Our stay at the Sopa Lodge was decent. For a lodge in the Masai Mara reserve, it met our 'general' expectations. The staff is friendly, the grounds are well kept and the restaurant served good food.
However, I'd like to put this out there as a warning to anyone that chooses to stay at this lodge. The staff (cleaners or security) have access to the safes and they will open your safe the first chance they get - not to steal everything in it, but to see if they can take a few things here and there, that might not be easily noticed as missing. Before choosing this place, we read some reviews that stated that the cleaning staff have a habit of stealing little things from luggage, but that didn't concern us much because the Lodge provides safes in the rooms for valuables. Unfortunately for me, the theft that occurred on our stay was realized only after my wife and I left the Lodge - heading back to Nairobi.
When we arrived in Nairobi, we went to one of the local banks to exchange some money. As I did a total count of the dollar bills I had on me, which had been placed in the safe at the Sopa, I discovered that I was short of $300. I went to the lodge with $2,400 dollars (new $100 bills - neatly bank-wrapped)... and my count at the bank, after the stay at Sopa, was $2,100. I'm sure of this because I know how much I took on the trip and how much I had previously exchanged at the airport upon our arrival in Kenya. Needless to say, all our cash transactions were done with Kenyan Shillings at the Sopa Lodge.
For most, it might seem unlikely that the safes provided in hotel rooms can be breached (probably not even a thought for some). However, think about this... if for some reason you locked your safe and you forget the pass-code used, you can call the front desk for help and they will send security personnel to open the safe for you, using a master code. Besides, I'm sure there are instances where safes are locked by guests that have left the property for good... in cases like that, the hotels staff would have to be able to unlock the safes for new guests.
Unfortunately, it's very likely that at this Lodge (and probably many more around Kenya or anywhere in the world), that the bad/dishonest security staff and the cleaners work together to steal guests' valuables in the safes. In my case, I'm sure they saw the number of bills I had as a great opportunity to take just little enough to be unnoticed... luckily for the thief, I didn't notice anything odd with my safe while I was there and I didn't think to count my money at any point during my stay.
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- Also Known As:
- Mara Sopa Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Mara Sopa Lodge Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve