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David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

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Kalix, Sweden
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683 posts
33 reviews
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David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

Has anyone stayed at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge (http://www.mugumotree.com/) which is situated just outside the Masai Mara?

The pictures of the hotel grounds look lovely with the lodge right on the banks of the Mara River and lots of activities like night game drives, nature walks etc

Has anyone actually stayed there and could share their own experiences?

Is this lodge good located for game drives and is there a variety of wildlife in that area of the Masai Mara? Does this lodge do their game drives IN or OUTSIDE the boundaries of the Masai Mara?

We`d appreciate any info regarding this lodge as we couldn`t find any trip reports on this site!!

Kenya
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213 posts
4 reviews
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11. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

Hi,

I would strongly advice you NOT to go to this lodge. I have had friends going there who had a terrible time similar to what Gaysfield has mentioned. When problems arise (and they will for sure) you will not be able to turn to anyone to complain to - deaf ears. I suggest if you havent already booked and paid then look for a better alternative. The next best is MARA SAFARI CLUB which is set in the Ol-Choro Oiroua Conservation Area. It is a luxury tented property also on the banks of the river. I know you will pay more but then there will be no hassles. I would rather you cough out the extra but stay at a lodge where you are assured of good and quality service - afterall you have saved up for this for a long time, the last thing you would want is go through hassles and vent out your anger! The other alternative is also Kicheche CAmp and you can read very good reviews about both properties on the Mara Forum on TA.

All the best and make a wise chocie.

Kalix, Sweden
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683 posts
33 reviews
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12. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

Hm, very different opinions here on the David Livingstone Safari Lodge!

We are going to Kenya again in June 2007 and we still haven`t booked our Flying Safari from the coast to the Masai Mara (3days/2nights) because we just can`t decide on which lodge to try this time. (We went to Fig Tree Camp/Masai Mara last time & were very pleased with both the lodge, staff, service and huge variety of wildlife around there)

..

We still think that the David Livingstone Lodge`s location looks nice, but we are a bit worried about the ugly reports regarding unreliable guides that do not speak English and you are stuck at the lodge because they do not have safari vehicles enough for game drives and so on. I mean, you DO pay a lot and we WILL pay a lot of money for a flying-safari to the Masai Mara and then you want everything to be just wonderful with -hopefully- no problems at all!

..

Well, we will have to think about it once again and also keep looking at other "affordable" lodges - in order to compare a little!

Thanks anyway to all of you for sharing your honest opinions!

Annika&Peter!!

Scotland
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27 posts
24 reviews
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13. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

I'm so shocked at the negative reviews - I think we got really, really lucky. We had 4 game drives - two morning and 2 evening, all of which lasted 4-5 hours. There were plenty vehicles for the people - we had a jeep which was really comfortable for the 6 of us. Our driver spoke great english and we only got stuck twice - the driver had a radio so we were out in minutes (it was actually quite good fun!). We thought all the staff were really pleasant and even got a gift from one of them...I guess it goes to show how much service can vary. I would have rushed back to stay there based on my experience, but if you're not guaranteed the game drives, which is the point of going, there is no point in going. And that excuse of 'you'll see them tomorrow' is awful. Obviously there is no guarantee of animal sightings but it doesn't take a genius to work out that chances get slimmer when you take a 4-5 hour drive out of it. You must have been fuming...

london
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953 posts
103 reviews
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14. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

Have just returned from the Mara ( 8 nights in Kicheche , which was fabulous ) and have a couple of observations to make.

This lodge is not at all with other camps' guides and drivers, this is unusual in the Mara as the guides all seem to look after each other.For example our guide rang his friend in Governor's Camp to check where their local lion pride were , got spot on directions and we found them !!

A young female cheetah had her first litter of four cubs while we were there . The Conservancy management and rangers deceided to close the area where the cubs were to maximise their chances of survival. Just a couple of days later 2 guides from David Livingstne Lodge broke this rule and took their clients in to photograph the cubs. They were fined for doing this . Please ask yourselves , do you want to support an outfit that considers tourists pictures to be more imortant than increasing the ( already slim ) chances of cheetah cubs surviving ?

Exeter, United...
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2 posts
11 reviews
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15. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

I have stayed here several times, most recently in March. The rooms are fairly basic but clean, twin beds, shower toilet etc, restaurant is excellent and the staff go out of their way to be helpful. Best drivers are Simon Towett, and Dickson - if you are lucky enough to have them you will be amazed at the wildlife they can show you (and send my regards to them). They can take you to within feet of most of the animals, lions, elephants, leopard (if your are lucky) cheeter, giraffe buffalo etc, and you get to walk to within feet of 3 white rhinos. Excellent place.

Most of the drives are actually outside of the National Park which means that you can drive off road and get really close to animals. In the park you have to stay on the road, but otherwise the only way you know you are in the park is when u drive thru a big brick gateway in the middle of nowhere, the Park entrance. there is no other difference. Night drives are as frequent as guests want and are excellent,

hope you enjoy it - I have been returning ever since my first trip in 2002 (was known as the Voyager in those days)

good luck - and happy viewing

Exeter, United...
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2 posts
11 reviews
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16. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

in reply to other complaints which were justified - the current managment took over running this lodge last June, prior to that I had a couple of horrendous trips accomodation/food wise, but excellent drivers.

