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“Magical Governors' Camp”
Review of Governor's Camp

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Governor's Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Magical Governors' Camp”
Reviewed 3 July 2014

Everything about my 4 night/5 day stay here was wonderful. It was a dream come true and I cannot fault anything. From the smiling and friendly staff, with their warm welcome every time they saw me, to the comfortable and luxurious tent with great hot shower, to the fabulous meals and the daily game rides with my driver and guide Robert, I had the time of my life. It was everything I had hoped for and more. Governors' was recommended to me and is known by local Kenyans as "the" place to stay, and I would concur. It may not be uber-luxurious with swimming pools etc, but it is somehow really comfortable without being pretentious. The camp is not fenced, so wild animals do prowl around, especially at night. Askari (security guards) ensure that they do not cause any problems, but it is quite wonderful waking in the night and hearing a strange munching noise outside as a hippo eats some grass. You may even encounter an elephant walking towards you at night as you make your way escorted back to your tent after dinner. The askari are well trained to look after you and get you safely out of the way and it all makes for an exciting time...

The safari started at Nairobi with the little plane of Governors' Aviation, flown by a young pilot who was hugely proficient, landing softly on a runway near the camp in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Just driving to the camp meant passing masses of wildlife, mainly wildebeest and zebra which had already started to cross the Mara earlier than usual on their great annual migration - a real bonus. This migration usually only starts in July and continues on until about October. Arriving at camp meant dropping off my small amount of luggage in my spacious and lovely tent, overlooking the river and then having a wonderful lunch prior to my first game ride. I was so lucky - on this first trip, we saw four of the Big Five, i.e. buffalo, hippo, elephant and leopard. And the following day, in the morning, we saw the fifth - a solitary rhino.

A packing tip - take very little with you. You can get your clothes laundered each day as part of the service, and you don't need to dress up for dinner. Bring a rain covering (pack-a-mac is ideal) for those times when you might experience the heavens opening....

We were allocated a land rover and a driver/guide - our one was called Robert, and we were waved in and out of the camp with great ceremony by the wonderful David, who always raised a laugh with his enthusiastic welcomes. Robert proved invaluable - as well as an excellent driver (over rough and often very muddy terrain), he had an inexhaustible knowledge of the wildlife and did everything he could to ensure that we never missed anything. From small birds, to a python, lying resting in some reeds, from little Egyptian geese goslings sheltering beneath their mother's feathers to the great Marsh lion pride families, Robert would tell us stories and enlighten us as to the wonders of the natural world.

We had three drives a day, one first thing in the morning at 6.30 am then back to camp for a huge breakfast, followed by the continuation of a game drive from about 10.30 till 12.00 when we headed back to camp for lunch, then a little rest and a final drive at 3.30 until about 6.00 pm when the sun set.

I was extremely lucky (thanks Sanjay, our great balloon pilot) to go on hot-air balloon safari on one morning. Rising very early, our balloon set off at 5.30 am, before the sun rose and we floated quietly and smoothly not much higher than the tree line, watching the skyline change as the sun rose, and all the animals beneath us. On landing, there was a splendid champagne breakfast provided for us followed by a long game ride. Well worth trying to go on one of these trips if you can. It just gives a different perspective. You don't need to be scared of heights, as you don't go too high, and the landing is only a very little bit bumpy and lasts for only a couple of seconds, usually leaving everyone laughing as they come to a final stop on the ground.

I went on my own, and did not find this a problem at all. On a couple of nights, I was invited to share a table with other guests, and also with the main table of Governors' staff. And if I was on my own, it never felt awkward, just a great sense of peacefulness.

I love photography and every opportunity was given to us to be able to take as many photos as we wanted from just about any angle. Nothing was too much trouble.

I would totally recommend Governors' Camp to everyone. I genuinely believe that - if I never do or go anywhere else ever in my lifetime - that I will not worry, because I have been on safari in the Mara. Thank you so much all of you. I will be sending you all some photo prints that I took of some of the staff - so you should get them whenever the mail eventually reaches you! In the meantime, I will attach just a few of the photos I took, which bring me such pleasure as I remember every moment spent with you all. Asante sana

Susan F. (UK)

Room Tip: The tents all seemed to be good. Some face the Mara River, others look out over the African savannah...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
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3 Thank Susan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Musiara, Guest Relations Manager at Governor's Camp, responded to this review, 22 July 2014
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed review of your stay at Governors' Camp - we're very glad to hear you had such a great time with us. Thank you for attaching your beautiful photos, and we look forward to receiving more in the post! We hope we'll be able to welcome you back to the Mara again sometime soon.
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Brentwood, Tennessee
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2014

We just got back from a 3 night stay at Governors' in Masai Mara. Very well managed property. The staff are excellent. Our driver Duncan is extraordinary! He is very experienced and knows the area very well. He goes above and beyond to show as many animals as possible. It is very clear he was passionate about what he does. We saw a LOT of animals...atleast 3 prides of lions, elephants, giraffes, rhions etc. Everyday there was something new. Duncan tries hard to give you the best views of animals. We had an amazing safari experience. The chef and wait staff were excellent. They tried to accommodate our special meal request. Extremely happy with the service overall.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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1 Thank S C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Musiara, Manager at Governor's Camp, responded to this review, 16 February 2017
Dear Thomas,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of our property, your comments are very much valued and we are so glad you had such a memorable stay with us.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you on your next trip to the incredible Masai Mara!

