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All reviewshippo cornerthe rivergame driveswake up callroom attendantluxury tentsour waiterthe main lodgebeautiful propertygame driverelusive leopardour tour guideshower and toileta hot water bottlewonderful experiencehippos and crocseach morning
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Reviewed 3 April 2012

We just came back from a three-night stay at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club in Kenya and had an amazing experience. This is a truly unique and very memorable way to explore the Masai Mara whilst enjoying a luxury stay in a (permanent) tent.

We arrived from Nairobi late afternoon by private charter (definitely recommend flying there) and on the way to the hotel from the landing strip we were greeted by monkeys, giraffes, gazelles and other amazing wildlife. What a welcome.

The hotel is a permanent tent camp that offers a luxury five star experience that is truly unique and authentic, the perfect way to explore the beauty of Masai Mara.

The hotel offers a full board package, which is typically not something we prefer, but it totally makes sense here and the food was superb and lots of variety was offered on all days. The package also includes two game drives per day, one in the morning before breakfast and one in the late afternoon both of which give you the opportunity to see different types of animals. We were very lucky to have seen all of the Big 5 + so many more animals including monkeys, ostriches, zebras, turtles, hyaenas, hippos (they live in the river that's next to the hotel), wildebeest, vultures, jackals, etc. etc. We even saw a gazelle giving birth on our last morning drive! Our guide was Henry and he was amazing; going out of his way to spot animals and give us a truly exhilarating experience. You get to go out with the same driver on all of the drives which is really great.

We brought our six year old daughter and besides the adventure and experience, this was truly educational as well. She was just the right age; I would not recommend bringing much younger children to the hotel.

At night the hotel puts on the fire place and the bar offers a wide assortment of drinks as well as daily bar snacks which are complimentary. Albeit in the middle of nowhere the hotel has good wifi and cabled internet for those that need to stay in touch, like I did.

A few examples of the nice touches the staff offer: the wake up call, which is your room attendant coming to your tent with a hot beverage of your choice and every evening the staff will put a hot water bottle in your bed to keep you warm at night. One evening they also had someone from the Masai village give and education session over pre-dinner drinks which was very nice.

Must do's: visit to the Masai village (USD 25 per person) and the bush dinner (USD 45 per person).

A quick note on the air transfers as it is an important part of your journey. We booked a private charter as the scheduled flights did not match our arrival and departure into Nairobi but in hindsight I recommend taking the Fly540 flights (avoid Wings Over Africa). We arrived by 4 (!) seater plane which was pretty scary but the scheduled flights have 2 pilots and fly a 12 seater plane which is much better.

On clothing; bring easy casual gear such as jeans, sweaters, t-shirts, fleece jackets and sneakers or other closed shoes as it can rain (pour!) for a few hours and it gets a little chilly at night as well as on the game drives early morning and later afternoon.

Bring cash to tip the driver and the local attractions such as the Masai village. USD as well as the local currency are accepted everywhere.

In summary; a great, high quality and foremost very memorable experience we can highly recommend.

Room Tip: As far as we saw, all tents offer great views and are well located. Most look out over the river where hippos reside. All tents were within a two-minute - or less- walk from the main building.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Anne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2012

Our permanent tent was right on the Mara River which was full of hippos. They talked to each other in various "voices" all the time. The Lodge was very nice. The setting was perfect. The people and the service were great. I also enjoyed swimming in the beautiful pool.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Ann D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2012

My husband and I traveled to Kenya as a part of a "tour of Africa" to celebrate the New Year and stayed at the Fairmont Masai Mara for 3 nights.

We arrived mid-day from Nairobi (I would recommend flying) and got to the camp in time for lunch. There are twice daily game drives which are 2 and 3 hours long. There is lots to keep busy with during your down time and extra adventures to go on if you are so inclined.

Accomodations were luxurious (given they are tents!). Three days stay was just enough - by the end of day 2, we had seen the Big 5 and spent the rest of our drives looking for cats. The resort staff were beyond friendly. We bought an additional excursion and did the hot air balloon ride which was magnificant.

The food was magnificent and there was always lots of choice. Breakfast and lunch was buffet style and the table d'hote dinner menu had a lot of selection as well. Note that while room and board is included in the rate, drinks (alcholic or otherwise) are not.

I would be sure to bring lots of layers. It's quite chilly at night and in the morning but HOT midday. Closed toe sneakers or hikers would be great for the drives as you sometimes get out of the vehicles. The jeeps carry water, soda, or beer upon request and the drivers often bring along blankets in case it gets chilly. Binoculars, if you have them, are great!

I full review would take pages and days to write. Please feel free to message me with particular questions!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank vacation-bugs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2012

We stayed at the Fairmont for 2 nights and it was absolutely memorable. The property is fairly large, and the food is exceptional. These guys really know how to spice food properly and every meal was great. The fireplace in the main building is perfect for a romantic cuddle. We were fortunate enough to do 4 game drives (2 evenings and 2 mornings). We literally saw everything! Leopard, cheetah with a kill, lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, ostrich, giraffes, zebras and plenty more. We went during the low season and somehow did see everything in the first 3 game drives!

The location is absolutely great as it's a short drive to the open savannah. The driver was very friendly and flexibile with our preferences. The service at the hotel is impeccable, and the staff is super friendly. In addition, the pool is nice and cool, but do bring your sunblock, as the sun is quite strong in the Mara! The river flows alongside the property and is a nice scene setter for a lunch or breakfast in the morning. Do try the poached eggs! The tent has a plush bed (very very comfortable), nice clean pillows and sheets, granite countertop in the sink area, and the shower is probably the best in the Mara! Nice, hot, and strong! The inside of the tent is all stone floors and the tents are sealed in very tightly, so very limited/no critters! The pictures of the tent (as nice as they look) do not do justice to the tent. We had a memorable experience at the Fairmont and we undoubtedly would bring our family and friends here. Thanks, Fairmont!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank GlobalTraveler83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2012

This was our first time in Mara Safari Club but definitely not the last. We spent here two nights with our two 12 and 15 year children but should have spent more if time allowed.We shared a family tent of four on the river bank.
It was all fantastic: very personal service, great food and the nature all around including the game drives. And the doctor services we had to use a little bit to our son's stomache problems. Read the all positive comments on this place, it is all true!
Thank you, we'll remember it forever!

  • Stayed: February 2012
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4  Thank Karjuni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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