EXCLUSIVE! Get a sneak peak into the brand new Porini Cottages. Traveltomtom was honored to be the first guest ever of this exclusive safari lodge in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy located in Masai Mara. Very recently Porini Cottages was added to the Porini Camps family and in this blog you will read all about my experiences staying in the Porini Cottages private luxury safari lodge in the Masai Mara.
Porini Camps is well known for its sustainable tented camp safaris in local community owned land. You can find Porini Camps all around Kenya but just recently they opened Porini Cottages. The first exclusive luxury private safari cottages of the Porini Camps family.
By staying at Porini Camps you make a direct contribution towards conserving the flora and fauna of the area you are staying at and encouraging sustainable tourism based on community owned conservation. Porini Camps works closely together with local communities living alongside national parks letting them derive direct benefit from setting aside areas of their own land for the conservation of the habitat of the wildlife.
Porini Camps leases the land of the local communities to create wildlife conservancies and directly create jobs for the people of the communities. From all of the safari camps Traveltomtom has worked together with Porini Camps is by far the most advanced in sustainable safari tourism.
Location Porini Cottages
Porini Cottages is located in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy, a conservation area near Masai Mara National Park that is exclusively owned by Porini Camps for more than 20 years already. The conservancy is 19,000 acres big and there are only two other safari camps inside the conservancy. Porini Cheetah Camp and Porini Mara Camp share the Ol Kinyei Conservancy now together with Porini Cottages.
How to get to Porini Cottages
From Nairobi it takes less than 3 hours to get to the Masai Mara by car and the roads are great all the way up to the Sekenani Entrance Gate for the Masai Mara National Park. However, you don’t even need to go that far as the entrance to Ol Kinyei Conservancy is about 20 minutes before the Sekenani Entrance Gate.
We took a private taxi for 17,500 Ksh one-way which is about $120 USD. My Kenyan friend Gibson, who I got to know on my trip to Kenya in 2021 has a big fancy 6-seater car, in fact an Uber XL and how I actually got to know him. Here is his WhatsApp number (+254 707 886 926) if you are looking for a reliable, friendly driver with an excellent car in Nairobi.
Gibson picked me up from my hotel in Nairobi and 3 hours later we were at the entrance of the Ol Kinyei Conservancy. On our way I was in contact with the Porini Cottages staff and on arrival at the entrance gate of the conservancy our luxury safari vehicle was already waiting for us.
It is also possible to let Porini Camps arrange your transfer from Nairobi to the conservancy. They charge around $200 USD one-way for a private transfer.
There is also an airstrip nearby so I am sure if you want to fly from Nairobi to the Masai Mara that Porini Camps can arrange a flight from Nairobi to the Masai Mara for you.
On the side of the main road we switched from the taxi to an open safari vehicle together with our big suitcases. Just a few moments later we were already on a legit game drive in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy and saw lots of giraffes, wildebeest, zebras and many more wildlife.
After a small game drive of about 30 minutes we drove uphill to the cottages or should I say villas or may be lodges. You decide! Anyway on arrival we were greeted by the friendly smiling staff who all came to introduce themselves as we were welcomed with a welcome drink.
Porini Cottages consist of 4 huge villas/lodges located on one of the hills inside the conservancy. Every cottage has 4 private rooms with double or twin beds which can be modified on request. There is also the option to add extra beds for kids.
All rooms come out on a huge porch overlooking the big plains of the Ol Kinyei conservancy and all have a small private seating in front of the room as well.
There is a communal area with a fireplace, which is extremely cosy in the evenings when temperatures drop. This is where you would find me every night with a glass of wine having a chat with other guests about the game drives in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy.
The communal area is also where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served. However, you can ask the staff to set up a breakfast table outside in the porch while enjoying the amazing and unobstructed views over the Masai Mara.
Every cottage has its own private kitchen and kitchen staff that cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner for you and the waiters will make sure your glass isn’t empty. Porini Cottages is pretty much an all-inclusive luxury safari. All meals, drinks and alcoholic beverages are included as well as all activities and of course game drives.
Rooms Porini Cottages
Porini Camps is known for its amazing tented camps and Traveltomtom also stayed at the Porini Amboseli Camp, the Porini Rhino Camp and the Porini Giraffe Camp, so having a luxury hotel room in the heart of a nature reserve was also new for me.
The big double bed of my room was decorated with a huge amazing wildlife painting on the wall behind the bed. The room was very spacious and the bed was surrounded by a mosquito net on a rail. Not that I think that was needed because I didn’t see a mosquito during my stay at all.
This is another double room and below the bathroom of the double room.
