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“Incredible experience, fantastic camp”

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Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa
Certificate of Excellence
Canberra, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Incredible experience, fantastic camp”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2013

Everything about Encounter Mara was absolutely perfect, the staff, tents, food, vehicles, guides and program. They really have the safari down pat, flying into the Naboishi Conservancy and then taking a game drive with a lunch stop (watching a herd of giraffe) on the way to the accommodation was exactly the right start and it just kept getting better. The guides were very knowledgable and always had interesting facts about animal behaviour to share with us and they were great at spotting the animals. We were fortunate enough to have our own private vehicle for the duration of our tour. The vehicles were in great condition and completely open so there was no struts or windows obstructing your view of the animals.
The camp itself is in great condition and the tents were absolutely beautiful. Likewise the food was delicious at every meal and the staff were exceptionally attentive, right down to the nightly hot-water bottle in your bed (which is a surprisingly enjoyable luxury especially given that it actually gets quite cool at night in the Masai Mara).
I would thoroughly recommend staying on a Conservancy like Naboishi as opposed to staying in the Masai Mara, the number of guests and vehicles in the Conservancy is controlled and you get a much less crowded view of the animals. In addition, in the Conservancy the vehicles have an extra hour or two before they have to return to camp in the evening which means you have a better chance of viewing the animals in evening light and when they are most active. It makes your sundowner drink and snacks all the more enjoyable knowing that there is no great rush to get back to camp.

We booked online directly with Encounter Mara and Josphat and the bookings team were always very responsive and provided the best customer service of any of the companies we booked our holiday in the Middle East and Africa with.

I cannot fault a single aspect of the trip, the only regret I have is not staying longer, we were there three nights but could easily have stayed a week or more.


I will definitely be back.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank luke m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 18 October 2013
Thank you for your review, we are always delighted to hear our guests sharing the same passion we feel for The Masai Mara and for Encounter Mara.
Thank you for taking the time to write this review and we hope you will come back and visit us sometime.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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331 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
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle
Level Contributor
253 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 September 2013

The recent reviews for Encounter Mara are spot on and reflect the reality of this superb camp.

I travelled with a Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) company called HAWK'S HEAD PHOTOGRAPHY with the aim of encountering the wildlife of Kenya and to improve my photographic skills. The company arranged all the travel and connections as well as overnight accommodation in Nairobi. All my expectations were exceeded with the help of Hawk's Head's leaders Alan & Trai and the camp's guides Moses, Sammy and Dickson whose skills and knowledge are immense.

The site: In the middle of the savannah, miles from anywhere and surrounded by the animals I wanted to photograph: a local pride of lions, herds of elephants, gazelle, antelopes, hyena, warthogs, giraffe, hippo, crocs and a wonderful variety of beautiful birds; kingfishers, splendid starlings, rollers, birds of prey. The list goes on.

The accommodation: would rival any 5 star hotel. Spacious tents with toilet & shower, tented lounge and dining room. Beds made up and turned down in the evening with a hot water bottle for good measure. Luxurious little touches. There's a day bed on the verandah and a hammock slung in the shade of two trees with a fine view over the savannah. Mozzie nets and a spray keep the unwanted wildlife at bay...

The food: A recent review mentioned tv's Masterchef which was a comment I made when we sat down to our first dinner - the food was first class with dietary requirements catered for all served with finesse after evening drinks by the campfire under the stars.

The staff: Nothing was too much trouble. Ask and they would do their best to oblige. They were helpful and most polite as well as knowledgeable about the surroundings. Chris & Sam have the camp running like a well-oiled machine and the dining staff wouldn't be out of a place in a top hotel.

The drives: Early morning starts and late afternoon outings in well-adapted Landcruisers which the guides can take almost anywhere. Every drive was an eye-opener as Moses, Sammy and Dickson dressed in traditional Masai clothing knew how to find those animals. We even spotted the elusive leopard albeit a brief encounter! Their driving skills in rough terrain are incredible as is their respect for the animals they track.

Culture: We visited a local school (we took small gifts such as pens and pencils) and enjoyed the enthusiastic curiosity of the youngsters. We also visited a boma which is a traditional Masai settlement. The brightly-dressed women of the camp gave a demonstration of singing and dancing.

Why would I recommend Encounter Mara?

For all the reasons above and more but especially how they make every effort to limit their impact upon the land and its wildlife. If you want to see these species before they are lost for ever but don't want them to feel threatened then Encounter Mara is the place to do it.
If you don't mind joining the hordes of second-rate vehicles chasing the animals as they do in the parks then go elsewhere. If you're concerned about the welfare of the wildlife and our impact on the environment, Encounter Mara is the place to be.

