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“Comfortable and clean”
Review of Mara Sopa Lodge

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Mara Sopa Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 November 2007

This was the first lodge we stayed in on Safari and after reading some of the other reviews we were pleasantly surprised. The rooms were clean, large with comfortable beds and a good shower room. Maybe the room decor was a bit tired but come on guys you are on Safari and miles from anywhere, what do you honestly expect.
Buffet choice was excellent, although the food was served on the cool side. This would be easily remedied if people were to replace the covers over the bain marie's after they have taken their serving!! Can't really blame the lodge for this.
Drinks were no more expensive than UK resturant prices, with house wine at around £14 per bottle.
The dip in the pool was bracing! Be warned its not heated.
Top Tip. If your driving from park to park bring an air cushion to sit on, the roads/ rutted tracks are something else and don't bother bringing a book to read en route becasue at some stage it will probably bounce up and knock your teeth out! You've been warned...

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Ballaskyr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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539 - 545 of 776 reviews

Reviewed 25 September 2007

We arrived here to an overbooking situation which was made worse as the manager even refused to let us have lunch despite having travelled all the way there and its was his overbooking problem not ours. Then finally we got a substandard smelly room with bad cold food from the left over lunch buffet. The evening was a nightmare as food was inedible. Never recommend this to anyone. Cold Water was the order of the bathroom as they said firewood was finished. Our rooms were not made until 3 pm in the afternoon

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled with family
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3  Thank Safaristar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2007

This was our first lodge on the safari. The staff were helpful, te rooms were clean, the food was good. I didn´t use the swimming pool because of the weather.

  • Stayed: November 2006, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Ivo77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2007

We booked a 5 night safari (Thomson’s “Kenya Classic A”) starting in Nairobi and moving on to Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru & Amboseli. After reading various reviews of all the safari lodges, I was still a little confused as to what to expect.

So before putting my comments down about individual lodges, I would like to summarise a few things about the whole safari experience. Firstly, it is just that – an experience!! Unlike anything you are likely to have done before, so I defy anyone not to have a good time! Be prepared for lots of early mornings (best time for game drives), although you won’t even notice how tired you are until it’s all over. But you also need to remember that Kenya is still a Third World country, so you are not going to get all the service and facilities that you would do at an International Hotel chain, as it is just not possible! Anyone who thinks differently really may need to evaluate what they want from a safari holiday before embarking….

Yes, the roads (if you can call them that!) are awful – but you get used to spending 5 hours bumping around in a safari van! The good news is that the current government of Kenya does seem a lot less corrupt than the one that had reigned for previous 25 years, so you can see improvements happening all over the place – a lot of which is paid for by the tourist ££s and $$s. And the people who work for the tour companies and hotels do appreciate this, and they are incredibly friendly and helpful.

If you’re combining a safari with a beach trip, definitely do the safari 1st!!! We needed a few days afterwards to just relax and catch up with some sleep! Our tour rep through Thomson was Pollmans (based in Nairobi) – if you need to book your safari/game drives separately, I can highly recommend them.

The Mara Sopa was our 1st lodge on safari, following a bumpy 5-hour journey from Nairobi. First impressions were lovely – cool drink waiting for us, friendly and efficient staff at reception, and a great view out over the Park.

Following other TripAdvisor reviews, we were prepared for the “off” times for water and electricity (packing a torch is a must – we found our small LED torches brilliant, as you could just put them in your pocket) but really didn’t notice it to be honest!! The torches were more useful for just seeing where you were going when walking to/from your room.

We stayed at the Mara for 2 nights – and as our stay went on, our opinion of the place went downhill. There is nothing you can definitely put your finger on as being “wrong”, but it was just “fair” accommodation and didn’t blow us away.

Things like having one waiter assigned to you for your entire stay – this seemed like a nice touch but, after a while, it seemed more like a sales pitch. Don’t get me wrong, Kenyas are very friendly and sociable – but are also good salesmen with it! We’d order a beer and our waiter would say with a smile “No, you don’t want beer – wine is better with your meal!” This all seemed jolly and friendly enough, until we clocked what he was doing – beer was £2 a bottle, wine was £25!!!

