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“Coming home to Mara Bushtops” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mara Bushtops

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Mara Bushtops
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Coming home to Mara Bushtops”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2012

We returned to Mara Bushtops for the second time August 2012, having visted in October 2011.
We were welcomed like family and it really did feel as if we were coming home.
The staff are wonderfully attentive, the facilities great and the camp is just gorgeous.You can even have your lunch overlooking the salt lick, watching the animals come and go.
I would urge anyone who is thinking about visiting a safari lodge to go and spend three days at this one, we are already trying to work out how soon we can return.
A special note for Daniel who was our guide, he was so knowledgeable and passionate about the land and the animals, he made our trip special. We will be asking for him to guide us when we go back again!

Room Tip: All the tents all wonderful
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank flissclark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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324 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
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Portola Valley, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2012

We went to Mara Bushtops in Aug. 2012 for our honeymoon. I should preface this to say Bob and I are in our forties, not our twenties and we have both traveled quite a bit. The place was a beautiful, luxurious, well run camp. Here are some of the reasons why you should book here over another facility.
1-Bushtops has its' own private game reserve, which means you can do night rides and see other animals or just go out close to the hotel for a shorter ride if you wish.
2-The restaurant (with amazing food) is built right next to a salt lake (very unusual.) The animals will come to you while you dine. The first day we saw zebras, giraffes, wildebeasts, elephants, impalas and other animals at our first meal.
3-The trucks they use are new open air landrovers, not the enclosed "white vulture" vans that you see everywhere. It's much better to be in an open air truck with four wheel drive. Vans get stuck and can't go everywhere
4-Our guide-Alex- was amazing! He was our teacher and we were in class. He didn't just point out animals, but he would stop the car to explain everything he knew about them, feeding practices, mating rituals,migratory patterns. He knew a ton and was such an amiable guy, it truly was a treat to spend the day with him!
5-Attention to detail. The whole camp was very well run. Everything need was addressed, every detailed attended to from pick up to drop off at the airport.
We would absolutely recommend this camp to friends and our hope is to come back soon with our kids!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Christine H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2012

Where to start?

Mara Bushtops is one of those places that will remain with us forever and we have no doubt we will return.

Everything about the stay was exceptional. There are a lot of "luxury" camps out there, and Bushtops certainly falls into that category. What makes it oh so special is the attention to detail. All those little things that you go away and remember, and Bushtops has those in abundance. What's more, and what makes Bushtops oh so special is the staff. All of them, without exception were not only so welcoming but there were again the personal touches - they all knew you by name and had a genuine interest in your world, yet could gauge when it was time to leave you too it. Also no request was ever too much. Claudia and Andy - you have a fabulous team and should be very proud of all of them.

Just to mention a few, Georget (camp manager), Maggie(front desk), Stephen (restaurant manager), Grace (our own personal butler!) - you all made our trip so memorable. And of course how can we forget Alex (our own Ranger) and James (our own Masai spotter) who made the game drives and evenings so much fun. Their knowledge was unrivalled, and they seemed to have an uncanny knack of finding what we wanted to see! They are great guys and we'd highly reccomend them for your trip, however, from the discussions we had with all guides, they we all lovely people who we'd no doubt will make your trip a very special one.

And as for the game viewing was some of the best we have ever had in certainly the best vehicles we've been in which made it all the more comfortable and more enjoyable. The Mara is brimmig with life and wherever you look you will see something new. To see the migration in full flow was a real treat, but anytime of the year there would be special.

We thank you for all of our happy memories and can't wait to come back for some more Bushtops action soon.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MikeDavis79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2012

We truly had an amazing experience here. I had high expectations, and Mara Bushtops exceeded them.

The lodge is located within its own nature preserve, full of giraffe, zebras, etc. So, you look out over these animals from your private deck / tent. We liked this better than if we were located in the national park itself. The park is only 5 miles away, so it is easy to get to. But we were able to do some daytime guided walks on the property, and the property is away from all the other safari vehicles, etc.

The service at the lodge was top notch. They anticipated every possible need / request, and seem truly committed to doing all they can to make the experience over the top. We also enjoyed the food, spa services, etc there at the place.

We were also very happy with our guides. They not only did a great job finding every animal on our list, but did so with respect to the animals and park rules. They also made it very fun. We did this trip as an extended family, so we had an adult vehicle and a high school / college student vehicle, and both had a really great time.

Lots of other details are provided in other reviews, and all these add up to a really fantastic experience.

