10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Wonderful Camp, worth the journey
"Absolutely loved the Porini Rhino Camp! Weather here is cooler than the camps south of Nairobi. This camp is the newest and has larger tents than the Porini camps at Amboseli and Mara. The food here was terrific, and the chef even made a cake for my birthday! Our guide here was excellent. The camp is located at the far end of a huge conservancy, which means you can drive all day for several days and get a different experience each day. We saw both white and black rhinos in the wild here (as well as in a rescue area where there is an old blind black rhino and a fairly tame rescue white rhino raised there as a baby), as well as many animals we'd never before seen or even heard of. The animals here are quite healthy and strong, as opposed to the ones in Amboseli and the Mara, which were suffering from the long drought. This camp is much more spread out than the others, with great views across a creek bed to the plain, with animals walking to and from a salt lick/water hole across from the dining tent during the morning and evening. Because the weather here is so much colder, the staff stocks the Land Rovers with blankets to huddle under so you don't have to zip the windows closed. These Land Rovers are the best, with an unobstructed, open air window seat for each passenger. Highly recommended!"
- Travel date: 3rd November 2009
"No words can describe how wonderful this place is - -really they cannot. Going to Kenya? Go to Ol Peheta and stay at the Porini Rhino Camp"
- Travel date: 20th October 2009
Get this one on your itinerary.
"They don't call it the chicken camp. We wanted to see a Rhino and Porini delivered. We only had one night booked here and arrived fairly late, but the guide persevered. He drove through a labyrinth of Rover trails until finally spotting the elusive pachyderm at sunset. No other vehicles. It made our day. The next morning we only had a couple hours before the next long drive, so we asked for a walking tour. As usual, Porini was very accomodating, and provided an informative, well-escorted colorful tour with Mt. Kenya in the background. Like all the Porini camps we visited, the emphasis was on guest service with respect for the ecology. Imagine discrete wait staff that magically appear when your drink need refilling or when it's time for the next course of your elegant dinner. Cold night? No problem, there will be hot water bottle in your turned-down bed. Now imagine the staff all in traditional garb, and you're in a tent camp miles from any power lines, water mains, paved roads or permanent structures. Think of the organizational skills needed for them to rise before dawn, prepare hot breakfast dishes to order, and have the daily game drive depart on time, always. If this sounds like your kind of roughing-it, then try Porini. And if you ever dreamed of renting out the entire tour, just bring a few friends. That's all it takes. Sound too perfect? Ok, one flaw: ice cold drinks are as rare here as they are in many countries. We survived."
- Travel date: 10th October 2009
If you love game viewing and meeting people of a very different, proud culture, this is the experience for you!
"I booked my six day safari with Gamewatchers directly through the internet. Thank you Jake, Kate & Dorothy. I chose Gamewatchers due to positive reviews on Trip Advisor, their support and partnership with the local Maasi, ecological sensitively and since my wife could not travel at this time, their reasonable single supplement. I stayed at three of their five Porine camps-Rhino, Maasi Mara & Amboseli. Porini is Swahili for wild or in the wild and that is the experience I wanted. Fodor's The Complete African Safari Planner (2008) has good reviews of the Porini Rhino and Amboseli camps. The Rhino camp is located in the 90,000 -acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy on the Laikipia Plateau close to Mt. Kenya. The tents are spacious and solar powered. The lunch area is under two shade trees and good meals were served there or in the dinner tent. Camp personnel were always helful and friendly. A Maasi walks you to and from your tent after dark and they also take turns guarding the camp at night. In the morning there would be three of them sitting around the camp fire. I also wanted this type of camp so that I could be close to game at night. The first night, I was awoken by hearing yelping sounds close by and when I asked the Maasi in the morning, that said zebra had come through the game during the night followed by very excited hyenas. During the first game drive to the camp from the entrance to the conservancy, I saw within 30 minutes three of the "big five" and on all of my game drives, I was the only person in the 4X4 open Rover with a Maasi driver and spotter This situation occurred on also on the day game drive in the Maasi Mara NP. Very often the driver in Maasi Mara would stop to talk to other drivers about game situations. Often there would be five or six people standing, looking out of the top hatch of their vehicle probably envious and probably wondering why is he special. I thought to say," I am probably paying the same as you are for the experience but I choose the right company"."
