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“Unforgettable Experience”

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andBeyond Bateleur Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 April 2008

Unique experience. The staff is the most friendly and kind one could wish to find anywhere in the world. The atmosphere is incredible. The camp is luxurious and charming. A true safari experience. We found it even more exciting and authentic than the best and most luxurious camps in South Africa.
We miss it a lot and wish very mush to go back there.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cenoronha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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168 - 174 of 205 reviews

Reviewed 6 February 2008

After a painful flight from Nairobi we disembark from the Air Kenya plane and see other guests struggle with their luggage to their dusty jeeps and off they go. We go to follow before spotting a shiny Bateleur Land Cruiser accompanied by the wonderful Wilfred with a cold flannel and a table set up with a selection of cold drinks. Bateleur was the only camp at the airstrip that had done this. We felt very special and knew then we were in for a treat.

On arrival at the camp we were greeted by all the staff waving and another drink and an incredibly warm welcome from Esther, the Deputy Manager, before being shown to our room.

Room:
Stone foundations with canvas surround form what was the most beautiful room on our honeymoon. Sitting on the terrace in leather armchairs with a view of the Masai Mara is an experience you can't get enough of (although if the sun was facing you it did get too hot), and can't forget. The lodge is open fronted so you have the view of the Masai Mara from your bed (albeit through mosquito netted doors). The bathroom had 2 sinks, stone wall shower and all essential toiletries in glass jars. Hot water and electricity is available all day. Hot water bottles are placed in your bed at night. Night times were the noisiest we experienced on a 2 week safari, ordinarily in a hotel I would consider this a bad thing but when you are on safari this is very much a positive point! Expect to hear bush babies, hyenas, lions and other noises we didn't identify!

Food:
Wake up calls consisted of hot tea and coffee and home made biscuits. Breakfast consisted of fruit, muesli, yoghurt, muffins plus the option of a cooked breakfast if you had any space left from the night before! Lunch was always 3 courses, as was dinner; the food was delicious and there was so much of it! Joseph was the nicest chef you are ever likely to meet, coming round to each table before and after each meal. There is also tea and freshly made cake before the afternoon game drive.

Game drives:
We saw 4 of the Big 5 within the first hour and a half of our first game drive (after that the 5th - leopard - we didn't see for the remaning 2 weeks!). Also we saw 5 cheetah across our 3 day stay here, 2 week old lion cub - lion prides are a certainty. Throughout our holiday we visited Southern Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Selous - but the Masai Mara was our overall favourite, not only for the quantity of game (we went outside of the migration season!) but also the rare ability to off-road close to the animals. The jeeps were open sided and very comfortable, with cold drinks available all day. There are, of course, quite a few other vehicles around but it is certainly possible to be on your own with a pride of lions etc and many of the animals still have the natural nervouness around humans and the vehicles (unlike the nearby safari park Ngorongoro Crater).

Staff:
Without exception, every single member of staff was genuinely friendly and warm. Joseph the Manager is unrivalled in his warm personality, even going so far as organising 2 birthday cakes for me - one on a balloon safari run by a different company! Our surprise meal on New Years Eve in the middle of the Masai Mara is something we will never forget.

Dining / lounge area:
Our favourite dining area of all the lodges we stayed in, from the individual tables (not communal eating) to the amazing view and board games for those quiet moments (not that there are many!).

Overall this was definitely our favourite safari location and started our love affair with CC Africa! We have every intention of returning.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank SpaceRaiders80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2008

This was our first stop at a CC Africa lodge. Although at first we were a bit taken about how very organized everything was (we were even given a formal presentation by our guide on all the other CC Africa lodges which seemed a bit strange, like a marketing pitch) we very quickly came to appreciate what an excellent job CC Africa does in the 2 lodges we visited and all the transfers in between (we organized our trip directly through CC Africa). The experience booking with CC Africa was not very good, but from the moment we got to Africa until we left it was absolutely first class.

