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Mara West Camp
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Reviewed 28 September 2012

We stayed at the Mara West as our final stop of our safari trip. The drive to Mara West is not the most comfortable journey but it was def worth every road bump. The location of the Mara West is on a mountain top with stunning views over the Savannah. Mara West is a smaller camp than some of the others but this was perfect as it felt we were closer to the reserve.

We stayed in the tented accommodation which had a lovely view and was very comfortable. The Maasai security to take us back and forth between our rooms were great, chatty and full of information.

The dining area was located in a small lodge and was set as formal dining. This was also so different from all the buffets from the other hotels which was a treat.

This part of the Mara is a lot quieter and is definetly worth the trip as there are less jeeps and vans in the park which means not a lot of traffic to disturb the animals. Mara West is also close to the park entrance which makes access perfect.

Room Tip: Tent No.4 was set in a secluded location under the trees with a great view.
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Essex_M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2012

We spent 3 days at Mara West and were totally impressed with it. We had booked a luxury tent/chalet (#5-8) , but were upgraded to honeymoon suite(#8) with a breathtaking view of the park , spacious room, comfortable beds with mosquito nets, dining table and seating area in the balcony. There were no mosquitoes in the camp, probably because of being on a hill. It was great to come back to a little luxury after the day of safari. There was hot water in the shower whenever needed. While booking the place , Grace at business office was extremely prompt and helpful in answering all our questions. Rose at the reception was very friendly. We got good vegetarian food on all days and also got very good indian food for a dinner when requested. Food was more like fresh home cooked meal rather than a 5 star food. On two days, we were given boxed lunches , which were very basic , but after all, we were in the middle of nowhere in the park and it was a good picnic feel in having boxed lunches.
The park employed local masai people as guide and for security which is good. We heard the owner of the place has done a lot of good for the masai community.
The only unpleasant part was the road from the park to Mara West. It is about 30 min drive and the road is the worst I have ever seen(if you can call it a road). Though after reaching the camp rooms, teh ride does not seem worthless. I wish they can improve the road, and that would make this wonderful experience even better.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank beautifulworld30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2012

Let's be honest, if you're going to Kenya for a safari you're in for at least a little bit of adventure. Right? The roads to Maasai Mara from Nairobi get increasingly worse and the drive is actually around 7 hours as opposed to what many tour companies will tell you. The worst road however is on the way to Mara West and truthfully it is the worst road I've experienced in my 28 years. But I can assure you that once you bounce and sway your way to this camp you'll be very impressed.

My wife and I had an overlook tent (#5 I believe) and it was impressive. The grounds were awesome with zebras and giraffe grazing throughout, even at 3am when we were awaken by the grunting eating sounds of a zebra. That, to me, is worth a 3am wake up. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was way nicer than you'd ever expect from a safari tent. In fact they had the most comfortable robes - which my wife and I called our Nairobies. Weird, I know.

The food was 4-5 stars for a safari. It might be in 3 star range if it were placed in New York or San Fran or something like that but for being in the middle of nowhere Kenya it was very fresh and the soups are to die for. If you want adventure with some of the comforts of home choose Mara West.

Room Tip: #5 had a gorgeous overlook of the entire plain.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank brianreda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2012

Mara West was a wonderful experience. I was traveling as a humanitarian and was booked to stay in the economy bandas, so I was expecting to be roughing it. Far from it. The bandas was great and very comfortable. The washroom facilities were clean and very sufficient. The showers were hot almost luxurious! The food was wonderful. The staff was kind and went out of their way to help us. At night we were protected from straying wildlife by friendly and knowledgeable Maasai Moran! And through the night we could hear zebra and giraffe grazing right on the other side of our canvas walls and lions and hyenas calling not far off. Lifetime experiences. This camp was amazing.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled on business
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3  Thank SarahTarvin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2012

When they said not to venture out in the dark without security, this city gal, thought they were loco. It quickly dawned on me what they were talking about. There are wild animals everywhere! It just doesn't get any better than this!

I was in Africa for a 18 day Mission Trip. We spent the last two nights at Mara West before heading back to Chicago. What a wonderful experience!

We were there in August of 2012, in time to see the Wilderbeast crossing.

Customer Service:
First, the staff goes out of their way to make your trip wonderful.
You want an afternoon safari.... no problem, you want an early morning safari.... no problem. You want to take your lunch out with you on safari... so you can be out all day... no problem.
You want something from the small gift shop.. no problem.. we'll add it to your bill and you can take care of the bill upon leaving.

The wait staff in the dining rooms were friendly and always willing to help.
They that got customer service down to a "T".

The Food
When you first check in.. they ask for all food allergies and they then modify the menu accordingly. The food they serve is Top quality. The chef prepares wonderful gourmet fare... some of the best I've had.

One night we had lamb chops with a sauce to die for. I do not like lamb... but this was good enough to change my mind.... almost :) But good enough, that I'd have it again.

The soups at lunch and dinner were outstanding, I really looked forward to them every night. The portions were a little small, by USA standards, but sufficient. The teen age boys that were with us asked for another bowl of soup and that seemed to satisfy them.

