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Masai Mara National Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya
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#3 of 177 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
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Masai Mara National Reserve, Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya
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Mara Lodges Airport30 kmSee all flights
Kichwa Tembo Airstrip15 kmSee all flights
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Tjerk D wrote a review Nov 2019
12 contributions3 helpful votes
Many of the key features of this unique Safari Stay are well covered in other justifiably glowing reviews posted here. But what made the experience so special to me was that our hosts, Jorge and Mariola, clearly see their business' success as wholly dependent on their cooperative relationship with the local Maasai. For many generations, the Maasai have developed a unique interdependence with the wild life that live side by side with them (and their animal herds) across the savannah grassland, dotted with stands of acacia trees along the rivulets and ponds which flow into the Mara and Talek Rivers. The Maasai (and now us, their paying guests) don't hunt the wild life except to take a photograph or video from open land rovers. The wild life have nothing to fear from the land rover or the crackle of the radio, and so we are oblivious to them. The drivers use the radio (and cell phones!) to ensure any exciting spottings are soon shared with anyone nearby. They consciously cooperate rather than compete. Yet our guide (Moses) often was the first to spot a cheetah hidden in the open grassland, or a leopard crossing a dry rivulet in search of prey, or a lioness being chased by two buffalo and lazily climb a tree to wait until they wandered off. He made us feel part of a winning team! Having just returned home after a lengthy flight, my mind and camera are full of vivid images of an experience which will not easily fade from my memory or imagination.
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Date of stay: October 2019
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James S wrote a review Oct 2017
27 contributions3 helpful votes
+1
I visited the cheetah tented camp with my family for 5 nights 4 days and it’s absolutely amazing, from start to finish we were all couldn’t ask for any more, the owners, the guides and all the staff are 5 star plus A big thanks to jorge and Mariola for their hospitality and the great experience they gave us Un beso a todos.
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Date of stay: October 2017Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Ryan M wrote a review Oct 2014
New York City, New York11 contributions7 helpful votes
+1
My wife and I recently visited Tented Cheetah Camp for a safari adventure for our honeymoon! It was perfect. Like other reviewers fondly mention, this really is a home away from home, and a much more exciting one at that. The hospitality offered by the owners Jorge and Mariola, as well as their entire staff, is second to none. I'm not sure I ever have or will ever again feel so comfortable at a vacation venue. We are already planning a return trip! Onto the goodies... Lodging - There are 3 tents for guests at this very exclusive lodge, all surrounded with gorgeous rustic patios overlooking the Mara River and its many denizens. These are spacious and comfortable. The staff equips you with hot water bottles and kerosene lamps at night (so charming). Hot water gets turned on by request (I believe it is solar heated). Water pressure is a little light, which wasn't a problem for me. Wildlife - Let's face it, this is why you came here to begin with. It's everywhere! The camp itself lies outside the actual reserve but this is not a problem as many of my favorite memories with wildlife were not even in the reserve, but closer to the camp. Our guide was friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. We had our own car every day which was greatly appreciated as it facilitated both time with my wife and opportunities for photography. The list of animals we saw was too great to mention here, but certainly included all the big cats and intimate encounters with literally dozens of species. Food - The food was great, everything from the riverside omelet station for breakfast (the sausages were unforgettable), the packed safari lunches and the communal meals for dinner never let down (including some of the nicest beef we've ever sank our teeth into). Meats were succulent and fruits were fresh, it really was much more than we were expecting. Atmosphere - Yes, you are treated like a guest, but really like a an old friend. The love that the owners have of Africa, their camp and their guests is palpable. The staff treats everyone with care and the fireside dinners with acoustic guitar music, we really do miss them. A+++ It takes a certain personality to want to take a trip, never mind a honeymoon, to Safari. You want to feel adventure, freedom, nature...you want to feel alive. I think this is the perfect camp to experience all this and more!
