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“Amazing first Safari!!”

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Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa
Certificate of Excellence
Nashville, Tennessee
1 review
“Amazing first Safari!!”
Reviewed 9 August 2014

All of the wonderful people working at Encounter Mara camp sure know how to treat all of their customers and yet make them not feel like customers at all, but rather family! Everything from their accommodation for allowing me to change my safari date at the last minute with no extra charge to the accommodations at camp was amazing.
I wasn't accompanied by any family or friends so I had a tent completely to myself. I had heard some horror stories about other camps saying a 1 person party would have a tent to themself but ended up putting you in with another single, but that wasn't the case here. The experience of having my own tent was not only enjoyable but worked perfectly. I was scared that I would be isolated and have to do everything on my own, but I was together with the 4 people that I flew in with for all of the game drives and for every meal. The meals, steak one night and chicken the next were absolutely fabulous!! That may partially have been because I hadn't had any meat for 2 months prior because of working at an orphanage but the food was absolutely glorious!! Encounter also has a partnership with ACTS Africa through which they give a discount (actually quite good) to volunteers and missionaries in Kenya.
My guide, Daniel - whom you should request for sure - was absolutely amazing. He was so knowledgeable about all of the animals, could answer any question and seem to find any animal that we wanted to find! He even once had a feeling that there was a cheetah about a half mile+ over to our left so we went hightailing across the plain to our left and sure enough there was a cheetah just relaxing under a few trees!
If anyone is trying to decide whether or not to use Encounter, I would say that you would certainly be silly to not use Encounter. Being in the conservancy is a HUGE PLUS - over my 3 days there I think we only saw 3 other vehicles which made for wonderful game viewing and not having the animals be surrounded by other vehicles. Encounter Mara should no way be rated the #5 camp in the Mara but rather #1!! I for sure hope to be back!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BMccollester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jcb0540, Owner at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 19 December 2014
We're so glad you enjoyed your first safari with us --- come back for a second soon!
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 August 2014

It will be difficult for me to write down in words how wonderful Encounter Mara is but I will try...

The camp is set in a stunning forrest within the Naibosho Conservancy just outside the Mara but with the same ecosystem. This means that you have exactly the same wildlife experience just without the other vehicles, making the wildlife encounters private and unforgettable.

The camp is completely eco friendly which is very impressive and I was lucky enough to see the 'behind the scenes' areas and learn how they boil water/provide electricity etc.. which is really impressive.

The rooms are stunning, very spacious, comfortable, in pristine condition and very clean. At night you get escorted to your room by an actual Maasai with a spear which is a real treat. I know it's normal for Kenyans and they are used to Maasai but a foreigner would really soak this up. I grew up in Kenya and have been away from the country for 15 years, and having the Maasai security guard walk me to my room at night with his spear was an amazing experience even for me, who spent my childhood in the bush.

The dining room and lounge area is perfectly equip and comfortable with stunning views over a waterhole.

I came here last year and still think about my experience at Encounter Mara and the main thing that has stayed with me is the story behind the camp. It's not just a safari camp trying to survive, it is a camp that is trying to protect the conservancy, the animals and the land. It is trying to work alongside the Maasai to help the grazing of their cattle and living with wildlife. They also have a guides training school, where they train Maasai from the surrounding villages into safari guides and these are the guides that drive you on your safari's and take you on the walks. The camp is a small part of a much bigger picture. If you go and stay there, make sure you ask them to tell you about all the ways they are helping the environment and the surrounding people.

I was lucky enough to drive to the camp with Sean the MD, who is very passionate about the camp and his enthusiasm is infectious because you feel it from all their staff.

This place is a MUST and if you are debating whether to go into the Mara Reserve itself or one of the areas just outside then 100% go to Naibosho and Encounter Mara.

Room Tip: All of them are fabulous !
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Natalie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jcb0540, Owner at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 19 December 2014
We were just re-reading your review and teasing Sean a bit - he is our best salesman! He certainly loves it here and we are glad you had such an an amazing time. Come back soon!
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Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 August 2014

Thanks to Colin, Andrew, Senchura, and all the staff at Encounter Mara who went that extra step to make our time at Encounter Mara a magical time away. From the magnificant food (including providing glutten free meals for my wife), serene and relaxing camp, to the exilerating game drives where we saw 2 leopards, a large pride of lions, a magical crossing of the wildebeest at the Mara River and a cheater running down a wildebeest, which got away that time. That was all in one day! If you want everything taken care of to the highest standard and great game drives, and thoroughly enjoyable conversation around an evening camp fire you must put Encounter Mara at the top of your list.

Thanks again guys
Roger and Sally Ward

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Roger W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alejandra G, Marketing at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 5 November 2014
Dear Roger and Sally,

Thank you very much for your kind review. We are very pleased to hear our staff and managers kept you happy and made your stay at Encounter Mara 'magical' as you mention.
We hope you have taken away with you a lifelong memory of your stay with us and hopefully are able to return for yet another Encounter Mara experience in the near future.

Thank you for coming to stay with us and for all your kind words.