- Travel date: 28th September 2009
What a magic place - a real hidden gem
"I started off my trip to three Porini camps in Rhino Camp and was absolutely delighted with what I saw. The drive from the air strip to the camp is a wonderful game drive in itself and on arrival at the camp I was just blown away by the beautiful setting. As if to welcome me a black rhino strolled up to the waterhole directly in front of the camp and hung around drinking and wallowing - amazing - my first black rhino, a stunning setting and a cold beer - just perfect. I loved the set up of this camp and the tents have great views where you can really chill out under the big beautiful African skies. The manager Paul and the Masai on the camp were very attentive and friendly and loved to share information about their way of life and to find out things about Ireland. My guides Daniel and Duncan were fantastic and made sure I saw everything this private conservancy has to offer - its massive, as wild as you could possibly imagine and a joy to drive around with an abundance of wildlife - you name it and I saw it but its most spectular animal for me here has to be the black rhino. There is a huge conservancy project going on in this area to save the black rhino from extinction and the dedication of the people I met is truly admirable and the numbers are increasing - its also great to know that by me staying in any of the Porini camps I am helping in some small way the conservation projects and the local communities which are supported by Porini. I loved the bush walks, sundowners and nights around the camp fire with the other guests. The food was excellent and the atmosphere in the camp was so calm and relaxing - it was hard to remember what day or time it was but it just didnt matter. It was a perfect start to what was an unbelievable trip and I hope to return again - Asanti sana to everyone for the very warm welcome and the magic memories - Edel - Ireland"
- Travel date: 24th September 2009
Superb safari experience
"Stayed at Rhino camp after 2 nights at Porinin Selenkay (Amboseli) camp. I guess this is as close to perfect as the safari experience gets. Just a few tents miles from anywhere, with a waterhole just across the way from our tent visited by buffaloes and impala while we were there. The staff are exceptional, always ready to help and the guides, Benjamin and Daniel, so knowledgeable and clever at spotting game. (How about a bushbaby from 100yds at night!!) We also had the place to ourselves so obviously many people just don't know what they're missing. Food was good, Paul provided some Kenyan dishes for us to sample. If you're looking for 'luxury' lodges, with swimming pools and animals whose behaviour is changed by being constantly close to so many people, don't go to a Porini camp. If you want to be in the wilderness, treated as a friend by Maasai and see huge amounts of game - white and black rhino with calves, hartebeest, lions, elephants, giraffes, buffalo, cheetahs, etc, etc, living their lives naturally then these are the places to be. Camps are eco-friendly and linked closely to the Maasai, helping them preserve their way of life- and long may it continue."
- Travel date: 19th August 2009
BLACK RHINO, three types of Zebras, and huge Cheetah, right on the Equator
"This is one of the best. As very privileged and experienced travellers through all continents, and with considerable game safari experience in much of Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia as well as Kenya, weâre still impressed with Poriniâs Rhino Camp ! Imagine a very rural protected âConservancyâ area, the nearest road some 45km away. Then place five or six very spacious guest tents, equipped with private bathroom and safari shower and properly flushing porcelain toilet. Mix in another couple of tents for Lounge and Dining facilities and for staff accommodation. Add in a manager, and many traditionally-dressed staff including guides/spotters/drivers/chef/house-keeping/waiter and warriors who guard you and the camp from wild animals while you sleep. Combine your image with solar panels and bottled gas for hot water and cooking etc (no nasty, noisy, polluting generators here). Add in the freshest food and even decent imported wines. Now consider the best of âEco-tourismâ coupled with âFair Tradeâ, and youâve pretty well got the Porini Camp picture. Rhino Camp was the second of our three consecutive two-night stops in Porini Camps following Amboseli and before Lion. Picked up initially from our London flight by Ray with a big van at Nairobi Airport, we had been driven south down the âAfrican Massageâ experience towards Amboseli for our first Porini Camp encounter. Donât miss this road journey. It demonstrates just what road travel in Kenya is like ! Three huge trucks spread out in parallel, all lumbering towards you as you all simultaneously