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“Amazing getaway”
Review of Ikweta Safari Camp

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Ikweta Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 27, 2012

The camp is exactly as they say. a Safari camp. Close to nature with the very basics, but still luxury at its best. The food was great & the staff are very hospitable.

For nature lovers, this is the place to be.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Valentine W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 22, 2012

It is a very nice location with nice tents. One problem I had was the staff which wasn't up to speed. They were very kind and gave their best but it was often unprofessional. Once I asked a group of 3 kitchen staff for a drink at the pool area and I was told the person in charge for the bar would be back soon. It would have been so easy to walk 5 meters and take a bottle out of the fridge. Furthermore, the portion size of the meals is unbelievably small. If you are on a diet it's your place to be.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank Bootsy1848
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 26, 2012

The comments are from a member of the same difficult and disruptive group of guests who stayed at our property from 25-27 April 2012 (not in March 2012 as claimed) (see also earlier comments on TripAdvisor by Mugure A and Wambui_Heinrich to which we provided a Management response). The group booked for eight guests but 14 actually showed up. The guests engaged in a fraudulent plan with a former employee (who was summarily dismissed) not to pay the correct rate for the accommodation of one of the guests. The group connived with the same former employee not to register three of the guests in their party, contrary to Kenya hotel guests’ registration law. The latter is a serious legal infraction, all the more so given the security risks in light of the prevailing worldwide security and safety concerns. These same difficult and disruptive former guests have not even had the courtesy to clear their bill two months later.

The remarks by this commentator, like the previous ones by Mugure A and Wambui_Heinrich about the quantity of our meal servings, are purposely misleading. Moreover, the irony is rather stark. The same difficult and disruptive guests pounced on us in a number twice the expected size. Since we are a small luxury Camp our meals are generally offered in Plate Service (Table d’hôte) and not in buffet style. This enables us to offer meals that are fresh and expertly prepared. In so doing, we are able to present different options each day, including fresh produce from our Camp’s own Greenhouse and farms. Other than this difficult and disruptive group, an overwhelming number of guests have provided positive feedback on the quality, variety, presentation and portion size of the meals served at Ikweta Safari Camp. In fact, many guests have mentioned that our offerings are copious.

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Reviewed June 1, 2012

Spent several days at Ikweta Safari Camp at Meru National Park earlier this year. It was awesome. I have been meaning to write about my experience earlier but after visiting some other camps since my stay at Ikweta, I feel that I need to make some rave remarks about this camp in particular as it is one of a kind.

The tents are beautiful in design and so private. The safari hardwood furniture is remarkably crafted. The bed is glorious. Hard to wake up in the morning for an early game drive. But the magnificent rising sun seen right from the comfort of your pillow gets you going. I love the tent bathroom. It is unique. Unlike other tents that I have stayed in, this bathroom is a room altogether separated from the main tent by a nice stone wall. It has a safari style hardwood table and top sink. Really cool!

Staff are so friendly and go out of their way to be nice and helpful. And the food is just great, varied, well presented and copious. The swimming pool is warm and luscious. One can never have enough dips in that pool. The pool at night is just fantastic. As for Meru National Park, this is one of Kenya's best. It is so diverse, Big Five and so much more. You will not be disappointed. Definitely put Ikweta Safari Camp in your safari travel plans!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled solo
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5  Thank Angela B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2012

We received a warm welcome by the staff at Ikweta Safari camp The place is serene and the service was great so were the tents, beautifully laid out, neat, and well kept and with comfortable beds, however, I was not see overjoyed about the bathrooms facing the pathway and was constantly worried about privacy.
The meals were barely satisfying and an effort to ask for more was shunned and labelled as bad table manners.
The response to Wambui Heinrich is disturbing as am wondering if the service is table h'orte or plate service, then it should follow that guests should therefore be asked how they would like their meat done and have the meat prepared and presented to their requirement. What am gathering, as a guest is I should cook the meat with the chef just so that it is clear on how I would like it done? Having worked in hotels a long time, labeling a guest as an offender in a public arena doesn't account as good publicity especially if their feedback was soley based on their experience at your premises! As owners, Two Zebras, you should be apologizing profusely and offering service recovery!

