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“Lovely but with reservations” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Rhino River Camp

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Rhino River Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Lovely but with reservations”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2012

Although the camp itself is very nice and the staff were very helpful and friendly, there are problems with this lodge. We were put in a tent at the far side of the camp, there was no radio in the room nor any kind of way to communicate with the main hub should there have been any kind of problem - we felt a bit isolated. There are also domestic details such as the generator working limited hours: hence dark mornings and evenings (the generator going off at around 10pm).

By far the most serious drawback however is that there is no hosting whatsoever and thus it is being run as a hotel rather than a lodge. Hosting and communal dining is crucial for a wildlife lodge as it encourages a warm and friendly atmosphere where guests can talk about wildlife sightings etc.

The food was delicious.

As I say, it is a very nice place and we were very well looked after but I don't think it knows what it's trying to be.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MrHooFangDung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Otocione, Manager at Rhino River Camp, responded to this review, 31 March 2012
We are really sorry to hear that the stay of MrHooFangDung was not marked by excellency at 100%.
As far as hosting is concerned, we apologise but in that particular week it happened that all of a sudden the Manager had to rush to Nairobi and there was no time to find a substitute. We are sorry but we can assure our guest that this was exceptional rather than the norm being the Camp always hosted by quite entertaining characters, as witnessed by many other reviews.
The problem of power during the night is nowadays solved. Thanks to Kenya Electricty Co. we now (from January 2012) have power in Camp during night hours. This is not excuse for October 2011 when we were running by generator which is often the case for establishments in the bush.
True that our rooms are sparse to ensure privacy and there are no phones. However, guards are always patrolling the paths of the lodge (especially at night) and could be alerted if there is a problem or someone just need a drink or whatever.
Thank you very much for the words about the Camp itself, the Staff and the Food, and apologies once again for the inconveniences.
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135 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Michigan
Level Contributor
23 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 February 2012

During a recent visit to Meru, I stay at Rhino River Camp and Elsa's Kopje. I would recommend both but my absolute favorite was Rhino River Camp. It's in a very unique setting that will make you feel like you are right in the middle of a "Tarzan" movie! The vegetation is lush with trees drapped with huge hanging vines. There are only 5 tents so each person will get a real personalized safari experience. Each tent is very private and completely secluded from the other tents. The tents are very large, beautifully appointed, and all have a view of the river. Each tent also is connected by a boardwalk to it's own private lounge-library-sitting area.
Everyday I would enjoy watching baboons romp in the trees and in the river below, right from the privacy of my own tent! The swimming pool overlooks the river AND a natural waterfall. The food was wonderful and had an Italian flair thanks to owner/manager, Andrea. Even though I have been on many safaris all over Africa, guide, Dixon, still came up with interesting and new things I had never heard before. Every time I go back to Meru, I will want to stay at Rhino River Camp. It's also a great place to truly relax before or after a trip to Masai Mara! You'll drive through a Rhino sanctuary on the way to the camp where you'll most likely see white and black Rhinos. Get away from the crowds and enjoy a few days of total relaxation at Rhino River Camp. Relax as much as you'd like but don't miss out on the game drives, hikes, fishing, or other activities that are also available. The whole staff will make you feel welcomed and you'll wish you would've planned on staying extra days! I can't wait to go back!! EVERYTHING was perfect!

Room Tip: Everyroom has a great view of the river. One of the rooms has a view of the river and the pool.
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  • Stayed January 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?
1 Thank Carmensol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Otocione, Manager at Rhino River Camp, responded to this review, 31 March 2012
We wish to thank you Carmensol for this review.
You conveyed very well the "jungle" atmoshere surrounding the Camp which is in contrast with the many other habitats that one could explore in Meru National Park.
We all hope to see you back soon. We are sure that you inspired other travellers with commentsabout the variety of activities on offer. One can't get bored here.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southampton
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2012

My husband and I enjoyed 3 wonderful days staying at the Rhino River camp. Joel was our guide and we saw many wonderful things in the adjacent Meru national park. A particular memory will be watching a herd of rhino amble along the road as we sat having a sundowner.
The food at the camp was fantastic and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. The accommodation was spotlessly clean and we slept well every night. We were able to cool down after our game drive by having a swim in the pool and then sit and read in the lovely surroundings.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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?
Thank PurrfectAnnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Roanoke, Va
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 February 2012

What a trip! Our experience at Rhino River was just awesome. We were picked up by a young man named Joel mid day on Sunday and dropped off on Thursday with hugs and tears to a young man that showed 6 Southerns from Virginia and Tennessee the expereince of a life time. The food was fantastic, fresh veggies and salads from a back yard garden each day and a cold Tusker when we arrived back at camp each afternoon. The tents were very comfortable and situated near a small river where the sounds lulled you to sleep each night. I would recommend #1 it's a bit larger and well appointed. My friends stayed in # 2 during the day it was a bit hot (although we weren't there much) but at night the stars in the sky would take your breath away. It was also well decorated and cozy and comfortable.
The daily drives, bush breakfast and sundowner cocktails along with the happy staff and Andre make this a highlight of our trip to Kenya..