Best wishes,

The Governors Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2014

I had been longing to go on safari for many years and this surpassed my expectations. I spent 2 nights at Governors Loldia House (beautiful) before flying in...on the way from the airstrip into camp I saw 5 lions and countless other wildlife...they are literally on your doorstep. Finding the more elusive animals is a thrill, the serenity of watching 2 cheetahs lie in the long grass for 2&1/2 hours but as the sun started to set to be rewarded with them both climbing up a tree was truly magical. Even our driver, Dixon, was surprised. Seeing a leopard sat on top of a huge termite mound and then a giraffe walking right behind was worth an hours wait. Talk to your driver and let them know what you want to see, they will do their utmost to find them and they are often in contact with each other so we got a call on our last drive to say that another driver had spotted a black rhino...a quick re-route and there he was!
The camp itself is wonderful, completely unfenced and right in the middle of the action. The tents large and spotless. Half of them are on the bank of the river and the others overlooking the plains. Mine was no. 22 and one of the further riverbank tents. I heard hippos munching around the first night and what I discovered were elephants the second, brushing by my tent...which was a little unnerving at the time but there are security guards everywhere. One of them showed me an elephant that was still in camp the next morning just on the bank below my tent. There was a flat bank opposite which always had at least one lazing croc...3 one day. The bar in central camp overlooked a section of the river which could always promise some hippo action, I loved to watch after lunch. The hippos often are in camp after sunset and are happy as long as they are not disturbed, pretty special. Even though I was travelling alone I never felt in danger, after sunset you are escorted around camp. The managers, Nelis and Tracy were very social and welcoming and Nelis is an awesome photographer.
I just wished that I'd stayed longer...3 nights for me weren't enough. I'll be back!
Ps My only negative was the price of the balloon ride. It was a fantastic experience and breakfast in the middle of Mara afterwards was wonderful but it was expensive for one hour.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank June R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Musiara, Manager at Governor's Camp, responded to this review, 16 February 2017
Dear Thomas,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of our property, your comments are very much valued and we are so glad you had such a memorable stay with us.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you on your next trip to the incredible Masai Mara!

Best wishes,

The Governors Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2014

Truly Fantastic and Terrific. Having lived in Kenya for nearly 20 years, and visted more than 20 lodges / camps, it does not get any better than this. We drove, not recommended in the wet unless you have an experienced 4WD driver, and best best to fly. You do not need a vehicle when you get there. A special thanks to Towett, who drove us everywhere in his Land Rover. This particular area of the Mara has spectacular wildlife, and we got very close to a leopard with its kill, and a Mara river crossing of 1000 Zebra with the crocodiles waiting. If you have children, or a wife that loves horses, ask them to look the other way!

The "Tents" are fairly standard, spottlessly clean and spacious. The best is No. 15, where we stayed, but it is some way from the main facilities. This is one of the few camps where there is no electric fence, but there are 35 Askaris, several of them armed. On our first attempt to reach the dining room, with an Askari, we encountered a Hippo on the path and had to quietly retreat while it moved on. At 1 am we had an Elephant crash into the barrier outside our tent, which was found totally wrecked when we saw it in the morning. A true safari experience. The food is excellent by camp/lodge standards (do not expect gourmet dining, you are in the bush) and all the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful.

PS If you are on an expensive trip from overseas, do not leave your baloon trip until the final day, as it can ocassionaly be cancelled by bad weather, leading to much disappointment.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Lyall D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Musiara, Manager at Governor's Camp, responded to this review, 16 February 2017
Dear Thomas,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of our property, your comments are very much valued and we are so glad you had such a memorable stay with us.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you on your next trip to the incredible Masai Mara!

Best wishes,

The Governors Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glasgow
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2014 via mobile