aim for the for the same narrow way through ! But Ray does that journey several times in a week and knows every stone, every blade of grass, every dip and hollow, and you pretty soon realise that you are in good safe hands. You realise also that the best decision that you had made was to fly between the Camps in little Cessna 12-seater Caravans using grass or gravel airstrips. So, if you were thinking of self-drive in Kenya â Donât. If you are thinking of taking a guided road-tour in one of those microvans with âguaranteed window seats and a pop up roofâ â Donât ! Either way youâd spend seven to ten times as long going from place to place by road, see very little because you cannot even enter the Conservancies and such vehicles cannot go off-road anyway, and even when finally in a Park you do see an animal, thereâll be six other peopleâs heads, hats, arms and cameras all poking out of your own pop-up roof, and all at the very same height ! In contrast Porini Camps use door-entry deep-cushion-seated Land Rover 4x4s for all their day and sundowner drives, both within the Conservancies and the Parks with which they have completely open borders. We, in our luxury Land Rovers, were the envy of those in microvans whenever they saw us in the Parks. Picked up from the 12-seater-Cessna Caravan at Nanyuki, we stopped almost immediately by the 'Welcome to the Equator' signs to have pictures taken and watch and film the impressive 'water through the plughole demostrations ! Then the 45km drive took us to âRhino Campâ, in the beautiful Great Rift Valley. Here we saw not only White Rhino, but also, and amazingly, three Black Rhino together as well as three types of zebra and some enormous hippos andd many plains animals too. The Conservancy is also home to a Chimpanzee Sanctuary, enabling you to get up really close and walking. But the most excitement of our short stay had to be on our return from our warrior-protected walk (during which the warriors danced and threw spears with devastating accuracy for us) and then Sundowners when we gazed at the slopes of Mount Kenya. As we returned to Camp, we found that three huge Cheetah had decided to compete for a ripe and ready female immediately outside one of the tents. There was a huge scrap, and as we followed in the Land Rover forging a path through densest bush, we came upon one of them - a loser - and stayed with him for some while. Cheetah here are very noticably much larger than those in the Mara, and at first glance we thought it could have been a Leopard. All of the staff know that money youâve paid goes to the local communities in aiding schools and water projects etc in an environmentally friendly way that does not ruin their culture. They know too that youâve chosen to help in this way rather than see all of your hard-earned cash end up in the profits of foreign-owned hotels. So they âhang on your every wordâ even if they donât understand every one of them ! Nothing is too much trouble, and nobody is seeking individual tips from you. Photograph and film whoever and whatever you like here. They know thatâs exactly what you came to do, and are very happy to oblige without payment, unlike at many other locations. We have actually deleted no fewer than 169 DSLR animal/people/landscape photographs taken at Porini Camps not because they werenât good, but simply because they were so much like the 600 others that we have kept. And two months later itâs still a really great feeling. Not only did we have the best time ever, but we are still very comfortable in the knowledge that our holiday made a huge difference not only to us, but also a continuing one to the Maasai and other Kenyan people."
- Travel date: 15th April 2009
A True Safari Experience
"Our party went on safari with Gamewatchers, the company that operate Porini Rhino camp and they looked after us superbly throughout our stay in Kenya. We arrived at Porini from Joys Camp in Shaba, a very luxurious camp and our first impressions were that Porini was going to be a hard act to follow. Rhino camp turned out to be a massive highlight to our holiday however. To start with the game was incredible. Rhino camp is situated in a quiet corner of a conservancy located at the base of Mount Kenya. Very rarely do you come across any other safari holidaymakers and it feels like you have the place to yourself. The camp itself has 6 tents and feels very intimate. In the evening you have dinner in the âmess tentâ before retiring to the fire and evening drinks. Lunch is served under the shade of some trees. The quality of the food was excellent; we even had a lovely Christmas dinner with Turkey and all the trimmings. The camp is a genuine safari experience and a variety of animals will graze around your tent in the evening. Despite this, we felt totally safe with the Maasai guarding you at night. A truly memorable experience."
