, spinning the wheels at high speed and rocking the 4WD back and forth, only managing to get the 4WD stuck even more. It was hysterical. We all had to get out of the car and ask another vehicle to winch us out: it turns out the winch of our vehicle was broken, again, not what you'd expect from an outfit of this standing).

We were not consulted once on what we wanted to achieve for our day in the Mara (I believe that following our complaint, the camp has decided they would encourage the guides to talk to their clients). We were keen to see the wildebeest crossing but our driver kept making excuses that the animals were not crossing, were too far, or simply ignored us. The contempt was truly shocking. (Whilst our vechicle was being rescued, we talked to the travellers from the 4WD that was winching our car and they had just seen the crossing - we saw their photos and videos).

When we complained to the manager back at the camp, he told us he was very sorry, would have a word with the driver etc. We said we were keen to go back to the Masai Mara to have the opportunity to see the crossing and that we were willing to pay the park fees of $80 per person. He said he would try to organise it, except that he asked for $250 per couple (including park fees) to go back to the Masai Mara because we had to pay for the vehicle! We were flabbergasted: we'd be using the vehicle to do game drives in the camp's own reserve so why should we pay, particularly since the reason we wanted to go back was their own failing to provide an adequate service.

In the end, we decided we didn't want to spend this extra money. It's a shame, because there simply isn't enough to do at this camp. The game viewing was disappointing and the walking safari, although interesting, was very short (1.5 hrs).

We ended up spending way too many hours in our tent, an immense frustration having gone all the way to Kenya to make the best of its great outdoors. We left feeling disappointed and cheated. We complained to our travel agency but Ol Seki simply fobbed us off: "all our guides are very good, all travellers have a great time with us (check our guestbook), etc etc". The point is that at the price they charge, they should provide a personal service, not a cookie-cutter experience.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank LuckyDuck777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 12, 2011

From the thrill of flying here in a tiny plane over the Rift Valley to the 3 amazing days of Safari we had in the Mara, I can heartily recommend this fabulous camp. The location is superb- in an elevated position overlooking the plains- telescopes are provided for game-spotting from the decks of the amazing tents. Beautifully appointed and tastefully decorated, the accommodation is outstanding, matched only by the service and food! The evening drive in the conservancy with friendly and knowledgeable guides rewarded us with our first sightings of lions and hippos, but the best thing about these drives is the exclusivity of it- and you don't know what is around the corner. A delicious supper and drinks were laid on to watch the sunset. A convivial atmosphere at dinner followed, and the food was surprisingly excellent. The 13 hours spent in the Mara the next day is one of our most treasured holiday experiences ever- again, the guides and driver excelled. Breakfast was served on the plains in the company of curious giraffes and the lunch-set up beside the hippo pool- was simply fantastic. The routes taken in the Mara park seemed to be designed to keep it exclusive- no wacky races to spot an errant beast here! And how the guide picked out a serval cat at 60 feet in failing light is beyond me! Informative, fun, exciting -just some of the superlatives used to describe the day. Next day we visited a Masai school which was an uplifting experience and had another safari drive around the conservancy. There seems to be a wide choice of amazing places to stay in the Mara- this must be up there with the best!

Room Tip: The suites are amazing if you can afford it!
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank jampat69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holland
Level Contributor
50 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2011

We spend 4 nights in Ol Seki from 12th till 16th of september and I must say it is a perfectly organised and well suited and comfortable camp.
Many compliment to the chef Evans who amazed us every time with extraordinary good tasting food. The location is close to perfection, Ol Seki is located in a park neighbouring Masai Mara, the park Naboisho conservancy has much to offer itself, and because there are only two camps located in this park it feels like you are in a private zoo, watching lions, elephants, giraffs, cheeta's and hyena's all by yourself, with out hurds of jeeps crowding your space like in the Mara.
We had two awsome guides, George and Judy, and they were just about perfect in spotting everything we wanted to see.
The quality of the roads and how bumpy it is, also depends on the quality of the driver. And come on were you really expecting tarmac roads in the bush bush?

The staff at the camp is very friendly and helpful and its being well managed by Melinda a walking encyclopedia and full of stories.
At night there are Masai guards that escort you to your tent so you do not accidently bump into a zebra or wildabeast. The beds are extremely comfy, and on cold nights they are warmed with a very welcome warm water bottle.
The shower was awesome as well, very hot and a lots of pressure, we were impressed. Specially after our other experiences in Kenia.

If you are you looking for a special place in the Masai Mara than this is absolutely the place to be. Comfy and quality accomodations, Well trained guides, great food, and everything suited for your need, very flexible staff, in camp and during the game drive, making it absolutely a wonderful life time experience.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Dutch_Knight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Illinois
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2011

If you stay at Oseki and want to visit the Mara River area where the bulk of the animals are at as well as where the wildebeest river crossing occurs, be informed that it is at least a 2 hour ride across very bumpy, rutted roads that will shake your whole body. If we had known this ahead of time, we would have booked closer to the Mara River itself.

Also, we were disappointed in that the food was very bland and you have no choices - they serve one entree with set sides. While the salad dressing they used was good, it was the same salad dressing we had for every lunch & dinner.

Oseki is a decent choice but definitely not top of the line.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Jerry T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2011

Ol Seki is a superb place for experiencing Kenyan wild life and the Maasai culture.

Even though the variety of game is slightly less in the conservancy surrounding Ol Seki than within the Maasai Mara reserve, there was certainly plenty of it anyway (one night we saw a lioness with cubs only 50 metres from our Simba tent). Being outside the reserve also had other advantages:
• We were completely alone during our game drives (while there could be 20-30 vehicles inside the reserve following a leopard that seemed very used to cars...)
• We were able to do night game drives (highly recommended!) which obviously is not allowed inside the reserve
• The surroundings around Ol Seki were more lush and pretty than the parts we drove through inside the reserve

Many reviews mention the stylish tents, fantastic views, nice food etc. We absolutely agree. But what makes Ol Seki stand out among hotels we have previously visited is the social interaction. The manager Cathy acted the perfect hostess and introduced guests to each other and we had many enjoyable conversations at meal times. And the staff almost felt like family by the end of our stay. James and Betty, our fantastic guides, taught us not only about wildlife, but of Kenyan culture in general. Thank you for all our interesting conversations and plentiful good laughs! The two Maasai boys taking care of us in our tent might not be the most professional staff we’ve ever encountered, but certainly the most positive and attentive: they would have tried to pick the moon down for us if we’d asked! We really miss you all!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank anma67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ol Seki Hemingways Mara

Property: Ol Seki Hemingways Mara
Address: Naboisho Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya (Formerly Ol Seki Mara Camp)
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #47 of 137 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ol Seki Hemingways Mara 4.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Ol Seki Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Ol Seki Hemingways Mara Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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