The new managment have really turned the place around - it really is well worth the trip

Manchester, England
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2 posts
9 reviews
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17. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

Just returned from a great two weeks in Kenya. We were staying at Southern Palms at Diani Beach. We went independent and booked our safari trip through DM Tours at Diani shopping centre. We paid £330 per person for a three day two night visit to David Livingstone Lodge, including flights. We were very happy with everything.

The flight with Mombassa Air Safari left Ukunda airstrip near Diani, just a five minute drive from our hotel. Lots of other air safari tours had to take the ferry back to Mombassa airport, a two hour trip, so this was an immediate bonus.

Most lodges in and around the Mara have their own airstrip. We touched down and took off five times before arriving at DL lodge, and walking just a hundred metres to the lodge reception.

On arrival larger groups are greeted by traditional dance of around twenty Massai people. Quite a sight. We were in a smaller group, so our arrival was quieter, but we saw this show later anyway.

While we waited for our room key we sat at the bar overlooking the river, where at least 30 hippos were bathing. A crocodile came up on the bank to sunbathe.

We were expecting three game drives a day, of two hours each. One before breakfast, one late morning, and one in the evening. In actual fact they merged the first two into one drive leaving at 7.30am and returning at noon - to save covering the ground twice between the lodge and the main plains where the animals were to be found. We had no complaints and this worked really well.

The afternoon we arrived we took our first game drive. Our vehicle was a very well maintained quite new looking 4x4 equipped with radio and a raised roof which allowed us to stand. There were six or seven people on each drive and everyone had a window seat. Our driver, who was the same for the whole trip was George. He was absolutely brilliant. He knew exactly where to find the animals, and told us the names of each type right down to the six or seven different types of antelope. He also had a book to show us and let us read about each animal.

We saw all the big five except the Leopard - something we will have to go back for. There were literally thousands of animals. Where to I start. Lions, Rhino, Impala, Zebra, Giraffe, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Elephants, Hyena, Vultures, Secretery birds, Ostrich and many may more. I was clicking away on my digital camera each time we saw something new, at the rate of about one a minute! Every game drive found something new. We could find no fault with George or his game drives at all.

An interesting detour whilst on a game drive is a visit to a traditional massai village. You will be greeted by all the villagers in traditional dress singing and dancing as the jeep arrives. The village is a circular gathering of around 20 mud huts surrounded by brambles to keep out the wild animals. The massai keep their cattle inside the circle at night. They take you inside one of the houses. How they live like that is beyond me. Take some biscuits or sweets for the kids.

The rooms at the lodge are quite basic - but this is Africa. Electricity in the rooms is made available by a generator from dusk til dawn - so charge your camera batteries at night.

The restaurant and the food was of a very high standard. Overlooking the Mara river with Hippos and Crocodiles. Watch out for the cheeky monkeys and the bush babies which frequently clamber down from the roof to steal a bread roll from your table!

The bar was amazing with a roaring fire at night, and people sat around on large cushions overlooking the river talking about the days game drives. Each morning you could watch the hippos arrive back at the river for a days bathing, and each evening they would leave for a 12km walk to do some eating.

This is not a five a star hotel, but that is not what Africa should ever be about. We went there for Safari, and we got everything we wished for. We would recommend this lodge to anybody.

Phil and Joanne.

Manchester

England

Kalix, Sweden
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683 posts
33 reviews
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18. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

Thank you Phil and Joanne for your detailed trip report about your stay at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge! It sounds like you had a great time!

Is anyone else back from a safari to this lodge in the Masai Mara, yet and could share their experiences from their stay?

Regards,

Annika&Peter

London
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5 posts
2 reviews
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19. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

Please be aware that In Kenyaif your car breaks down another will help you. Like wise you would do the same. That is African common courtesy. I have been many times to this lodge and always had awonderful experience.

Bedfordshire, UK
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215 posts
22 reviews
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20. Re: David Livingstone Safari Lodge?

I have to say that my first safari into the Masai in 2000 I stayed at DLL and so when I returned with my other half in 2005 (after marrying in the Shimba Hills) I wanted to take him to stay at DLL but Denis at DM Tours did not reccomend - the resort had since been sold by the Voyager group (was Voyager Mara when I was there last) and had apparently experienced severe financial difficulties resulting in drivers not being paid/not enough drivers and all sorts of complaints and didfficulties from guests. My take on this would be that if Denis at DM is offering DLL Lodge again then he must be happy that standards have significantly improved so go for it!

One of the most memorable moments of my entire life was arriving here - alone as a sinlge female traveller and the last person on the flight into the Masai. I checked in and, whilst doing so, caught sight of the river just outside reception....absolutely teaming with hippos.....well, I was like a 3 year old - completely over-awed and over-excited and I'll never forget that. Yes, the accomodation was basic but functional but the locationl was great and i thought the food was too. Only beaten now by Little Governors - but that's a completely different story and a completely different budget category!!!

Enjoy!!!!

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