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Olonana.
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  Olonana
Getting there
Olonana in north-western Masai Mara is some 6 hours from Nairobi by road. Lake Naivasha, Hell's Gate and Mount Longonot are en route.
The lodge is a 15-minute drive from Kichwa Tembo airstrip. The flying time from Nairobi is approximately one hour, but the plane may land at other airstrips en route, so the actual time spent on the plane may be longer.
In Nairobi, safari flights depart from and arrive in Wilson Airport (WIL/HKNW), not Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO/HKJK). The transfer time between the airports is 20–30 minutes.
Masai Mara map
Masai Mara map.
Kenya map
Kenya map.
  Glossary
Safari glossary
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Kenya:
Olonana
Masai Mara National Reserve
Olonana is a tented lodge situated just outside north-western Masai Mara National Reserve in south-western Kenya. It is set on the western bank of the Mara River, a short drive from Oloololo Gate, which leads into the reserve.

It is a smallish luxury lodge, where you can expect good quality to service, food and accommodation. It has 14 spacious tents with private bathrooms and verandas right by the river. For privacy, the tents are well separated and surrounded by vegetation.

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Olonana also has a central area of buildings housing a restaurant, indoor and outdoor lounges, a library with board games and fireplace, a lounge deck by the river, and a gift shop. The swimming pool area is secluded, set away from the other public areas.
 
Competent kitchen
When we have visited, we have enjoyed the competent kitchen, which serves good city restaurant dishes, not the heavyish food of British legacy often seen, and often served in buffets, in many other lodges. The menus include vegetarian choices.

Olonana has an eco-friendly approach, for example by using solar energy, cleansing wastewater, and taking part in a tree planting project.

The lodge offers safari activities such as bush walks and game drives, and outings such as visits to Maasai villages.

Outside Masai Mara
The main drawback of this lodge (and many other lodges) is its location outside Masai Mara. Even though it's not very far to drive to the national reserve for game driving, you need to drive the same way each time, to arrive in the same north-western corner of the park. To access other parts (for varying the game drives, or for going where the most animals can be found at that specific time) much driving (i.e. full day game drives) is required. If you stick to doing game drives early mornings and evenings, most of Masai Mara will be out of range.

More about Masai Mara
Masai Mara (sometimes referred to as 'the Mara') is one of the prime parks in East Africa. It is home to a great number of animals and to many different species, including the Big Five.

Masai Mara's main attractions may be the migration, present in the park during August to October, and its many lions. Other classic safari animals often seen are cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos, giraffes and elephants. The birding is good, and many birds of prey may be seen.

The riverside lounge deck in Olonana.

The restaurant in Olonana by night.

The swimming pool in Olonana.

Outdoor lounge in Olonana.

Tent veranda overlooking the Mara River.

The Masai Mara landscape is known for its wide undulating plains, crossed by a few major rivers. In the south, the park borders Serengeti in Tanzania.

Masai Mara is situated in a part of Kenya dominated by the Maasai tribe. Maasai warriors and villages may be seen en route when travelling to the park. Most lodges and camps in the area arrange visits to such villages.

Wildlife seasons
Masai Mara offers good game viewing all year round, but you may want to avoid April and May, which are usually wet and rainy. The prime time is August to October, when the migration is present, adding vast herds of wildebeest and zebras to the resident animal population.

Wildlife around the lodge
You may see hippos and crocodiles in the river outside your tent and from the deck in the lounge area. Apart from that, you shouldn't expect to see much wildlife from the lodge grounds, as the view is blocked by riverbanks and vegetation.

 
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Page updated 18 February 2009