Reviews of Sayari Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Sayari Mara Camp review
We loved our stay at Sayari. Given that we were travelling in February, we had no expectations of seeing river crossings or the migration and were unsure what the resident game was going to be like... It was great! The Lamai plains were teeming with wildlife. As well as numerous antelope, resident wildebeest and zebra, we saw a black rhino, a cheetah with 3 cubs at a kill, a pride of 3 male, 2 female and 2 cubs at a kill and a herd of about 50 elephants.
The best part was that there were only 3 vehicles out at any one time and although they radioed each other if there was anything spectacular you mostly felt that you had the entire area to yourself. During drives by the Mara river we saw plenty of hippo and crocodiles including several large crocodiles eating a dead hippo.
We did a couple of game drives south of the river where we saw a lion pride with 5 young playful cubs and a leopard (briefly). Apparently there is a also a leopard with 2 cubs in this area. The only point worth noting is that the game is much more plentiful north of the river and this area becomes inaccessible if the river rises and the bridge becomes flooded.
The camp was very comfortable. The room felt quite like a luxury hotel room. There was plenty of hot water for baths or showers. The food was very good and the camp took care to take account of my dietary requirements. The camp has a good pool area with lounging chairs, a sitting area and a small library with books and games. The managers, Joe and Barbara, were very hospitable and worked hard to ensure people were happy.
The guides were knowledgeable and chatty. They were also flexible about timings eg. having breakfast on morning drive, extending game drives if we found something interesting etc. We felt that the guides were genuinely fond of the animals and interested in tracking their progress eg. the cheetah cubs.
The only very minor downsides were that a couple of afternoons game drives were cut short because of rainstorms (to be expected in Feb) and there are quite a few tsetse flies in the wooded area that you drive through between the camp and the Mara river.
The feeling of remoteness of the camp, the great wildlife and the extremely comfortable camp meant we had an incredible time here and could have spent much longer at Sayari.
It would be good but may not be technically feasible, but it would have been useful to have a map of the immediate area. Saw two lots of crossings of the Mara River!!!
Titus our driver at Sayari was an excellent safe driver and very well informed about and a good spotter of wild life. Very pleasant tmature young man.
Great migration experience at Sayari
Fantastic new permanent camp ideally located to see the migration and Mara river crossings. The very large tents are superb with fantastic views of the bush.
Esto was a great guide and managed to find the 4 Cheetah cubs that had not been seen for 2 weeks. We witnessed a river crossing within an hour of landing at the airstrip. Day 3 produced 5 river crossings and we were the only vehicle to witness one of the largest deep water crossings.
Excellent food and the service from Philip and Wangish in the dining room deserves a special mention. We took a packed breakfast on our morning game drives starting at 6.30am and came back for lunch at 1pm. However, if we found something special, they were very flexible and we could return at any time for lunch.
Deisgner camp in the wilderness
Our final safari camp was Sayari, open for only 5 weeks when we went there. It certainly looks stunning and in particular we loved the view from our tent, the pool built into the rock, the big sofa on our veranda and the big stone bath in our tent.
The managers were really solicitous and our guide Frank was great and eager to show us as many sights as possible. He was well rewarded when we got us to the right place at the right time to see one of the earliest wildebeest crossings of the Mara for the season. It was a phenomenal experience. The northern Serengeti is so beautiful that we enjoyed the landscapes as much as the wildlife.
The food was good but they were trying very hard to make it a fine dining experience. This meant that even at breakfast the food was presented with little bits of garnish which were unnecessary and made it take ages to arrive when we just wanted to be up and out.
We went on a walking safari here as well as at Oliver's but I think that one during a holiday would be enough as while it is interesting to see your surroundings at close quarters most things, big and small, scuttle away when they see you coming so it is not a rewarding way to study the local wildlife.
The main downside of Sayari for me was that I got bitten to pieces. The Tsetse flies were pretty bad here which was annoying for everyone but I am one of those people who gets insect bites however much deet I use. My husband didn't get one bite. The camp supplied room spray and we sprayed the tent every evening but because of the design with patio doors instead of zipping flaps we could not make the tent insect proof and they just kept finding me which made the end of our safari rather miserable for me. I would really have appreciated a mosquito net here but this wasn't an option.
Like Suyan, superb in all aspects. Food, staff, facilities and activities were top class.
And of course we saw the Mara crossing and much more.
Also like Suyan could do with cake for the morning break and iron the laundry.
Sayari Camp review
Fantastic - sums up our experience at Sayari. In comparison with Suyan, the service was far superior, whether from the waiters, the Manager, tent attendants or the guides. We liked the individual tables for meals - it is nice when on holiday, not to have to make conversation over dinner etc.
The staff were friendly and did their upmost to make sure everything went well.
As for the 2 guides - Lucas and Emmanuel - they couldn't have been more helpful. Their knowledge and enthusiasm were infectious. Although they didn't find us a Leopard, they did their upmost to locate one.
Kenneth, I believe the manager, was helpful, and kind enough to wait sometime with us at the airfield, when the plane was delayed.
Sayari Camp was out of this world!
This was the most amazing experience. We had some fab guides who collected us from the airstrip - Lucas and Emmanuel and we saw lots of wildlife on the way back to camp including a leopard.
The camp was amazing, tents were very luxurious and the food was beautiful. All the staff were lovely and helped us along with our very basic swahili.
Our main guides for the bulk of our safaris were Prim and Petana who I think have xray vision as they could spot lions miles away! We were very lucky to see wildebeest crossing the Mara River 3 times, which was great a truly awesome experience.
Was excellent for our honeymoon, expensive but really worth it, would love to go back but don't think we would be able to afford it, working out a way in, maybe I can wash the ladies underwear!
Such a fantstic place beautiful sunsets and great guides and staff to share it with, thank you. x
See the migration from Sayari
The wilderbeast were massing to cross the mara river and saw many actually crossing.
Sighted several different species of wildlife compared to Selous and Ruaha
Expert Africa comments
By email, these travellers elaborated that they had seen several additional species during their time at Sayari Camp that had not been present, or had not seen, when they had visited Ruaha and the Selous earlier in their trip. eg Thomson's gazelle, oribi plus a number of different birds.
Sayari Camp review
This was our first visit to Africa and our first safari. From the moment we arrived we were quite delighted by the warm and friendly welcome from Joe and our guide Prim. This set the tone for our stay there.
All of the staff were helpful and we can't give enough praise for our guide who was with us for all of stay there. We enjoyed the freedom to be driven off road in the open vehicles and the absence of other camps etc enabled us to obtainl a great wild feel to our safaris.
Thanks must be expressed to the large herd of elephants that visited the camp after breakfast as well as the zebra and hippos that fed close by.
Sayari Camp review
We went to Sayari for the Wildebeest crossings and saw two so we must consider our objective achieved! We weren't quite sure what to expect of a semi- permanent camp but were very impressed. Tents were very comfy, food good and staff friendly and helpful. Bucket showers proved better than some we've had in 4* hotels!
Water was usable though not what you might consider clean.
On 2 afternoons we had major rain - if this is likely to continue the camp needs to provide rain ponchos given that vehicles are open to the elements.
However, we have been told that the permit for the existing Sayari camp has been revoked and a new permananent camp is under construction. This is 15k upstream and will have 15 tents on wooden platforms