Sanctuary Olonana is perfect for travellers who would like to experience everything the Maasai Mara has to offer, away from the tourist trail. We love the new décor! Top marks from YZ.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
It has a fabulous location on the banks of the River Mara, in its own concession within the Maasai Mara National Reserve. It is situated just 45 minutes’ flight from Nairobi.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
Recently the main facilities of Sanctuary Olonana have been upgraded, to a more contemporary design. Local Maasai women were involved in ‘mudding’ the interior walls, a technique used in their own homes. The result is stunning: light yet earthy tones blend beautifully with the natural surroundings to provide very relaxing areas in which to sit, eat, take in the views. The lounge has comfortable armchairs and sofas around coffee tables, in addition to a fireplace for a particularly cosy feel. The dining room contains elegant tables and smart upright chairs, extending onto a dining deck that overlooks the river and its inhabitants. There is also a swimming pool with plenty of sunloungers – and a fantastic mini-spa!
Sanctuary Olonana’s guest accommodation consists of 14 spacious canvas tents including two honeymoon suites, all described by Sanctuary Retreats as ‘oversized’! These are connected to the main areas by neat paved paths. The standard tents are roomy enough for families, and spaced sufficiently far apart to ensure ample privacy – ideal for couples! Each boasts two four-poster beds with floor-to-ceiling mosquito nets, plus bedside tables, lounge furniture, a writing desk and chair, and a private veranda with river views. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins and shower – and the honeymoon suites feature outdoor showers too!
Activities from Sanctuary Olonana are game drives, nature walks and local visits, with hot air balloon safaris available at extra cost. You do not have to leave camp to fit in some wildlife watching, as among others the river is home to a pod of hippos! However, venture farther afield on a game drive, with the camp’s highly experienced guides, and you will be treated to sights of nature at her most spectacular. All Big Five animals roam the Maasai Mara, with numerous other predators and herbivores. There is a lot of birdlife to observe too, as over 300 species are attracted to the region’s savanna, woodland and forests! The camp is also very well positioned for guests to experience the world-famous Great Migration, with the huge herds of wildebeest passing by from July to October.
Nature walks are another great way to get to know the local flora and fauna, featuring a visit to the camp’s wetlands, an opportunity to plant a tree, and some interesting lessons in animal signs, all in the company of a very knowledgeable naturalist. Visits to local villages are available too, where you can meet the elders and join in with such Maasai activities as hut building, warrior dancing, or making fire! You can also check out the local schools. And the camp is also happy to arrange hot air balloon safaris – rise at dawn and drift over the plains and all their game below, finally descending to a delicious breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs, fruit, pastries… and champagne!
The spa staff are brilliant, skilled in delivering a range of treatments, from facials to full body massages. And all the while the River Mara flows by, sometimes serene, other times full and frantic with wildebeest!