Entumoto

Entumoto: Our full report

Rooms
5 dbl/twin tented rooms, 4 family tented rooms
Children
Best for 8+
Open
All year

Opened in August 2010, Entumoto is a Swedish-Maasai owned, permanent tented camp in the Siana Group Ranch (Siana Conservancy), on the north-east border of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The camp is located on the Megwarra escarpment, in a tranquil dell swathed in bush, at a point where three valleys meet, looking west towards the main Mara reserve.

Entumoto’s nine, platform-mounted tented rooms, including four designed for families, are ranged up the hill. They are all extremely well spaced, and some of the family tents are a good five-minute walk from the mess tent and lounge – anyone not up to a fairly steep walk would struggle in places here. The tent décor and furnishings are comfortable and stylish, albeit with a slightly austere mood. Seating in the regular tents consists of leather directors’ chairs, while the family tents also have cushioned benches and a chaise longue.

The back of each tented room forms the heavily built, solid-walled and whitewashed bathroom, with polished hardwood surfaces, neat, double handbasins, wrought-iron towel horses and small rugs. It is probably the lack of floor covering that gives the tents an unnecessarily cool feel – one that we think would soften with the introduction of more rugs and mats. Similarly, the exposed toilet cubicles are due to be given some screening for privacy’s sake. Designer toiletries are provided in flasks.

The rain showers have good pressure (the sweet water is pumped from a spring), but hot/cold water-mixing can be problematic. Solar panels supply much of the power but Kuni boosters (efficient wood stoves) provide extra hot water for each occupied tent. There are three-pin, UK-style plug sockets in the tents that can be used for charging at all times.

The four enormous family tents, formed of two regular tents linked by a central tent, each have two double bathrooms, and a large lounge in the middle, with an alcove containing a fireplace. We felt this was something of a triumph of style over substance and can’t imagine a fire is requested very often.

Large cement decks at the front of each tent are furnished with a pair of deckchairs and a comfy sofa. One of the highlights of our stay was sitting here at dawn and watching the morning’s balloon-safari Montgolfiers drifting above the low mist and clouds in the national reserve.

Entumoto’s swimming pool is a relatively rare facility in the Mara. Being outdoors and unheated, the water can be chilly, especially early in the morning, and during the migration season from July to October, but it’s a really pleasant area on a hot afternoon – and there’s normally a trained lifeguard on duty.

Entumoto’s main activities are game drives, for which the camp has three, open-sided Toyota Land Cruisers, normally taking a maximum of six guests. They go out with one driver/guide and invariably conduct their game drives in the national reserve, entering through Sekenani Gate and then heading southwest into the reserve.

When we visited in April 2012, we didn’t have the opportunity to go on a game drive with the guides from Entumoto, but we got the impression that the team here would be very able. We were told that game drives for each group of guests would be private when possible, but also that first-time visitors to Kenya would be positively encouraged to join a group of other guests. Exclusive guaranteed use of a vehicle will normally cost extra.

There is a possibility of doing drives and walks closer to camp, within the Siana Group Ranch area, but the thick bush in parts can make visibility difficult. Moreover, we understand that Entumoto’s walks are done without any armed escort (apart from a guide with traditional weapons), and we consider that walking in this area, with its prolific and unpredictable elephant and buffalo, is highly inadvisable until a properly trained escort with an appropriate licensed firearm is available. Only when we are happy that the walks are safe, would we be comfortable recommending them.

For evening sundowners guests are driven to a rocky outcrop – Lion’s Rock – near the camp.

In common with all properties in the Mara, early-morning balloon safaris can be booked. These last approximately one hour, followed by a bush breakfast with sparkling wine and then a game drive, arriving back at camp around mid-morning. There are several launch areas and you can expect to be woken as early as 4.00am.

Entumoto’s swimming pool is a relatively rare facility in the Mara. Being outdoors and unheated, the water can be chilly, especially early in the morning, and during the migration season from July to October, but it’s a really pleasant area on a hot afternoon – and there’s normally a trained lifeguard on duty.

Our view

Entumoto means ‘meeting place’ and it’s quite an appropriate name for a very civilised, permanent camp, with high standards of comfort and service and particularly good food. Although the camp isn’t fenced, with its paved paths, tent platforms and swimming pool, it feels like an area that has been thoroughly tamed. We think Entumoto has high appeal for comfort-seeking, first-time safari-goers, and particularly for honeymooners and older families.

Geographics

Location: Maasai Mara Conservancies, Kenya

Ideal length of stay: Three nights, to cover all activities

Directions: Keekorok airstrip is 25km from Entumoto, taking about an hour by game vehicle.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Entumoto offers a set menu, but they invariably check nationalities and dietary requirements of guests as well as actual food preferences. Their organic vegetable garden provides green vegetables, salad crops, herbs, passion fruit and pawpaws. Guests are encouraged to visit and pick and choose their own fruit and veg.

Guests would normally have a standard lunch menu on arrival and thereafter discuss lunch and dinner with the maître d’. We were very late for our first lunch and a storm had just blown up, but we were served an excellent, creamy, peppery onion soup, a variety of salads (including avocado, tomato, potato), baby steaks, lamb chops, pizza and tasty olive rolls. That lot was followed by a passion soufflé and accompanied by very cold beer, and good coffee.

For dinner, we had butternut squash soup, and a deliciously moist roast chicken with rice and vegetables.

Breakfast was also unusually good and included very nice yoghurt and well-presented fruit, good coffee and eggs, and a cooked breakfast that included baked beans mixed with coriander and red and green peppers.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Local soft drinks, Kenyan beer, house wines and local spirits are all included, but premium wines and spirits are payable extra.

Further dining info: Yes, at no charge.

Children

Attitude towards children: For security reasons, children under the age of seven are not usually accepted.

Property’s age restrictions: Minimum age 7

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Some of the drop-offs from the tent decks are very high so children will need to be under control.

Infrastructure

Communications: The camp has a VSAT (satellite phone) connection. There’s decent cellphone coverage and there’s WiFi in the lounge. Laptops are available in the office.

TV & radio: Only in staff quarters, but they are happy to share with guests for major sporting events.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There’s a first-aid kit on site, and the manager is first-aid trained, with annual refresher courses with St Johns’ Ambulance. The head guide is also first-aid trained, though his training hasn’t been refreshed. There’s a government clinic at Sekenani Gate (20 minutes’ drive). In an emergency a helicopter could land behind camp.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Askaris with traditional weapons patrol day and night. The camp is unfenced, and guests are escorted after dark to and from their tents by uniformed askaris.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers at every tent, and there are fire assembly points by the pool and behind the dining tent. Fire drills for staff take place every six months.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included

Money: There is a safe box in the office. No currency exchange.

Accepted payment on location: Cash payments may be made in US dollars, euros, pounds sterling (rate checked on the phone) or Kenyan shillings. Visa and MasterCard are accepted with a 5% surcharge.