Reviews of Sayari Mara Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A very special place
This was a great camp to finish at. Yes, it was a tented camp, but that's putting it mildly. The rooms did have canvas walls and roofs, but the wooden floors oozed class and we loved the sliding walls that made up the bathroom and wardrobe area. We also had the luxury of a bath and 200 litres of water instead of the 20 litre bucket showers! We just loved it here!
The staff here were incredible and special mention must go to Clare, the camp manager who really was an excellent host. We were treated to a memorable lunch set out under a shady tree once day and then had our own private bar for the 3 of us set up by the Mara river on our last night to watch the sun go down whilst listening to the hippos grunting. I'll never forget it as it was very special.
The pool area too was just jaw dropping simply because it was so cleverly landscaped into the surrounding rocks. I'd love one of those at home!
One day we crossed the river to the plains bordering Kenya and that was when we really felt the Serengeti get into our blood. The sheer volume and variety of wildlife was amazing, and we were lucky enough to see cheetah here as well for the last time on this trip. We had some great encounters with elephant here as well, when we had to just stop and wait for them to feed and cross the road. What a hardship!
Out of season Sayari
A beautiful, peaceful camp. John and Carol were the perfect hosts, welcoming and great company.
The wildlife out of the wildebeest season was superb, we saw plenty of big cats, zebra, elephants and even rhino and had the perfect sundowner watching a leopard in a tree with a kill then moving on to a lioness with cubs playing on a boulder.
We really didn't want to leave this place!
This was the highlight of our trip to Tanzania. Four nights here so plenty of time to relax and unwind at the wonderful Sayari Mara Camp.
Its a big camp but certainly didn't feel like it. We had asked for - and got - a tent near the main reception areas, but it was still quiet and peaceful and not overlooked. The scenery may not have the drama of the Ngorongoro Crater but it is still beautiful and surprisingly varied. We hardly ever saw any other vehicles.
Tents are huge, and very stylish, with plenty of storage, and also have huge bathrooms with a bathtub (one of the reasons we had picked this camp - we do like a bath - & we never used the shower, although getting enough hot water to fill it proved quite a challenge!). Extra socket near the writing desk for charging things. Big private verandas with sofa and chairs.
A wonderful open, light & airy main area with bar and plenty of seating, coffee table books. At times maybe a bit too open, as during a thunderstorm, John (the manager) was left hanging on to one of the guy ropes to try to stop it getting blown away - had to do a few repairs the following morning. Separate dining tent. Swimming pool. Shop. Only a short drive from Kogatende airstrip.
Phil's request for no carrots, and mine for no cheese were well catered for and separate meals prepared as necessary! Lunch was a buffet arrangements - good idea - and served at separate tables. Dining was communal but separate tables were available if asked for.
Again, our dining companions made for entertaining evenings. On the last day we were on our own - the migration had recently left the area so the camp was quieter We were asked where we would like our lunch & dinner .. and it was served at a table specially laid for us, with a Maasai cloth at the edge of the lovely open and airy lounge area, as they thought we would be rattling round in the dining room on our own. A lovely way to end our stay.
The managers are fairly new to this camp (John and Clare) and looked after us very well - nothing was too much trouble.
Our young guide ('JB' - another John) was not in Alfred's league (but a good friend of his, he said!), but was still very good. We had another couple with us to begin with, but were then on our own in the safari vehicle. This made it easier for Phil, as he could then pick the best place to sit to accommodate his long legs (he is 6'6" tall), as one outing sitting at the back was uncomfortable.
Highly recommended for a longer stay.
Sayari Mara Camp
Sayari was a lovely lodge, modern and very open.
The manager was lovely, both helpful and attentive. We loved the dinners, which were varied and sitting at a long table, where we were able to move around, was a wonderful way to meet other guests. As we were ground level in our cabin, which was closest to the main cabin, we could see the animals on the plains during the day and early morning from our bed. The facilities were very good. It was a beautiful open camp.
We loved our guide and saw much of the Serengeti, especially "The Crossing" and our first Cheeta and Leopard. We so enjoyed this lodge and our guide.
Sayari Mara Camp review
Guides excellent, the best we had on our trip (although they were all excellent at every location we stayed at). The camp’s location is perfect for seeing a large crossing (which we did after 3 days – worth the wait).
