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“AWESOME!!”
Review of Porini Mara Camp

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Porini Mara Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 August 2011

My wife and I stayed at Porini Camps during our honeymoon in May. Overall we had a great time

Most game drives at other camps are 2 hours long, but Porini Camp provides an option for 7 hour game drives, as well as game drive at dusk. These game drives are conducted by local Masai tribesmen (some know how to drive). This service makes it better than some other game drives since our guides knew the animals and the land so well that we saw a lot more animals than other people. In fact, other safari vehicles were following us!

On our first night, we were taken to a hill just at sunset and our guides set up a small table and chairs and we had cookies/tea and watched the sunset. This was very special because up to that point, other camps’ game drives did not allow us to get out of the vehicle. After the sunset, one of our guides took out an infrared light which allowed us to see animals in the dark without the ‘light’ hurting the animals. This allowed us to see a pride of lions at night – which was very unique.

On our second day, we had the 7 hour game drive in the Mara. We saw so many animals during this time it was amazing. Our guides knew that we had yet to see cheetahs and hippos, so they made it a mission to make sure we saw them, and of course with their expertise we did. We also break for lunch/snack in the Mara, right next to a bunch of zebras and antelops. They parked right next to a tree in the shade. I took a picture 100 meters away and it’s one of my fondest memories – because the picture is exactly what I imagine when I think of a safari.

The only thing that visitors should be wary about is the nature of the camp. As the camp believes in conservancy, they do not have power in the tents (although they do have lights on solar power), showers are ‘safari buckets’ (google it), and at my wife’s dismay, her hair dryer/straightner did not work (too powerful for their system). So if you are willing to give in on a few comforts, this camp is great.

Although my wife did not like the level of amenities provided in the camp, she continuously tells people that the camp was the best overall during our stay in Kenya. I could not agree more.
I will whole heartedly recommend this camp for people looking for a unique safari experience.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same, so no
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Perry L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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288 - 294 of 402 reviews

Reviewed 13 August 2011

We loved our trip with Gamewatchers to Mara and Amboseli. If you can only take or afford one trip a year or so, take this one. Julie at Gamewatchers will arrange everything and within an hour you'll know your itinerary and have some great options to chose from--no hidden or unexpected costs. For us, everything came off just as planned. Both camps were fantastic for seeing plants and wild game. The guides were extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of the wild animals and their habitats--a real education. We loved the whole philosophy behind the Porini approach of setting up a Conservancy with the Masai, hiring them to run the camps and be guides and preserving the area. The tents were great and solar powered. The tent where we could socialize and eat was fun after a full day of exploring. The privacy of the reserve was a real benefit and was a shared experience with like-minded people who wanted a great time, see great wildlife and experience a campsite--not the usual hotel/lodge with a pool and a room. The airport to airport and all things in between accommodations made it easy. We'll be back. Thanks Gamewatchers.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Ray J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2011

All aspects of our safari with Gamewatchers and stay at the camps exceeded our expectations beyond belief. It was an incredible experience! The service was exceptional down to the very last detail. We stayed at Mara Porini for 3 nights and then Mara Lion Camp for 2 nights. Being the only ones on the conservancy (at Ol Kinyei) meant not having to deal with other trucks and getting a truly unique viewing experience. The guides were excellent, they knew a lot and were very respectful of the animals and the environment - we saw and learned so much with them. And the camps had a nice intimate atmosphere that allowed many great interactions with other guests and the staff.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank benista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2011

Our second camp after Selenkay (see review). David, Jimmy and Marama gave us a warm homecoming welcome at Ol Kinyei despite the fact it was our first visit. As at all Porini camps, they couldn’t have done more for us. Our guides gave freely and generously of their knowledge skills and experience, which is why we were blessed with exclusive sightings of a wildebeest crossing, a close-up resting Cheater, a close-up Martial Eagle, a herd of 100 elephant and, our first Leopard (with two cubs) after three trips to Africa. The latter only came about because Jimmy and Marama tried so hard, and in the end it boiled down to Maasai wisdom in responding to a Bush Buck alarm call. There were, of course, many more sights, sounds and experiences in the new conservancy, which is wonderful in terms of varied habitat and richness of wildlife. As always, bush accommodation, food and service excellent. Humbled to be part of the dedicated extended Porini team and to experience the generous sharing of the Maasai knowledge, land and heritage, as well as a great sense of humour all round; David being the head humorist!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Colinfromsussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2011

THis was the last of the 4 Porini camps we have stayed at and we stayed here before heading off to the Lion Camp for a 2nd time (see my other review).

