Reviews of Porini Lion Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Porini Lion Camp
We had been told before we arrived that Porini would be different to Kicheche, and it was. The only way I can describe the feeling that I had when we arrived was that I had left home and had arrived back at boarding school! My heart sank.
As this is my first experience of a safari I can only compare the two camps. Everything seemed a little tired at Porini. On the approach to Porini there was an area of waste ground with a large piece of broken concrete pipe lying there.
Our Tent (No 4) was very dark with no outlook due to scrub growing up close to the tent. Just a small amount of clearing would have given more light and a view over the river and beyond. Otherwise we had no outlook from "our veranda". Beyond the scrub were discarded items including a mop & mop head, this just showed maybe the lack of attention to detail that separated Porini from Kicheche.
The Mess Tent was very dark, on the first night two of our party wore head torches to eat their dinner by. There were lovely substantial candles which were on the sideboard unlit. (Although they were used on the second night.)
We have put good for food except the beef (?) casserole which was largely fat and gristle.
By Activities I assume this means the Game Drives and these were excellent, as were our guides and as indeed were all the staff who looked after us extremely well.
Despite our comments we grew quite fond of Porini and would return. However we would go to Porini first and then on to Kicheche.
The difference between excellent for Kicheche and good for Porini does not really show how much more superior Kicheche was but it would be churlish to give Porini anything less than good as we felt they were trying and perhaps more leadership from the management would have dealt with the problems before they arose.
A disappointment after the first camp
Although OUR tent had a good outlook I felt that on the whole they were too close together. Mess tent was small, and really not enough seating when having pre-dinner drinks, although round the camp fire it was OK.
I felt the wildlife was slightly better here - we saw leopard and I liked the fact that hippos were around us a night! I did feel the Manager did not always have his finger on the pulse, but the staff were very friendly. Guides were very good.
An interesting experience of life in the bush
Perhaps we were setting the standard too high having just spent three wonderful days at Kicheche, but Porini Lion Camp did not quite live up to expectations. The Masai staff, Guides and Drivers were excellent and worked hard to make sure we could do everything we wanted , including night drives and a whole day trip into the Mara Reserve. We also had an amazing twenty minute send off when we left with all the staff traditionally dressed and full of energy and fun
Although our rooms (number 5 in our case) were clean and comfortable there were one or two issues which had to be pointed out - lack of hand towel, light bulb needing replacement and a chest of drawers with a faulty top which collapsed under the slightest pressure making it impossible to open the drawers, and just 4 coat hangers. The wind up torch in the room was useless, despite a great deal of winding when ever we had a spare moment! Fortunately we had taken our own head torches - a must for this camp!
The communal dining area was very dimly lit and although we had candles on the table for one meal, which greatly improved things, they were normally left unlit on a side table, also several of the dining chair cushions had lost their ties and could not be fixed in place. The food was tasty and adequate in most cases, but at lunch on the first day the very small salad bowl was not sufficient for 12 people and was only replenished at the end of the main course when most people had finished everything else on the plate. We were very surprised not to be offered a hot drink at the end of lunch, or the evening meal - especially as obviously there are no drink making facilities in the rooms. However, when asked, the manager did agree to provide tea or coffee on subsequent occasions. The beef stew, mashed potato and mixed veg on the last evening meal was, I fear, rather reminiscent of a school dinner but the soups were excellent.
Porini Lion Camp review
We also much enjoyed this stay. The Maasai, again without exception, were first class in every way. Again they were well informed, eager to help, and delightful companions, whether discussing game, or any topic under the sun.
We were the only couple to go a walk. We passed a lioness at about 40 metres. She did nothing save keep her watchful eye on our every step. We felt confident that that had she taken more interest in us our armed guard and our instructing escort would have known what to do. It was a feature of this visit that Lion prowled and roared just outside our tent - a lasting memory! Again the Maasai staff's timekeeping was such that I was tempted to use the arrival of tea to fix my watch!
The send-off party and farewell were remarkable - we did not want to leave!
Excellent 3 days at Porini
Our tent was situated just above the river and had less of a view than Kicheche but the birds were much more numerous which made up for it.
The drives into the Mara were really exciting and our drivers were again friendly, informative and competent.
We missed two of our drives at the end of the trip because we were unwell but have no idea what caused it. The first time in all our many travels abroad so maybe we were a bit blasé and were not careful enough.