Bateleur camp was particularly wonderful due to the staff, the lovely tented accomodation and dining area, and the game drives. The staff (guide Eric, butler Winfred, steward William and especially Chef Mishka) were all exceptional. The lodge and individual tents were fantastic creating very much an early 1900's safari type atmosphere with crystal glasses and silver cutlery for meals. We did visit the much larger main Kichwa Tembo camp next door to Bateleur which also seemed nice, much better swimming pool but the accomodation seemed a lot more basic.

The game drives offered the best selection of game viewing of all the lodges we visited and we were able to get closer to the other animals than the other lodges. However there were normally quite a number of other vehicles around each sighting. We did have one day in which we drove out near the Serengeti and saw a cheetah amongst many other animals and the whole day we were the only vehicle around. This was the one lodge where we shared the Land Cruiser with another couple although we did see other vehicles that seemed to be private (not sure what the policy on this is). The meals were all delicious (although way too much food was served which seems very wasteful) and chef Mishka was incredibly hospitable having a chat with us during dinner, giving us a tour of the huge vegetable garden, and at the end of our stay giving us a number of requested recipes with a personal note.

As with all the other safari lodges, and contrary to pre-trip worries, we had no trouble with mosquitoes or any other insects and the temperature was lovely, although this location was warmer than the others.

One note of warning. One morning we were taking pictures of all the monkeys playing outside our tent and I stupidly forgot to lock the door to the tent. Next thing we knew one of the monkeys was in our tent happily helping himself to our cookies and tea. They also pinched some cheese from the breakfast table while another couple had stepped away.

The only suggestion I have is that CC Africa, even if they put up the prices, should pay the staff so that tipping is not required and should then make that clear to the guests. We felt that it simply creates too much anxiety trying to figure out what a fair tipping amount is given you have a guide, private butler, private room steward, and then a staff tip box.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled with family
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5  Thank vcat67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2007

PROS

The accommodation is a luxury tent - very unique.

Most of the staff were very welcoming and helpful - especially Joseph and Esther.

CONS

One of the selling points which Bateleur use is that each guest has its own private butler - this is FALSE. I was introduced to my private butler but then didn't see him again for the entire 4 days of my stay and as there is no phone in the accommodation I could not call any staff anyway.

The food could be improved and also there should be a choice of food. The same menu is rolled out every 3 days so if you stay here for longer than 3 days be prepared for repetition. Also, the starter is always soup which can get boring after a while.

One or two of the waiters gave very poor service, especially compared to the others who were very good.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank itunu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2007

Spent 4 nights here and we were delighted with the standard of accommodation, food and above all the fantastic hospitality of the friendly and professional staff.

The 'tents' are as well appointed as a luxury hotel with four-poster bed, twin wash basins, large walk-in shower and toilet. The verander at the front looked over the vast plains of the Masai Mara and was one of the best views to wake up to early in the morning. And early in the morning you will awake as the dawn chorus of birds and monkies ensures that even the soundest sleepers will be stirred! We even had some Warthogs living under the wooden floor of our tent which just added to this great safari experience.

The safari trips were in new 4x4 vehicles which were comfortable and offered great views. Our driver/ranger was knowledgable and friendly and seeing all the animals so close up was amazing.

We have only done this one safari trip but I can't imagine it getting much better than what we experienced at Bateleur Camp. Highly recommended!

Stayed: October 2007
1  Thank TGJR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2007

We stayed at Bateleur Camp two nights in september and absolutely loved our stay. A 5 in every way. Great tent, great staff, great guide (Daniel), great food, great ambiance. Even though it rained most of the time the guide managed to make the viewing a memorable experience. Would go back for a longer stay anytime. Fantastic !!!!

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank pocoapoco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2007

Website [--], also a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World [--])
Bateleur now has two separate camps, each with 9 tents (so maximum 36 guests at one time), but each group of 9 tents has it’s own central lobby/dining area, so the guests from the two Bateleur Camps don’t really mingle.

