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Masai Mara Sopa Lodge - Masai Mara, Kenya

The Masai Mara Natioanl Reserve, Kenya

Masai Mara Sopa Lodge is set in the Oloolaimutia Valley & blends perfectly with the surrounding hillside landscape. The lodge is located 206 km south of the Equator on the eastern boundary of the Masai Mara Game Reserve in south-western Kenya, 2km from the Oloolaimutia Gate.

The lodge has been styled to echo the icons, colours and cultural artifacts of the Maasai people and features high rondaval buildings, colourful decor and central fire places. Set in extensive grounds, it offers a swimming pool, restaurant, 3 bars, a conference centre and a gift shop. Located on the slopes of the Oloongams Hills, this was one of the first loges to be built in the Mara.

World renowned for the breathtaking spectacle of ‘the greatest wildlife show on earth', the awe inspiring annual migration of the wildebeest, the Mara is Kenya's most visited protected area. Technically an extension of Tanzania's renowned Serengeti National Park, the Mara constitutes only 4% of the entire Serengeti ecosystem but its rolling grasslands, meandering rivers and towering escarpments offer one of the world's most rewarding and evocative wildlife arenas.

Location
The Masai Mara is 270 miles from Nairobi (five hours by road). All weather air strip - less than an hour from Nairobi by plane (30 minute drive to the lodge).

Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

The Background
The Masai Mara National Reserve
When it comes to game-viewing, there is nowhere in Africa richer in wildlife or more eventful in encounters than the Mara. A pristine wilderness of haunting beauty, it promises its visitors a profusion of wildlife, prolific bird life and the unprecedented opportunity of catching up with all the members of the ‘Big Five' in one morning.
As to scenery, the 1,800 sq kilometres of this veteran reserve offer the classic mix of African imagery; miles of lion-gold grasslands, shoals of lilac-misted hills, a meandering river, acres of thorn-bush and mile upon mile of undulating wilderness.

The Miracle of the Migration of the Wildebeest
All the time, when on the move, the wildebeest emit harsh grunts, something like the sound of frogs, something like that of old men clearing their throats. People have called them ungainly because of their high shoulders and sloping hindquarters and also clowns because of their long pale faces and white beards, but in fact they move with grace and sometimes playfulness, leaping and cavorting with apparent joie de vivre.

Last Days in Eden
Elspeth Huxley and Hugo van Lawick

Between the end of July and November, over one and a half million wildebeest accompanied by half again as many zebras and gazelles, migrate from the short-grass plains of the Serengeti to fresh pasture in the grasslands of the Mara; thus creating one of nature's grandest spectacles. Moving in groups of up to 20,000 at a time they thunder across the plateau hesitating only briefly to cross the Mara River, where many fall prey to the waiting crocodiles. Towards the end of October they begin crossing back into Tanzania. The actual timing of the migration, however, is dictated by the weather and does not always ‘run to schedule'.

Accommodation
The lodge has 77 rooms, 12 suites and 1 Presidential suite, all of which are 'rondavel' style and have en-suite bathroom facilities. Every room and suite has a private, elevated verandah with splendid views across the valley. All rooms have minibars, direct dial telephone, satellite TV, hairdryers and shaver sockets. Each rondaval features two rooms - a bedroom and a lounge area.

Standard Rooms
The rooms with parquet floors and wooden paneled ceilings have 2 double beds with a mosquito net around them, ornamental fire place, en-suite bathroom with a shower, chairs and a coffee table and dressing table. Each has a verandah with two safari chairs.

Suites
There are 12 suites, 6 on either side of the lodge. They have a large living area, private spacious bedrooms with 2 queen size beds with a mosquito net, en suite bathroom with a shower, dressing table, coffee table with comfortable chairs and a mini bar. An ornamental fire place completes the decor of the rooms.

Honeymoon Suite
Situated right at the top of the property with an uninterrupted view of the Oloongama hills, this very spacious suite has a king size bed set on a platform. The bathroom has a sunken in bath and shower. A spacious verandah is in the front to watch the sunset or have privately served meals.

Dining and bars
The dining room is accommodated within a traditional rondavel, which is presented in traditional Maasai style and features a large central fireplace. Doors open on to an open air terrace, where meals are also served. In the nearby lounge is the Jumbo Bar. The Pool Bar overlooks the swimming pool and the Ol Murani bar is on the lower ground floor, and features sports TV and a billiard table. This area also features a wildlife veiwing deck and a campfire.

Conference and event facilities
The extensive ground make the ideal wedding backdrop and the lodge offers both wedding packages and a honeymoon suite. The meeting room seats 18-90 guests and offers full AV and conference equipment and an outdoor break-out or entertaining space. The hotel also offers a series of incentives options, such as bush breakfasts, bush dinners, Maasai dance and an events theatre 10 km from the lodge where tents can be erected.

Wildlife highlights
Offering an abundance of herbivores, the Mara makes the ideal hunting ground for Kenya's famous ‘big cats' and hosts her largest population of lions. It also offers the best chance of spotting a leopard in the wild. Other predators include cheetah and spotted hyena. Historically teaming with wildlife, the Mara is famous for the large herds of elephant and buffalo that meander its plains; also for the fat pods of hippo that wallow in its mud-brown rivers. Other stars include the distinctive Masai giraffe, plum-coloured topi, Coke's hartebeest, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, zebra, impala, Kirk's dik-dik, bushbuck, waterbuck and red duiker. The Reserve also boasts plentiful Nile crocodile, monitor lizard, baboon, vervet, blue and red-tailed monkeys, nocturnal bush babies, and tree hyrax. There are over 550 resident and migratory species of birds.

Child-friendly
The lodge welcomes children.

What to see and do
The lodge offers visits to the local Maasai village, guided nature walks, birdwatching, mountain climbing, archery, walking safaris, Maasai cultural talks and balloon safaris.


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