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Date of stay: August 2014
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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DanLDB wrote a review Mar 2014
London, United Kingdom16 contributions6 helpful votes
Prepare for an incredibly high level of service from this small and intimate camp. Jorge and Mariola definitely have a passion for Africa - they will entertain you with great tales of animal encounters and they are realy willing to share their great knowledge of the area. In addition, they are incredibly generous - where some so-called "all inclusives" will offer beer or wine, Jorge will keep you glass topped up with 12 year old single malt whiskey (if that is your preference!) or other top quality drinks from all over the world. The food is generally excellent - particularly if you like meat as the quality of the local produce is superb. I would say that Jorge and Mariola have focused on the important things - great service, beautiful setting, memorable experiences and a chance to really make friends with people in the Mara. We particularly loved the pre-arranged wake up calls, when a masai staff member would quietly come in with tea or coffee and unzip the tented walls to allow us to wake up to views over the mara river. Sensational! We also had Lions, Baboon and Hippo wondering around the camp at night, leading to an incredible feeling of wild africa. The night safari is highly recommended to see the Lions and Hippos on the move. The only slight disappointment I had was the walking safari, which I felt could have been longer and more involved - we didn't really see much more than we could see from our balcony (which, to be honest is still incredible!!). I definitely recommend the Cheetah Tented Camp for anyone who is looking for full flexibility, incredible location and unbeatable hospitality. Any trip to the Masai Mara is expensive, but if we can save up again we will for sure be back! If only all "all-inclusives" were as great as this place!
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Date of stay: March 2014
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: There are only 3 to choose from, and they are all fantastic.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Brooke724 wrote a review Jan 2014
Accra, Ghana2 contributions1 helpful vote
My husband and I stayed at Cheetah Tented Camp for 3 nights during our honeymoon in late-December 2013 and our time there was by far the highlight of our trip! As many others have already mentioned, Jorge and Mariola are incredibly hospitable hosts. My husband and I were blown away by their generosity throughout our stay- our wine glasses were never empty : ) The Masai staff that work at Cheetah Tented Camp provide tremendous service and are just all-around great guys. We loved talking with them before and after our safaris and getting to learn about their lives outside of the Camp. If you're considering a stay at Cheetah Tented Camp, here are a few Pros and Cons to consider: Pros: -Cheetah Tented Camp is the only TRULY all-inclusive camp around Masai Mara and it's a great value, at that. Game drives, fishing, walking safaris, laundry, snacks, appetizers, meals, desserts, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages...at most safari camps, you pay for a lot of these things once you're on-the-ground, which can leave you feeling nickel and dimed by the end of your trip. At Cheetah Tented Camp, this is not the case- everything is included. This made the trip so much more delightful, as every little surprise Jorge, Mariola, and the rest of the staff had for us (like the New Years Eve celebration, wine and fresh fruit in our room) felt like such a gift! -Unlimited game drives in your own 4X4. Unlike at other camps, at Cheetah Tented Camp you can set-off on your safari at any time you please throughout the day- no 5:30am wake-up calls or getting sandwiched between strangers during your safari drive! -There's a Masai guide and 4X4 assigned to each tent, so guests can do their safari on their own terms. All of the guides have in-depth knowledge of the local wildlife and animal behavior, thus increasing your odds of seeing rare animals and catching some amazing action during your safari (and decreasing your odds of just seeing crowds of other 4X4's). If you weren't a naturalist before visiting to Cheetah Tented Camp, you definitely will be before you leave! -The service is impeccable. Coffee and tea on the balcony in the morning, laundry is washed, folded, and left in your room for you each evening, candlelight and warm water bottles in bed each night, breakfast on-demand, wonderful picnic lunches during each safari...the list goes on and on. My husband and I have never felt so pampered! -Last but not least, Jorge and Mariola were very responsive and provided us with a lot of assistance in booking our flights to and from Masai Mara and sorting out the details of our stay- this gave us a lot of confidence in booking our trip. Cons: -The rest of your time in Kenya/East Africa will pale in comparison to your stay at Cheetah Tented Camp. My husband and I traveled to Zanzibar after our stay here and, in hindsight, we wished we had just stayed at Cheetah Tented Camp for a few more days. Definitely stay for at least 5 nights if your budget will allow it. We're already planning our next visit- can't wait to return!