- Travel date: 10th March 2009
Paradise at the Foot of Mt. Kenya
"My husband and I recently returned from our honeymoon safari in Kenya. We chose three Porini Wilderness camps for our honeymoon. After an extensive search of our options, we chose Porini camps for several reasons - their eco-friendly commitment to the land that the camps are on, their practice of hring local people to stimulate the economy and the fact that they had no generators in camp - only solar energy made our decision for us. Porini Rhino Camp is located in Lakaipia, Kenya, at the foot of Mt. Kenya and the Abadare Mountain Range. It is beautiful country located on the Equator and is known for it's Rhinos and Cheetah. The camp is a two hour drive from the airstrip into high altitude country. The camp is in a private reserve and Rhino sanctuary. The ride into the camp actually turns into a game drive. There are less predators here than in the Mara and that means an incredible abundance of non predators - giant groups of giraffe, zebra, gazelle, waterbuck. The scenery is spectacular - this is what the garden of eden would look like if it existed - Mt. Kenya and her snow capped peak in the background, giraffe and cape buffalo grazing in the foreground. The campsite is lovely. The tents are comfortable and are situated on the banks of a river. In the morning nosy giraffe and zebra come to the opposite bank to graze and watch you as much as you watch them. Monkeys are in the trees and songbirds and weavers busy themselves. Lunch is served under a huge tree and breakfast and dinners are served in the mess tent which also serves as the lounge. We were taken on a drive to a beautiful hill just before sundown. We then met a graceful cheetah and her three almost full grown cubs. She was teaching them to hunt and they stalked a gazelle for a while until another gazelle started screaming in the distance (you got me - I didnt know they screamed either). Amazing. Directly after the cheetah family left we were treated to gin and tonics and the most beautiful sunset I have ever witnessed. Evenings and nights are windy and COLD here because of the altitude (you are at over 6,000 ft). At night you would never guess you were right in the equator. But a wonderful surprise awaits you after your delicious dinner - a hot water bottle in your bed! Wonderful touches! Since it was our honeymoon we were treated to a bottle of champagne and we shared it at the campfire - pure heaven. There were many surprises in the Rhino Sanctuary. Along with the abundance of game, a Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Sanctuary is on the grounds. These remarkable creatures are beautiful, smart and get to live out their lives in peace ans safety. The Rhinos and beautiful - there are both black and white rhino on the grounds, as well as a surprise - Max a 3 year old Rhino that was found as an infant and is being raised by game wardens. Max will walk up to you so you can pat his horn! Porini Rhno Camp is magical. It's rustic and a real adventure. It is a must see. Book this heavenly adventure today."
- Travel date: 9th January 2009
Fantastic Personel Service
"Originally we were supposed to be staying in Nairobi for 2 nights as part of Gamewatchers family safari but because of the troubles, the head of Gamewatchers rang us as soon as we landed and told us he thought it would be a good idea to get out of the city and offered us a 2 night safari at Gamewatchers Porini Rhino camp. How glad we are to have been given the opportunity to spend time there. The level of attention and service was second to none. We are a family with 2 children 10 and 11. We were met by our safari guide Harry and spotter Jackson a Maasi tribesman at Nanyuki airport and driven across the Equator where we were demonstrated the water rotating in different directions. Then the hour long drive into Ol Pejeta conservancy and to the 6 tented eco camp. On arrival we were greeted with the customary hot towels and drinks. Lunch was served under the trees with the Manager Paul who joined us at most meal times and made sure we were well catered for. This is when we discovered we were the only people there. The food was first class and plentiful. I cannot believe Moses could create such delicious meals out in the bush. This was the best food we had in Kenya. About 5 we went out for our evening gamedrive and sundowners, this was great fun and Jackson was sat on the bonnet with a spotlight searching for the Lions that we could hear roaring nearby. When our water for our shower was ready Harry was radioed to bring us back. That night the lions roamed through the camp. Being an open camp you have to be escorted to your tent after dark. On the second night we had to walk past a small herd of Buffalo, that was a bit scary but added to the adventure. The second day we did a 4 - 5 hour game drive in the morning and a nature walk with the maasi tribesmen in the afternoon. You can pretty much determine what you do, the Canadians that arrived on our second day went on an all day game drive taking lunch with them. You can also go out really early and have breakfast out on the plain. Everything is all inclusive and you can help yourself in the main tent to drinks out of the fridge or tea and coffee. As we had only taken limited money with us (as we had thought we would organise ourselves in Nairobi) Harry took us to the cash point so our last Safari was actually a rally drive (not that fast really) back into Nanyuki to the cash point. This was great as it gave the kids a second opportunity to see Kenyan life. We still saw loads of game but again missed the lions. The only time we saw other game vehicles was when we were near the main gate. There are only a few tented camps and 1 hotel within the conservancy so it feels pretty exclusive. The conservancy is really well run and has 60+ Rhino and we were lucky enough to see 5 both Black and White. Morani is the conservancy tame black Rhino that you can visit and pet. There is also a Chimpanzee sanctuary. All in all a fantastic stay thanks to all the other staff Samson, Amos and Fernandes for making us feel special. We will never forget it."
- Travel date: 30th January 2008