Reviews of El Karama Eco-Lodge
Wildlife sightings and reviews
14 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited El Karama Eco-Lodge and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Fabulous stay at El Karama"
But a trip to El Karama is so much more than just the wildlife! Everything about the place has been put together thoughtfully. We stayed in a river cottage, which was certainly one of the most memorable hotel rooms that I have stayed in. The food was exceptional, not least the lunchtime salads which were so perfectly dressed with mint and dill. My dietary requirements were perfectly catered for.
The owner, Sophie, came round a few times to tell us about the place. A big highlight was the fly camping in a bell tent with a lovely bush dinner and drinks at the camp fire; Robinson ensured that we didn't run out of wine! The quality of service was exceptional throughout the stay." See all these reviews: 16n in Kenya
"Best "surprise" of the trip"
Lovii, the manager, would not take no for an answer when we protested he was doing too much for us, and Andrew, our guide, was just the sweetest young man. Being young took nothing away from his expertise, however, and the highlight was his finding an aardwolf.
As is so often the case, the best birding could be done within the perimeter of camp. On my way up to the car to leave, I saw a Cardinal Quelea, a rare bird for this location." See all these reviews: 18n in Kenya
"El-Karama, top marks"
Food was great even more so considering we had 2 vegetarians out of 5 - and Kenyan love their meat: always had options for us.
Our driver/guide Andrew was superb and possibly had super-powers (driving at night, pointing the spot light, seeing invisible things, giving us insights: all at the same time!).
There wasn't a thing we did not like, could not have been better." See all these reviews: 17n in Kenya
Even though the owners were away while we were there, the service and hospitality were perfect. Birdlife was abundant, and it was interesting to encounter some different animals that you don't see further south (like gerenuk, Grevy's zebra and vulterine guinea fowl).
We even managed to get in our daily run, using the 1km track around the main farmhouse - not something you expect while on safari! This is a place we would love to go back to..." See all these reviews: 7n in Kenya
"El Karama ......better than excellent"
Murray, Sophie and the team have done an amazing job designing and building the lodge which thoroughly deserves its Silver ECO rating. This is topped by a professional, attentive and very kind staff team led well by Lovi.
On arrival Andrew met our taxi near the ranch boundary and made us very welcome. We met our first giraffe about 50 yards after we set off and then enjoyed a near full set of wildlife driving to the lodge......a superb start to a great 3 days / 4 nights at El Karama.
We were thoroughly briefed by Lovi and while we fully understand the need for a thorough safety briefing, perhaps mention of Buffalo incursions inside the wire might be minimized for young ears who may not understand the wider context.
Jason and I particularly appreciated the way the staff interacted with and encouraged Jack, particularly Andrew, Wanjala, Esther. and Robinson. Sophie had wisely suggested we managed Jack's expectations re his 'Save the Bushbuck' project. In the event Lovi kindly integrated the project in our programme without any prompting and Jack had a great time even though the original seedlings had not survived the drought.
The scene was set just before breakfast on Day 1 when the resident orphaned Bushbuck was seen browsing by our Rondeval.....and named 'Bushey' Then after lunch Wanjala took Jack to find and transplant some 5 natural bush seedlings close to the wire fence by the river. We then had a game drive and Andrew took us to the impressive new stone 'hide' by the dam, designed to protect trees from elephants. Andrew explained the need to replace the magnificent mature fever trees that were being 'drowned' in the dam. Jack then helped transplant a strong fever tree seedling to start the replacement process. While Esther has mentioned sending photos as the seedling matures, Jack has made several mentions of coming back to see progress for himself!
Joseph led our bush walk but this did not live up to expectations. It was a bit of a route march and most of the stops followed one of us asking Joseph a question. Perhaps I have been spoilt by the Porini guides who closely involve their guests in the natural world.
While I have no knowledge of what is involved in certifying guides, I wonder if there is merit in considering developing Andrew and perhaps Robinson, with a view to them becoming Bronze rated guides?
Finally, may I suggest that it would be helpful if there was a photo for each of the staff detailed on the website. We also noted that Esther is not currently listed and also Sophie is missing as Host? However, if space is limited, then perhaps at least a photo of Lovi could be added?" See all these reviews: 6n in Kenya
"El Karama Eco-Lodge"
Animal drives were pleasant outings with a skilled and friendly guide who helped introduce us to Kenya and its varied wildlife. We also visited the cattle ranch headquarters and were very impressed with the integration of the cattle operations and the safari activities.
Getting there by vehicle is a real challenge! The bumpy, dusty roads show rural Kenya as it is. However, arrriving at the camp makes it all worthwhile." See all these reviews: 10n in Kenya
"We loved El Karama"
The buildings, overlooking a river, are largely constructed from materials sourced on the ranch itself and blend into the landscape perfectly. We enjoyed a mixture of game walks and drives led by our excellent guide, Joseph, and eagle-eyed driver, Andrew, and were lucky enough, over a period of four days, to get perfect views of the sequence of animals feasting on a buffalo carcass - lions, jackals, vultures, tawny eagles etc. - among many wonderful wildlife sightings.
Every mealtime was a mini-safari with a variety of colourful birds waiting for the leftovers and a visiting genet ready to take advantage of any lapse in the waiter's security regime. This a refreshingly unpretentious place that offers an authentic, back to basics safari experience but with all the comfort and convenience you need." See all these reviews: 17n in Kenya
"El Karama Eco-Lodge review"
The property itself was lovely and the addition of the pool is a great idea as it creates a natural place to relax other than your room. The style of the property is pretty unique and Murray was a very good host. The pool area is finished to a high standard and there are some nice shady areas under tree's. It's a bit cold in winter time like now but I am sure it will be nice and warm in summer.
Food and staff were excellent. Game drives were good in terms of animals but not comparable with the Mara. I saw a single cheetah when I was at the property over the four days, no lions. I think opening up other tracks within the property which I know Murray is working on may help in this regard. I would say that this place is more about the lovely people and sweeping views with some nice concentration of elephants and other animals rather than lots of cats or the Big five. If you are coming to Africa for safari though I would suggest it needs to be balanced with the Mara which is much more touristy but you see more animals. When you do see a cat at El Karama its a lot more special I would suggest as it feels more 'private.'
Overall a really fantastic stay and would definitely recommend. The mara trip and El Karama work really well together.." See all these reviews: 9n in Kenya
"El Karama Eco-Lodge review"
The pool and rest areas around the pool were excellent.
Guides were very knowledgeable and we loved our early evening bush walk." See all these reviews: 13n in Kenya
"We loved El Karama!"
The game drives were fantastic. We saw a wide array of animals: lionesses and cubs, hippos, elephants, giraffes, wild dogs, hyenas, jackals, all sorts of impalas and gazelles, both kind of zebras, birds galore - I felt like we saw a wide array of African wildlife. We had a bush breakfast one morning with giraffes that was spectacular, and our guide, Joseph, and our driver, David, were both friendly and helpful.
We took our 5 and newly 8 year old to El Karama. Kids are warmly welcomed there and both have already asked to go back. Sophie, her family and the team welcomed the kids like family, and made all sorts of activities available, from casting tracks with plaster on a game drive to painting daily in the gallery to a passport with activities. Lovii, the host, made sure the kids ate well and took my son fishing, and the chef cooked up his fresh catch! At all times we felt very safe, as did the kids, and they loved every minute. The morning and twilight game drives were short enough to (mostly) keep their attention. The river was also a huge attraction, and we spent time there every day.
El Karama is a beautiful place with beautiful people, and we enjoyed our time there and wouldn't hesitate to return." See all these reviews: 3n in Kenya
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