Common Areas: There is a nice pool, which we didn’t have time to use. There is nice comfy furniture in the lobby area, and there are tables set up on the deck for breakfast and dinner. Lunch tables are set nearby at the edge of the property so that you can observe the passing parade of zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo, and wildebeest. There are resident warthogs on the property, within the electric fence, but they seem quite tame (we had a mother “Pumba” beneath our wooden verandah who had given birth to 4 babies the day before our arrival; they looked like little piglets, even squealing at times; momma had them out walking already on day two--very cute!!).

Kichwa Tembo: We walked over to Kichwa Tembo. The tents did not seem as luxurious as ours, but the pool was quite nice (recently opened; they were filling in the older, not-as-natural looking pool). I thought that the lobby and dining areas of Kichwa were superior to Bateleur (albeit more traditional, even having a bar), but certainly not the lodging. There is a nice curio shop at Kichwa but none at Bateleur.

Tents: We stayed in the “older” camp, and although we were invited to see the newer one, we didn’t walk over (they are supposed to be very similar, however). We were in tent 6, which was centrally located. Number 9 was closest to the lobby, with number 1 farthest away. They are located very strategically for maximum privacy (which is good, because in a tent, there’s not much privacy at all). “Tent” is a loose term--I certainly didn’t feel like I was camping for a second amidst all the luxury. It seems that they first built a hardwood platform, upon which 2/3 would be used for the tent accommodations and the other 1/3 for the verandah. There were two leather club chairs outside on the deck, along with a wood stump “end table”. Smoking is allowed anywhere on the property (tents, dining area, lobby lounge area). Then they seem to have built a stone back for the tent, with a separate stone water closet and stone shower (very attractive). There was a double sink area in between these two rooms. The bedroom area separated the bathroom and the deck, featuring a king-size poster bed and large writing desk. There were luggage stands on either side of the bed (hurray for more than one luggage stand for two people!), and robes and flip-flops (like those disposable pedicure shoes) were provided. There is an electronic safe, and plenty of room to charge laptops, camera batteries, etc. There are no alarm clocks in the room, no radio, or television, or even a phone (I think we had a whistle to blow if we ever needed something, which we did not). Toiletries are provided in these neat, refillable glass bottles with cork stoppers (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath salt scrub, shower gel). Insect repellent towelettes (like wet naps) were provided, but we didn’t need them. There was also a “gym in a bag” here, with stretching bands and weights if you wanted to work out. Full-size umbrellas are provided, which we didn’t need. There were three mason jars of candy/snacks in the room in case you got hungry (which just wasn’t possible).

Electricity and Water: Don’t forget an adapter (you will need the 3-prong English/Great British adapter for all of Kenya and Tanzania--not the Africa adapter); a converter was not necessary. There was 24-hour hot water here, but the electricity was turned off from 12:00 midnight through 3:30 am (or thereabouts). There is a torch (flashlight) to use during these times, but I found that my Petzl headlamp came in handy also, so that my hands were free for using the bathroom rather than having to hold a flashlight in one hand.

Butler: When the brochures from CC Africa mentioned a private butler, we weren’t expecting him to be such an important part of our stay. Butler is an understatement: this man (nearly all service positions were filled by men) functions as your waiter, wake up caller (complete with a tray of drinks and cookies), room service deliverer, and jack-of-all trades. There was also a man assigned to clean our room and carry our bags, but we can’t recall the name of that position (valet, perhaps?), as well as a host (like a general manager, but one who’s always around inquiring about your stay and comfort).

Laundry: Free laundry service is included (hand washed and line dried here, so allow 24-hours for return).

Food: The food was amazing: lunches and dinners began with soup (we never had the same kind twice through about 10 meals at all the C C Africa camps), followed by a starter (salad or appetizer), entree, and dessert. We had one really uniquely presented lunch on a tower, and one unique dinner where the chef made individual stir fries right in front of us. Great variety with the food and presentation--I can’t rave enough about the food! None of the ingredients was wacky or off the wall, yet the food was different enough to remind us that we were “not in Kansas anymore”. China, crystal, silver was used, cloth napkins and tablecloths--everything very proper (and just the way I like it!).

