After a short haul flight from Nairobi, my husband & I, along with another couple, were picked up at the Kichwe Tembo Airstrip and driven straight to the Oloololo Gate by our driver/guide Gideon. Please note that you are not given the option to head directly to your lodge but that your safari begins as soon as you disembark the plane which is understandable as the camp itself lies 45 minutes away from the main gate. Also note that no "free' water is provided in the jeep, you must either purchase it or have brought your own (my husband & I had stocked up on bottles of water & soda prior to leaving Nairobi). You are however provided a boxed lunch... nothing fancy, but satisfying.
After a scenic drive from the main gate to the camp, you are greeted with a wash cloth and glass of juice. You are then required to fill out some forms, and are given a security briefing before being assigned a Butler. Please note that no open toed shoes are allowed at camp, this means if you didn't bring any, hiking boots become the new casual elegant (we didn't mind at all but would have liked to have been informed beforehand so we could have packed some comfy shoes and not just sandals).
The rooms/tents are exactly as pictured on their website. They are truly spectacular. Stella, our Butler proceeded to explain everything from the amenitites in our tent, to the services provided in the camp. The Butlers at camp are extremely hard working and are eager to make your stay as memorable as possible. The rooms are cleaned on a daily basis, and beds turned down every night with a hot water bottle inserted into the sheets to keep your feet warm at night. Bottled water for brushing teeth is provided daily...and unlike most lodges when electricity is turned off during the day, you can still have a hot shower as it is coal generated.
Take advantage of staying at camp for a day. Enjoy the swing on your private veranda, the L shaped couch brimming with pillows or the stone bath. There is nothing more relaxing then taking a bubble bath (everything from washcloths, to scrub brushes, to bubble bath is provided) while watching hippos swim by in front of your veranda. There are even privacy screens surrounding your tent and a "do not disturb sign", should you wish for a siesta.
Drinks, including water, pricey. Food fantastic. Although the boxed lunches became repetitive, the in house meals did not. We dined in a different area for almost every meal. Our favorite by far, was our first supper by lantern light along the Mara River. As the evenings were cooler, they had small charcoal pots next to the tables to keep the guests warm. The menues are varied and offer something interesting for everyone. The homemade bread that accompanies the hot soups is mouthwatering. Also note that the chef will easily accommodate any dietary needs you may have. I was having a "bad day" and the chef sent some homemade soup and a thermos of tea for my lunch while on safari. I was quite grateful!
We stayed six days at Mara Timbo and only found one negative. We gave Mara Timbo a five star rating for service due to the camp staff but found the safari guiding a three star. Please remember that they have limited vehicles and that all guests must agree upon safari timings if you have not booked a private vehicle. It takes 45min. to arrive at the main gate, another 20min or more to proceed through. The main gate closes at 6pm but our guide was always eager to leave by 3pm. You pay $60US per person to be taken out during the hottest part of the day...even worst if you are a photographer. We did manage one day to convince Gideon to take us out at 5am as we were the only clients at camp. This was also the same day our safari vehicle ran out of gas but we did manage to stay in the reserve until 5 min. before the gate closed. It was quite the adventure!
We have been on safari several times now, and Gideon is by far our least memorable guide. If he only used his cell phone for emergencies that would have been fine but his phone rang every 5 minutes and after several days of safarying, it grated on our nerves. He spent more time on the phone then spotting for wildlife. Our best guide was a last minute replacement on our last day because 1) our vehicle broke down and 2) the other couple had to be driven to the airstrip by Gideon. He was amazing at spotting and explaining animal behavior. My best photography shot of the trip was with him... a giraffe leaping over a large brook.
Other than the safari service, we had an amazing time. Please don't let the safari portion influence you from experiencing what Mara Timbo has to offer. The staff at camp are absolutely phenomenal and are truly there to make your stay a dream come true. From welcome drinks, to a welcome massage, to menued meals, to a hidden oasis on the Mara River, to impeccable service...what more could you want?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A romantic camp under German Management ideally situated on Mara River with two large hippo families in front of only 7 spacious 45sqm luxury tents. They are situated on big terraces and offer outside bathtubs with view to the wild animals. A personal Butler Service pays very much attention to the maximum of privacy. Tent-facilities include king-size bed, safe, en-suite bathroom, hot shower, flush toilet, 220/240volt power supply. Activities: Game Drives, Nature Walk, Maasai Village, Balloon Safaris, Night Game Drives. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Mara Timbo Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Mara Timbo Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve