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“Porini Lion Camp -- how soon can I go back?”
Review of Porini Lion Camp

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Porini Lion Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
149 reviews
83 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
“Porini Lion Camp -- how soon can I go back?”
Reviewed 23 March 2014

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.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
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3 Thank amybatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Duncannon, PA
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2014

We visited Porini Lion the last week of February and were totally delighted with our 5-night stay. As our time in Kenya was shorter than most other travelers to the region we opted to pick one camp only and feel we made the best decision. Other travelers who had stayed in various lodges around the area commented that if you stay at only one place in the region, Lion Porini is the best choice.

We flew SafariLink to Masai Mara and enroute to the camp saw jackals, hyena, elephants, a serval, giraffes, gazelles, dik-diks, zebras, warthogs, many beautiful birds, and 3 cheetahs! Our very knowledgable and friendly Maasai guides Jackson and Jared (and two other nice fellows who took us out the last two days) helped us see over 25 types of mammals and over 100 bird species during our stay.

A typical schedule for us was half-day trip from 5:45 - 11:30 with breakfast at a different lovely spot around 9:00. We enjoyed this more than returning to the camp for breakfast but I guess to some degree it is up to the guests to decide. Items served varied but usually included hard-boiled eggs, bacon, fresh crepes, homemade bread, local honey, jam, juices, yogurt, coffee, tea. Lunch was served at camp around 1:00. Late day ride (with famous sundowner break) took place from around 4:00 until 7:00 or 7:30. Around 8:00 everyone would gather around a camp fire and have a drink (that Tusker beer is sure popular or whatever else you choose) and talk about the day's sightings. One day we did a full-day drive which made me think why not just sleep in the truck and do a 5-day drive, I could get used to this real fast!

Although accommodations are in a tent rather than a building, it does not feel totally rustic. We found the beds to be quite comfortable. The bucket showers worked fine (you can request as many as you want) and we did not see even one insect in our room, although I can't say if this would be true during the rainy season. The tents have a separate double lining with a tight zip-up system that can be used as needed at night. During the day very large screens provide good lighting and fresh air, and even with this single layer of tenting there is good protection against insects.

We did our laundry in the room regularly and it dried quickly on the line provided on the porch. The camp provides laundry soap, shampoo and and hand soap, all biodegradable.

Chef-prepared food was definitely enjoyed by all, with really exceptional soups.

The Toyota Landruisers featured stadium seating, optional overhead cover, USB charging ports in front of each seat, warm ponchos and a cooler full of chilled drinks.

We loved talking to the friendly Maasai people working at the camp and found their service very professional and warm. In fact, we love exploring other cultures and took the optional village trip, which showed us how life is for the Maasai. For us it was a highlight.

Now for the good stuff. You cannot come on safari and see a better variety of wildlife than you can right here. For viewing of big cats, and there were plenty of big-cat lovers at the camp, this is heaven on earth. We visited all the area conservancies during our stay and saw all six of the lion prides that are in the region, including many cubs. One day alone we saw 31 lions! We saw several leopards, got beautiful photos of one named Fig up in a tree. Saw many cheetahs, including several with kills. We also saw lions with a kill. Got very nice photos of a serval. Came across a topi that had died of natural causes and since there were no top predators around, jackals ferociously fought off vultures and storks in a total frenzy. In fact, this was the biggest difference between the safari here and another that we really enjoyed in South Africa, there seemed to be more action here rather than just seeing animals lying around. Additionally, there are different geographical areas that can be visited including a gorgeous marsh area, so there are nice scenery changes.

If you are a birdwatcher, there is a lot to see here too, including martial eagles, malachite kingfishers, and the lovely lilac-breasted roller. The huge marabou storks are otherworldly. Large secretary birds stride the plains like businessmen going to appointments. Purple grenadiers sat on bushes at eye level right across from the camp dining hall.

Julie of Gamewatchers organized our transfers, reservations and hired a driver for the day in Nairobi and did an excellent job.

