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Olonana Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve 

Masai Mara National Reserve
Tel: 254 20 6950002
view web site ›'s insider take:

Olonana offers an elegant reminder that you can be in the bush and a long way from the bush in the same breath. The camp's 14 luxury tents front the winding waters of the Mara River, with the croaking song of the neighborhood hippos providing the score. Polished floors, hardwood furniture, and period touches like timeworn trunks and canvas chairs offer a classic take on safari style. Two new tents—built in July 2007—lend a stylish twist, with plush armchairs, four-poster beds, and an assortment of tribal masks and batiks making for a funkier feel than their colonial-chic neighbors offer. The thatched roofs might mimic a local Masai hut, but even Olonana himself, the great Masai leader, never had it this good. Taking its cues from the surroundings, the lodge is built around an African greenheart tree that pokes through the roof. Cozy up by the fireplace, settle into a game of chess, or swap stories with other travelers on the deck while the Mara River rushes below. The river views are the main attraction, and outdoor dining is under a shady arbor in eyeshot of the resident hippos. For a break from the requisite game drives, take a hike to the top of the adjacent Siria Escarpment, where the Mara's sprawling plains roll away in waves of green and gold.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
"The sounds and sights of the hippos are unforgettable" at this camp near a Masai village on the Mara River. Tents with canopied beds and writing tables "are nicely decorated." Meals include "a wonderful passion fruit pavlova" and pizzas from the on-site oven. Of guides: "Ours spotted several lions lounging under a baobab tree 20 minutes into our first drive."

(14 tents)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 87.7
  • Activities: 92.3
  • Design: 80.8
  • Food: 80.8
  • Location: 96.2
  • Rooms: 88.0
  • Service: 88.5

Also appeared in the Gold List in 2010, 2009

Amenities: Game drives, Pool, Spa

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