Room Tip: There is a two bedroom family suite that is very nice, including its own fire pit, bar/kitchen area...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JeffLJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2012

Mara Bushtops 5-star safari resort in Kenya is a dream come true! Every luxurious detail is readily available, from the exquisite beauty of the Masai country itself and the daily ‘game drives’ to see the BIG 5 to the delicious meals, massages and the gorgeous accommodations. It is truly a paradise on earth.

Having flown in from Diani, Alex and some Masai were waiting for me at the airstrip. Upon arrival at Mara Bushtops, Georget, the manager, greeted us (I arrived with a couple from Zurich), described our surroundings and the amazing opportunities that abound at the resort, and conducted us to our amazing ‘tents’. No detail was forgotten – roses, hot water bottle and the piece of Swiss chocolate every time I went to sleep, and the fabulous jacuzzi and massage upon arrival from the game drives.

The restaurant was remarkable, too, and the staff were attentive, friendly and extremely professional. The vistas from the whole camp are stunning, and the safari activities and opportunities are incredible.

My experience at Mara Bushtops was by far my best experience ever in Africa. I initially thought that a one-week-stay was going to be long but in the end I realized it was far short and I can’t wait to return. The Mara Bushtops is a “must” in Africa.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Pablo H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2012

This was our first time in Africa and first ever safari so we didn't really know what to expect. The reviews here looked good, and the website certainly is impressive - but what would the reality be?

We needn't have worried. From the moment we were met at the airstrip by Japhet and John the guides, and Joseph the Masai spotter, who took our bags from us and offered us a glass of chilled Chardonnay (much appreciated!), the tone was set. This may be a 'camp' but the camping is unlike any under-canvas experience I've ever had. The 'tents' are really luxury lodges, with stone-built bathroom, shower and toilet sections, and very cool spacious bedrooms. UK standard electrical sockets and 24/7 power and hot water mean this is really a 5 star hotel experience set in it's own private wildlife conservancy. The views are fantastic - 180 degrees of Kenyan bushland with Elephant, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra and 15 types of Antelope roaming just a few yards away.

We 'met' our first Giraffe on the drive back to Bushtops from the airstrip - almost close enough to touch and magnificent to behold. On the subsequent game drives we saw all of the 'big 5' (except Leopard, so we'll have to go back!) and an amazing variety of bird and animal life. We also saw the Wildebeste migration. A sea of moving, grunting, animals, surprisingly noisy when you land your balloon amongst them!

Talking about the game drives - Mara Bushtops, like some other safari companies, use Toyota Land Cruisers as their vehicles. However UNLIKE other companies, they modify them themselves to a design they created and the result is simply the best possible safari experience for the guest. The cars are VERY comfortable with well sprung padded seats (which is important when you are out for hours driving 'off road'), and with open sides that give a full view all around and makes taking photographs very easy. Other vehicles we saw forced their occupants to squeeze their cameras through windows or stand up and shoot out of the roof. Whoever designed the Mara vehicles knew absolutely what they were doing. They also come with well stocked cold boxes offering a choice of chilled wines or beers as well as an excellent buffet lunch, to be taken under the shade of a Leopard Tree (hopefully unoccupied!)

Back to the 'Camp' itself and Bushtops offers an excellent and interesting dining experience, with a superb menu that can be taken indoors in the atmospheric restaurant, or out on the 'verandah' while watching the wildlife come down to the nearby salt lick. It only takes a few days of this for you to become used to watching Elephant and Zebra while eating your lunch.

The pool is small, rather than olympic sized, but perfect for a cool dip after a hot afternoon's drive, and with only 12 'tents' it was never busy (in fact when we used it we had it to ourselves).

At this point I should mention the staff. In addition to the guys who met us off the plane we were looked after by Edward - our 'butler' - a Masai lad from the local village who's english was impeccable and whose local knowledge fascinating. Ferdinand was our day to day guide and James (also Masai) our spotter and the two of them taught us more about Kenyan wildlife and the Mara region than I would have thought possible. I also learned the Swahili way to say 'two beers please, my friend will pay' - the most essential phrase in any language.

All the restaurant and camp staff were great and very friendly - but in particular Samuel a recently qualified young sommelier was a delight. He could do stand up comedy if he ever fancies a change of career, and be warned - his Rum-Pot once tried is irresistible.

Other good points? The complimentary daily laundry service (turnaround in less than 24 hours,) is a real boon – you only need half as many clothes when you can have them washed every day. All soft drinks are included in the full board price and best of all, for charging purposes, the local 'Tusker' beer is classed as a soft drink!