Room Tip: # 1 for size #2 for "star" quality
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • 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?
Thank victim84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 February 2012

We had a great few days at Rhino River. The game drives through the beautiful adjacent Meru National Park were lovely. We enjoyed a bicycle outing to a nearby school - and look forward to providing some ongoing material assistance. The camp itself is set in lush forest beside a rushing stream. The staff are fantastic, and the Italian-inspired food is absolutely sensational. Brilliant swimming pool, lovely relaxed vibe. We enjoyed wide-ranging conversations with Andrea, the manager.

Room Tip: The river is quite noisy! But I think that you do acclimatise.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • 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?
Thank wrichmond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Iqaluit, Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2012

Spent three nights at Rhino River Camp during the first week of January 2012. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left we were allowed to set our pace and no request was denied. Most everything was included and there was never any pressure to do something that we were not interested in. We took advantage of the knowledgeable staff including Jackson, Dixon and Masai to take us on excursions and explore the wonders around the camp. There is a reason why this property has garnered an almost spotless excellent rating. The food was outstanding with breakfast made to order, super fresh salads with much sourced out of their own garden and pasta for lunch. Suppers were a set menu, but considering the location were amazingly like any meal in a five star restaurant. The pre-supper treat of the feeding of the bush babies was one of our highlights, as they would move quietly through the trees, down the poles and onto the veranda, snatching up bits of banana that had been left for them. With only five tents, there was never a feeling of being crowded.

The rooms were all set apart from each other and had their own separate sitting area. Ours was nestled near a waterfall so as you fell asleep you could hear the running of the nearby river. They were very spacious and had full time electricity and hot water for showers. If you looked closely there was much to see in and around the camp from the most interesting insects to birds and Hyrax's. We took in much of what they had on offer, sundowners at both the crater and in the park, bicycle rides, nature walks, fishing, massages and relaxing at the pool.

As the camp is at the edge of the the Rhino Sanctuary, you needed to pass through it to get to the main part of Meru Park. During our visit we were treated to most of the resident mammals of the park but did not get to see the elusive leopard to round out the big five or the Genenuk. Considering the timing of our trip, early January when the grass is high, we were still able to see a very wide assortment of wildlife.

Bottom line is that if you are looking for a romantic, relaxing, luxury getaway this is an ideal place. If you are simply looking to go for safaris and wildlife, you will see much, but it is more of a challenge than the Mara or other game parks. The trip to Meru is a bit long if you are driving, unless you break it up with a visit to another area, so if you are short on time, a flight in may be a good option. If you get a chance, go and enjoy what Andrea and Rhino River has to offer.

Room Tip: Don't think that you could go wrong with any of the rooms.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 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 koldkitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Otocione, Manager at Rhino River Camp, responded to this review, 31 March 2012
Thank you very much Koldkitty to have taken the time to write such a comprehensive and excellent review. The staff and especially the guides whom accompanied you during your many activities and game drives join the management in their appreciation.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 January 2012

First off, I need to say that I have now done quite a few safaris in Kenya, most of which would be rated as deluxe. All of the ones I have done have been impressive. Some more so than others. If I had to choose one to do a second time, I think Rhino River Camp would be it.

Like most of the other deluxe safaris, the drives were great, we saw lots of impressive animals (rhinos, lions, cheetah, giraffes [lots], zebra, elephants), the guide was also good, both in terms of spotting and driving ability. The tents were excellent (ours even had a separate reading room tent). The vehicles were in good working order and not old. And so on.

What set it apart from the others? A few things.

First of all, the staff at the camp were especially helpful and professional, whilst also being friendly and genuine. I am sure everyone has a different experience, but during my visit I had a problem with my car, and the on-site chief mechanic couldn't do enough to fix it and make it better. The staff manager was also a gem, somehow knowing the right times to offer drinks, foods, and remembering everybody's favourites after just once asking.

Second of all, the food is simply amazing. Again I have eaten in a lot of places both internationally, and in Kenya specifically. And I can say that the food here was as good if not better than any of the top restaurants in Kenya. The owners are Italian, and they have brought over all their best recipes for the camp to cook. Most of the produce is grown locally around the camp, and most of the rest I believe is imported by the owners direct from Italy. Simply superb food.

Lastly, the location. Most of the safaris in Kenya, whilst incredible are in fairly dry lands. Not Meru. Meru was lush with vegetation and forests. I am sure this changes throughout the year, but when we went it felt like a new side of Kenya we had not seen before. Rhino River Camp is especially lucky, as it sits right next to a river (hence the name). And all the tents lie along it, with the lush trees surrounding the tents.

I would also add that whilst we were there, one of the Italian owners was also there on vacation. As a one-off, he took us for a walk outside the camp to see the bird life, which was his passion in life. We saw dozens of amazing birds. If you are someone who is more interested in the birds than the mammals, then without any doubt this is the place for you.

As a last comment, if I were to go there again, I would fly and not drive. The distance did not seem that far, but the roads getting there from Nairobi whilst mostly ok, were at times slow. Also, the directions once getting into the park were a bit hit and miss. Save yourself the hassle, and just take a plane.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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 Oliver G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rhino River Camp

Property: Rhino River Camp
Address: Kindani, Meru National Park, Kenya
Phone Number:
Region: Kenya > Eastern Province > Meru National Park
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Meru National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Rhino River Camp 4.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A collection of six luxury cottages built out of sumptuous caramel canvas and sustainably grown wood, raised on platforms above the gently flowing Kindani River will turn your stay at Rhino River Camp into a quiet, exclusive experience. ... more   less 
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