If you're considering a Kenyan safari I recommend, without any reservation whatsoever, Encounter Mara.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Wainwright007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 September 2013 via mobile

Harris and I just returned home to Seattle after four remarkable nights at Encounter Mara, and we're still riding high on the joy of it. Every detail here is handled with great care, and we felt so welcome and supported. Managers Chris and Sam, together with all the other wonderful, committed people here, have somehow managed to create an experience of both wilderness and luxury. Gourmet brunch at a table under the acacia trees while watching zebras and impala graze nearby. Hot showers in our own private, gorgeous tent after enjoying the crimson sunset with gin and tonics on the high plains. The music of lions and hyenas nearby at night. We loved the attention to environmental stewardship, with extensive use of solar power and careful disposal of waste. Considerable expertise and regard for both humans and other creatures provided us with rich exposure to Masai culture and to scores of exotic birds, plants and "charismatic megafauna" such as lions, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, baboons and even an elusive leopard. The special solitude of the Naboisho Conservancy gave the game drives an added feel of exclusivity. Give yourself the gift of this experience of a lifetime. You won't regret it!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank heididewa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EncounterMara1, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 27 September 2013
Thanks for your feedback.
We are really pleased you had a great time and hope you arrived back safe and sound. A visit to Africa, especially the bush is an unforgettable experience and we are so pleased you enjoyed the magic of The Masai Mara.
Please come back and visit us soon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bulawayo
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2013

My husband and I were lucky enough to spend 7 nights at Encounter Mara last week. It is very hard not to use too many cliches to describe what an amazing exoerience we had. Suffice to say that the camp is excellent in all respects - efficient and caring management by Chris and Sam; friendly and competent camp staff; cuisine which at times looked as if it belonged to a Masterchef programme; excellent well-trained guides - ours was Moses who introduced us to the wonders of the mammal and bird life in the Conservancy and in the Mara reserve, and who helped us with trees, small plants and grasses - the complete guide; fabulous game-viewing every single day and great animal sounds at night too; top organisation for everything that we did. The extra touches like a hot water bottle in the beds at night, the friendly Masai spear-armed guides who took care of us to and from dinner at night; the cheerful fillers of the bucket shower; the impressive use of solar power and the keyrings when we departed, not to mention the people sent to stay with us at Olseki airstrip till our plane came in all added to a great week.Thank you so much for a truly memorable time with you all; it will be a treasured memory.

Room Tip: No need - they are all great tented rooms.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Umvumila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 September 2013

My sister and I were with Encounter in August. We rate our experience 10 out of 10. Tented accommodation -10 (we loved the special touch of the hot water bottle at night, hearing the lions at night was amazing, bucket showers, views to the bush with zebras/wilderbeest far away ). We saw incredible animals in the conservancy (and what a beautiful sight during sunrise and the sunset...stunning colours) and with luck saw the Mara Crossing. This would not be possible without our Maasai guide, Daniel. We certainly enjoyed the sundowners and the company of another American couple who were a pleasure and laugh to be with. Safari - a 10. We met with some amazing Maasai staff at the camp who was ever so ready to provide excellent service. We enjoyed chatting to them. We also enjoyed meeting the Maasai people at the Maasai village. On the last evening, we were taken aback at our own private dining outside our tent...it was truly a special special beautiful evening. Thanks for the experience.
We are so taken with the beauty of the people, the scenery and wildlife and Encounter made it possible.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Munfoon Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Indianapolis
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 September 2013

I've been around the world a time or two (25, actually) in the past 5 years. When I set a goal to visit 30 countries before I turned 30 I knew I'd get to see and experience some amazing things. But rarely is there something that I'll stop to write a TripAdvisor review about because I want everyone else to make it a bucket list item as well.

Encounter Mara is that item.

Every SINGLE DETAIL was considered and taken care of on our trip. From our guide (Nelson) and his incredible knowledge to the campground property, I was continually impressed and blown away. And we're not even to the animals yet. BIG FIVE. Sunset cruises. Night-time safari. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

Basically, I want to take everyone I know here. It was simply amazing. Do it. Don't look around. Just book Encounter Mara now.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank bradjward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BwanaKev, Public Relations Manager at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 6 September 2013
Thank you for your review, its feedback like yours that makes it really worthwhile. Especially from someone who is as well travelled as yourself and has a lot of experience. We love what we do and we try and make every experience for each guest as memorable as possible and we are so pleased you share our enthusiasm and passion for the Mara and the camp.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
77 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 September 2013

This was a holiday that was planned out for me, so I had know idea what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised it was over and above my highest expectations.

The tents were equipped with flushing toilets and solar power. The food was like gourmet style ( camping style). There was fresh juice every morning, noon and night.

The safari it self I saw every animale I wanted to.

What an experience I highly recommend booking your safari with Encounter Mara Safari Camp you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank elizabeth h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa

Property: Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa
Address: Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Masai Mara National Reserve 20500, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 137 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the sought-after Mara Naboisho Conservancy, award-winning Encounter Mara is the stuff safari dreams are made of. Enjoy some of the best game viewing in Africa all year round from the low-key yet lavish comfort of this superb eco-camp. Shaded by a thick acacia forest, Encounter Mara enjoys glorious views of the surrounding savannah, while closer at hand a salt lick attracts a range of animals throughout the day, from plains game to big cats. The sheer comfort of the traditional-style safari camp combined with the opportunity for bush walks and night drives mean that there are few more rewarding places from which to experience this slice of wild Africa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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