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“Jambo Bwana! - Mara Porini Lion Camp”
Review of Porini Lion Camp

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Porini Lion Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 5, 2011

Our family of 5 (children 11, 9 and 7) had a simply outstanding Christmas trip to Kenya, highlighted by 4 days at the Porini Lion Camp.

THE PLANNING
Robyn at Gamewatchers was very helpful in setting up all of the logistics for us in Kenya. We stayed at the the lovely Fairview Hotel for our in-bound and outbound hotel stays in Nairobi. Though it has obviously grown in size over the years, the Fairview has retained much of its unique charm - and reflects the "country inn in the city" feel that it advertises. The rooms at this hotel more than met our needs and the staff was very attentive to our requests.

Gamewatchers also arranged our AirKenya flights to & from the Mara - all of which came off without a hitch.

Lastly, Robyn provided all of the pre-trip information and guidance that we needed to ensure that we had advice on all of the immunizations, medication and equipment required for a great safari experience.

THE MARA EXPERIENCE
First-off, I must say that it took some effort to convince my wife that we could not pass up the chance to travel to Kenya before repatriating home from my job in the Middle East. After all - an african safari is not an inexpensive trip for a family of 5. Although she eventually agreed… I knew that she secretly harbored fears that the trip would be fraught with the hardships of "roughing it out on the African plains."

We began our trip to the Mara the only way that one can - by jumping in with 2 feet. No 4-hour overland drive from Nairobi to the Mara for us - we opted for the aforementioned 1hr flight to the Olo Kiombo airstrip into the heart of the Masa Mara. Though a large, 50-seat quad turbo-prop, the Air Kenya plane flew quite low while making its 4 Mara stops, giving it the feeling of large crop-duster. None the worse for wear, the 5 of us landed on the dusty landing strip and disembarked for what would turn out to be the most wonderfully fascinating family trip that I daresay we will ever take.

THE LION CAMP EXPERIENCE
We were promptly greeted at the stairs of the plane by our Masai guide and spotter (Jackson & Nick) who would lead us during our next few days on Mara. Our 4 Days / 3 night safari began immediately after they placed our 5 large backpacks into the Land Rover - and featured the following notable highlights:

+ Visited a Masai Boma and learned about Masai culture
+ Saw all of the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino, Cape Buffalo)
+ Got up close & personal to a mating pair of lions, a family of 10 Cheetahs, and a den of 20 Hyenas
+ Took great photos of all other major wildlife (zebras, giraffes, antelope, hippos, crocodiles, baboons, etc.)
+ Stayed in 2 spacious tents, each with comfortable double beds, toilet, running water and safari shower
+ Slept amidst the raucous night sounds of Africa - some surprisingly right outside the tent!!
+ Saw more stars than we'd ever see from our home in the US
+ Had fantastic breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the Lion Camp Mess Tent
+ Only had 1 mosquito bite among the 5 of us, over our 4 day stay

LOOKING BACK
During the planning of our trip, we had the opportunity to stay in both the Lion Camp and the Amboseli Camp. Unfortunately, our travel budget limited us to only one of the two, so we sacrificed the Amboseli's views of Kilimanjaro and chose the Lion Camp, based in part on several TripAdvisor reviews. We certainly made the right choice - and in hindsight, we do not believe that we missed out on anything.
Reflecting on our trip, my wife was thankful that we did not pass on the truly "once-in-a-lifetime" experience of traveling to Africa. The Porini Lion Camp offered the benefits of access to the adjacent National Park (traveled heavily by all safari company vehicles) and the large Olare Orok Conversancy, which limited to Porini vehicles. To be honest, it seems to me that the animals have figured this out as well. More of the animals (especially the lions) that we were looking for were found on the Conservancy side of the river.
Phillip and the Porini Lion Camp team did a marvelous job of taking the rough edges off of "roughing it", while leaving the safari experience largely intact. We had all of the creature comforts that one wants when on vacation (even hot drinks delivered to our tents every morning) - but we always felt like were out "in the wild". This led to a far more memorable experience than we could have ever had in one of the larger hotel-type resorts.