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Date of stay: December 2013
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: We stayed in the Simba Tent and loved it; however, all of the tents are beautiful!
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mikitteh wrote a review Dec 2013
palo alto1 contribution1 helpful vote
My husband and I decided to book 5 nights at Cheetah Tented Camp for our Safari honeymoon. We have travelled all over the world. Cheetah Tented Camp is our most memorable stay to date. The owners, Jorge and Mariola, are the most hospitable of hosts. We really enjoyed our time staying with them. We enjoyed our conversations with them. They are so easy to talk and so kind. The staff employed was all native Masai people. They are friendly and attentive. We gave every bit of money left on us as tip for the staff. We left feeling that we wished we could've given more tip. That was how much we enjoyed our time at Cheetah Tented Camp. We stayed in the Mara River View Suite for all 5 nights. It was incredibly spacious, airy, with a huge balcony overlooking the Mara River where a ton of hippos reside. We even saw hippos mating in the river! We were served coffee in our rooms every morning so we can enjoy it on our balcony. It was a nice touch. Breakfast was served in the dining area also overlooking the Mara River. Every night during dinner we had beautiful live music by a guitarist. It soothing and such nice ambience! There's even a fireplace. Truly, Cheetah Tented Camp felt like a home away from home. We went on safari drives everyday and also went on night drives. The Masai guides that work at Cheetah Tented Camp seriously have eagle eyes. We even spotted a aardvark at night which is incredibly difficult to spot in general (day or night... or ever!). Naturalists would absolutely die to see one. We got very lucky and it was only possible with our Masai guide who was able to spot one in pitch black darkness! Amazing! We saw many big cats, saw bush babies, 2 river crossings (wildebeest got taken down by croc!), and a ton of other animals. Nothing is ever guaranteed on safari drives but with good guides, the odds are much better. We are lucky to have seen what we saw thanks to our Cheetah Tented Camp guide. Jorge arranged for us to visit a Masai village which we highly recommend if you have some time. You see how the people live. It is truly a humbling experience. Bring some cash as you can buy some souvenirs made by the people of the village! On our last night of our stay, before dinner, we did a traditional Masai dance with the staff. The most touching part was the beautiful farewell songs they sang the afternoon we left. It was a sad goodbye for sure and it was the first time I actually started crying leaving a place! What good memories ... we hope we can return someday soon.
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Date of stay: September 2013
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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noni_2k2 wrote a review Oct 2013
Accra, Ghana94 contributions78 helpful votes
+1
Where do I start? ☺ Let me begin by explaining what kind of holiday planner I am. Usually before going to a new place/country, I do immense research for several months on end. It is not a chore for me. I love it! I love going through TA reviews and other websites to get a feel of the place (as much as one can possibly know a place through internet) and then finalize on the hotel/resort I want to stay in after analyzing all the key factors that matter to me. In the case of Masai Mara, I nearly ended up with an eyesight problem doing research late into the night for a month straight. ☺ So finally I chose Cheetah Tented Camp. Why you ask? The only riverside camp to offer an exclusive vehicle per tent at no extra cost and of course it didn’t hurt that they had the best peak season prices which no other ‘good’ camp was even remotely close to. Not to mention all the ‘excellent’ reviews it had on TA. Well, one might say the decision then ought to be very easy, why did I bother with a whole month’s research? One downside to Cheetah tented camp is that it is not within the main reserve. It is in the Mara north conservancy. You will understand why this is a problem as you read along. Also, since a Spanish couple owns this camp and most guests seem to be Spanish, I was a bit worried that we might be neglected. But all our worries were baseless. We were treated quite warmly and almost everyone speaks decent English. Warning: Fairly long review. ☺ Most reviews I see here are in Spanish so I thought a detailed English review will help everyone. Jorge and Mariela (the kind hosts) organized our pickup from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta airport, transfers to local airstrip and our local flight to the Mara. We just had to give them dates and international flight times and they organized the rest. They were always good with replying to our mails and answering all our queries. Once we landed in Mara North Conservancy we were picked up by Simitei and Patita (Masai guides). Patita was our guide for the next 5 days. We did a small game drive on the way to the camp and stopped at the river to see a large hippo family and promptly fell in love with Masai Mara. The landscape is beyond