After a safari in Tanzania last year and several days in other parts of Kenya before arriving at Porini Lion camp, I spent three heavenly days here, and am already dreaming about going back. In fact, as I left, I said to my wonderful guide and spotter (Jackson and Stanley) that I'd see them next year.
I was hesitant after booking my Kenyan safari to even think that a second safari could be as good as or better than my first. My days at Porini Lion Camp blew me away. As a big cat lover, I was inundated with cats. The Marsh Pride, the Double Crossing Pride, the Enkuyani Pride...lions everywhere! And our guide knew them all, could recognize them from miles out, and it was a joy to see them from one day to the next as they live, as they move, as they hunt around their territories. Then the leopards, the gorgeous Fig and Acacia, up close and more personal than I ever expected. And the cheetahs Amani and her cubs. Just incredible. Sure, you'll get a whole lot more like giraffe, hippo, crocs, hartebeest, topi...but this is Big Cat Country and they're right there waiting for you! I was in heaven.
The camp itself is wonderfully situated. The best part about the tent experience is that the game ride starts as soon as you step out of your tent. Overnight, I heard hippos belching behind my headboard, elephants trumpeting through camp and lions roaring so close that it felt like they were coming in for breakfast. I felt like it was a nice ride out of camp to whatever our destination was that day. The tents are perfect, clean, large, comfortable and have the nice touches I hadn't seen in Tanzania, like towel racks, soaps, lotions, cotton balls and the hot water bottles left in your bed at night are all such a nice touch.
I'm still waiting for someone to wake me for work here with a sing-song "good morning..." and delivery of my hot chocolate and cookies while I get dressed for the day. They do that at all the Porini camps and it's a much a nicer way to wake up than alarm clock. Every morning it made me smile.
The food is excellent. You will not starve or perish while you're roughing it, that's for sure. Lunches especially were wonderful, especially on the days back at camp. What they do with beets and mandarin oranges is spectacular!
I can't say enough about my guide and spotter, Jackson and Stanley. My last full day out was a long day: 5:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It just kept getting better and better and we didn't want to go back in. How they manage to spot animals where I see grass or shade is beyond me, but I was fooled more than a few times by what I thought was just a sunbeam and it turned out to be a lion belly-up! Stanley as a driver knew how to position the vehicle for the best photos without disrespecting the animals, which is important. Jackson knew the family trees of all the major cats, and once I said I knew Big Cat Diary, he told me more than I ever hoped to learn about the cats. On more than a few occasions, I realized that they really care about the animals and their well-being, and that really resonated with me.
You can dictate how you want your safari to go: how much time out, how early you get up and when you come in. My rule is to never, ever, ever miss an early morning game ride. Those never disappoint, and they didn't here at PLC. I can sleep at home!
Solo travelers contemplating doing this, DO IT. Sure, I missed my usual traveling companions, but the staff at the camps and the guide and driver do their best to make you feel welcome, comfortable and go out of their way to make you happy. I haven't the least regret going alone this time...or NEXT TIME!
I want to thank Jackson and Stanley and Jimmy at PLC, and Julie at Gamewatchers for a seamless booking process and for answering my many questions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Porini Lion Camp is located in the exclusive 20,000 acre Olare Orok Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, home to an abundance of animals. With 10 spacious comfortably furnished tents, each with private verandahs and en-suite bathrooms, the camp is small and exclusive giving a real bush experience. Guests enjoy the game drives in open 4x4's, escorted bush walks with Maasai warriors and sundowners. The Camp is the perfect base to experience the annual wildebeest migration. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Porini Lion Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Porini Lion Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve