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1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Porini Mara Camp 2) Website address if known: www.porini.com 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). June 25-27, 2017 which I believe was still considered shoulder season but am not positive. 4) Length of stay: 3 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? We wanted something in a conservancy near the Mara and I had stayed in their Adventure camp last fall. As I was traveling with a friend this time I thought maybe we'd prefer something larger and a little less basic. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? I booked through Wayne Hammond at Gamewatcher’s Safaris and he was prompt and efficient. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? This was my 7th. 8) To which countries? Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Namibia and 2 times to Kenya. 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Comparing to other Porini Camps 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No-this was another reason I chose this camp 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? I think it has 6 tents 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? We were in tent #3 I think-the view wasn’t panoramic but there were lots of birds and monkeys and across the river was a peekaboo view of a plains area where there were usually antelope to be seen. It was on a small river where there was a resident hippo, Simon, who we heard but never saw. The tents were well spaced and privacy was good. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? The tent was by no means luxurious, but had everything needed, was in good condition, and kept very clean. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was very good with the exception of one night when the beef was very tough. The chef worked wonders and usually announced the evening meal after we had eaten lunch. We ate lunch outside down by the river which was a perfect location. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) It was a set menu but there were vegetarian options available and we had vegetarians at every meal, so it is quite common. Their food also looked good to me, although I didn’t actually taste it. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? It is communal dining but not hosted. We were unfortunate in this one instance because one couple dominated the conversation and proceeded with a political diatribe throughout the entire dinner(s). This is NOT the norm, and it certainly isn’t the fault of the camp, but was a negative experience. There were so many other interesting people in the camp- a Lebanese couple living in Dubai for example who had some fascinating contributions when they could get a word in edgewise. I escaped from the meals as soon as possible until the last night when the offensive couple had left. I imagine had dinner been hosted, the host could have steered the conversation to a more suitable topic. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? All meals were good, whether packed or not. I loved the bush breakfasts! 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. They were Land Cruisers with canvas tops and open sides that could be rolled down in inclement weather. It was also possible to open the top, which we did on occasion. There were 3 rows of seats-the back row could hold 3, the other 2 rows had bucket seating. The back row was the most restrictive in that the seats were higher so the top was sometimes in the way. The work around this was opening the top, and because we never had more than 5 (usually 3) in our vehicle, the person in the back had the luxury of moving side to side or standing up. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I’ve never had a game drive at any Porini camp with more than 5 passengers, sometimes just two. Two drives last fall, it was just me! 19) How many guests per row? See above. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? The game drives really varied in length. Our first morning the drive was much shorter than we were accustomed to, which left us 5 hours of downtime. We were disappointed in this so I discussed it with Jimmy and he quickly arranged a nature walk for us after lunch. 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? We always asked to go out as early as possible and take a bush breakfast. Early was generally 15 minutes earlier, which didn’t seem like enough, especially the day we traveled to the Mara. (but we didn’t get back until about 6:30 so the driver had a LONG day) They may have had safety issues because when I asked I was told it was still too dark until 6:15. The drives, when we were happiest, ended shortly before lunch at 1:00. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? This is in Ol Kenyei conservancy and we never saw more than one other vehicle while in the conservancy. This was a huge plus for us. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? We had access to Naboisho and there were a few more vehicles here and of course in the Mara, there were a lot of jeeps. That said, even in the Mara there is plenty of space to get away and find open areas with no vehicles. One leopard sighting we were among about 10 vehicles, but for the second, we were alone. 24) Are you able to off-road? Off roading is allowed in the conservancy. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. I don’t know about any policy, but it was never an issue for us as there were never more than us and one other vehicle at a sighting. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? I am not certain, but there were plenty of cheetah and a few lions, although no big prides that we saw. Sightings were plentiful. 27) How was the standard of guiding? The guiding was a mixture I would say. I think our guide had his silver rating and in the Mara, he was exceptional-possibly because he had lived there? In Ol Kenyei, he was good at finding wildlife but seemed not too interested in explaining behaviors or even watching what we were seeing. Many times we would pull up to a sighting, he’d cut the engine and proceed to scroll on his phone. I might have liked knowing something about whether this lion was part of another pride or if this cheetah mom had started with only 2 cubs, for instance. He did improve the second day and the Mara day was great, so perhaps he was having some personal issues. Allowing for differences in personalities and style it was by no means was a bad experience. 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? As noted earlier-the game drive we felt ended too early we mentioned and Jimmy arranged the nature walk, which was perfect. I did gently try to mention the guides’ overuse of his phone, but I didn’t want it to become an issue. 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Staff were very friendly without being intrusive. Some were more engaging than others but overall they all were very good. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. All the Porini camps are in conservancies owned by the Masaii communities and leased to Porini so the community benefits directly as well as providing employment opportunities. This was originally my primary reason for choosing the Porini Camps. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: I am not sure how to provide a link-it’s titled Kenya June 2017-full of surprises 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: The minor issues I had were immediately handled by Jimmy or were addressed by Jake Grieves after I sent my requested feedback. He seemed to take my comments very seriously and assured me that he had discussed my concerns with all involved. He also offered a discount on a future stay, which was unsolicited and unexpected. Sometimes things don’t go perfectly and I wasn’t really complaining when I gave my feedback, so I felt he went above and beyond in making sure his client (me) was satisfied. I would recommend all the Porini camps I have visited as a great option. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. 0 Like this
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