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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by A & P from Hong Kong

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

2

Excursions taken

0

Sept-Oct 2015 Kenya trip

Kenya between 29 Sep 2015 and 10 Oct 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"Wonderful trip.

We are regular safari goers so have a very good idea of what we want and what to expect. We like clear sincere honest communication and like camps that are simple, warm with great guiding and wonderful locations. For most of the trip we got that from all the camps"

Arranged By Richard Trillo


Mara Expedition Camp

Mara Expedition Camp

"Excellent bush camp in a superb location"

8 nights Arrived 29 Sep 2015
"Excellent camp, my kind of perfect bush camp. I am very impressed with how it was so well hidden in the tree line ( surely the best laid out camp in OMC along with Mara Plains given you can see all others from far off. It meant the tents were closer than what we normally see but I would definitely prefer it this way if it means it hides the camp better from the outside. The quality of everything used in the camp is very high and very tastefully furnished with nothing over the top or ostantatious ( no cheap plastics/ no cheap low cost stuff here -its really a great product evoking safaris from decades ago with every comfort one can expect).The rooms are very old world safari decor but also the most practical in terms of having thought of every need-from well concealed shelves, to adequate boxes/tables for all equipment, charging, tea, coffee, cookies, coffee table books, hanger. The manager Stella was excellent -very level headed, and a pleasure to spend meal times with. Outside of private mobile camps, this would easily be the best bush camp I have stayed in my 11 safaris. Food was excellent to very good - there might be 2-3 places I have had better on safari (including Juma's meals in Mara Plains 3 years back)but by large it was top notch.

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."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Lewa Wilderness

Lewa Wilderness

"Wonderful camp and a breathtaking property"

3 nights Arrived 7 Oct 2015
"We had stayed last year in Sirikoi and this year decided to try the more traditional way of safaris in Laikipia - in a colonial property with cottages in lieu of tents. LWT is a wonderful property in a gorgeous conservancy. We are very fond of Lewa and the team behind the conservancy and its our place for seeing some very special animals ( rhinos, Grevys, reticulate giraffes, large herds of elands, oryx and other plains game), our place to relax the pace of safaring (just a notch) and enjoy the superb landscape. Of most of Laikipia, Lewa's landscape is the most dramatic with its many valleys and hills, red soil giving way to black cotton soil, exploring the conservancy from north to south, even some places where only rangers go and rarely a tourist vehicle, the wonderful green swapm and the yellow fever tree forests, the elephants, views of Mount Kenya- A Lewa safari is so different and unique in many ways and we enjoyed our stay tremendously. Zoey, Lee, Kiramanshu were incredible hosts and we really fell in love with the property and the views.

Our guide was Simon- who is the head guide there. I expected him to be good but we were very impressed with how good he was- with spotting, with priorititising our wish list ( we had 8 glorious days on predator watch in Mara so were looking for anything but cats and he understood that very well). He was brilliant wityh the rhino spotting and all other sightings, even spotting a coalition of 2 male cheetahs. We didnt share a single sighting with any other car. He is also very knowledgable about Lewa's history, community and the tribes in Kenya, so conversation with him was really cherished. Our last afternoon drive into Sambara plains and Isolo valley and beyond to the northern most point ( from where we could see as far as the Matthews Range) was one of the best safari days, ending with sundowners barely 50 metres from where a white rhino foraged."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent

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