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“Absolutely Perfect”
Review of Sanctuary Olonana

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Sanctuary Olonana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 December 2013

We stayed here for the first part of our honeymoon. It totally exceeded our expectations, and we could not have asked for any more.

The staff were friendly and attentive. Nothing was too much trouble. They even set up a surprise candlelight dinner on our terrace the last night, which was amazing. They were all fantastic, and went above and beyond to make our trip perfect.

The room was stunning. So comfortable after a long journey! It was very secluded, and the terrace was gorgeous overlooking the river. There was a story put on the pillow each night, which we loved. We need to stay longer next time to collect them all!

The game drives were fantastic, Lucas took us all the way to the Tanzania border, we saw much more than we had thought possible.

The food was absolutely delicious, tasty and fresh.

We honestly couldn't have wished for anything more during our stay, except that it was longer!

  • Stayed: November 2013
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2  Thank snobooflo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded 13 December 2013

Dear Guest,

Congratulations on your marriage - we wish you a long and happy life together!

Thank you for this fantastic review we are honoured to have hosted you for this auspicious occasion and absolutely delighted that we exceeded your expectations.

We would love to welcome you back one day, hopefully for your anniversary next year…

We would love for you to keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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129 - 135 of 298 reviews

Reviewed 18 November 2013

great location and excellent management, the food was nice and tasting! almost every requests were granted without any hesitation.Our game driver Joe was so excellent that we spotted everything we wanted to see in a day.! Maurice and Christine were very helpful and even delivery the battery charger which I forgot to Nairobi. We will be back for sure!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank Patricklu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded 10 July 2014

Dear Patrick,

Thank you for this excellent review!!

We are thrilled that you were so well looked after and that your every request was granted without hesitation.

Glad to hear you will be back, we cannot wait..

Would be great if you could keep up to date with latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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Reviewed 12 November 2013

I have been on multiple game drives on multiple trips to Africa but this experience and lodging were the best yet. The lodge sits on the banks of the Mara River and you are awakened every morning by the sounds of the resident hippos. The views are simply amazing as you look down or upstream of the Mara. The management especially Maurice and Christine were tops and best in their fields. No request is ignored and almost every wish is granted. I wanted to photograph a particular type of unusual chameleon and one was found and presented to me for a photographic subject. The game drives were simply stunning and with an excellent and knowledgeable driver/guide as Benson we were able to see almost every animal in the Maara. Sightings included multiple male lions, lionesses and cubs, cheetahs, black rhinos with baby, leopards, elephants with great ivory, plus we caught the tail end of the migration. If you are looking for classic Africa and top service plus accommodations this is a must go. I will not stay in any other lodges except Sanctuary properties from now on!

Room Tip: We stayed in the first bungalow to the right of the main lodge - beautiful views of the river and it...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Charles R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded 15 November 2013

Dear Charles,

Another AWESOME review from you, thank you so much!!

We are thrilled that you had the opportunity to experience Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp as well as Olonana and even more delighted that you had an amazing experience at both!

Thank you for your lovely feedback we shared your comments with the team who loved your remarks, especially Maurice and Christine. They loved hosting you and do hope you return one day soon.

“I will not stay in any other lodges except Sanctuary properties from now on!” all we can say is thank you and welcome to the Sanctuary Family!

You can keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Gorilla Forest Camp by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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Reviewed 30 October 2013

Located to the north sector of the Mara triangle in sw Kenya, on the banks of the Mara River.Wonderful camp, fabulous staff , food is remarkable. Guides are knowledgeable and flexible to their guests needs and requests . Could not have asked for a more wonderful experience .

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Susan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2013

Dear Susan,

Thank you for this lovely review of your recent stay at Sanctuary Olonana. It was great to hear you had a wonderful experience.

The team at Olonana loved hosting you and look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

Until then please keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana liking us on Facebook, just search for “Sanctuary Retreats.”

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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Reviewed 21 October 2013

My wife and I spend part of our honeymoon at Sanctuary Olonana, and since then we've been planning our return. This is by far the best holiday we've ever had.

Prior to going into further details, Olonana wouldn't be that successful without its team. King, Maurice, Abdul, Big John and Shadrak, our stay wouldn't have been that enjoyable if it weren't for you guys.