belief. You have to see it to believe it. We received a very warm welcome at the camp with cold towels and apple juice. We were upgraded from the river tent to the Mara suite, which is huge! We were only a couple with a 2 year old so the tent/suite felt absolutely huge to us but we liked the space. ☺ We had a beautiful river view with the resident hippo family in sight. Btw, the suite has a thatched roof, so if you are looking for the traditional tented lifestyle that Mara is so famous for, you should stick with the Mara river tent accommodation. The grounds of the camp are pretty though by no means sensational. They sort of merge into the surrounding wilderness and we actually preferred that to manicured gardens. The whole place looks beautiful in the night with oil lamps placed all around the camp. There is a huge open common dining area (thatched roof) where guests have lunch/dinner and a separate garden area next to the river where we used to have breakfast. Everything looks very romantic. Now for the food! This was the only disappointing area for me. I am a vegetarian and I have to admit the chef did his best to accommodate my diet but the food was bland most of the time and I never once had a satisfactory meal. But I have to give them points for trying. The chef used to consult with me on the menu everyday but the end result was usually disappointing. The packed lunches used to be the same all the time. Same sandwiches everyday! ☹ Still, the chefs helped me immensely by making some simple food for my daughter for which I am really grateful. Post dinner, guests are escorted back to the tents by the tireless askaris. Power is available only from 6:30 to 11 in the night. You have to charge all your electronic equipment in that window. The tents have several points so you can charge everything at the same time. This is one major difference between Cheetah camp and other camps in Masai Mara. Most camps provide only public charging points and I am sure it will be very difficult to charge everything when so many people have to share. More ‘points’ to Cheetah! ☺ As is the norm in Masai Mara, you will find hot water bottles in your bed by the time you return to your tent and I always looked forward to a warm and snuggly sleep after a tiring day. Best sleep of my life. ☺ And hey, bring lots of warm clothes (layers preferably) if you are traveling in August. It is brrrrrrrr. ☺ As mentioned earlier, this is the only camp that provides a private game drive vehicle for each tent. This was a key criteria for me as most camps offer only shared vehicles and if you want a private vehicle you have to shell out 250-300 USD a day extra. Please note that Cheetah tented camp charges an overall per day all-inclusive cost somewhere close to that figure. See the difference value wise? ☺ The problem with shared game drives is that kids won’t be allowed for the game drives and I knew my daughter would love to see the animals. So having our own vehicle meant that we could take her along with us all the time and she had a blast! She still talks about the animals she has seen and can’t wait to go back. Patita was a good guide for us and he helped keep my daughter entertained all the time while my husband and myself were busy clicking away thousands of photographs. We had a wonderful time on the game drives. Unfortunately for us, we missed spotting the rhino and the leopard. Our fault really! We used to spend too much time near every animal trying to get the best photos. Also, as I mentioned previously, Cheetah tented camp is in a conservancy. It takes roughly 30-40 minutes (w/o stopping) to reach the gates of the main reserve. This 30-40 minute drive is usually amidst manyatas and the only animals you end up seeing are sheep and goats. Seriously! Even a 4x4 vehicle makes traveling on those rough roads very tiring. Add that to the cool breezes in an open vehicle and I used to be half sleepy by the time we reached the main reserve. ☺ This is something you need to keep in mind before booking any camp not in the main reserve. Of course the advantage of such camps is that night safaris and walking safaris are permitted which are great. Jorge also organized a balloon safari for us that we enjoyed immensely. I would recommend that to anyone who hasn’t been on a balloon safari before. Don’t expect to spot too many animals from above though. The breakfast in the bush after the safari is very memorable. The camp offers an all-inclusive package which includes all meals, drinks (alcoholic too), and unlimited game drives including night safaris and walking safaris, unlimited laundry and anything else that may catch your fancy. Yes, the only true all-inclusive offer I encountered in all my travels. If they have it, it’s yours to use. Now coming to the hospitality. This is where Jorge and Mariela win over their customers. I shall forever remember the fireside meals with a lot of stories and jokes being shared, the love and affection shown to my daughter who quickly became the darling of the camp. She never had as much popcorn in her entire life as she did during those five days. The few times we needed a babysitter (the balloon safari for example) Patita took care of her w/o expecting anything in return. Most camps charge an hourly babysitting fees. To cap it all, Jorge surprised us by getting a