I also lost a considerable amount of money during my stay at Ikweta. I spoke to the manager, Mr Alloise, who said they would look into the matter and get back to me, no formal complaint forms were provided for and no suggestions to call in the police.

Am worried about coming back there, and certainly wouldn't recommend Ikweta to anyone.

Room Tip: Seriously consider other destinations.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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13  Thank Mugure A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ikweta1, Owner at Ikweta Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded May 29, 2012

We welcome the positive comments of Mugure A. about Ikweta Safari Camp: That "the place is serene and the service was great so were the tents, beautifully laid out, neat, and well kept and with comfortable beds". However, the comments on the privacy of the bathrooms ("facing the pathway") are inaccurate, since the tent concept for the bathrooms at our Camp has specifically been designed for privacy. The black screen prevents viewing from the outside. Moreover, the screen near the shower is at a height that makes it virtually impossible to view a guest in the bathroom. At night, the canvas is closed. Why doesn't Mugure A. mention that some of the guests in her group were crisscrossing (taking short-cuts) between the tents, that is, avoiding the designated pathways, thus in fact compromising the privacy of the others?

The other more negative comments by Mugure A. should be understood in context: They are from a member of the same very difficult and disruptive group of guests who stayed at our camp from 25-27 April 2012. In that regard, they are similar to earlier comments proffered by Wambui_Heinrich (please see her comments and our detailed Management response). The group booked for eight guests but actually 14 showed up. They contrived a fraudulent plan with one of our former employees (who was summarily dismissed) not to pay the correct rate for accommodation for one of the guests. They also connived not to register three of the guests in their party, contrary to Kenya's hotel guests’ registration law. The later is a serious legal infraction, all the more so given the security risks in light of the prevailing worldwide security and safety concerns.

The comments by Mugure A. are by a member of the same very difficult and disruptive group of guests who have not even bothered to clear all their bill nearly five weeks later... The comments are by a member of the same very difficult and disruptive group who then found it necessary to concoct a tale about losing money at our Camp since they were having difficulty in clearing their bills after two nights of carousing.

Finally, since Mugure A. makes reference to the table manners of some of the guests in the group, we offer this illustration which in our assessment is quite revealing: While Mugure A. and two other guests (who we presume were her brothers) were being served beer, one of them directed the waitress that the next time she should bring beer to the table already poured into the glass [not in an unopened bottle to be opened and poured into the glass at the table as is the custom in the industry in Kenya]. The guests wanted to delude their mother (who was sitting at another table) that they were drinking cider, apple juice or some non-alcoholic drink! It is actually Mugure A., the guest now proffering negative comments in Tripadvisor, who informed the waitress that ‘they did not want their mother to know that they were drinking beer’... While we can contextualize the unusual attempts of these guests to conceal their drinking habits, we refuse to condone the unethical behavior in seeking to involve our staff in covering up for their lie.

Again, Tripadvisor should not used as a medium by difficult and disruptive guests to propagate potentially libelous and defamatory allegations against hospitality establishments.

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Reviewed May 12, 2012

Well, I'll give credit where it's due, very warm welcome by the manager and staff, they were informative and friendly, accommodation was good but our Ikweta experience went down hill from there. Food was minimal, hints of bacon and not enough tea, coffee or milk! we were even served crispy burnt mbuzi (goat) on our last night. During our last breakfast, there was only 1 jug of milk, one of the waitresses whispered in my ear that the guy who delivers milk didn't show up! laughable considering kiosks were a stone throw away! To add salt to injury, myself and three others in our group lost a consideable amount of cash - 21,000 Ksh in total (got robbed) at the camp and we reported it to management hoping for an amicable resolution instead, they furiously defended their disgraceful staff and were brave enough to threaten to sue us if we posted our exeriences on travel sites! What ever happened to "The customer is always right?" How about swallowing your pride, "Two Zebras" and deal with issues at hand and more importantly, respect your guests. It's loop holes like this that bring down even the most successful of businesses!