Smart and chic, but perhaps a little too much “style” versus substance. The food, although good, was trying to be too fancy and not as good as Oliver’s Camp or Serengeti Safari Camp. You need to make it clear in advance that the walking activity is an additional charge (currently $50 pp).
Sayari Mara Camp review
We were very impressed with Sayari - it is a beautiful, luxurious camp in a remote location by the Mara River where hippos roam the camp at night. Tanja, Eric and the team made us feel very welcome, the service and food were excellent, and our tent was beautiful with stunning views over the valley and into Kenya.
Given its proximity to the Mara River, Sayari is a great location for seeing crocodiles and hippos and we saw plenty. Our guide Malaki also spotted rare black rhino and we observed them from very close which was fascinating.
We liked Sayari but early June was not the ideal time to visit the camp - after the long rains the roads were very bad, and we got stuck once as did a number of other vehicles from the camp. Also the tse tse flies were in abundance and long sleeves and insect repellent did little to deter them, plus the game viewing was very quiet compared to Dunia as the migration was still further south. A great camp but probably better visited in July/August.
Sayari Mara Camp review
Lovely tented room with excellent facilities. Pleasant pool. Lovely food , Wonderful company.
Tania was a lovely elegant hostess, it was great to see the dresses! She and Maggie were anxious to make us welcome.
Frank our guide spoke excellent English. We had a great sundowner experience out in the wilds with him
A good end to an amazing holiday.
Sayari Mara Camp review
Nice facility, but a let down compared to Dunia (surprisingly). Temp Manager Sally was very good, but the camp suffers from systemic poor room maintenance (towels never changed, water leaking from shower into bathroom) and food that frankly for a 5 star camp was tough and chewy (all meats except the chicken).
To be clear this is not a shabby camp. Folks were friendly and accommodating, but for the high cost it comes up short and is not as good as a value as Dunia.
Sayari Camp review
A permanent camp that was in two parts with separate dining / lounge areas for each. We were met at the airstrip by a local driver/guide and went on safari before arriving at the camp for dinner. At this camp we went out for sun downers, a great experience, but we had to share the 4x4. Although, saying that, we had met the other passengers at the last camp, and this added to the experience.
We had two all day game drives, and on both days saw the wildebeests crossing the Mara river, fantastic!! We saw every animal you could think of, including rhino, mating lions, cheetahs, leopards and elephants, as well as all the wildebeests, zebras etc. on the plains.
The camp itself was lavish, with good food, and comfortable lounge, as well as a nice cool swimming pool. The staff were very friendly and enjoyed hearing about the day's highlights of which there were many. A superb location within hearing distance of the Mara River.
Wildebeest crossings at Sayari
Sayari has a beautiful setting and we were pleased with our tent and lounge in the private part of the camp. Sadly we only had time to enjoy the pool once.
The game viewing was very good. We had come to see the wildebeest crossing from this side of the Mara river. We saw 2 wildebeest crossings, zebra and giraffe crossing the Mara so mission accomplished. Waiting for crossings to occur did take up a lot of time but we do not regret that since we observed other things as we waited.
We started with John as our first guide. He was a good guide and obviously experienced at finding the game, lions, eland, black back jackal with kill, leopard and buffalo. He found a black rhino which had just crossed from Kenya for a quiet wallow. However as more vehicles arrived (there are now a number of camps in the area which sadly makes crowds inevitable) he soon retreated back home.
We were especially impressed by John's driving through a very dramatic thunderstorm.(Whilst we were staying we had very unusual storm acitvity for this time of year, during late afternoon and evening. This did lead to us becoming soaked on occassion, and some water leakage along the edge of the tent but also produced some very dramatic skies and views including a leopard caught out in the deluge).
Our second guide was Mollel who was excellent, and entertained us with Maasai history and customs whilst we waited for the crossings. It was with him we saw all the Mara crossings. He also found us elephant and a cheetah family on our last drive.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and the hospitality provided by Salim and his team which included an impromptu celebration of my husband's birthday. We went out for full days each day and were always impressed by the picnics provided for breskfast and lunch.
The only downside was the presence of tsetse flies during the afternoon walk back to our tent, and the unexpected weather.
Expert Africa comments
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"The ratings choice on [our feedback] form did create difficulty in that there was nothing between Good and Excellent."