Same happened in the bar – we went in and ordered a beer and the barman said “You don’t fancy a gin & tonic?” Which we then did fancy, so ordered one… nice as it was, it probably wasn’t worth £4.50 each! And, looking through some of the Guest Book comments, I don’t think we were alone in these thoughts as many people had mentioned ‘problems with bar bills’. So make sure you know how much that drink you fancy is gonna cost you!!

Rooms themselves were fine – as others have said, probably in need of a bit of updating and TLC but, again, nothing ‘wrong’ with them. We felt perfectly safe with the hyena feeding – it seems as if this has been going on for a long time as the hyenas start appearing at about 9.45pm and immediately disperse after they’ve had their fill. Probably safer in some ways than not feeding them – I’d rather have the possibility of a fed hyena lurking around the property somewhere than a hungry one! But make sure you don’t miss the Bush Baby feeding as well – they do this a lot earlier in the main bar. There’s a little shelf up on one of the walls near the roof, and they put out bits of fruit on it and the bush babies come in through a little gap in the wall. They are very cute!

There are plenty of vervet monkeys around the grounds, so always keep an eye on your hat/bag as if you put them down and walk away, the monkeys won’t be shy at snatching them!

The National Park itself is out of this world!!! And, let’s face it, it’s the Park that everyone goes there for – NOT the hotels/lodges! Like others, we deliberated for a while before we booked our holiday about paying £250 to book the Balloon Safari. It IS definitely worth it. You get about 80-90mins in the balloon, plus a champagne brekkie set out in the bush (4 glasses of bubbly by 9.30am is a weird experience!) and then a decent length game drive on the way back.

One tip we found useful – when you get to the gates of the parks, your safari van will be swamped by Massai trying to sell you necklaces/trinkets etc. Fair enough, they need to make a living. But if your windows are open they will be right in your face, thrusting their hands /goods right inside the car – I found this a little off-putting! So after that, we shut the windows as we approached the gates – they will still approach the car, but a polite “No thanks” from behind the glass tended to work.

All in all, a brilliant time!

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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26  Thank Mel 'Evans' Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2007

This was the first hotel we stayed at on our safari and also the first of the 3 Sopa lodges that we stayed at in Kenya. The rooms are not particularly modern, but were large and well looked after, if a little dark. The electricity and hot water are only on at certain times of the day but these times are given at reception and in the info pack in your room. The 'off' periods are generally while you are on safari so did not cause us any problems. The food was very good and I particularly liked the décor in the restaurant. The hyena feeding is worth seeing if you can manage to stay up until 10 - make sure you get there a few mins early to get a good spot - there are good views from the areas either side of the main viewing platform (elevated a good few feet above the feeding area). The shop near reception had some good postcards. The pool area is not very big but we didn't have any problems getting some sun beds. There is a 'Masai Village' in the hotel grounds, just below the swimming pool. This is blatantly not authentic but worth a look if you have 5 mins to waste and don't mind being dragged round their Masai market afterwards. The hotel itself is no more than 15 mins drive from the nearest gate and you pass by a village on the way so the journey is not boring. We stayed here for 2 nights but could have happily stayed for longer.

Stayed: May 2007
9  Thank Corinne76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2007

Stayed here for 2 nights at the end of our safari. Yes, it is a little more basic than the other sopa lodges we stayed in (esp Naivasha) but still exceeded any expectations I had before the holiday of a safari lodge.
Its also in the best location of all the lodges we stayed in, just inside the wonderful Massai Mara national park, we saw lions (lots and up close!) cheetah with cubs, elephants, giraffe, zebra, hippo and all manor of gazelle etc within a 20 minute drive of the lodge. The feeding of the hyena is something to behold as well!! We had a lovely fruit platter left in our room along with a fridge! I made the mistake of trying to eat my fruit on my veranda however and got into quite an argument with one of the monkeys over my banana - watch out for them, they are not shy!
The food was good and the staff here lovely. It was my 30th birthday whilst staying here and I was treated to a birthday cake and celebration dance from some Massai warriors - magical!
We did the balloon ride, and although it IS expensive, its a one off experience and definitely worth it.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank wendypeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2007

Please ignore any bad reviews about this hotel, really it is fine. Actually I would say it was very good. Alright it might no be as good as the other Sopa lodges you will stay in (at Amboseli) but it was still great.