Criticisms? well none really. The menu could perhaps be a bit more varied - we were there for 6 nights and so had to go back and have some dishes a second time (such hardship!). The wardrobes in the bedrooms would be better if the sliding doors were removed - to save the two of you having to fight over who has access. (Ok we didn't fight much - I just left my stuff out on a shelf). Oh and the Africa dawn could have been put back an hour to give us that bit more time in bed before the early drives (which leave at 6.30) or the Balloon ride (which leaves at 4.30!) but I guess not even the Mara management team, good as they are, could alter the sunrise.

Other reviews have commented that being outside the Mara reserve itself is a disadvantage - I disagree. For a start it is a VERY short drive to the reserve - 15minutes at most and you see wildlife from the moment you let out. More importantly being in its own conservancy Mara Bushtops can offer night game drives and local guided walks (accompanied by a Masai spotter, a guide and an armed ranger - something just not possible in the reserve itself. We actually saw more of the animals in the Bushtops conservancy than in the mara itself (apart from the million or so Wildebeest) , possibly because there are NO other tourist safaris in this private reserve with its own water hole and salt-lick. At night Masai guards accompany you to and from your tent because on occasions the wildlife have come very close indeed! In fact one afternoon we watched a small herd of elephant eating the bushes less than twenty feet from our verandah.

For us our introduction to Africa and safari trips set the bar very high indeed. I'm not sure anywhere else will be able to match Mara Bushtops as a safari destination, except perhaps Serengeti Bushtops! We'll let you know next year.

Room Tip: All the 'tents' are great - spacious airy and very comfortable. Take a fleece though, the ni...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AxsMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2012

Maybe it was the rose petals floating on the foam of our hot tub as we wallowed by lantern-light on our private deck.
Or was it the friendly variations of "welcome for dinner please" (or breakfast, or lunch)?
Perhaps the answer was the hot water bottle thoughtfully provided on early morning or evening game drives (and of course when retiring to vast beds unders swathes of canvas).
Could the real reason be the padded stanchions on our superbly-equipped-and-adapted Landcruiser, protecting us against the buffetting of rocks and potholes as we set out to spot Mara wildlife?
Actually, we decided it was all and none of these special touches which won our hearts - and told us what no image or description could.
We knew the camp was luxurious: we'd seen the pictures.
We knew the meals would be good: we'd seen the menus, winelist and cellar.
We knew the rooms would be stunning: we'd read the reviews.
And we knew what to expect - after all, this was a return visit to Mara Bushtops.
But what we'd forgotten were the multiple smaller gestures and inspired comforts which make the difference between the merely excellent and the truly exceptional.
The Masai guards walking us to our palatial tent in the dusk.
The flickering lanterns, magically lighting the way.
Our butler waking us to breakfast on our spacious verandah.
And it was the little things which distinguished the wildlife too - the myriad less glamorous (but equally fascinating) animals: a spring hare, bounding like a kangaroo; a family of dwaf mongoose; a bright green chameleon crossing in front of a leopard tortoise.
They added to the undoubted excitement of searching out the big five.
And nothing could compare to a lion's cough as it passed our tent in the night, setting our pulses racing.
And when - on the following day - you stop to admire a family of giraffe or hippos, your realise that a foolish smile has become plastered across your face.
What really keeps that smile in place is the fusion of ALL these ingredients into something which is, in the end, indescribable.
Like a perfect meal, or falling in love - you simply have to experience it.
So don't trust me. Or travellers' tales.
Visit Bushtops. It's the only way to find out for yourself how a host of little things and big things come together - unforgetably.

Room Tip: Allthe 5-star tents are superb but Leopard is astonishing, being more than twice the size and the ep...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Angela M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mara Bushtops

Property: Mara Bushtops
Address: C14, Keekorok - Masai Mara Reserve | in front of the largest natural salt lick in the Masai Mara, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Mara Bushtops 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The words "exclusive" and "luxurious" are often exaggerations: at Mara Bushtops they fit like a glove. Watching from your own 100 square metre private deck as an abundance of wildlife congregates around the adjacent salt lick is, literally, unforgettable. Having your butler draw your hot tub after a spectacular game drive is heaven while our award-winning safari spa takes Wild Luxury to new heights. Together, these experiences create an oasis of five-star luxury, blending peace with adventure. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mara Bushtops Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Bushtops Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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