Reviews of Mara Toto
Wildlife sightings and reviews
1 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Mara Toto and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Excellent bush camp in a superb location"
However even apart from all this, for me the one person thats always made Mara Toto and Mara Plains stand out has been Ping -their head guide who for me is easily the best guide in Greater Mara. We were extremely fortunate to have been the last guests Ping guides from here as he goes frelance now and very thankful to GPC for arranging that we could have him guide us.
Even with Ping gone, barring one bad guiding incident with a guide they brought in from Ol Donyo, all guides at Mara Plains and Toto are excellent- Somale, Dan 2, Tirian, Duncan, Kevin- they will all get you the experiences and sightings and are all top notch guides. On my last drive, I was given this substitute guide from Ol Donyo lodge ( who had been here for a month) as Ping had to leave early. This guide , seriously not only did he have no clue about how to look for anything, he pretended he knew everything and then spent 20-25 minutes on the radio in the middle of nowhere ( open plains, not a animal in sight) wasting what was the perfect light of our entire trip, talking on the radio to figure out where another vehicle was with lions. Even though I had requested we go look for a leopard we had been seeing in a riverine. It took him forever to find the other vehicle which was just across a lugga and then he brought me to those lions when the light had totally gone behind the clouds - And through this whole 20-30 minutes not once did he ask me if thats what I wanted. Inretrospect I think it was a bit of a wrong call to give this guide to a group of very experienced safari goers even for just one drive - I was quite surprised at the quality of this guide. I actually had to ask him to position "further" away from the leopard as he kept driving too close. However everything else was so 120% and they (Ping, Stella, Tirian, all the staff, GPC team and even the other guides we would meet from Mara Plains/Toto) did everything to make our stay top notch that I cant really complain about this one drive except that for someone who lives and breathes safaris and waits for those two weeks in Africa for a year, every game drive is super important.
Saving the best for the last - Ping and his superb guiding skills ( apart from a great guide, he is also a very kind person who really anticipates his guests needs very well) gave us breathtaking moments with lions, leopards, cheetahs- and cubs of all 3 big cats, 3 hunts, many failed stalking and hunts, a big crossing and few small ones and some intense inter-species interaction. He is a photographer's dream guide anticipating light, subject, animal behaviour. He even positioned me perfectly through a small gap in the riverine forest , where a leopard and cub had briefly rested, so I could lie on the vehicle floor and take photos from that one small gap- all the while anticipating my point of view from the vehicle even though he was in the driver's row. An Incredible guide." See all these reviews: 11n in Kenya
The replacement guide on their last morning was a bronze-level guide with plenty of guiding experience in the Chyulu Hills, who has always had excellent feedback and was about to finish a month-long intensive in-house training course at Mara Toto. He had spent every previous day on game drives with other guides, but this was his first game drive alone in the Mara and he was somewhat out of his depth. The camp’s manager Stella also accompanied these guests with the guide to try to ensure things went smoothly. Unfortunately, this did not happen and the camp has extended its sincere apologies for the very trying circumstances.
These travellers have also responded further to say they think less photographically oriented clients might not have felt the guiding was sub-standard on the last morning. They feel the manager was presented with some last-minute decisions and are very grateful that she did everything she could to help.
While we appreciate this situation was very difficult, we think it is a measure of how seriously Mara Toto takes its guiding that it only came about by a series of very unfortunate coincidences. It is also a reminder of how hard it is to guarantee specific requests such as guides, although most camps will always do their very best. We believe Mara Toto excels in making every effort to give guests the most rewarding and productive safari experience possible.
Expert Africa also has the option of booking a limited number of specific freelance guides for safaris, at extra cost, in the same way that we can book a private vehicle, in order to guarantee the guides’ availability.
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