There are multiple thick blanket on the bed to make sure you don’t get cold at night. Temperatures drop significantly and they even put hot water flasks in your bed during your dinner. Personally I did not get cold at all and even slept without the blankets most of the time.
There is a bathroom with an open rain shower, but to my surprise there also was an outdoor shower.
The water pressure was excellent and all bathroom amenities are provided, including natural shampoo and shower gel.
Wifi and 4G connection
Porini Cottages provides fast and free WiFi in every room and there is even a tv-room with a huge sofa to hang out and chill. This is completly different to some of the other Porini Tented Camps that I stayed at where I was completely off the grid, which is also a blessing sometimes.
On top of the WiFi signal there is a super fast 4G signal from Safaricom available, the best sim card for traveling in Kenya. Check out Traveltomtom’s complete guide for buying a sim card in Kenya.
Safari in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy
Lions, lions, lions and lions I would almost say! But this of course comes down to a bit of luck, so don’t let my experiences create big expectations. Traveltomtom always says to not have any expectations when traveling and especially on safari you should not have.
But in my case I saw a lot of lions and also a lot of action during my game drives in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy, arguably my best safari ever. At least the most memorable one so far.
That has all to do with my first time ever witnessing a kill. I was lucky enough to see a lion kill a warthog right in front of me and then together with some other lions of the pride they ate it all right in front of my eyes.
Apart from that incredibly memorable safari experience we also saw 3 baby lions that were just a couple weeks old. As well as baby elephants, hyenas, giraffes and many many other exciting animals. There is wildlife in abundance in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy.
One of the best things about safaris in a conservancy is that you can go off road during your game drives. On safari in National Parks you have to stay on the road, even if you see something really exciting you are not allowed to leave the roads. This in huge contrast with safari in conservancies where you are constantly off roading looking for exciting things happening.
Honestly, after my safari trip in Kenya this year I would recommend everyone to try a safari in a conservancy at least one, but trust me you will never want to go back to safari in a national park anymore.
On my trip I also visited Amboseli and Masai Mara National Park but compared to my game drives in the Ol Kinyei, the Selenkay and the Ripoi Conservancy I must say they were pretty lame. Safari in a conservancy is from a different level and 10x more exciting.
Game drives with Porini Camps and Cottages are done by a senior safari guide and a junior guide, a so called spotter. Which makes it that there are 4 eyes looking for animals while driving around in a luxury safari vehicle. And trust me these trained and passionated professionals find you the best wildlife encounters.
This is a photo of me with the conservancy Warden and I had a great chat with him about the future of the conservancy and the Masai communities involved in this amazing project.
All the wildlife photos in this blog post are taken with my phone. There is no doubt that big fancy DSLR and mirrorless cameras take much better photos, but with this statement I want to show you that it is not a must to bring expensive cameras and lenses on safaris. Read more about Traveltomtom’s travel gear and packing list.
Special word of thank goes out to the staff of the Porini Cottages. Most of the staff are trained local people from the communities and they really work together as a team, all doing their best to please the guest and always with a smile. You can feel their happiness and being grateful for working for Porini Camps.
Unfortunately I went through my camera roll and found out I do not have a photo together with the amazing staff of Porini Cottages. That makes it another reason to go back and stay at Porini Cottages again.
Porini Cottages strives to employ people from the local communities and create jobs for the local Masai people. It makes staying a Porini Cottages extra special, because these are the people that grew up between the wild animals, the people that in fact still own some parts of the land in the conservancy. They have incredible stories to tell about the way Masai people live, how they grew up and their traditions. And most beautiful of all is to feel their passion when they proudly tell about their Masai culture. An amazing experience.
When looking for a luxury safari in the Masai Mara Traveltomtom recommends you to look beyond the safari lodges in the Masai Mara National Park. Trust me, once you visit a private conservancy you don’t want to book your next safari anymore in a National Park.
Traveltomtom enjoyed staying at Porini Tented Camps very much and was curious to try out the new Porini Cottages. But from this review blog about Porini Cottages there is no need to tell you that my stay at this new luxury safari experience from Porini Camps was also a huge success.
Tented Safari Camps may still have my preference, but that is a personal thing. However, I must admit that coming back from a dusty game drive it does feel amazingly comfortable to walk into the luxury hotel room at Porini Cottages and take a nice hot shower and enjoying the comfort of a hotel room. It definitely is a way more luxurious experience than a tented camp in the bush.
Porini Camps now offers luxury safari cottages as well as tented camps, it is up to you which one you prefer more.
Enjoy your trip to Kenya!