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Sand River Masai Mara
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 March 2014

We spent four days at Sand River and, after seven years of travelling together across the North America, Europe and Africa, this was the best couples vacation we've ever had. The bulk of each day was spent on one or two game drives, where it was just the two of us and the two game drive leaders. Our two game drive leaders were really first-rate professionals. Knowledgeable and kind, they were great company in the four or five hour long drives. We learned a lot about the wildlife but they also took the time to explain Kenyan culture, life in the Mara, science and philosophy. Although they drive the preserve every day, they still seemed as enthusiastic as we were and by the end of our trip we were all happy and exhausted.

Back at the hotel, the service and luxury was amazing. One of the staff members was appointed to work with us exclusively and he was wonderfully kind and charming. We had many chats over our meals and learned a little bit about his life and about the camp. But the whole staff was delightful, conscientious, warm and friendly. It's a relatively small camp and so the level of service, and attention paid to us, was extremely high. The food was delicious and everything was laid on - endless meals, drinks, snacks, more drinks - all included in our package. Finally, the camp itself was early twentieth century luxurious. We could easily have spent weeks there without getting bored.

This is our first review on Trip Advisor. We had a wonderful time. It was an expensive vacation for us but it was unforgettable and well worth the price.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank AttorneyP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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102 - 108 of 121 reviews

Reviewed 8 March 2014

We visited Sand River in Feb 2014 and had a fantastic time at this beautiful lodge. The setting in the magnificent Masai Mara is excellent, next to the river. The manager Tim is a fantastic host with a team of friendly staff. Memorable evening dinners under the stars with great food were the highlights! The tent rooms have a luxurious 1920s feel to it with an outdoor rain shower overlooking the river, perfect after a game drive in the Mara. Will definitely visit again!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Harbs518
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014

Sand River Mara is definitely a hidden gem in the Masai Mara. We were looking for an African experience coupled with a touch of class right in the middle of the bush. We definitely got more than what we bargained for.

Set in a beautiful bush setting over looking the river amongst beautiful luxurious tents which are furnished exceptionally well, it has definitely been a fantastic safari experience.

The Manager Tim is a lovely gentleman, who has a lot of knowledge on wild life and went out of his way to accommodate us and made sure we were more than comfortable.

Very friendly and approachable staff, excellent management, tastefully decorated interiors, great food and a stunning view of the wild from the property I would say that it is definitely worth a visit time and again. Thank you all for making us so comfortable :)

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Jas_soor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2014

Sand River Mara Camp is one of the new hidden jewel of Africa, the camp location is one of the best located between Masai Mara and serengeti ecosystem - you can comfortable view animals from your tent across serengeti and across the endless masai mara though you can only do game drive within Masai Mara and not serengeti. The staff is warm hearted and welcoming this the place every would dream of spending holiday once in a life time.

Room Tip: little sand river wing with private check in area.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank AllTimeSafaris L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2013

We visited in late October, three months after the opening of this newest jewel in the crown of the Elewana Group lodges. We were enchanted with the elegant style of the tented camp, the attention to detail of every aspect of the furnishings and fitout of the rooms. They have achieved the ambiance of the 1920's and the service is outstanding. We felt thoroughly spoilt to have the undivided attention of very well trained staff, who were always close at hand but remained discreetly unobtrusive whilst we enjoyed our sumptuous meals. The idea of having a personal guide and driver for all the game viewing excursions was also a luxury and a huge bonus. We are regular visitors to Africa but our game viwing experience at Sand River was by far the most spectacular, especially in terms of numbers and species fo animals seen. There was always plenty of time to capture great photos of the plains herds or to simply soak up special moments with prides of lion or a lone leopard enjoying its meal in a tree.
A big thank you to Tim, Brian and the team for a memorable experience of East Africa at its best.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank skybury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2013