Room Tip: Just don't go there In the first place!
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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10  Thank Wambui_Heinrich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ikweta1, Owner at Ikweta Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2012

We are a new tented camp and we strive to provide services that are of high standard, but yet affordable and are seen by our guests to present good value for their money. Indeed, our brand is about “Affordable safari luxury”. The large number of guests who have stayed with us since we opened in October 2011 and commented on the high quality of our services is testimony to this.

Nevertheless, we cannot afford to be smug about our performance. In that regard, we will attempt to respond to the adverse comments posted by one of the guests, beginning with the serious allegation of “being robbed” (sic) of "considerable amount of cash" at our Camp. Thereafter, we will attempt to respond to the complaints over the food being “minimal”.

Upon hearing from the travel agency that there had been some complaints, we made a thorough investigation, which included interviews with all staff who interacted with the guests in question during their stay. We filed a detailed 9-page report to the travel agency. The gist of what we established is the following.

At check out, two of the guests talked casually about not being able to account for how they had spent some of their money. The same guests also admitted that they had been shopping before arriving at our Camp. They also said they had passed through a number of other establishments. Two other guests made a similar claim after returning to Nairobi, the capital city.

Obviously, in a situation where guests claim to have lost, nay, “robbed” of a "considerable amount of cash" (21,000 Ksh), as is the case with the guests in question, the Police would have been called in. Moreover, the Police station is about one km up the road from our Camp. It would not be in the interest of our Camp, or of Kenya tourism, to be silent in the face of such serious allegations, or as the guest claims, to cover up for the staff.

However, what the commentator does not mention in Tripadvisor is that the initial remarks of the guests were actually concerned with some of them not being able to account for how they had spent their money. She does not also mention that the remarks were made most casually, and on the fly, as the guests were rushing to check out and depart, and without any concern or interest whatsoever in filing a formal complaint, not even to note their complaints in our Guest Book...., and all this by a group of guests who had caroused liberally during their two-night stay at our Camp. In fact, the group did not clear all their bills and we have been in touch with the travel agency in that regard as well.

Most importantly, the commentator does not bother to mention that the guests were basically a family group, booked by a travel agency owned by members of the same family, therefore of the conflicts of interest underlying the complaints filed with Tripadvisor.

The commentator does not mention that the travel agency and the guests concerned connived with an unscrupulous employee of our Camp not to register some of the guests in the group, a very serious offence under Kenya’s Hotels guest registration requirements, especially in light of heightened security and safety concerns in the post 9/11 world. We flagged this concern with the travel agency, also in light of the allegations made by some of the guests in the group about not being able to account for how they spent some of their money.

Initially, the travel agency made a reservation for a party of eight (8). Instead, a group of 14 (fourteen) showed up, almost double the number that had been booked, this without as much as signaling the Camp in advance. Nevertheless, we catered for the group to the best of our ability, including having to rearrange the tents to accommodate the unexpected increase in numbers, and make adjustments in other areas.

While we apologize for the unprofessionalism of one of our employees for conniving not to register some of the guests in question, we took prompt and firm action once the facts were established. We did this in order to send a clear signal to the travel agency concerned, the guests they had referred to us, as well as to our own staff, about our policy of zero tolerance to these kinds of fraudulent acts which may also pose serious security and safety risks. The employee concerned was summarily dismissed. Our concerns were well documented in the report we sent to the travel agency.

In regard to the complaints made by the commentator about the quantity of our meal servings, this is not without irony, since the guests pounced on us in a number twice the expected size. Albeit, we can also understand the preference of some guests to have meals set out in ‘buffet’ offering (“all you can eat”). However, at our Camp meals are generally offered in Plate Service (Table d’hôte) and not in buffet style. This enables us to offer meals that are fresh and expertly prepared. In so doing, we are able to present different options each day, including many vegetables from our Camp’s own Greenhouse.

We are a small tented Camp by choice. We cater to relatively small numbers. This enables us to provide attentive service. Being a small tented Camp is also what enables us to remain affordable. Therefore, we would not be able to offer "all you can eat" meals in buffet style. It would not be viable or sustainable for us.

All the same, we apologize if the offerings to our guests were in any way wanting. Until now we have had a long list of contented guests who have praised the quality, variety, presentation and portion size of the meals served at Ikweta Safari Camp. Many these guests have specifically exhorted us to remain a small Camp in order to be able to maintain the high standards.

We also note the comment about the shortage of milk on the last morning of the guests’ stay at our Camp, which was occasioned in part by the tardiness of our local supplier and by a general shortage of processed milk in parts of Kenya at the time, including in the capital city of Nairobi, and our local area, which was completely beyond our control.

Concerning the comment over “burnt” Roast Goat, our chefs, who are highly trained and experienced, are sensitive about the tastes and preferences of our guests. Nevertheless, the preparation of roast meat (Goat or other) remains a real challenge, especially meeting the varying requirements of a mixed cultural group, as was the case with the group in question. Moreover, the guests were not entirely clear themselves about how their Roast Goat should be prepared. Therefore, our chefs were not able to interpret to the satisfaction of our guests the varying requirements ranging from “well done” or ‘’quite cooked’ to variations spanning “medium” to “tender” to “rare”. The concerns of the guests in question have been thoroughly discussed with the chefs with a view to sensitizing them on actualizing the preferences of guests. Therefore, we hope there will be no more complaints over burnt Roast Goat in the future.

In conclusion, we reaffirm our efforts in promoting our brand of affordable Safari luxury geared to providing services of high standards and which are seen by our guests to provide good value for their money. We remain attentive to our guests. We listen to their comments and take their constructive criticisms seriously. We hold periodic briefings with our staff to review and discuss comments provided by guests. For us it is both a way and means of being responsive to the concerns of guests as well of building upon their contribution in our attempts to raise our performance to an even higher level.

While we are also committed to growing cooperation with other stakeholders in addressing in an open, transparent and objective manner any challenges that may arise from time to time towards our joint efforts in promoting high quality affordable products for both domestic and international tourism, we strongly object to Tripadvisor being used by any commentator as a medium to propagate un-objective and even false allegations.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2012

Despite the long trip from Nairobi we spent a well deserved rest over Easter at the camp and it is surely marvellous it is almost like discovering a place you would always go back and recommend to anyone. My kids enjoyed the warm pool. Food and room service were excellent. I still wish to go back and enjoy the ambience. Keep the standards. Congrats. George Mutoro.

Room Tip: The Elephent room has a nice man made waterfall. So brilliant at night, you might think you are next...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank GEORGE M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2012

Bear with the long review - I hope it's helpful. We took a chance and booked Ikweta Safari Camp for a family holiday after looking through reviews on tripadvisor. We lucked out as Ikweta is a great place at a great price for Kenya residents.

The food was always fresh - all the vegetables for this and its sister hotel are grown on-site. We were spoiled by Allois the manager, and Lucy our appointed waitress - all the staff were super friendly and went out f their way to assist where necessary. For example, our tyre lost air overnight and by the time we went to breakfast they had arranged for someone assist us change it, get it repaired and point out the place where we could refuel.

The standard tent was spacious and could accommodate our family of 4 (children 6 and 4) with space to spare. The rooms are clean and airy, a plus for the surprisingly relatively warm temperatures of the area. One night was windy which made for some noise as the outside tent flaps were tossed about, but after we zipped them up the rest of the night was mostly uneventful.

There are only 10 tents which is perfect for the available facilities. With the current size, and the no frills approach, the service and the food stand out as exceptional. We heard they want to add more rooms, which we hope is not the case as I fear they would struggle to maintain standards.

Everything we experienced - linen, room size, room appointments, food and service - are what one would expect from a much pricier establishment. My sleep was only interrupted by the flapping of the tent roof on a windy night - I'm sure that can be sorted quite easily.

Meru National Park is only a few minutes away (Murera gate), and is surely one of Kenya's best kept secrets. There are seven permanent sources of water in this national park alone! Most of them are swamps and there's alse the Tana River which separates Meru National Park from Kora National Park to the south.

As is usual of their great service Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) keep the roads in tip-top shape, and even driving through black cotton soil in the swampy areas we felt safe. We saw so much game that our children started asking for more and more varieties of animal to see (we didn't see any cats though). A visit to the KWS HQ in the park resulted in a guide accompanying us to view the elusive hippo's (we saw one). We have to go back because by my reckoning, we only explored a quarter of the park (it's home to the famous lions Elsa and Pippa whose graves are apparently attractions in themselves - I guess the story behind them)

We only had three complaints - the first being that there's nowhere to unpack clothes in the otherwise well appointed tent rooms. A few shelves in the retaining wall between the bathroom and the bed area would make a world of difference.

