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“No "luxury" at this luxury tented camp”

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Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp
Reviewed 28 December 2011

We were offered this lodging choice through our safari tour organizer. It is a relatively new camp (which is still under construction) outside the border of the Masai Mara National Reserve. DO NOT GO THERE.

First, the term "luxury" is very loose here. We experienced luxury tented camps in two other locations and they truly were luxurious for a tented safari camp. I have NO problems with staying in a tented camp, but don't call it luxury if it is not.

Getting to this lodging was torturous. We drove for three hours from Narok to Masai Mara. Most of it was bumpy, potholed, and just horrible. It was not a long drive by kilometers, but be prepared. The tour vans had to cross a few riverbeds and mud. There were some stuck vans. People had to get out and push.

Upon arriving at the border of the camp, we saw the long line of tour vans go off to the right. They were going to the lodge inside the Reserve. We went left. Uh oh. This was not a good sign. We immediately hit muddy roads and then a virtual impasse. We had to cross a muddy strip of road, right into a riverbed, and up the other side. Needless to say, all of us in the van got out, put rocks, branches, and sand into the deep grooves of the road. We had to push the van up the other side....this is a private road and should be maintained by someone, but whom? Certainly, the tented camp owner didn't think it was his responsibility. We were already late for our "buffet" lunch -- it was after 3 pm and we hadn't eaten since 6:30 a.m. that morning so the blood sugar was low and I was very cranky. At the camp, the dearth of clients should have been another clue that we'd made the wrong mistake. We were taken to our tents where the bathroom is ensuite. It was very rustic, there was no hot water, and far from what we'd experienced at Amboseli (Sentrim) and Nakaru (Flamingo).

Lunch was quite bad. There wasn't really enough left of the gamey stew and there were flies on the apple streudel looking dessert. It was quite sad, really. Dinner was not much better. The best part of the meal was the hot milk and cocoa mix. After dinner, we wanted hot showers. Our tent's plumbing wasn't working properly so someone had to come and fix it. During the night, there was a leak discovered and our hot water shut off. It took awhile to get someone to fix it.

The camps and lodges have to hire Masai as employees. In most places, it is professionally done and they are wonderful. At this camp, as with others, they were porters and provided security. The security was against zebras and cattle? I wasn't really sure. However, it was a bit creepy to see a band of three Masai with arrows hovering outside a tent. Each tent contains beds, usually enough for two or three lodgers. During the night, our friend's tent was "broken into" by someone at 0300. By this, I mean they unzipped the tent and was about to go in but my friend was awakened by the noise and scared the intruder away with a flashlight. We were all freaked out by this. Her children were staying in the tent next door and so were vulnerable to a night-time intruder. My friend's husband got up and looked for staff members or security. It is a small camp. He couldn't find anyone to help. There is supposed to be 24-hour support. We told our guides what had happened and we packed up and left, never to return.

This was a very poor experience, but reflective of the rather haphazard running of this business. The staff hired by the Kenyan owner (himself a tour operator) was very eager to please. They tried very hard, but between the chef and the lack of true security, I would never return or recommend this camp to anyone.

Again, the accessibility was an issue. When we'd first gotten there and relayed the news about the impassable riverbed, the answer was to send two Masai with shovels and machetes to the riverbed with us in the hopes of creating a makeshift path. In reality, all of us pitched in, got muddy, dirty, and had some fun (admittedly), but it got old the third time. Again, would never go back.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Tampann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KEN097, Owner at Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 1 February 2012

Am the Director of this camp in maasai mara!! am very sorry for your unfortunate experience at our camp in maasai mara.After getting this complaint,i left for maasai mara and put everything in control!! i have changed all the security there and added more maasai security in the camp and more experienced ones including a new experienced manager who has also put a lot of things into place.
As for the camp in general,we have completed building and all is set awaiting clients.The road to the camp has been done and its quite good now.I would also like to bring to your attention that most of the roads down to maasai mara in all the camps and lodges are done by Narok county council and usually it has been a little problem all the way from Narok to maasai mara.
Thanks for letting us know about this problems.

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39 - 45 of 61 reviews

Reviewed 26 December 2011

At approximately 3am on December 20th 2011 (Tuesday) an intruder entered our tent at Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp: http://elangataoleraicamp.com/

I was awakened by a creaking noise and when I felt a presence in the room, I shined a flashlight at the end of our bed and the intruder fled. Luckily, no one was hurt and nothing was stolen. He/she had entered the tent by unzipping the front entrance flap.

When my husband left the tent via the now open flap to check on our children and friends sleeping in nearby tents (as well as to report the incident to the front desk and security), there was no one seated at the front desk and security was nowhere to be found after 15 minutes of searching.

Bottom line: do not book at this camp unless the owner can assure you that security measures have changed. In the camps we stayed at prior to this one the security personnel patrolled the grounds all night, protecting us from both human and animal intruders. Regretfully, Elangata Olerai has not perfected this routine.

Two more suggestions for Elangata Olerai: add lock boxes to each tent and provide all campers with a flashlight (luckily we had our own, provided by our friends).

PS - I DO want the owners to know that the wait staff, the valet, and the kitchen personnel were absolutely wonderful; I felt bad for them when we had to change camps for our last night since none of us felt comfortable staying at Elangata Olerai for another night.

PSS - the other problem we encountered with Elangata Olerai is that you have to cross a deep creek to get to it and EVERY time we crossed the creek we got stuck in the mud (thereby losing an hour each way while all of us got out of the vans and helped dig our way out) . If you want people to stay at the camp then you need to build a bridge at the creek.

Good luck!

Room Tip: 1) Make sure you lock all 3 flaps to the tent when you go to bed! 2) Bring a flashlight (cos the...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank AmericaninOkinawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2017
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Stayed: October 2017
Thank Dec01945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2015
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  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled as a couple
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Thank Pleistescion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2014
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  • Stayed: October 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
Thank Elisabetta C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2014
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Stefano S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2014
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Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
Thank Richard S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp

Address: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #130 of 146 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: £120 - £210 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Elangata Olerai Luxury Tented Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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