Reviews of Borana
Wildlife sightings and reviews
5 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Borana and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Wonderful time at Borana Lodge"
Our Landrover behaved impeccably (not breaking down like some of the other vehicles) and allowed us to get anywhere we wanted to go. Adventurous forays included finding our first solitary male lion at night, who walked alongside our vehicle, marking his territory, followed the next evening by spotting a whole pride of females and their five young cubs, all following each other in a neat lion tail-to-tail line to prepare for a hunt. Ben was determined to find them and was a great spotter. He also knew lots of natural history from the behaviour of harvester ants on the short hike to Pride Rock to the flora of the Highlands.
Meals and events included a surprise birthday dinner with sundowners for one of the guests somewhere in the bush, with dramatic burning torches under the stars. Cary, the manager, has a great sense of style and threw herself into entertaining the guests, while giving everyone space and privacy. We wanted to dine alone in our cottage for one of our lunches and Cary was happy to arrange something just for us - though we enjoyed the family style meals as well.
The food was very good - plenty of variety, plenty of meals and drinks. We felt we indulged ourselves with the jeep sundowners too, while seeing a good range of wildlife. If we came back we would probably opt for sightly longer game drives and would stay out longer with more bush breakfasts.
Activities: the horse riding safaris were a high point. the horses are excellent, ex-polo horses and the rider-guides are very skilled at riding and wildlife spotting. It was very exciting being on horseback in a herd of zebras, getting up close to elephants and staying far enough away from a lone aggressive buffalo hiding in a bush, as well as a lion which was stalking zebra. Horse back is a good way of covering quite a lot of ground and we would have planned for another day at Borana if we had realised how horse rides here were a genuine safari experience, not just trail rides.
We liked the rhino tracking on foot - a good morning activity along with our bush breakfast. And good to see the work of the rangers first hand.
I wished we had visited the local school supported by Borana. We heard great things about that - but we weren't sufficiently organised to take advantage of that on our first day and ran out of time later!
We would also consider going back to Borana in order to go fly-camping and horseback trekking up the slopes of Mt Kenya over a few days, but didn't know about this until we were there. More information about the necessary level of riding experience (and what the novice level would offer would also be useful for mixed-ability groups to plan in advance).
We were sad to leave and loved the experience, the company of Ben, our gorgeous rooms, plunge pool and the easy informal luxury of the experience, without feeling we were playing at being colonials....we also felt very good that this was a not-for-profit operation which benefits the conservancy and the community including impressive work in establishing a community school, as well as the important rhino conservation project." See all these reviews: 8n in Kenya
"A great experience"
Food was fantastic and we enjoyed a different venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We climbed Pride Rock and enjoyed wine and food on top of the rock...and we rode horses with giraffes close by. We had a terrific guide in Peter. The manager, Hunter, was very accommodating." See all these reviews: 13n in Kenya
"Country house in the bush"
Upper crust hostesses, some with little knowledge of real life.
Many activities for more athletic visitors with particular interests such as horse riding and mountain biking in the bush.-and we had excellent reports from those guests that used these
Excellent lunches but dinners somewhat disappointing" See all these reviews: 16n in Kenya
Hunter was the new camp host and seemed to be doing a great job taking care of all the details. Hopefully he realizes and is able to make some of the positive changes this camp needs to improve their safari experience. While the staff seems very professional and accommodating my wife and I never felt any connection on a personal level with anyone at this camp except Hunter.
Food was generally good (except for a beef dinner that was below expectations) but uninspired as if the menu was created in the 1970's." See all these reviews: 12n in Kenya
"Understated luxury at Borana Lodge"
The staff were excellent - we only met Flick once but she left a great impression and we were very well looked after by Hunter and all the staff. Our guides: Patrick and John, were wonderful (and I think Patrick is going for his silver imminently).
The food was a high point - very impressive that all the produce is locally and sustainably sourced and the chef is superb. The huevos rancheros for breakfast deserve a special mention - and a piece of carrot cake with frozen yoghurt had all the guests waxing lyrical one lunchtime! We liked it that the settings (locations) for breakfast, lunch and dinner were all different - and equally stunning!
The activities were brilliant. I rode every day and thought the stables and horses were fantastic. It was great to be able to enjoy rides on some forward-going horses - and it was good to be able to spend some time with Nicky Dyer, who went above and beyond to welcome both myself and Ollie (who doesn't ride!). We also very much enjoyed rhino tracking one morning and feel very lucky to have been able to get pretty close to these fascinating creatures. We saw both black and white rhino (we saw a couple of whites as we were passing through Lewa Conservancy en route to Borana). The work Borana Conservancy does to protect its rhinos is humbling.
Additionally, we enjoyed a couple of walking safaris, including a yomp to Pride Rock for sundowners. Special! A daytime excursion to the Ngare Ndare forest was great fun also. And we were lucky enough to see cheetah but the lions proved elusive (other guests spied them but we prioritised rhino as we were pretty confident we'd see lots of lion in the Mara). The game drives were fantastic and it was excellent to have the flexibility to go out whenever we fancied, including at night.
The only very minor negative was finding myself booked on an 'intermediate' ride (rather than 'experienced') for the second day, seemingly in order to accommodate one of the youngsters (a 20-year-old English girl) who was working at Borana for a few weeks over the summer. Given that it was just myself, the guides and the girl in question, I was a bit miffed that the pace of my ride had to be tempered to suit her (she wasn't very experienced and did not have good control of her horse) - a non-paying customer! I feel a bit churlish bringing this up because we had a lovely ride and I feel privileged to have been on horseback in such a stunning location at all - but I did feel it was a bit of an own goal.
Overall - we had an absolutely fantastic (and jam-packed!) time at Borana and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone." See all these reviews: 8n in Kenya; 5n in Zanzibar
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