My sister and I stayed at the Mara Sopa Lodge for 2 night as part of the “Kenya Classic Safari”. We thought it was brilliant.

On arrival we were met by very friendly and welcoming staff, providing us with a hot towel and a cold drink, which was great after we had traveled for such a long distance and felt all dusty (it was a brilliant adventure).

The hotel was nice, all the rooms are like little Masai huts. Our room was very clean and comfortable, the only problem we had was with the shower on our second night when the tap came off (my fault).

Hotel would not be suitable for disabled people (especially in a wheelchair) due to the uneven ground and access to the rooms and other areas.

As other reviews have said, the hotel electricity and hot water is provided by a generator and is switched off a certain times, a board at the reception does give you all the details. I didn’t effect us, and should not anyone else, as they seem to time them with the time that guests would be on their game drives (am and pm) or asleep. I’m sure that anyone going to a third world country on safari would have the forethought to pack a torch anyway (or maybe not!!!).

The hotel is located about 10 mins drive from the actual park, but we saw a number of animals on our way to the park each time, plus the masai so it was fine.

The views across the Mara from the hotel were breath taking, it was very beautiful.

The pool was fine, but did have a few bugs in it, but not much the staff can do about things like that in the middle of the Mara!!!

The food was excellent, something to eat for everyone and plenty of it. Breakfast was so good, full English breakfast is just the trick for when you are going on a bumpy game drive.

Drinks were not that expensive, I think we paid about £5 for two cocktails about 80p for a large bottle of water.

In the evening you can go and watch the Hyena feed on scraps, it was great. Unlike the previous review I have no fears regarding safety. Unless the hyena can jump 20 feet in the air, they will not be eating any humans, besides I’m sure they prefer the left over chicken!!!

We both felt safe at all times whilst at all the hotels in Kenya, the night watchmen ensure that you are taken to your room and stays their until you have entered your room.

For female travelers - We felt really safe, the men were all fine, no chatting us up. Just wanted to talk about you day.

The staff in the hotel were brilliant, especially the waiters very friendly and would do all they could to ensure you were happy.

The game drives in the Mara were by far the best in Kenya (not to say the others were not brilliant as well). We saw loads of game. Elephants, Lions, Cheetahs, Grant Gazelles, Thomson Gazelle, Wildebeest, Zebra, Jackals, Giraffe, Impala, Baboons, Bat ear Fox, Bushbuck, DikDik, Hartebeest, Monkeys, Ostrich, Reedbuck, Topi, Waterbuck, Mongoose, Bush Baby, and different birds.

By far the best moment of our holiday was the balloon safari over the Masai mara with Balloon Safari Kenya. We booked as part of out holiday but can be booked in the hotel. It cost us about £250 each but was worth every penny, and the early morning. We were taken to the launch sight by Steven who sold the tour at the hotel, he was great, I’m sure he has got night vision because he was able to spot all sort of animal in the dark. He also took us on a game drive after the Balloon trip. Again he was great, we were meant to get back about 10am but got back about 12, after Steven proudly showed off the Mara to us, it was fantastic.

On our second night we were treated to a Masai dance, it was good, if a little bit staged. I still enjoyed it even though the light went out in the middle of their performance..

All the time we were in Kenya we were only bitten by mosquito’s once each. They were around but didn’t bother us at all. Maybe the Boots Insect spray did the trick, I could hardly breath when applying it so the mozi’s had no chance!!!

As for spiders, snakes and other bugs. Well I saw one cockroach in the whole time we were their, so its fine.

All in all we enjoyed our time at the Mara Sopa Lodge and as long as you realise that you are in a third world country on Safari so will you. Would defiantly go back.

Stayed: February 2007
28  Thank AngelaThompson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mara Sopa Lodge

Address: C14, Keekorok, Oloolaimutia valley | Oloolaimutia Gate, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #40 of 146 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: £127 - £266 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Mara Sopa Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 90
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Also Known As:
Mara Sopa Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Sopa Lodge Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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