El Karama Eco-Lodge

Reviews of El Karama Eco-Lodge

Excellent(98%) From 12 travellers
Excellent
11
Good
1
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 12 of our travellers who have visited El Karama Eco-Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr D. from Richmond
Arrived on: 10-Aug-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

El-Karama, top marks

Our first taste of Africa: amazing place, staff were lovely (all the 'junior' people were there as owners and main guide were on leave), the location is great and well looked after. We were nearly the only ones there for 4 nights and made friends with the staff in no time, everyone was terribly kind & friendly. Our 'banda' was beautiful and we like the eco touch to it, recycled timber, no plastic bottles, all solar powered, etc.

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.

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Mr G. from Cape Town
Arrived on: 6-Aug-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

El Karama

We loved El Karama. The lodge is beautiful, the staff friendly and fantastic.

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...

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Mr C - West Sussex
Arrived on: 28-Jul-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

El Karama ......better than excellent

We had studied the El Karama website and were prepared to be wowed but the reality greatly exceeded our expectations.....mega wow! The lodge location is simply stunning.

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?

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Expert Africa comments

This detailed feedback is greatly appreciated and we have passed it on to El Karama, as we do with all the feedback on lodges and camps from our travellers. We will certainly consider including photos of key lodge and camp staff in our Expert Africa photos. And the lodge itself is free to include any photos they would like to present in the Owner's Gallery.

Mr Jim from Medford, OR
Arrived on: 11-Sep-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

El Karama Eco-Lodge

Truly, a delightful place to begin our Kenya safari.The camp staff was incredibly friendly and helpful which was facilitated by the fact we were the only guests there at the time.

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.

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Mr K & Mrs A - Kent
Arrived on: 18-Mar-2015 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

We loved El Karama

If you like luxuriously appointed 'designer' lodges, El Karama probably won't be for you but we loved it.

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.

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Mr H, Johannesburg
Arrived on: 2-Aug-2014 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

El Karama Eco-Lodge review

A fantastic lodge, with a very 'different' feel from the Mara. A much more laidback place with barely any vehicles and much fewer people.

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..

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The B family - Leicestershire
Arrived on: 9-Feb-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

El Karama Eco-Lodge review

Staff we're very friendly and helpful.

The pool and rest areas around the pool were excellent.

Guides were very knowledgeable and we loved our early evening bush walk.

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Ms J, Connecticut, USA
Arrived on: 3-Feb-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Wonderful Safari for Three Generations

El Karama was a delightful place for the three generations of my family to go on Safari. My grandchildren, ages 8 and 5 were really catered to by Sofie, Joseph and Lovii and that made the experience wonderful for all of us. My 5 year old grandson went fishing with Lovii and caught a small fish which was then cooked for him into fried fish fingers for his dinner. The Banda accommodations were amazing. The food was fresh and delicious. The new swimming pool was perfect for a midday swim between game drives.

We saw so many animals on our twice daily game drives all of them so elegant in their natural environment. One night with a spotlight we saw a family of hippos come up the River and climb up the opposite bank right in front of our dining room. Out in the bush we saw zebras, rare Endangered Grevy's zebras, families of giraffes, gazelles, impalas, endangered Jackson’s hartebeests and wild dogs, just to name a few. The birds were also beautiful to watch.

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Ms S, Mr J and family, US and UK
Arrived on: 3-Feb-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

We loved El Karama!

There is amazing warmth and personal care at El Karama. We arrived to juice and a wonderful lunch, served from fresh, organic veggies grown on their adjoining ranch and a swim in their new pool. The bandas, like all of their buildings, are works of art. The accommodations are comfortable, roomy and have thoughtful touches like filtered water and torches/nightlights.

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.

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Mr and Mrs W, Cambridge UK
Arrived on: 17-Jan-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

A very special place to stay

Our favourite lodge of the trip. The location is charming, overlooking a murmuring stream and surrounded by bush, Joseph, our guide, was a lovely man and Lovi looked after us splendidly. Sophie and Murray are an inspirational couple. The newly opened swimming pool adds enormously to the facilities and raises the profile of the place.

We found the game drives in the rough terrain somewhat strenuous but the abundant animals, particularly elephants, zebras and gazelles, and the grand distant views with Mount Kenya in the background were very rewarding. The only other vehicles occasionally seen belonged to the ranch. The walks with Joseph were a real pleasure, and our last one ended with a dash back to the car to drive to see at close quarters two lionesses devouring a young zebra.

Suppers were nicely varied and wholesome.

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