Reviews of Offbeat Mara
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Offbeat Mara is absolutely incredible. Every single element of the whole experience comes together to make the whole thing totally unforgettable - a truly life changing experience. The camp managers, Kyle and Lara are two of the friendliest, welcoming and fun people that we have ever met. From stories around the campfire to expertly led walking safaris, they covered everything. We were waved off and welcomed back from safari drives, fed amazing food at all times of the day, and never witnessed an empty glass. We can't even begin to do justice to how great Offbeat Mara was and we urge anybody interested in a true Kenyan experience to book here immediately.
The rooms were not only clean and spacious, but also stylish and comfortable. The staff were all so funny and sociable, not to mention educated in all things safari. We asked many questions and received insightful, interesting answers. Lunch and dinner with the rest of the guests (in our experience, this was between 6 - 10 other people) was an absolute joy. We met so many interesting people with such varied lives. Kyle used to be a cook and so the standard of food was incredibly high given the camp's location in the middle of the bush. Everybody would sit around telling stories and sharing experiences. There are also lots of fantastic photography books to look at, further adding to the enjoyment. It's unbelievable to think that you have seen these things in books and films and then minutes later, you're sat in a jeep staring into the eyes of a pride of lions. Breathtaking.
The drivers at Offbeat were simply unbeatable. It's as if they were orchestrating the animals themselves and we were constantly finding ourselves in the right place at the right time. At first we thought this was luck, but then it dawned on us that it was the highly expert driver (David) and his spotter that were working so hard to make sure we had the best possible time. Not only this, but they had a passion for the wildlife that rubbed off on us, teaching us about animal psychology, local whether movements or bush-craft.
We saw the Marsh Pride of Lion with young cubs, 2 Leopards; one on the way from the airport strip to our lodge and one from the hot air balloon, lions mating and 2 river crossings we were very spoilt!
Offbeat Mara was quite a contrast to Offbeat Meru, including in the weather. We had one of the old tents which was fine but a little small. Food and guiding were good and we enjoyed the experience. As always, the wildlife in the Mara is everywhere.
However, organisation of the camp was a little weak when we were there. Everything was too relaxed really, so we had to shift our own luggage ( I have no problem doing this but it is kind of annoying when someone says they will bring it: we arrived after a four hour flight, keen for a shower and after ten minutes I just went to fetch the luggage myself). Power for the lights did not get switched on until an hour after dark one night. Showers were forgotten on occasion too and it was hard to find someone to sort these fairly minor issues out.
We enjoyed ourselves and the guiding was good but changing guides each time was odd (although all were good). Despite a lack of organisation on our visit, they were flexible so we did everything we wanted. However, we had a sense of being a little abandoned in comparison to the excellent service and management at Offbeat Meru.
Expert Africa comments
Offbeat Mara has responded to these travellers comments and although the camp is happy that they rated their overall experience as "excellent" they regret the disappointments. As of December 2013, the camp has been fully upgraded with brand-new, bigger tents with solar lighting available at all times. It appears that when these guests were in camp normal practice was not in place, possibly due to the absence of one of the two managers while the camp was full. Normal practice is to have two managers in place at all times. Guest luggage should always be delivered straight away to their tents and hot safari showers normally take no longer than 10 minutes at the most to be delivered. The camp has held a staff meeting over these issues and they should never be repeated again. They emphasise they are sorry that Mr and Mrs J felt things were not as efficient as in their sister camp Offbeat Meru.
A true safari camp
A different experience to its sister camp in Meru but nonetheless excellent. A very relaxed camp which ran well with a variety of options for drives including the day drive into the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Our guide Josephatt was a charming knowledgeable guide who did his utmost to give us the best possible view of any sighting.
A leopard at last!
Great Safari at Offbeat Mara
The camp itself is in a wonderful setting and we were lucky to have one of the new tents which were very comfortable. The manager and staff at the Mara were very friendly and relaxed and nothing was too much trouble.
Each day you decided what you wanted to do ie: full day, half day, night drive etc. The food was very good and the area is abundant with wildlife.
Lovely tented camp with excellent wildlife
I absolutely loved the Offbeat Mara tented camp arrangement, as it feels like there isn't much between you and the wildlife. The welcome was really warm and friendly, and the staff were keen to make the guests feel at home and comfortable. There is a very comfy central sofa area where guests gather before meals and to just socialise over a drink, which I really appreciated as a single visitor.
The food was fantastic, prepared lovingly by the Chef, and a highlight was the regular visit by a melanistic greater galago coming to steal the bread! The accommodation tents were fabulous, with a flushing toilet and warm shower (from a hanging bucket, carefully pre-ordered as you returned, dusty, from safari).
Morning safaris were preceeded by a cup of real coffee steaming outside the tent so you could wake up in luxury. However, the wildlife is what it's all about, and there is so much of it. Offbeat Mara had a pride of lions close by on Lion rock, and I was hugely priviledged to spend a long time watching two females and their cubs playing tag after gorging on a fresh kill. Even though my stay was very short (2 nights) I was able to see a leopard and cheetah every day, not even mentioning the vast herds of game we saw gathering on the banks of the Mara River in the Mara Reserve itself. Outings are in groups, obviously, so your itinerary is somewhat directed by other guests who may be fairly assertive about what they want! However, for me, the trip was utterly fantastic.
Offbeat Mara review
A small, very nice camp with great view of the plains from our tent - that could be a bit larger. Great and plenty of food and drinks leading to enjoyable late evenings. A spirited camp reflecting the age of its young and very accommodating managers.
There is plenty of wildlife in the rolling plains of the Mara North Conservancy, the camp was literally next to a pride of lions. Although the migration was yet to start there were a lots of wildebeest, zebras and of course topi. Our award has been the lack to see every single a leopard, one walking just in front of our vehicle. And certainly a mother cheetah with her two youngsters stalking gazelles. The drive to the migration crossing(s) at the Mara river, is a long drive from the Conservancy but worth it. The views and smells of the Mara are special enough to compensate the scarcity of wildlife at places during the long drive.
Walking has been also a great experience, among others in realising the critical balance of co-existence between the Masai and their livestock with wildlife. The grass is definitely very high this time of the year, temperatures are cool to cold during the early and evening hours, but quite hot during the day. Most important is that in the Conservancy during this time you are sparred from the masses that come about in the Reserve the coming weeks.
We did enjoy this camp and we certainly recommend for a visit to the greater Mara.