Game Drives: The morning drives were from 7:00 to 1:00 or so (even though the brochures claim them to be much shorter, perhaps 7:00 to 11:00); the evening drives were from 4:30 to 7:30 or so. Back from the morning drive at 1:00, a leisurely 2-hour lunch, an hour to refresh, then back out again. Dinner was probably over around 10:00 or so; we would get the most sleep at Bateleur of all our camps. You are able to go off-road in the Mara, which means you can get really close to the animals. Roads are bumpy--be prepared! The vehicles are open-sided, with a canvas canopy on top. This is the best type of vehicle to have, in my opinion. Most were Toyota Land Cruisers, with a few Land Rovers. Our vehicles had bench seating, three rows of three, although there were rarely more than 4 people in the car at a time, and sometimes only 2. You keep the same driver/guide during your entire stay, and you keep the same partners (other guests) as well. But since everyone’s arrival/departure is different, if your other partners depart on the night you arrive, you won’t be assigned other guests before you leave, giving you a private safari during most of your stay (but this really is the luck of the draw and circumstances). The three seats are staggered in height, and you can most definitely take photos out the other side of the vehicle even if someone is sitting on the other end of the bench. Despite the bumpy roads, I was NOT able to use the seat cushion that I purchased for the trip. There isn’t much of a railing separating the bench seat from the edge of nowhere (outside the vehicle), and I thought that the cushion would add another inch or so to my height, making me think I could topple outside. But I see how the cushion might be valuable if you are travelling by road in enclosed vehicles between camps. We flew, which I would highly recommend if your budget allows. The roads really are terribly bumpy, and flying is a time and comfort saver.

Surprises at Bateleur: DON’T READ ANY FARTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THE SURPRISES!
We stayed at Bateleur for two nights, which seemed the perfect amount of time. On our second night, the evening game drive went from 4:30 to 6:30, at which time we were driven to a lovely spot atop a hill with sweeping views of the Masaai Mara. All the other guests (which probably numbered 10 total) were also there. There were nice grills set up, and we were served appetizers of beef kabobs, chicken drumsticks, and other simple snacks (nuts, chips), along with our favorite drinks. There were even nice tented latrines with chemical toilets set up, one for ladies and the other for gents, along with a table with boiling water and cloth towels for washing hands. The local Masaai put on a short performance for us, with their traditional dancing and jumping. Guest participation was encouraged. We spent about an hour at this special sundowner, and then another surprise followed. Upon reaching our room to freshen up before dinner, we found that we would be having dinner on our private verandah, surrounded by rose petals on the floor and hanging lanterns in the trees. Really romantic and lovely! I normally have a rule about eating in my room (it seems to attract bugs), but in this case, I couldn’t refuse, and was glad that I wasn’t given the option. The dinner was amazing, in a unique setting, and not a bug to be seen. A really great ending to the day! Your bed is turned down at night with a hot water bottle under the covers. They also lower flaps over most of the screened windows, with the exception of the main end of the tent (zippered screens cover every opening, and I didn’t see ANY bugs inside--or outside--my tent during my stay). There is a ceiling fan, which we used at night for air circulation until the power cut, and the room was the perfect cool temperature for us (we are fans of icy air-conditioning, and this was a great equivalent).

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank fluffnfold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about andBeyond Bateleur Camp

Address: C14, Keekorok, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #55 of 141 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: £558 - £890 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set among forests on the very edge of the Masai Mara, each elegant tent at andBeyond Bateleur Camp replicates the style and glamour of vintage Africa. A world of hardwood floors, polished silver and sparkling crystal is juxtaposed against the romance of the open Mara plains, with their abundant herds of wildlife. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bateleur Camp At Kichwa Tembo Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
AndBeyond Bateleur Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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