Spent 3 wonderful nights here as part of our honeymoon and can honestly say that it was one of the most amazing experiences we have had. From the thrill of an 11 seater flight right into the heart of the Mara where you are just overwhelmed by the beautiful green, peaceful vastness with animals everywhere you look, the safari experience starts with your drive to the camp. We arrived to a very warm welcome and promptly shown to our tent looking over the river where crocodiles were sunbathing. The facilities are brilliant, tents spacious and comfortable. The animals really do wander around the tents at night, very exciting! There are guards about to escort you after dark and not once did we feel unsafe.
It really is the little things that make this place so wonderful, the staff are incredibly friendly and interesting and many are from local Masai tribes. The tea, coffee and biscuits brought to your tent in the morning to wake you up and much appreciated and the turn down service at night with hot water bottles and notes was lovely. Somebody will even launder your clothes for no extra cost if you leave them in the basket.
The game drives are split into 3 per day starting at 6.30am. Most if the action is seen during the morning and late afternoon drives when it is cooler and the animals are more active. On 2 of the 3 days we took a picnic breakfast in the morning so that we could drive further out without having to return back to camp. I would definitely recommend doing this as you are more likely to see a variety of game, the further out you go and the terrain is surprisingly different in different areas. In total we spent approx 8hrs per day on drives but this flew by. The drivers are fantastic and really know there stuff, they are happy to answer lots of questions and try incredibly hard to allow you to see as many different animals as possible. The only thing we didn't see was rhino but we caught the start of the wildebeest migration without the crowds, lots of lions and a beautiful leopard.
Essentials for the drives are cameras, binoculars and lots of layers! Although it is hot at mid day the mornings are cold and evenings can quickly get cool and chilly especially with the wind in an open sided jeep. The drivers do have blankets if you are caught out though.
We weren't sure what to expect with the food but it was fantastic! 3 courses at lunch and dinner. Always a soup starter the a choice of main courses and desserts. One night they even had a Mongolian live cooking night. Sat outside having dinner with animals all around you during the day and a fire pit and hippopotamus grazing metres away at night this really is a very special place and we would love to return one day!

Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank looooosey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Musiara, Manager at Governor's Camp, responded to this review, 16 February 2017
Dear Thomas,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of our property, your comments are very much valued and we are so glad you had such a memorable stay with us.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you on your next trip to the incredible Masai Mara!

Best wishes,

The Governors Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mexicali, Mexico
Level Contributor
54 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 June 2014

Incredible place for the Safari Experience! Governor's is great. The service is excellent and personal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner with views to the Mara are amazing. Our driver at the gamedrives was great and the perfect at spotting the animals. They have wifi at a public area and the shop has great selected things. The tents are very good, with everything you need and more. They took us coffee early morning to the tents before going to an early gamedrive. One night at dinner we got to see a family of elephants passing through the camp. You can hear the hippos at night. Amazing!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank Marsfel1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Musiara, Manager at Governor's Camp, responded to this review, 15 February 2017
Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely and informative review of your stay at Governors Camp. We are delighted you had such a lovely and memorable time with us all.

Thank you again and we have passed your feedback onto the rest of the team,
We do hope to see you return one day soon.

Best wishes,

The Governors Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 June 2014

We were lucky enough to stay at the Governors Camp at the end of March/start of April for four fantastic nights. Everything was just so simply perfect and the team at the camp were all so friendly, genuine and had a true love for the animals.

The flight in to the Mara was the beginning of our adventure in our little plane, where we were then met by our driver for our stay 'Dixon', who was the best.

Our tents looked out onto the Mara and we were looked after by Peter, who woke us every morning with a hot drink and biscuit and at night put a hot water bottle in our beds - what a treat! The tents have a great way of heating the water for the showers, which were always beautifully hot.

The food was of a really high quality, always freshly cooked and served with a smile. Do give the afternoon soup a try - must admit we thought soup on a hot afternoon, but it was delicious.

Our safari drives we just out of this world, thanks to 'Dixon' and we were fortunate to see all of the big five and then be able to spend some time looking at the other animals around them. You must do breakfast in the bush, it is a real treat and the camp send a delicious selection of breakfast goodies.

Michael on the gate made us smile every time we went out or into the camp - he was lovely.

We did the Hot Air Balloon as a birthday surprise and it was amazing, out of this world, breath taking etc.. so gentle and quiet. We even got a glimpse of a Rhino. Then posh breakfast in the Mara, with pancakes cooked on an old set of Balloon burners.

The manager 'Peter' really took care of us all and always had time for a chat or a little sing song!!

We had the most fantastic time here and would go back tomorrow if we could.

Room Tip: All the tents were fantastic. We stayed in ones over looking the Mara where others over look the ri...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jolly35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Musiara, Owner at Governor's Camp, responded to this review, 15 February 2017
Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely and informative review of your stay at Governors Camp. We are delighted you had such a lovely and memorable time with us all.

Thank you again and we have passed your feedback onto the rest of the team,
We do hope to see you return one day soon.

Best wishes,

The Governors Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Governor's Camp

Property: Governor's Camp
Address: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 138 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Governor's Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 36
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Governors' Camp nestles on the banks of the Mara River in the heart of the most prolific game viewing area of the Masai Mara. One of only a handful of camps located within the Masai Mara Game Reserve the setting is magical. Half of the tents overlook the rolling grasslands of Africa, with views of elephant, zebra and gazelle; the rest are tucked away in the forest lining the banks of the Mara River. Governors has been pioneering immersive and transformational safaris in the Mara since 1972. We were the first operators to be permanently based inside the Mara, our site was chosen for its prime location and was the designated “getaway” for the Governors of Kenya. Unfenced and right in the heart of the action. Our camps are Located in some of the best and most precious Wildlife Locations in the world. We are a family with a colourful cast of characters that embodies the spirit of safari, while placing the care of the environment, community and conservation at the heart of everything we do. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Governor`s Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Governors Camp
Governor's Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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