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“Excellent Olonana”
Review of Sanctuary Olonana

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Sanctuary Olonana
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
“Excellent Olonana”
Reviewed 3 September 2013

Everything works like clock work. Starts with the Manager's attitude and trickles down to everybody else. Difficult to fault Olonana on anything. Wining and Dining is excellent. The staff and all very well trained in the service industry. Be it the waiter, chef, game driver, housekeeping personnel.., they treat every guest as royalty. The location of the lodge is excellent.

Room Tip: Tent 2 & 3 are the best as they are directly facing the hippo pool.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Nyangi2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, 11 September 2013
Dear Guest,

What an excellent review thank you, it’s much appreciated!!

We loved reading your review and to hear that you had the perfect stay at Sanctuary Olonana. We shared your feedback with the rest of the team, who enjoyed hosting you and do hope to welcome you back one day soon for some more excellent wining and dining.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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277 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (79)
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MUMBAI
Level Contributor
105 reviews
96 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2013

We have done several safaris in Africa and stayed at various lodges and camps. This camp rates among the best we have stayed in. It has 12 tents and two honeymoon suites. The limited tents give it exclusivity. Service is excellent and highly personalized. From the front office, to housekeeping to the F&B staff, everyone was warm, welcoming and very sensitive to our needs. We only had to ask, and it was done! The chef incorporated our inputs in the menu and Maurice, the manager was always around to see us off on game drives and receive us when we returned. Joseph, our guide, went that extra mile to give us memorable game drive experiences. We saw all the Big Five and more during our five day stay at the camp. Julius took us over to a Masai village and proved an enthusiastic and informative guide during our visit.
The tents are all by the Mara Riverside, which is home to hippos, whose grunting along with the sound of the flowing river are the only sounds that break the silence and peace of the place. Each tent is surrounded by trees and foliage which separates and hides it from other tents. Our tent had two queen size beds with net drapes cascading from the ceiling. The tent was large and spacious, with a shower and toilet. The patio made for a lovely sit out by the river.
The meals were delicious and they took special care of our vegetarian meal preferences. The common areas even have Wi Fi. Laundry is included in the package and delivered promptly within the same day.
We had a wonderful and very memorable holiday at Olonana Sanctuary

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ANJUGOELA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, 21 August 2013
Dear Anju,

WOW our camp rates among the best you have stayed in, we are thrilled to hear this!!

We are so happy that you had a wonderful and very memorable holiday at Sanctuary Olonana and thank you so much for sharing your experience on Tripadvisor.

We shared your feedback with Maurice, Joseph, Julius and the rest of the team they were delighted with your comments and very glad to learn you appreciated their efforts and do hope to see you again in the not too distant future.

Thank you once again for this lovely review, you can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tokyo
Level Contributor
31 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2013

We stayed 4 nights at Olonana Sanctuary and it was without doubt one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. There at lots of camps in the Masai Mara but there are several things that set Olonana apart from most.

Location:
Olonana is on the south side of the Mara River, where there are only roughly 8 camps, and very close to the entrance of the Mara Game park (about 10 mins drive). While there are animals outside the park, there are far more inside the park, so if your camp is a long way (i.e. 20kms) from the park you will waste a lot of time driving to the point where you can start to see the animals. The roads can be very rough and you cannot drive fast. Most safari drives we did were 3 hours or more inside the park, so consider if you want to spend an extra 2hrs getting to and from the park or not.
Safari Guides:
Lucas was our guide and he was fantastic. A certified verteran with 20+ years of experience. His English was brilliant and it was just a pleasure to drive with him. His respect for the animals was also refreshing. We saw many other guides letting their guests get out and walk around in areas where it’s not permitted or jeeps driving off the cut tracks and thus destroying things such as bird eggs etc.

Within the first 20mins we were sitting 3 meters from 2 lionesses! We saw the BIG 5 and so many more animals it was impossible to count but the highlights were: 2 lions mating (right next to our jeep), ostriches mating, 3 cheetas, a black rhino and her baby, who crossed right infront of our jeep and front row position for the elusive crossing of wilderbeast and zebras. There was never more than 1 other vehicle around us when we found those highlights. A lot of people missed seeing the crossing because of the inexperience of their guides. One the second day, we tried to see the crossing but our guide noticed 2 crocodiles in the water right where the wilderbeast were going to cross. He said, they would not cross and we left. Other jeeps waited 3 or 4 hours and in the end they did not cross that day. Guides from the major camps do share information. If one guide sees something special, he will tell others. You don’t get this with all camps.
Safari Jeeps:
Olonana jeeps seat a maximum of 8 people and are very comfortable. Most of the time it was just our family of 4. They are open air, meaning you do not have any barrier between you and the animals. Their windscreens are far larger than a lot of vehicles I noticed and there is no rear vision mirror to block shots. When it’s hot, it’s very nice to have the wind to cool you down. We saw many vehicles (land cruisers, mini vans, 4WD jeeps etc that were totally enclosed or had small pop-up roofs) that were not ideal for viewing animals. Many carried 10 or more people try to peer out small windows or get a place in the pop-up section to get a view. We just had to sit there and look left or right to see everything.
Food:
Breakfast is buffet style but lunch and dinner are served at your table. There is always a choice of main and dessert and everything was fresh, varied daily and delicious. Many of the salads were made with produce from their own organic garden.
Staff:
Were all so professional and welcoming, nothing was too much trouble for them. We felt like we were family instead of guests.
Tents:
Are all located along the river and each has a lovely deck area to observe the river. Tent 3 has the best location for hippo watching but its deck area has no privacy. One of the staff walked us to an area nearby tent 3 so we could take better pictures of the hippos. We saw 3 large bull elephants drinking and eating right in front of our tent for an hour! Breathtaking!! This happens all the time according to another guest, who had been coming back to Olonana for 10years.
Privacy:
The tents are surrounded by the bush so the only time you see and hear other guests is in the main dining hall/lounge area OR when walking along the path to your tent. There is no noise apart from the animals and the river, which is perfect. You don’t hear planes flying overhead every 10 mins like we experienced at another camp.
All Inclusive:
Once you arrive you don’t have to think about money at all. All food and drinks (including wine, beer and softdrinks) safaris, excursions to the Masai village, afternoon tea, and pre-dinner snacks are all included. Even our hot air balloon adventure was included because we stayed 4 nights. At another camp we stayed at everything was extra apart from food!

Wifi: Was fairly good but only available in the main dining area. There was also a computer there as well.

My daughter celebrated her birthday during our stay and Chef Ambrose prepared her a special cake and the whole staff joined in for a special Masai dance and sing along! It was really special.

After leaving Olonana, we had 2 nights at Royal Mara and we all kept thinking...I wish we were back at Olonana!

Room Tip: Room 3 is best for hippo viewing but I loved our rooms 7 & 8. 14 & 15 are more private and...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JulesSuzuki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, 21 August 2013
Dear Jules,

Thank you for taking the time to post this awesome detailed review of your recent stay at Sanctuary Olonana.

Your comments are very much valued and we really appreciate your comments regarding the location, privacy, our guides, game drive vehicles, food, tents, privacy, our all-inclusive rates but more importantly our staff, they take their roles very seriously and try every day to provide quality customer service, that our guests expect.

It was just as special for us to be a part of your daughters special day, we loved hosting you and your family and we look forward to seeing you on your next trip to Olonana.

Would love for you to keep up with latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
54 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2013

This is an absolutely wonderful place. The location on the Mara River, with hippos at your doorstep, is perfect. The service and food are excellent. Rooms are large and comfortable. The staff are very welcoming and have thought of everything including the wet towel to welcome you back after a dusty game drive. I can't say enough good things about this place. If you are going to visit the Masai Mara, put this lodge on the top of your list.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Scott29inSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, 21 August 2013
Dear Robert,

So wonderful to hear that Sanctuary Olonana is one of your best lodges ever! And thank you for sharing this on Tripadvisor, much appreciated!

Delighted that you found the service and food excellent and that the rooms large and comfortable. Our staff were thrilled with your feedback and even more thrilled that you cannot say enough good things about Olonana.

Thank you and we do hope to have the opportunity of welcoming you back soon….