Nothing can be done about the second complaint - the tents are rather close together. As one is walking by, some bathroom areas in some of the tents are easily visible from the pathway. Despite the close proximity of the tents to one another, once inside them they provided a good sense of privacy.

Then there's the distance. We were advised that it would take us 4 hours to get there from Nairobi, but it was more like 6+ hours. Going there, we took the Mwea, Embu and Meru route which was terribly slow as it was riddled with speed bumps every few kilometers. On the return trip, we went through Meru, Nyanyuki and Kiganjo which took just as long even though it was considerably longer in distance.

All-in-all, it was a great trip, and the camp is well worth the visit even for those travelers who expect 5-star service - Ikweta provides top-notch service that leaves your wallet with a 5-star smile! We had planned to split the trip between Ikweta Safari Camp and Ikweta Country Inn which is in Maua, but opted to spend all our time at the camp. With the long drive and the luxury provided at the affordable price, we felt the extra time at the camp was well worth it and would advise the same.

Room Tip: Rooms where the bathroom doesn't face the pathways are a must! We stayed in No 6, Giraffe.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank Kimenyi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ikweta Safari Camp

Address: Murera Gate, Meru National Park 60600, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Eastern Province > Meru National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Meru National Park
Price Range: $117 - $142 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ikweta Safari Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
iKWETA Safari Camp is by choice a small owner-operated intimate camp offering personalized service and safari luxury accommodation. Located just 2 km from the Murera Gate of Meru National Park, iKWETA is a year-round destination and a convenient base for exploring both Meru and Kora, two of Kenya's national parks to offer a complete wilderness safari experience. We are a ***Star-rated establishment in the Kenya East African Community classification of Tourism Enterprises (Category: Tented Camps, in accordance with the Tourism Act, 2011, Tourism Regulatory Authority Regulations, 2014 (Kenya Gazette, Notice No. 6111, Vol. CXVIII No. 87, 5th August 2016). iKWETA Safari Camp is proud to be among the very few star-rated establishments in the Mount Kenya region. iKWETA offers ten spacious canvas tents on elevated permanent foundations with thatch roof overlay of doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica) indigenous to the area. Tents are tastefully decorated in safari-style with high quality furnishings. Each tent is designed with an airy-by-day and cozy-by-night bedroom area separated by a natural stone wall from the bathroom en-suite, with walk-in shower and toilet. There is a writing table and safe box in every tent. All tents face East for guests to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Meru National Park from the comfort of their beds. Each tent has a private verandah. You can sip your early morning steamy hot Kenya coffee or Kenya tea on your private veranda while watching the sun rise over Meru National Park. Tents are amply fitted with electric power sockets for guests to be able to power their laptops or charge their electronic devices and camera batteries. Our large Swimming Pool is delightfully warmed year round by glorious sunshine. Our "Two Zebras Restaurant" serves all meals to order using fresh produce grown in the Camp's own Greenhouse and on iKWETA Farms. We offer international and vegetarian cuisines as well as children's menus. No night time blackouts or '10:00 o'clock night-curfews": There is mains electricity backed-up by a high-capacity generator. If you are awaked by the sounds of nature you can snuggle under your duvet and read or watch movies on your iPad or DVD. We have improved accessibility for guests who are wheelchair users and for those with reduced mobility. Your main attraction will be spectacular game drives through Meru National Park, one of Kenya's most beautiful and truly pristine national parks and the land of the "Big-Five" - elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard. With over 400 bird species reported, the park is also a birdwatchers' paradise. There are also interesting places in the vicinity of the Meru-Kora Conservation Area. Nature walks to the Gatwe ("Skull") Hill for panoramic and spectacular views of the Meru-Kora Conservation Area and the Nyambene Hills. Accommodations are on Full-Board basis (all meals included as well applicable taxes). Since opening for business in October 2011, iKWETA Safari Camp has hosted many foreign and domestic film crews. ... more   less 
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