Masai warrior dress stitched for my daughter. We went on a Masai village visit and we got her dressed up in the outfit and we have several beautiful pictures to remember those wonderful times. Jorge also took us on a few walking safaris with a lot of askaris to protect us, and those walks were quite fun too. We also got some practice with bows and arrows. Don’t miss that. It’s a hoot. The Masai dance performance, as a farewell to us on the last night was very good. Most of the staff in Cheetah tented camp are Masai people and they performed the dance themselves. Just before we left the camp, all the staff sang many songs for us including the famous ‘hakuna matata’ with our names included in the lyrics. Very touching, making it even more difficult to say goodbye to these wonderful people and the beautiful land. I could go on and on but before you lose your interest I should wrap it up. If you are reading this review, it means that you are considering cheetah tented camp. Don’t think anymore. Just go. You will not be disappointed. If not for the food, I would give this camp a heartfelt 5/5 review. But maybe if you are a non-vegetarian you won’t have a problem. I am tempted to give only a 4.5/5 (which is not possible on TA of course) but as I said again and again during the review the value for money is so great compared to similar camps in the Mara, I can’t help but give it a 5! Jorge, Mariela: keep it up! I am waiting for the time when Cheetah will be ranked #1 on TA. You guys deserve it. Oh, please give our love and regards to all the staff. Do not forget Luna, Trufa and all the other quadrupeds including the hippos in the river, which always kept us company in the night with their grunts! Miss you all and you shall forever be in our hearts! Alekhya, Niran & Rohini
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Date of stay: August 2013
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Trip type: Travelled with family
Room Tip: If you want the tent experience, go for the river tents. The Mara suite is huge but the roof is...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Richie_J_D wrote a review Sep 2013
Houston, Texas9 contributions7 helpful votes
My wife and I were excited to go to Maasai Mara, Kenya with another couple after "Big Cat Diary" painted a picture of an amazing and adventurous vacation. It was better than I imagined. We picked Cheetah Tented Camp because the price was great compared to other camps in the area (and not to mention the all-inclusive alcohol was quite enticing). After the 4-day safari vacation, I'm convinced if I'm ever lucky enough to return for another safari trip, I'm going straight back to Cheetah Tented Camp. The camp has 3 tents. My wife and myself had one and our friends had another. They were clean, beautiful, and have more amenities than you could need. Every night we were safe in our beds as the hippos in the river right below sang us to sleep. Every morning we had hot coffee or tea waiting for us at our own table overlooking the Mara River. The staff is made up primarily of the Maasai people who were very friendly and helpful. From serving breakfast while we sat down by the river, to the beautiful dinners served to the sound of an amazing guitarist playing in the background, to the rooms always clean and warm when we come back from safari, the service is top notch. Our guide, Sampimpi (this is probably not even close to the correct spelling) is a Maasai warrior miracle, finding all the animals we were hoping to see. He could spot them from a mile away then slowly drive toward them saying, "do you see it yet?" The animals hide so well, we would not see them until we were on top of them. Great to have a native guide. Not to mention that we so heavily placed our trust in him as we got 10ft from a Lioness with a baby buffalo kill to take pictures with the engine off. We found lions, leopards, cheetahs, and many many other animals, learning about them as well as seeing them. He also drove through the rough terrain like a champion after the rain turned it into a crazy obstacle course. The safaris were on our schedule. As we were there only a short time, we wanted to make the most of it. We wanted safaris early in the morning, throughout the day, and even night safaris where we came across a bunch of giraffes. Any time we wanted to go on safari, no problem, part of the "all inclusive." Now for the hosts, Jorge and Mariola... I say hosts because you are not going to a hotel that the operate... you are being invited into their home to appreciate the life that they love. The story-telling, experience sharing, and pure love of the safari is felt very strongly and very sincere. The wine glasses stay full, the hospitality is rich, and you begin to feel part of their family. The logistics can seem a little unsettling with a domestic flight on a small plane from a small airport in Nairobi, but fear not! Let Jorge and Mariola know your plans and they will take care of you and you WILL arrive safe and sound in the Mara North Conservancy. You will see their tents on the river as you descend, ready for the trip of a lifetime. That's all I will say for now. I could keep going, but best to leave some things as a surprise :) I highly recommend Cheetah Tented Camp... and if you go, please say hi to Jorge and Mariola for me.
