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Bateleur Camp - Masai Mara, Kenya

Not the luxury tented safari camp we hoped for.


Bateleur Camp - Masai Mara, Kenya: For this trip to Kenya, we visited two properties: Bateleur Camp and Little Shompole. We first visited Bateleur Camp, part of the &Beyond Group of Safari Camps, which offers luxury accommodation for tourists who want to enjoy the most prosperous and varied wildlife quarter in the world.

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Masai Mara National Reserve is located directly in the area where the Great Migration is best witnessed. Bateleur Camp is situated at the border of the reserve where you can see thousands of zebra and wildebeests during Great Migration. The camp is known for providing the atmosphere of traditional Kenyan safari experience for tourists.

Bateleur Camp, the smaller and higher-end camp of the Kichwa Tembo camps, consists of two camps: the North and South, each has nine luxury tents to offer. The camp is strategically located near the Masai Mara National Reserve which also provides a great spot for game viewing and amazing sceneries. We would definitely go back to the Masai Mara, but a return visit to Bateleur Camp is not likely.

First Impression/Lobby: We arrived from Nairobi on a SafariLink flight and we were immediately met at the dirt airstrip by staff of the camp. As they met us, they had drinks, nuts, chips, and other snacks waiting for us. After a short meet and greet with the staff, we got into the Land Cruiser and drove to the 20 minutes to the “Bat Camp” (as the locals call it). The young woman who met us at the airstrip and drove us to the camp was also our personal ranger for our stay (which how things usually go around the camp).

When we got to the camp, there wasn’t really much of a lobby. The lobby served as the main guest area which was shaded by a thick canopy. The guest area looked like a tent of a wealthy English man living in the heart of Africa from the 1930’s. The lobby of the North Bateleur Camp had a cozy living room and a dining room which felt like you went into a museum of antiques, vintage relics, and artifacts. It was pretty much what I would expect a British colonial safari camp to look like.

Reception: We were met by the staff with almost too many greetings of “jambo” (a Swahili term for hello) which, after three days, had been overused. Aside from that overly done “jambo” greeting, the staff were also too friendly that it was almost exhausting to cope with.

The Tent: The tent of the Bateleur Camp was very disappointing. The area was small and dark with just basic interior. It also had no air conditioning or heater. The tents are situated close to each other that privacy was compromised. It didn’t offer much privacy in the room either.

There was a small deck just outside the front area of the tent. It had two chairs overlooking the grassy field but that was just about it. It was not an entirely amazing view.

The tent’s amenities were limited to one queen sized bed located at the center of the tent and a work desk just behind the bed. At the back part of the tent, the bathroom area had two sinks and a shower stall with no door to use for privacy. As with most of the camps in Africa, there was not TV, radio or other electronics; not even WI-FI. Although they consider it a luxury tent, it didn’t even come close to what we expected it to be.

Room Service: There were no opportunities to experience their room service at Bateleur Camp because all our meals were eaten at their dining. Eating inside the tent was not encouraged by the staff anyway. And besides, there was not enough space inside the tent to set up a meal.

Housekeeping: We had a room attendant assigned to us who cleaned the tent twice a day. Our attendant also came in every morning to wake us and bring us our morning java. Complimentary laundry service was also provided wherein they picked up the laundry at 8 in the morning and returned it the same day.

Restaurant: As mentioned before, there was only one dining room at the North Camp. The food at the camp was generally horrible except for the soup and salad. The main courses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner just lacked any wow factor. Their menu offered daily set meals and there was nothing remarkable them. Again, the whole dining experience failed to satisfy our expectations of a luxury safari.

Included in our meal package was the Bateleur Camp’s house wines. Luckily they had a fair selection of both reds and whites to choose from.

Although, the staff tried their best to give us the luxurious experience like the camp was “sold” for, the service and presentation were just average and there was nothing extravagant about it.

Pool/Spa/Activities: The Bateleur Camp had one small pool that both North and South camps shared. The pool was very disappointing as well as it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in days. When I was about to lounge in the pool, I noticed there was a monkey lurking around the trees which shaded the pool area. I took my time to snap some pictures and then the next thing I knew, the monkey was already drinking water from the pool. The thought of a monkey ending up at my side just changed my mood for some pool relaxation. Bateleur Camp also offered massages done either pool side or in the tent.

The main activities in the camp were centered on the safari game drives. At Bateleur Camp, we had the freedom to set our own schedule and go whenever we wanted. Bateleur Camp also offered night drives, safari walks, and hot air ballooning (for an extra fee) that let the guests witness a new point of view of the Masai Mara.

Based on our experience, we knew the importance of getting up and going out to the safari early. And true to our expectations, the views were amazing in the morning. Many other guests didn’t leave until 7 or 8 in the morning and they missed out on some great viewing.

On our safari game drive, our ranger was excellent, but it was obvious that she was not a morning person. It was obvious she didn’t like our early mornings, but, since we were the guests, she complied with our wishes. We were also disappointed with our ranger for failing to stop for the “traditional” coffee break on the morning drive and the evening sun-downer at sunset. But in general, we had a great time with our game drive as well as with the amazing view of the safari. See our Safari Game Drive pictures pages here

Check-Out: There was no actual check-out process at the Bateleur Camp as everything had been prepared beforehand. When we were ready to go, our ranger drove us back to the airstrip where we caught our SafariLink flight back to Nairobi.

Technology: With regards to technology, internet connection was available at Kichwa Tembo camp, but it was too slow that it probably would have been quicker to fly to Nairobi and check our e-mails. On the other hand, we really didn’t have problems on our cell phones which seemed to work fine most of the time.

Overall Impression: Our overall impression for Bateleur Camp was disappointing. As an &Beyond property, we had high hopes for the camp, but they failed to satisfy us in so many ways. They failed to live up to our expectations of a luxurious safari camp. From the not-so-luxurious tent to the ranger’s reluctance to leave early for the game drive, from the mediocre service and the non-stop “jambo” greetings to the horrible food they served, this camp only deserved a Between Bombastic and Not rating.

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