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“Excellent Safari” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gamewatchers Adventure Camp, Selenkay

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Gamewatchers Adventure Camp, Selenkay
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Excellent Safari”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 August 2013

I and my wife stayed at the Gamewatchers Adventure Camp in Selenkay Conservancy between Aug. 02 and Aug. 05, 2013 as a part of their Selenkay - Ol Kinyei Conservancies package and had the time of our lives. Before all we should thank Steve Sturton-Davies, who responded to our booking request, answered all our questions and addressed all our requests. We exchanged countless emails and had several conversations over the phone. Every detail was worked out in advance and nothing was left to chance (airport - hotel – airport transfers, local flights, even a transfer from Gamewatchers Adventure Camp in Ol Kinyei to another safari operator’s camp in Masai Mara was worked our). Thank you Steve, you went a way beyond just a good customer service!

The idea about the private conservancies is a great thing, having visited three major national reserves in Kenya, we were able to see the differences. Gamewatchers Safaris are leasing the land from the local Masai sharing the profits with the community and also employing Masai in their camps (staff is 100% Masai, including camp managers). The major differences between the private conservancies and the national reserves is that in the conservancies there are a lot less visitors (in the cases of Selenkay and Ol Kinyei just the Gamewatchers Safaris guests), off the road and night drives are permitted as well as walking safaris. In the adventure camps we were able to enjoy the same quality of food, safari vehicles and guides as in the luxury Porini camps at a lot cheaper prices, the only difference was that we camped in a very basic tents, sleeping on mattresses on the ground. To us this was absolutely fine, even added to the sense of adventure and there wasn’t a single moment of discomfort. It is important to notice that Gamewatchers are including in the package all local flights to and from the conservancies which were very comfortable and also a great attraction – you could see all the actions of the pilot, as well as take areal photos of beautiful African landscapes. There is no time wasted on the road, you leave Nairobi and 30 minutes later you are on a game drive in the conservancy. The last day you have a morning game drive in Selenkay and then an afternoon drive in Ol Kinyei.

The Staff at the Selenkay Gamewatchers Adventure Camp was nothing short of fabulous, I can not name personally everyone, but would like to underline the great work of the camp manager Wilson, our guide Jonah, our great driver Julius and our chef Solomon.
Food was of a great quality and quantity (although not our priority, but we should mention it). Game drives were great, guides very knowledgeable. Safari vehicles were very good - top open-sided (some with an open roof) 4X4 Land Cruisers and Land Rovers, thus offering great photo opportunities and close wildlife encounters. Game in the conservancy is plentiful – all sorts of antelopes and gazelles (elands, impalas, the rare long necked gerunuk, lesser kudus, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, dik-diks), giraffes, elephants, lions, zebras, ostriches and tons of smaller birds, warthogs etc.

We also had a fabulous full day game drive in Amboseli National Park included in the price of the package. Beautiful views and lots of game (hundreds of elephants).

Tents were very comfortable, we were able to stand at the center of the tents, private sitting toilets with proper plumbing and private bush showers were available just behind each tent. I had the best night sleep of my life. Sleeping bags and towels are available for rent for $10 a day.

We would also like to note the visit to a traditional Masai village – I was a bit sceptical about this at first (having visited similar venues in other parts of the world where everything is set up just for the amusement of tourists), but the Masai village that we visited in Selenkay was 100% genuine, we were able to witness the lifestyle of the Masai, hear them singing, interact with them and take as many photos as we wish.

Room Tip: We believe that all tents in the camp are equally good, as in any other camping facilities you can h...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank FlyTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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52 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2013

Having visited several other Porini camps, I was desperate to try the adventure camping as an alternative experience. We spent 3 nights there as part of our honeymoon and we had a truly wonderful experience. The accommodation was more than adequate and perfectly comfortable. Staff were committed to providing fantastic service and the experience and knowledge of the guides provided a real education on birds, animals, plant life, tracks and trails as well as the Maasai culture. Wilson, the camp manager, in particular had an infectious interest in birdlife and what turned out to be a remarkable skill at playing Scrabble! The food and safari experience in no way differed from the high quality provided at all Porini camps, despite the more 'budget' nature of adventure camping. Any drinks other than water were available but at very affordable prices.