In sum, we have been fortunate to have travelled to many places as a family (Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Middle East, North Africa and several island nations in the Caribbean), but we found the people of Kenya to be most pleasant people we've ever encountered. We would certainly recommend the country of Kenya, Gamewatchers and the Porini Lion Camp to anyone / family considering a safari trip to Africa.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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4  Thank T814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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532 - 538 of 648 reviews

Reviewed January 29, 2011

Our extended family of 14 travelled to 4 of the Porini camps this year and had the most amazing holiday. A more extensive review of our trip appears in our review of the Porini Mara Camp. Suffice to say that the Lion Camp continued the exceptional standards of the other 3 Porini Camps (Amboselli, Rhino and Mara). We saw large numbers of lions and cheetahs all with cubs, and a leopard with cubs. We were overwhelmed by the amazing scenery of the Masai Mara. I couldn't recommend these camps more highly!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank janielats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2011

My son and I stayed for two nights at Porinis Lion Camp. The camp itself is not a Hotel with pool, bar, night life, etc. so if you want the average tourist experience, you may want to choose a more commercially oriented Lodge, but Porinis Lion Camp was as close as we could get to a "real safari experience" without sacrificing essential modern comforts.

The best asset in this camp are the staff whom went out of the way to please us in every possible way.

Higiene, room comfort and food were acceptable. The shower functioned with hot water that was carried over in buckets as needed and that acted as a remainder that we were actually staying in a real safari camp.

The only source of minor annoyance to myself, but to be fair not to the other travellers in my group, was that one jeep did not have a roof covering at all and after a while the sun begins to hit you, another vehicle did not have the 4 wheal traction system working so we became stuck in the mud and had to wait for a repalacement vehicle, and another vehicle kept breaking down so we had to wait yet again to be rescued by another vehicle.

We travelled to The camp with the notion that one cannot expect luxury and gourmet food in the middle of a desolated part of Africa, and bearing that in mind we were not disappointed. Some Lodges in an attempt to attract visitors will market themselves as the ultimate luxury in safari camps thus creating unrealistically high expectations that inevitably leads to disappointed guests.

I would certainly recommend Porinis Lions Camp to any traveller to the Masai Mara National reserve and It is important to note that a significant part of the income from the camp goes to help the school, and support other important activities of the local communities.

We are hoping to return to Porinis Lion Camp next year to see the wilderbeast migration.

  • Stayed: January 2011
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Thank Onemorecritic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2011

We first visited Lion Porini camp in December 2007 and knew we'd come back. This trip, we started in Nanyuki, at Rhino Porini camp in Ol Pejeta conservancy, and flew to the Mara after 3 nights.

We received the same friendly, yet courteous, service from the staff at the camp, ably managed by Philip, with Philip in the mess tent, and our excellent personal guide, Jackson and spotter, William, whom we remembered from our previous trip.

Nothing is too much trouble at any of the Pornin camps; whatever time you want to go out in the morning, whether you want to be woken at dawn, or have a lie-in. Akuna Matata.

Like all Porini camps, Lion is in a conservancy: Ol Olaroke, and the number of camps is limited which also means, fewer vehicles than in the Masaai Mara. We were fortunate enough to see an Aardwolf, so rare a spotting that Jackson and William were as excited as us!

If you are looking for a real adventure, with comfortable accomodation in pavilion tents, with running water, flush toilet and bush shower, you can do no better than to go to Kenya through Gamewatcher Safaris and Porini Camps.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank janegalloway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2010

As part of my birthday celebrations we, my wife and friends ventured on a safari expecting certain things but not setting our aims too high for fear of disappointment. We need not have bothered. From being picked up off our small flight from WIlson Airport to being put back on the plane back to Nairobi we were treated like royalty. It was 4pm when our driver and spotter John and Gerard (hope thats how you spell it) met us off the plane and whisked us off on our first safari even before we could check into our luxury tented accommodation. These guys were amazing for the whole four days we shared their company. They showed us so many things, everything except a rhino which alas is rare in the Porini conservancy. The accommodation was excellent, the atmosphere at night enlightening and the food and drink was plentiful and tasty. This is Africa and yes at night animals are up and about but never once did any of us in the party feel threatened. This place deserved my 5 stars with regard to all the staff that made our stay for enjoyable. Philip the manager was very obliging, charging up the cameras each night for us and having them ready again at 6.30am for the next safari. Anyone who have any hesitation about a safari should visit this camp and see the wildlife in its raw splendour. To all concerned at the camp from the T's on Tour (as we signed ourselves in the book) we thank you all for making our stay so so enjoyable. This place rocks!!!!! Anyone who wants to see leopards, cheetahs, anything but rhinos this camp is a must. Not overcrowded and every effort to detail is there to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Thank again to John and Gerard

Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
1  Thank JB07121950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TunduziNyama, Owner at Porini Lion Camp, responded to this reviewResponded December 19, 2010

We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay at our Porini Lion Camp and that you were happy with the way our manager, camp staff and our professional guides, John and Gerard, looked after you.
We note that you saw all the animals except rhino. It is true that it is difficult to see rhino in the Mara as their numbers declined drastically in the 1970s and 80s.
In Kenya they are best seen in Nairobi National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park and in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy where we have our Porini Rhino Camp. But very rarely they are seen in the Olare Orok Conservancy where Porini Lion Camp is located and just last week, a few days after you stayed, we had a male black rhino right in front of the camp! The game rangers are monitoring his movements and we hope that he will take up residence in the Conservancy and be seen again more frequently.

Jake Grieves-Cook
Managing Director
Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2010

Porini Lion was the third Porini camp my wife and I visited in September, and it maintained the same high standards as the other Porini camps – comfortable tents and beds, good food, and great service. **If you can only visit one camp in Kenya, I suggest this camp.** We were there during part of the wildebeest migration, and the wildlife was fantastic.
The camp is in the Olare Orok Conservancy next to the Mara Reserve, and we visited both. The advantage of the conservancy is less traffic and more flexibility, such as off-road and night drives. We saw the big 5, cheetahs, hippos, crocs, bat-eared fox, a serval, and more. Our driver and guide worked hard to get us into good positions, and we got some great photos because of their work including leopard and black rhinos.
A highlight was sundowners in our vehicle next to a lion pride. During a lunch on the plain the only sound was a bird soaring in for a landing. At night we could hear hyenas and lions in the distance and zebras and hippos grazing close to our tent. (Hippos are quite loud as they tear up mouthfuls of grass.) On one drive we saw an ostrich mating dance. The Mara is an amazing place, and Porini Lion is a great way to experience it.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Chi_catColumbus_Ohio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2010

First of all, everyone, everywhere should experience the magic of going on Safari at least once in their lifetime. Hopefully many many more times. When you do, the Massai Mara is a must. We saw prides of lions, cheetah, a leopard, wildebeasts upon wildbeasts, elephants, zebras, giraffes, eagles, hawks, hyenas, ostriches and on and on. Nature at it's wildest in full force. The sights, the sounds, the air, all absolutely awe inspiring. And the Porini camps are the glue that hold all the magic together. It's old school safari 'camping' minus 'the roughing it.' The food is amazing, the tents are beyond comfortable and chic complete with toilets and hot showers inside each one, service and personal care around the clock including a knock outside your tent at wake-up with hot coffee or tea. And a staff of Massai warriors that make you feel so safe and at home that before you leave you feel like part of the tribe, like the Mara is your backyard, and that you can't wait to return to your new found 'home.' Our guide Meshack and spotter Jackson were outstanding, ensuring we saw everything we came to see (the big 5) and more (wildbeast crossing the Mara River and a 2 kills). We were with them less than a few hours before we felt like we were old friends and in safe knowing safari hands all at the same time. You have to go. Talk to Mohanjeet at Porini camps who's amazing, and request Meshack to be your guide. The the only regret you can possibly have is NOT going! Oh, and most importantly, Porini camps are all eco-friendly, money you spend goes right into the hands of the communities and villages around and into conserving the land and the animals. The camps are set up so that if they had to come down tomorrow the land would be left unscathed. And water is used with utter respect for its scarcity. Porini is an incredibly conscious establishment absolutely worth supporting.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank sharonmaya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Porini Lion Camp

Address: Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 146 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $825 - $1,386 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Porini Lion Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Porini Lion Camp is located in the exclusive 20,000 acre Olare Orok Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, home to an abundance of animals. With 10 spacious comfortably furnished tents, each with private verandahs and en-suite bathrooms, the camp is small and exclusive giving a real bush experience. Guests enjoy the game drives in open 4x4's, escorted bush walks with Maasai warriors and sundowners. The Camp is the perfect base to experience the annual wildebeest migration. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Porini Lion Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Porini Lion Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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