Please keep up with latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
80 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2013

I just loved this place. My sister and I had the best time here. She was especially thrilled to have a hair dryer. Our guide Duncan was the best!!!!!! We had the most incredible game drives and have the best pictures. We stayed three nights and I can honestly say we saw the Big Five and cheetahs, but not just ordinary sightings - they were action-packed: 2 river crossings, kills, a leopard in a tree eating a wildebeest, and more!!!! Our guide, Duncan, had a knack for happening upon the most exciting scenes and for spotting animals and giving us the best view for pictures. We also drove one day with another guide Benson, who was also terrific and very hilarious in the way he told animal stories and imitated their behaviors. The staff at the logde gave outstanding and friendly service. The manager, Maurice, gets high marks -- for all A+++ service and he must be commended for providing us with such an excellent experience. I highly recommend staying here. I cannot say enough great things about this lodge.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sheltydog2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 June 2013

Me and my husband went for our honeymoon in East Africa as i have mentioned before. We stayed at Olonana Sanctuary for 3 nights! Olonana is amazing place for honeymooners! Super relaxing place in front of the Mara river, and the fact the they have a great relationship with the Maasai is great too.

The SPA was great too, in front of the river super relaxing and the quality in my opinion better than NYC. Since Olonana is relative small you feel at home right away and the rooms are so cute and in front of the Mara River.

The team ran by Mr. Maurice is amazing (special kudos to Philip, Isaac, Cristine and of course Maurice.) and me and my husband loved what Maurice told us when we arrived: 'our job is to make sure you are smiling'. We certainly did smile during our stay and we plan to go back to Olonana in the future.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Daniela M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vail, Colorado
Level Contributor
137 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2013

This was my first time to Kenya and the Masai Mara and the whole tented camp experience. I had been to luxury game lodges in South Africa but nothing like this. I absolutely loved it. Being from the mountains of Colorado and loving camping and nature and the African bush, it was just a perfect combination of everything. I have always said that I can be just as comfortable in a tent in the woods as I can at the Four Seasons, and the Luxury Tented Camping experience gives a fantastic combination of that.

All the tents are on the river and the river provides lovely music that helps to conceal any noise from other travelers or things that might otherwise disturb your sleep or peace and quiet while relaxing on your deck over the river.

I loved everything about this place—the tents, the location, the main lodge, the food, the staff, the game drives.

I also had a facial and pedicure (at the same time!) at their lovely private spa deck at the end of camp. It was amazing and the gals are fantastic. I have had hundreds of spa treatments over the years and these ladies were definitely world class. They even do Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, having been trained in Nairobi by a woman who went to Hawaii to learn how to teach Lomi Lomi.

I actually stayed here only two nights and moved to the place next store, just down the road Beyond the next hill. It has a much better and broader reputation than Olonana and I have to say that Olonana trumps them hands down in every way—location, tents, staff, service, food, etc. When I return to the Mara I will stay at Olonana again but not at the other property.

The only thing I wish they would do differently is to have an open fire on the lodge deck on the edge of the river to sit under the stars at night. Or if that is a logistical issue due to the deck, then perhaps building a fire pit in the circular lawn area at the entrance to the lodge, or even by the pool. An African safari experience is just not complete without Bush TV under the starry African sky.

Room Tip: If you are in a tent without plugs, you can charge your items in the lodge while you dine and they w...
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nemophilist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Olonana

Property: Sanctuary Olonana
Address: C14, Keekorok, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 137 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Olonana 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sanctuary Olonana, our award-winning tented camp situated on a private stretch of the Mara River, recently undergone a significant upgrade to the public areas of the lodge as well as a soft refurbishment to the tented rooms and pool area. The interior decor reflects a contemporary design using a combination of light earthy tones and the local Maasai women played an active part in the refurbishment using the same traditional technique used in their own houses to “mud” the interior walls in all of the main areas and curio shop. From the main viewing deck see and hear the family of noisy hippos who colonise the banks below the camp. Relax with a good book in the library, cool off in the pool or for an extra special treat, experience traditional African remedies and spa treatments in the mini-spa. Oversized Safari Tents – Built on the banks of the Mara River, the twelve canvas tents at Sanctuary Olonana are extremely comfortable and spacious. The ensuite tents all have two four-poster beds with floor to ceiling mosquito netting – making them perfect for families travelling with small children. Each of the private verandas overlook the river and offer the perfect spot where guests can relax and watch the resident hippos wallow in the water. There are also two honeymoon suites with each featuring outdoor showers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Olonana Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Sanctuary Olonana Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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