Given we have no complaints whatsoever, i will just go ahead and tell you what we've enjoyed the most.

Location: The camp's location is out of this world. Situated on the banks of the Mara River, you will be able to enjoy the sighting of hippos while having breakfast or while sitting in your room

Rooms: I don't think we have ever stayed in room so simple, yet so beautiful. The scenery right outside of your room makes you forget the need for technology. The outdoor shower is yet another great perk the rooms have to offer. You barely notice you're staying in a tent. Very luxurious interior. Each room has a nice little veranda where you can enjoy watching the hippos.

Staff: I have never been in a hotel (and i have been to a lot of 5 star hotels) where the staff is as friendly and helpful as Olonana's staff. You're practically being pampered once you open your eyes in the morning. First you are served the coffee of your choice in your room to get your day started (btw. best coffee i have ever had, and looking forward to having it on our next visit). Following your morning ride your greeted with a cool towel to cool off from the heat of the sun. Following your evening ride you're greeted with a hot towel to warm up after a sometimes chilly ride. Every single staff member will show interest in your daily activities. They will share stories of their first encounters with the various animals. They manage to build this beautiful friendship with the residents; it's just impressive.

Food: The food there was DELICIOUUUUSS!!! Soups were amazing, salad is homegrown, and each dish is tastier than the one before. Despite feeling full, we just had to try the dishes being served. We didn't want to miss out anything :)

Ride: We had an AWESOME guide, Abdul, who made Olonana a memorable experience for the both of us. Not only did we see "the Big 5", but we also got to see lion cubs up close!! Abdul knew exactly where to go, and he was always spot on ;)

Tip: Go see the Masai village, it's worth it. If you're in the mood of spending some money, go take the hot air balloon ride, again, it's totally worth it

Oh and one more thing. Please make sure you go to the toilet prior to starting the ride. The number of toilets throughout the ride are limited. There is one on your way into the park, and another at the hippo pool. If you're not close to one of both, tough luck (I found out the hard way..hehehe)

This was by far one of the most beautiful destinations we have been too! Can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: All rooms are amazing. you may want to chose the one farthest away from the reception area, if you c...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Nomadic W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2013

Dear Ahmed,

Thank you so much for this very detailed review on your experience at Sanctuary Olonana.

We are thrilled that this was your best holiday, this is an amazing review and will no doubt assist any future travellers to Olonana.

We shared your positive feedback with the rest of the team, they were very happy that you appreciated their efforts especially Abdul. He loved guiding you and glad that he made it a memorable experience for you.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
The Olonana team look forward to welcoming you back and we do hope that day is very soon.

You can keep up to date with all the latest from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search “Sanctuary Retreats”

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Reviewed 19 October 2013

My wife and I had an incredible honeymoon at Sanctuary Olonana this August.

Our holiday was first class from the moment we arrived in the Mara until the moment we left.

The room was a lovely, isolated cabin overlooking the river with nice little verranda from which we could watch the pod of Hippos opposite. The room service, level of cleanliness and care was first rate.

Our game drives were impeccably run by Nelson, our great meals sorted by Big John, and our lives organised by Shadrack and Maurice.

We could have asked for nothing else. A wonderful, wonderful holiday. Everything else I have done pales in comparison. Thank you all so much for your hospitality.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank andyho_uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded 10 July 2014

Dear Guest,

We are so happy that you enjoyed your honeymoon with us and thank you for sharing your experience on Tripadvisor.

We loved hosting you and hopefully have the opportunity to welcome you back soon, perhaps for your first anniversary...