Highly recommended in conjunction with either standard Porini camps or as a complete adventure camp safari. Even the local elephants showed interest in staying at the camp!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank VolcanoMeg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naples, Florida, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 August 2013

The Adventure Camp program is the "roughing it"/less expensive Safari Experience and I would highly recommend it. The accommodations were simple yet very comfortable starting with spacious Coleman type 3-4 man tent per couple. Mattresses on floor were far more comfortable than you'd think and each tent had it's own bathroom with flush toilet, running sink water and detached shower just a few feet from your tent. Showers were "safari style" which meant sharing an overhead large bucket, but water was very hot and enough for 2 people. The camp staff were highly attentive and catered to your every need. The food was plentiful and delicious--even for our vegetarian daughter. I can't say enough about their hard working, honest and very fluent/educated Masi tribe guides (you have the same 2 the entire trip). They will go anywhere you want, anytime. Although we saw a few big cats, the area is more known for it's herbivores and we were surprised by the numbers and diversity (including gorgeous birds) in the Conservancy. A special treat was visiting the Masi Tribe Village which was both a "culture shock" and incredible education on simplicity. The Masi people are very giving people who have struck a wonderful deal with Gamewatchers/Porini camps to conserve their amazing resources. The Gamewatchers tour group did not miss a beat and were always there for transfers, no matter what the hour! I would definitely go on another trip with this great organization. My only suggestion would be to try and come with your own 5-6 people as they can put up to 6 in each vehicle and it is hard to match photography styles with strangers.

Room Tip: If the camp is not full, ask the staff to separate you from the other tents as much as possible--you...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lisa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
endless summer
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2013

My first african and safari experience was nothing less than incredible. From the first moments when our guides spotted three cheetahs on the way to the camp. To that nights five lions as they walked within 5 feet of the safari vehicle. Closeup views and firsthand knowledge. The guides always found the animals and could get closer than you would ever expect. The guide Wilson (Kasini) was just an encyclopedia of african flora and fauna. Solomon was a superb cook and the staff never missed a beat. And the trip to a real Maasai village was one of the many highlights. Lest I forget the walking trip we took as our guides spotted lion, hyena and elephant tracks no more than a half mile from our camp. Awesome is much overused but not in this case. Hakuna matata. Asante sana Gamewatchers.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mashamarefu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2013

As a camping 'virgin' I had no expectations. A tent to myself, a sleeping bag and a mattress.OK. What next?The camp was called Selenkay on the edge of Amboseli, a conservation area leased from the Maasai with benefits for the villages, the game and the fortunate customers.
From my arrival, I was overwhelmed by the warmth,knowledge and friendship of the seven staff, led by the wonderful Wilson with great food from Solomon .The idea is that fewer people is less intrusive for the wildlife. Being so close to creatures so unruffled by us proves the point. And what wonderful patient spotting. Who but Wilson would have watched a cheetah resting in a bush for 40 minutes. Our reward was a brutal 28 second chase and a hare killed in a cloud of dust. My outstanding memory was a night drive behind a yellow light. In a clearing in the evening chill, two young bull elephants trumpeted and clashed tusks repeatedly for several minutes. I shivered, but it was not the cold. Utterly memorable. Rex 39.

Room Tip: All the tents are good.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rex39_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2013

This was our second safari with Porini, the first being in 2010 at the main camps. We opted for the Adventure Camps as they offered the same safari experience but with an element of 'roughing it' accommodation wise, but at a reduced price. Well if 'roughing it' is sleeping on comfortable mattresses, waking to hot water for washing followed by sumptuous breakfasts of fresh fruit, cereal, cooked breakfast and honey topped pancakes then bring it on!
The safaris were excellent with knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides particularly Wilson whose passion for birds was evident, with guide books on hand to identify those unknown to us.
Being in the conservancy allowed us to undertake 'night drives' to hopefully see the nocturnal animals and we were not disappointed. On one memorable drive we saw 2 male elephants squaring up to each other with clashing tusks and trumpeting, also porcupines, genet, civet, verreaux eagle owls and nightjars.
If you are looking for a safari away from the crowds, win a full itinerary every day look no further.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank safarijohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2013

My safari experience was awesome! This was the 3rd time I was travelling to Kenya for safaris in 2012 and I can tell that Porini's camps are the best place to do it.
Food is excellent, game drives just like a dream!
The accomodation in the adventure mobile camps is so nice. We had hot water every morning and hot showers when we wanted.
Transferts by fly or by road always really pleasant.
The situation in the wild conservancies just beautifull.
The Maasai staff were so warm and welcoming. I felt just like home, totally happy and safe.
The safari guides, Jackson and Richard are really nice and professsionnal, their knowledge of the wilderness is so wide and it's so much interesting to listen to them!

*Sure I will recommend the Selenkay Conservancy to anybody's planning a trip to Kenya.

Thank you so much

Muriel

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MurielGeneva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gamewatchers Adventure Camp, Selenkay

Property: Gamewatchers Adventure Camp, Selenkay
Address: Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Amboseli Eco-system
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 19 Speciality Lodging in Amboseli Eco-system
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Gamewatchers Adventure Camp, Selenkay, is sited in the Selenkay Wildife Conservancy in the Amboseli eco-system. For those for whom the wildlife safari experience is more important than the accommodation, and who are prepared to sleep in small tents in sleeping bags with an element of “roughing it”, this gives an opportunity for an exceptional and exclusive wildlife experience with high quality guiding but at a much lower price than expensive up-market safari lodges. ... more   less 

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