The Encounter Mara Team
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Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014

Encounter Mara was a wonderful experience for us all. The quality of game viewing in the Naboisho Conservancy was excellent. The standard of accommodation fantastic, the attitude of staff and the general level of service was beyond reproach. The camp has an impressively low-impact eco-footprint hidden away within the bush. It sits really well within its environment and allows visitors the feeling of being part of the environment. The safari vehicle that we used was of a very high standard, clean and clearly well maintained. Our guide/driver was well informed, very informative and very sensitive to our needs. He had a good eye for game, constantly spotting things that we would never have noticed and was a good driver. I was impressed by his habit of immediately retrieving any rubbish or stuff that did not belong in the environment - although I should say that the whole conservancy was really clean and natural. I was amazed to find it had only been in existence for since 2010 as the quantity & variety of game was beyond our expectations. There were very few other vehicles around which was enjoyable and appreciated greatly by us. We chose to drive from Nairobi and the trip down to Nkolale where we were met by Chala, the camp manager, was easy and pleasant. I cannot think of anything negative at all about our experience and we certainly felt we had received good value and that Encounter Mara had delivered above and beyond expectations. Due to domestic dramas (mother broke her leg) we had to change our dates at short notice and the Encounter booking team were really helpful and understanding of our situation. We spent three days and two nights here and found that the camp managers were most attentive and always looking for an opportunity to assist the guests and make our stay more enjoyable. Definitely a 5 star experience in a 5-star location.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ben A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jcb0540, Owner at Encounter Mara, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 19 December 2014
Thank you so much for your kind review and we hope your mother is doing better.
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Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2014

We spent four fantastic nights at Encounter Mara. Colin and his staff did a wonderful job of hosting us. The surroundings are beautiful and the atmosphere is wonderfully peaceful and relaxing. The food was delicious, varied and plentiful. Having water, juice, and other drinks included (which we understand is not usual in Kenya) seems like a small thing, but made the experience that much more relaxed. Dinners were sometimes served outside which was lovely. The schedule of meals and safari drives was perfect for us, but they were very willing to accommodate requests for additional activities or changes to the schedule.

The tents and facilities were extremely comfortable. We enjoyed sitting in front of our tents in the afternoon watching zebras, baboons, impala and other animals sauntering by. There are no electrical outlets in the tents, and we initially thought we would miss our hairdryer—but quickly forgot about that. Devices and batteries could always be recharged in the lounge and dining tent. There is no running hot water in the tents, but the “bucket system” provided more than ample hot water for daily evening showers before dinner and a large thermos of hot water provided enough for other washing needs. Having laundry included was great.

The game viewing was amazing. We saw lots of animals every day but particularly enjoyed seeing so many lions and lion cubs. Our guide Sammy was very knowledgeable and provided us with lots of interesting information about the animals as well as about Masai culture. He gave us a short presentation at the camp on Masai culture and history that we greatly enjoyed. He was always attentive to our needs and interests. We couldn't imagine a better safari guide (this was our fourth safari). We were sad to say goodbye to him. The safari vehicle was extremely comfortable and came with cozy lined and waterproof ponchos that came in very handy a number of times.

The whole experience couldn’t have been better—from start to finish including booking with Jane Mburu and airport transfers that were arranged for us.

I hope that all these positive comments don't sound too good to be true—our experience really was this great. And, just fyi, no one suggested anything to us about writing a review.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Natalie W
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, 16 July 2014
Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review, we really appreciate the comments, its so great to hear back from our guests and means a lot.

We hope you will come back and visit us again soon and enjoy the magic of the Naboisho Conservancy... Thank you for letting us share it with you.

From Kim and The Encounter Mara Team
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Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
28 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2014

We just loved this camp in Naboisho - they really know what the customer wants and they strive to make everyone's stay perfect.

Their location in the Naboisho conservancy is very good - it is one of the best places to see and photograph giraffes, and there are various resident lions and cheetahs around not far from camp.

We received a very warm welcome from all staff and the management - perfect level of service, attentive without being intrusive.

The tents are large and tastefully appointed, you can tell a lot of thought went into them. We loved the comfy beds and the views outside our porch (tent #1). The bed-couch on the verandah was a marvellous touch.

One of our favourite things was the food - the chef's creations are varied, generous and above all very tasty. He is a master when it comes to sweets! I really liked that they had either private dinners or else sharing a table with your companions sharing your car on the game drives - I am not a fan of dining on one large table with everyone else. I especially enjoyed that they made an effort to create a nice romantic atmosphere for dinners - we had dinner in the bush just outside of the dining tents rather than the dining tent itself, lit with lanterns.

We enjoyed our game drives immensely, mostly due to our fabulous driver-guide Dickson. As photographers our guides are the most important aspect of our trips. Dickson not only knew where to find the animals but also has a knack for positioning the vehicle for the best possible photography angles and could also anticipate the animals' behaviour.

In a nutshell we just loved everything about this place - and all this is offered at a very competitive price when compared to the other offerings both in Naboisho as well as other conservancies. A big thumbs up from our side!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cheetah80
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, 16 July 2014
Thanks so much for your review, we loved having you stay at the camp and it is great to receive such positive feedback.
Its good to hear you got some good photos and the food was one of the highlights of the trip!
We hope you will come back and visit again soon.
Many Thanks
Kim and The Encounter Mara Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 July 2014

My wife and I just had a fabulous time in Encounter Mara. We have been on several safaris and stayed in diverse game lodges throughout Africa and Encounter Mara was clearly the best. Our guide, Dickson, was incredibly helpful in spotting game, educating us, and being a warm and engaging host. Collin, the new camp manager was also gracious and very informative. The tented cabin was perfect -- comfortable in every way without being over the top luxurious. Encounter Mara is number one for an African Safari experience.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Bill F
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, 16 July 2014
Thank you so much for your review. We very much enjoyed having you stay at the camp and hope you will return again soon.
It means a lot to us to get such positive feedback especially from experienced travelers and we appreciate you taking the time to share your sentiments.
We will pass your comments onto Dickson.
Thanks again.
From Kim and the rest of the Encounter Mara team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #4 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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