Needless to say, this goes down as a trip of a lifetime. We hope to go back some September when there are wall to wall animals on the Mara. Of course the trade is that there are more visitors at that time too. Either way, Porini Lion Camp and its big cats rule.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank LLLofPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, Pennsylvania
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2014

What a perfect safari! We stayed at several locations during our 2 week safari vacation in Kenya, and Porini Lion Camp was by far our favorite. The reviews below are spot on, so I won't repeat everything. But I will say we are already planning a return to this camp in the near future, can't wait!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Susanup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2014

When we arrived at Porini Lion Camp (PLC), another guest told us "you could throw a dart in any direction and hit 20 cats". Boy, was she right! If it's hard to spot lions, cheetahs, and leopards within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, PLC sure made it look easy. We loved spending dawn til dusk with Katire (spelling?) and William, our trusty driver-spotter duo. They were always in the right place at the right time, setting us up for the perfect photograph. Not only did they locate a dead impala in a tree, they recommended that we come back later to watch the predator, a leopard, feed on it. In doing so, we witnessed said leopard kill a second impala under an infrared light! Sure, luck played a part, but the other Land Rovers that anxiously awaited mealtime earlier in the evening were nowhere to be seen after dark. This combination of intuition, preparedness and the desire to deliver memorable experiences is what sets PLC apart from the rest.

While it'd be silly not to mention the camp itself (modern, comfortable, safe), and the hot air balloon safari (serene, picturesque, worth every penny), if you're thinking about staying at any of the porinis (and you should), be advised that you will spend more time on the land than in your tent. Don't book for the accommodation (which, again, is lovely); book for the service, which is out-of-this-world. At PLC, you never have to ask for anything twice. In fact, you don't even have to ask, because they will deliver anyway.

Room Tip: Our sunny tent - Kiboko - suited us perfectly but a couple of returning guests wished they had reque...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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1 Thank Melissa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2014

I usually try and visit Porini Lion Camp whenever I am on safari and we were driven there from Porini Mara Camp (another one of may favourites). Since Porini clients can game drive in three conservancies (Ol Kinyei, Naibosho and Olare Motorogi) it is a great game drive from the Porini Mara Camp to Porini Lion Camp.

I have visited this camp many times and have never been disappointed.

Leopards are normally the elusive ones of the big cats but they are regularly sighted at Porini Lion. So much so that one of the resident leopards has been called Porini as she was born virtually in the camp. The ever popular Acacia has had another litter of cubs a stones throw from the camp.

Lions and Cheetahs in abundance too. (the pics are taken by my son on a bridge camera) Big groups and the guides know just where to find them.

The camp is in the Olare Motorogi conservancy and the terrain is beautiful and great for walking. We did a long walk from Porini Lion back to Porini Mara. (not for the faint hearted!)

I tend not to bother going into the main Massai Mara National Reserve anymore although a number of clients did all day game drives and also took a balloon safari from there.

From what I heard the game in the Conservancy is far better and of course the fact that only those staying in the Conservancy can drive there makes for an exclusive viewing experience.

Flight distance ( the distance that they are used to vehicles) for the game is really short and it is possible to see them doing their own thing. as they are not crowded.

The staff and guiding is up to the usual Porini standard which just seems to be a cut above others that i have experienced.

All this take n together with the fact that this is a real low impact eco camp that works in partnership with the local community makes it a must on my Kenya trips.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Safaribuff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 March 2014

Being first time visitors to the Mara, we were treated extremely well. Joseph, the Camp Manager, was always there to see that we were comfortable. Jackson and Ketere were great spotters of game, and knew the best positions to park for great memorable photos. We could charge our cameras and phones while on game drives, in the car ... amazing!!!
The Mara River Crossing was indeed a great place to be standing at. Phillip, had all the time to advise us on what foods we would be having at a particular time, and was always there to grant our requests. Compliments to the Chef .... his cuisines were always something to look forward to. Security from Murunya always instilled some sense of protection while at the Tent. Anthony, always great to know we could count on him for a hot shower after the drive. Great snacks while at the Sundowner - and picnic lunch. This shall remain a great first time event for both of us.
Totally appreciate the time, and everything they all did for us.!!

Room Tip: Tent No. 1 - we found it well naturally lit, especially in the hot afternoon sun :-)
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kabura W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2014

Words can't even describe the experience we had at Porini. The service is amazing! The staff is courteous, easy to get to know and makes you feel very comfortable. The safari guides are extremely knowledgeable! We saw so many animals in such a short time. Had a picnic breakfast beside a hippo pool, sunset snacks and drinks out on the savannah while viewing a pride of lions. Meshak and Jared are amazing!! Phillip and Joseph do everything in their power to make your stay more enjoyable! Hot showers and electricity available. Plenty of security at night. I felt completely safe while being as close to the animals as possible. Amazing time!!!

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ashleyk1017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Porini Lion Camp

Property: Porini Lion Camp
Address: Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Phone Number:
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 140 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Porini Lion Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 10
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

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