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Date of stay: September 2013
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: The rooms are all good, but bring a flash-light, as it may really help you get around even the...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Monkey Man wrote a review Sep 2013
Houston, Texas7 contributions11 helpful votes
I stayed last week at Cheetah Tented Camp with my wife and another couple, and we absolutely loved it. I have only compliments for our warm and friendly hosts, Jorge and Mariola. Our 3-night stay included everything we could ask for: day and night drives, delicious meals, cold beer, flowing wine, a comfortable tent with bathroom, and overall great hospitality. Our safari drives were guided by a very competent Maasai guide, who was always eager to answer our questions. This being my first time in Maasai Mara, I was very excited for the drives, and they certainly did not disappoint. Every day was a new surprise -- the lions, the cheetahs, the birds and elephants -- always something wonderful to admire at every turn. (My only recommendation here is to be aware that the vehicles do not hold water well, so when it rains, you will get wet. I recommend bringing a poncho.) Although we all went for the safari, one of the best parts of the experience were the nights spent with Jorge and Mariola. We would share our stories over wine and engage in conversation about animals, Africa and life. The late-night conversations were deep, the feelings absolutely genuine. I can only express gratitude for their personal companionship and hospitality. They made us feel at home in paradise.
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Date of stay: September 2013
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: - Only 3 tents; all are good - Bring a good flashlight
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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sands316 wrote a review Sep 2013
Chicago, Illinois42 contributions33 helpful votes
We stayed with Cheetah tented camp for our first trip to Africa and it more than exceeded our expectations. The tents were huge and comfortable, the location was literally on the Mara River, and the staff was an incredible mix of our knowledgeable host Jorge and a team of Masaai warriors. Cheetah Camp provided all the comforts of vacation- great food, flowing drinks, great company, heated turned down beds, etc. But it also made you feel like you were in "real" Africa and not in a generic hotel or resort somewhere. At night, we shared dinner with the other guests (we were like a family, being only 10 or so of us) by the heat and light of their huge fireplace. The music was traditional Kenyan songs sung to us by a Masaai playing the guitar. The stories about the animals were based on first hand knowledge of coexisting with them for so long. They even have a pet warthog that likes to sleep on your feet under the table and the hippos sing to you all night. Beyond charming, and I would definitely stay there again. Also, and hugely important, Jorge was VERY helpful in making our trip seamless and successful. Having an insider assist with domestic flights, taxis, etc is a MUST in Kenya.
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Date of stay: August 2013
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Trip type: Travelled with friends
Room Tip: There are only a few tents. No need to pick, they are all great.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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LOCATION
KenyaRift Valley ProvinceMaasai Mara National Reserve
NUMBER OF ROOMS
3
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Frequently Asked Questions about Cheetah Tented Camp
What are some of the property amenities at Cheetah Tented Camp?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Cheetah Tented Camp?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Cheetah Tented Camp?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Does Cheetah Tented Camp have airport transportation?
Yes, Cheetah Tented Camp offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does Cheetah Tented Camp have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the mountain view available here.