In all my years of travelling and having stayed in many quality hotels, I’ve never felt the need to write a Trip Advisor review, until now that is.
On behalf of my wife and I, I’d like to thank all the staff at Elewana’s Sand River Camp for making our stay just perfect. We stayed for four days/three nights at the camp in November as part of our Honeymoon. The level and quality of service left me feeling compelled to write a review. For anyone considering a safari trip, rest assured look no further than this place.
From the moment we touched down at the airstrip in the Masai Mara we were greeted by the camps Guide and Driver (Newton and Muregi) with smiles, a cold refreshing face towel, cold drinks and light snacks, just perfect after a long journey from Scotland! This welcome set the standard for the rest of the stay. On arrival at the camp, again another warm and sincere greeting from Tim and the Team, then offered a cool drink as we went through a very efficient check-in thanks to Brian at reception.
For anyone concerned at the thought of sleeping in a tent, rest assured the accommodation is nothing but luxury. The tents are a great size, very tastefully decorated and every possible need catered for, there was even hot water bottles in the drawer if required! And as for the bed, well, yet again quality on a LARGE scale. Waking up to the sound of the animals in the bush is much more pleasant than an alarm clock! We never thought we would use it, but the free-standing bath was amazing, a great way to unwind after a day out in the jeep and experiencing the ‘African Massage’ from the bush trails first hand.
While on the subject of game drives, the experience we had was nothing short of amazing, far better than we had hoped for! The knowledge, experience and professionalism that Newton and Muregi possess, meant that we were able to see not just ‘The Big Five’ that everyone goes on about, but we witnessed a young male lion moments after capturing a zebra, a leopard stalking and then killing a wildebeest, another lion chasing the pack of zebra/wildebeest and a lioness with four tiny cubs. I have to disagree with one of the previous reviews about the effectiveness of having a Guide AND Driver as opposed to a single being apparently more focussed. I believe that one of the benefits of staying at Elewana’s Sand River Camp was that while out on the game drives we had both a Guide and Driver looking out for and spotting animals, this was unique compared to ALL the other jeeps from surrounding lodges/camps/hotels we passed while out in the bush, they simply had one driver which meant there would be a reduced chance of spotting game simply because it was one less pair of skilled eyes game spotting (let’s face it driving those trails is a challenge in itself never mind trying to spot animals at the same time!). Also, I’d have to disagree with the review about the standard of vehicle used for the drive, at least on our visit in early November it was perfect, again, far better than most others we seen out in the bush, the Toyota Land Cruiser allowed for viewing/taking photos either out of the side windows or to stand and take in the views/photos out the top of the roof (which had a canopy for protection from the sun/rain). As someone that is passionate about their photography, I couldn’t fault the jeep (my tip use a beanbag or monopod if using a larger lens).
Both my wife and I were blown away at the quality of food produced and the service whilst at the camp. The standard was set during our first meal; fillet steak for lunch – amazing! There was a choice of three starters, three mains and three deserts each afternoon and evening. Plus the breakfast choices each day set you up for the early morning game drive. I think there were about twelve different choices, ranging from continental to a full-cooked breakfast. My personal favourite was the French toast with caramelised apples. Thank you again to Anthony our Chef during our stay, who on a couple of occasions came to talk to use and check we were enjoying the food, a nice touch. And a big thank you to Elias our Waiter for each meal; without doubt one of the finest and most attentive Waiters we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Sadly his snooker skills don’t match up to his professional skills, I think I’m currently winning 4 games to 2.....
We were truly sad to leave on our last morning and we would like to thank everyone at the Camp for making our first (and hopefully not the last) trip the Kenya such a special one. With the levels of service and quality of accommodation, this place, all be it still relatively new, is definitely somewhat a hidden gem but this won’t last for long and the Camp will only go from strength to strength.
Asante sana!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Ross and Nicola G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

The lodging is excellent, the hut is the best we've ever stayed in, so well appointed and with its own private balcony. Food is superb, but they do have a tendency to think that you need to eat in a different location for every meal; asking first would be a good idea as not all are appropriate. We never actually ate in the dining room!
The viewing vehicles let this site down, enclosed and with poor viewing. They did manage to get a better vehicle for us following our complaint and we understand improved vehicles are being delivered in a couple of months, but they are not up to the high standard of Tortilis camp. We visited for the game viewing.
We visited out of peak season but were still able to view many animals and big cats. We had a guide and a driver and they did have a tendency to use their mobile phones and chat to each other. A single guide/driver is more focussed!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank WinebaPark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sand River Masai Mara

Address: Masai Mara, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #45 of 146 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: £616 - £915 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sand River Masai Mara 5*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened on July 1st 2013, the Elewana Collection is delighted to announce the introduction of its first bush camp in Kenya – Sand River Masai Mara.Located on the banks of a river from which it has taken its name, Sand River Masai Mara is located within the Masai Mara National Reserve, close to the Tanzanian border.Situated on a secluded and picturesque site, Sand River Masai Mara replicates the heyday of exclusive permanent tented camps of the late 1920’s. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sand River Masai Mara Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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