We did need to ask for a bottle of water. Water is not served with the meal... only coffee or hot tea. The large bottle of water was a small extra charge 250 shillings ( about $3.00 us dollars).

One day we asked for a box lunch. It was great. Chicken with herbs, bottle of water, fruit, it was a nice lunch.

We were in the deluxe tents
The Room
Yes we were in a tent... but NOT the average tent. First the attached (in suite) bathrooms with flushing toilet and shower ( HOT) are in a brick structure with a solid wood door. The attached bedroom is all tent. The tent is on a wood floor with tent canvas all around. The tent is VERY tall.. my guess about 8-9 feet. The tent we were in had 2 king size beds in it with about 10 feet between the beds and front of the tent. There was a small table to write on or to have morning coffee. And a clothes rack to hang clothes. At the foot of each bed was a bench to place your luggage on. In front of each tent was a small porch.

Clean
Clean, clean, clean... I didn't see a cob web, bug or any dirt anywhere... spotless, ... and this was a tent! The dining room and common areas were all spotless. Outside the dinning area was a place to wash your hands before entering the dinning room. I didn't see any stray paper.. nothing, and people were always working around the camp area. Grace was the name of our room steward. She was wonderful, while we never saw her, she clearly cleaned up every day and made sure we had hot water for our showers.

Down sides:
While nothing is perfect... you should be prepared.
1. The generators are on from 5am- 8:30 am and again from 6:30 pm till 10 pm. You need to be prepared that ALL lighting, even foot paths go dark. The whole camp is turned off... when the generators are off. If you need power in the middle of the night for any medical equipment... be prepared. All of our cameras and phones were able to be charged in the time given. There are also multiple outlets in the tents and in the bathroom area. Be prepared the voltage is British 240V. So if your from the US you will need a converter and the 3 prong large British plug ( easily available at travel stores).

2. Hot Water
Each tent has their own hot water tank. Your room steward will out wood in your hot water furnace to heat your water for your shower. You only have hot water between the hours of 5am- 8am and 5pm - 10 pm. IN the morning the hot water is not instant..... you may have to run it a little till the hot water comes up... then it is wonderful.

3. The roads to the camp are awful. Some of the biggest ruts I've ever seen. They are in the process of getting the road grated. Not sure when that will start.

4. Bring CASH. In order to get into the park you had to pay 80 US dollars or hope the credit card machine will work. If you use a credit card.. you must have your passport with you. Save your receipt.. the park fee is for a 24 hour day, So if you use it at 3:30pm one day it is good until 3:30pm the next day. We got our Kenya visa's ahead of time, but you can get them at the Narobi airport, and that will cost you cash as well-- about 50 US dollars.

5. One person told me he was not in a luxury tent that had a bathroom and when he got up in the middle of the night a giraffe was blocking his way to the bathroom.

6. Locking your tent. The baboons can open a zipper! You must lock your tent up. That is kind of a pain... but the baboons were there before I was.

Other adventures available:
We asked about other adventure opportunities... the hot air balloon was $455 / person, the safari walk was $28 / person, and the Masai Village was $25/ person.

Word of Warning: I do NOT recommend the Masai Village... it is the most filthy, insect infected thing you will ever do in your life... you literally walk thru cow dung, sheep dung, goat dung.... complete with bugs, lots of flies and other insects. Trust me just do not go on this adventure. You will want to burn your clothes afterwards, and take a shower.. even if it is a cold shower. I couldn't wait to get back to the Mara West camp.

Three people in our group just walked around the grounds and found plenty of wildlife to watch. and had a great time.

Please Note:
The weather changes quickly. It can go from VERY hot to cold in a matter of minutes. We found that the nights and morning were very cool, while the middle of the day was very hot. When we were on safari, I had gloves and a stocking cap. for the morning. The wind was so strong in the afternoon, I cold not keep my hat on. So a hat with a chin strap would be ideal. If you need to go to the bathroom, the toilet is called a long drop... which is a hole you stand over (no seat).

Oh, I must mention the animals.
They are everywhere! When you wake up .. take look out the front of your tent. We had Zebras, Giraffes, Gazels, baboons, and yes a few lions. Always check your near by animals and don't hesitate to call for your Masai Warrior / security for safety.

At night you will hear the animals walking around your tent and eating the grass around your tens. One night I heard hoofs walking on the cement paths... I looked out my bathroom window and a bunch of zebras were out side my window ( 2 feet away).

The Guides
Mara West provided excellent guides. They really knew the animals and the game range very well. While we did not find the leopard, we saw all the other Big 4 and many more including a cheetah.
The jeep we were in is a very high step up... I am short and I brought a small step stool and was glad I did.

Over I loved Mara West. I really like the fact that you were enjoying the area with the animals. Some camps are enclosed to keep the animals out... I like having the animals everywhere. I loved waking up to seeing 8 zebras grazing in front of my tent. When I saw the 5 lions in front of the tent I was a little concerned... but felt safe... I could always run into the brick bathroom.. if I had to....I didn't bother them and they didn't bother me. Security was just a call away.

I would stay here again. LOVED IT!

Room Tip: Get a luxury tent, they were great. We were in room M4. Loved it. We had a great view.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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6  Thank ChgoGal2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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