This camp is set in a conservancy to the north of the main Mara - about 45 minutes to drive if you want to go to the main Mara.

There are just 6 tents and in the private conservancy that means a maximum of 3 vehicles - most of the time we saw nobody else all day.

Very exclusive and very quiet. Wildlife is there but is more natural as it is not so used the the vans but that is not a bad thing. Jimmy and Murema (sorry spelling is probably wrong) were ou driver and spotter and both are fantastic as is Ben the camp manager who could not do enough to keep all his guests happy.

We love Porini and all it stands for. Money goes to help those who need it and the wildlife as well. Just how it should be.

Being honest, we prefer the Lion Camp to the Mara camp but that does not mean it is any less brilliant.

Tell me to go back to Mara Porini tomorrow and I would be there.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mattyc1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2011

I was trying to book a safari and really had NO clue on which tour company was best. However, after contacting multiple tour operators I selected Porini / Gamewatchers because the agent Julie Roggow provided me with different options at different price points. She provided in depth information but had first hand knowledge of the camps and traveling in Africa. (It was my first time to Kenya.)

Even after I booked the trip I was still a bit apprehensive about the level of service and lodging while on safari. I was picked up ON TIME in Nairobi, flew to the Masai Mara and then picked up from the air strip and escorted to the Porini Mara camp. What is the BEST feature of this camp is its location!! It's part of a conservancy that supports and hires the Masai People and their land. It makes a difference and anyone taking a trip to this region should read up on the issue!! These conservancies care about the land, the animals, the local Masai people and most importantly- YOU, the tourist.

There are levels of certificated guides in Kenya and this camp had at least two silver guides (one was actually taking the gold level tests) that I am aware. The game drives were exciting, informative and absolutely beautiful because we had the only vehicle on the conservancy! In contract, we went to the Masai Mara National Reserve on day and it was more touristed and less intimate.

The camp staff, lodging and meals were great. I am a vegetarian and there wasn't an issue with requesting meals to my liking. There were only about ten "tents" in the camp and privacy wasn't an issue as long as you discount the visiting monkeys and the nighttime hippo visit.

Do you homework on safaris but I believe Porini / Gamewatchers is where I'll send my friends and where I'll book again.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled solo
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8  Thank MPrutz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2011

We (my partner and I) visited the Porini camp as part of our two week stay part beach part safari in Feb 2011. We were greeted by David the manager on arrival and from that moment on we had probably the most memorable experience of our lives. Everything met or exceeded our expectations from the knowledge of the guides on safari to the standard of the accommodation to quality of the food served (amazing)

The camp itself was well designed, we always felt safe (even at night when you could really hear the animals!) as there were always Masai warriors around the camp. Being a private conservancy the camp is environmentally friendly and what makes the conservancy so unique is the fact that the only vehicles you bump into are those owned by the camp. You really do see the animals in their natural habitat, whether that be following a kill or on the hunt for food, or even just as they are relaxing/playing in the sun! Would we return again? Absolutely!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ILoveMyHols77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Porini Mara Camp

Address: Ol Kinyei Conservancy, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Phone Number:
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: £580 - £939 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Porini Mara Camp is located in the exclusive 17,500 acre wildlife conservancy of Ol Kinyei, one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the Serengeti-Mara eco-system. The camp has 6 spacious guest tents with an en-suite bathroom sited in the shade of Yellow-barked Acacia trees. The camp accommodates a maximum of 12 guests, where guests enjoy game drives in 4x4s, sundowners at scenic viewing points and escorted walks with Maasai guides. Ol Kinyei is noted for its excellent wildlife viewing with a resident pride of lions, cheetahs, leopards and a wide variety of animals. There is a strict limit on the number of tourist vehicles allowed in the conservancy so that visitors from the camp can view the wildlife without other vehicles. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mara Porini Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Porini Mara Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve

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