Until then please keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2013

What a place to celebrate my birthday!
Greeted by a Masai Warrior playing a flute on arrival, reiterated by the resident hippo pod lounging in the Mara River as we were allocated our luxurious tents and a Masai village procession and song with my cake at dinner!
Nothing disappointed at this upmarket sanctuary!
My tent, number 12, was right at the end of a line of tents stretching along the Mara river. A perfect refuge and hide, for birding. At night the rapids soothed me to sleep. Even from my shower, I could survey the wildlife on the Mara and what joy, to have a selection of books about the history and people of Kenya right there on my desk, ready for my perusal.
Each night, staff would leave a local Masai etymological story on one of the many local animals on my bed. One of two luxurious mosquito netted queen beds in my amazing and huge tent.
But for me, along with the delectable food, a highlight was the sustainable ecological principals that are central to Olonana's operations and raison d'etre.
Olonana runs on a methane plant, that provides gas to run its lights, hot water and kitchens.
The source of the methane is from the Masai villages cattle, cow dung which they deliver, in exchange for fresh, clean water and briquettes, a bi-product of the methane plant.
The mix is 4 parts cow dung to one part water, producing heat and gas. It then goes through a system that includes the removal of the dung, the adding of molasses and waste paper, pouring this slurry into briquette moulds which are dried in the sun and distributed back to the Masai for cooking, sparing trees for firewood.
The water continues through a filtration system of four reed ponds. The final pond releases cleaner water back into the river than what came from it in the first place!
I was lucky enough to tour the eco aspects of Olonana Sanctuary with Josphat Omondi, the local Masai Philanthropy Officer, including the extensive, thriving kitchen gardens and staff kitchens and recreation facilities. His botanical knowledge was exceptional, including his knowledge of botanical names.
Part of Olonana's sustainable resort program is an extensive re-afforestation endeavour, to support plant species necessary to sustain the ecological balance, ensuring a plentiful food supply for future populations of hungry elephants, giraffe, rhinos and the Masai themselves. I had the privillige of planting a tree as part of that process.
Another highlight of my stay, was a solo guest walk up the side of the rift valley, with my ever patient and extraordinarily knowledgable Masai mentor and guide, Richard Ole Kamoiye. Richard, son of the local Chief, shared his knowledge of local edible and indigenous plants with me all the way up the side to the very top of the rift valley.The views were unsurpassed and my encounter with the herds of Masai goats, sheep and finally whistling with a big herd of cattle, close enough to touch them, was an experience that made my initial struggle with the high altitude walk more than worth the effort.
And yes, Masai eat from these plants, with fruits to prevent thirst, combat malaria and other infections and generally provide nutrients beyond the mythical diet restricted to blood and milk. These plants are their green grocer!
Then there were the game drives in quintessentially rift valley country, dotted with Acacias and euphorbia candleabra trees. Sightings of the hill where the funeral scene from 'Out of Africa' was shot, whilst a little further long the river was its bend, used in the hair washing scene. Magic, romantic stuff.
As for the game viewings; Hippos yawned, wrestled and nurtured their young within metres of the dining areas. A blue vervet monkey obliged with a 20 minute natural behaviour photo shoot session, including stealing my tissues from my pack and returning them, when realising they were not good to eat!
On our game drives we saw: lions, cheetahs, a black rhino, very rare, vast herds of elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, zebras, Grants and Thompson's gazelles, water buck, impala, giraffes in herds, a family of Hyenas tending and feeding their pups, pairs of jackals hunting, dik-diks and a vast number of amazing birds, large and small.
Our driver guides were knowledgible and careful. Vehicles were comfortable, luxurious and extremely safe.
If that's not enough, Olonana serves gourmet food of the highest quality, on an a la cart basis. Choices are not extensive, but the quality and freshness, coupled with fabulous presentation, meant any hope of losing a few kilos were well and truly dashed.Fresh produce and eggs are raised on site. Big John the chef, even ensured home made gluten free bread was available at every meal upon request.
Fellow travellers that found time to indulge in a massage, claimed it was the best they had ever had. Incredible views over the river soothed as much as the massage itself.
If you have time to visit only one place in Kenya, make it Sanctuary Olonana. Little wonder it has won so many awards from Eco Tourism Kenya.
If this is the future of minimal impact tourism, of Safari experiences that give back in so many ways, may Olonana lead the world to a truly brighter future.
An extraordinary "retreat". An exquisite treat and sanctuary for all of the senses.
Full credit to their extraordinary team of inspirational staff, for making my stay so individual, pleasurable and truly memorable!

Room Tip: Staff try and match visitor interests and fitness levels to their tents. One overlooks some very act...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank fional943
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanctuary R, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this reviewResponded 10 July 2014

Dear Fiona,

Glad we could celebrate your birthday with you!!

We loved hosting you and look forward to welcoming you back one day in the not too distant future...

It would be great if you can keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook, just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’. We are also on Twitter (@SanctuaryRet) and Instagram (SanctuaryRetreats) if you would like to follow us.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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 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 #37 of 146 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: £160 - £321 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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