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The first week of December was spent in the Mara Triangle. The recent rains in the night, very cool mornings, and a combination of lightning which would put a fourth of July fireworks display to shame, produced waist high grass in the triangle.....lush grass. Plenty of it. Enter the elephants. Many of them. We stopped counting after reaching 250. Yes, it was an unusual sight...like black rocks from far away, dotting the green grass. Go off the main road and it would be muddy. This was not the place for those white vans, and they were wise....not getting close to the mud. This was a place for the 4WD Toyotas and the Land Rovers.
PT123 posted a topic in Park talkMasai Mara, Kenya - It is expected that the Trans Mara County Council and the Narok County Council will merge after the March Elections. As a result camps on the Narok side will be allowed to drive in the Triangle (and vice versa). Tis will unfortunately increase traffic in the Triangle as there are many more camps on the Narok side. Also, I hope that the bad management and conservation habits of the NCC will not undo all of the hard work and progress that the Mara Conservancy has achieved in the Triangle over the last ten years and that its contract to administer the Triangle will be renewed. I don't see this as a positive development and am quite concerned.
1) Name of property and country: and Beyond’s Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya 2) Website address if known: http://www.andbeyond.com/bateleur-camp-masai-mara 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). January and May, 2014 4) Length of stay: 3 and 4 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? I wanted to see the Masai Mara and I loved my first stay so I went back. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Jacqui McNaughton from andBeyond 7) How many times have you been on Safari? This was my second/third trip 8) To which countries? South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Unique 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? Yes 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 2 camps of 8 tents 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Very private, room 10, great view over looking the Mara Triangle 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Extremely comfortable and well furnished with a lovely private deck. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was excellent. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Varied menus, great soups, multiple choices for all mains. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Single dining and the managers offered to host for solo travellers. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? 1st visit – excellent bbq bush breakfasts/lunches, 2nd visit – little plain 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Open 4WDs 19) How many guests per row? 2 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? 1st visit – 4 – 8 hours depending on what we were looking for, 2nd visit – 2-6 hours. Mornings were longer, afternoons only 2 hours. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? 1st visit – 5:45/6am, 3:30pm, guide was very flexible and happy to start early and finish as late as possible. 2nd visit – 6:30am and 4:30pm, no changes 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? N/A 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? 1st visit – cars in the area but not overly busy. 2nd visit – very little cars due to the green season. 24) Are you able to off-road? Depending on the sighting. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Yes, I think 2/3 cars per cat/rhino sighting. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? The Mara Triangle had everything except wild dogs. We had excellent sightings. 27) How was the standard of guiding? 1st visit – brilliant guide, informative, happy, friendly, proactive, talkative, fun. 2nd visit – lack of enthusiasm, disinterested and just doing his job. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? 1st visit – excellent, 2nd visit – not as good as the first 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Bateleur Camp is the expensive smaller sister to the very large Kichwa Tembo Camp which was next door and going through an extensive refurbishment when I visited both times. The camp was divided into two with each camp having 8 tents with their own common area. The permanent tented structures were well established so the native vegetation concealed the tents nicely from the outside but allowed views from each deck. The rooms were kitted out nicely included the fabulous andBeyond’s comfortable beds, desk, table, sitting area, wardrobe and of course the large and well equipped bathroom (no bath unfortunately). The common area was a mix of indoor and outdoor depending on the weather. The staff and their level of service was of course excellent and word must have been passed on that I was a lover of a nice Bacardi and coke and everyone’s favorite African tipple an Amarula. Food of course was above expectations for a property of this repute and there was always two options plus a vegetarian as a third for every meal. My second visit I found the staff to be lacking a little with their level of service and the guiding to be not on par with any of the previous andBeyond guides I had, had. Many of the little extras that andBeyond provides were missing on the second trip including bbq bush breakfasts/lunches (no gas in camp), lack of assistance/general help getting (I carry a lot of camera gear so an offer is always appreciated especially getting in and out of the car, no changes to safari drive departure times (2 hours for an afternoon drive is a waste of time when leaving at 4:30pm with a 20 minute drive to the gate), not listening to what the guests wanted to see and stay with and being charged for laundry when it was all inclusive and then they realized I was paying Bateleur prices which is all inclusive. With Kichwa Tembo being closed andBeyond moved their small number of guests to Bateleur and for 75% of my stay I was the only guest paying the Bateleur prices. Considering I had stayed at Bateleur only 3 months previously there was a considerable difference in service, guiding and meals which no one would have known if they have not stayed with andBeyond previously. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings.
I was in the Mara & in the Triangle in May 2012. I had been already there 3 times, in 1989, 1994 and 2008, always in July and had been very disappointed. But this time, what a great 12 days it was: The Mara so green, the elephants and the plains' game, so happy with that juicy green grass to taste. Almost exclusive use of the Mara, never more than 5 vehicles on a sighting. A Almost exclusive use of a camp 8 days, being the only guest and as a consequence exclusive use of a car during 10 days without paying for it. Only 4 days with heavy showers at the end of the afternoon and only 1 while still on game drive. And last but not least, no dust and a great light. If you do not absolutely want to see the Migration and its train of kills, going there off-season, only has a lot of advantages (low prices, much less people, better light,....) and very few inconveniences, the most serious one being to be stuck in deep mud in a remote place at that time of the year. It seems that going off road, at that time of the year, is tolerated in the Mara, because of the very low density of vehicles but also because the roads are so muddy and heavily damaged by the ballooning tractors. I did not see a single ranger during 7 days. In the Triangle it's very different, they are very strict with the rules. I saw patrols 2 to 3 times/day. Some introduction pictures
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