Rhino River Camp, Maua, Meru

8th Mar 2021

I stumbled upon this eco Lodge by default. I had earlier tried booking Il Ngweso camp in Nanyuki but was really let down by their poor customer service which resulted in finding ourselves without anywhere to go in Laikipia County since most of the places I wanted were booked by then. The lovely Dorothy Kahigi
came to my rescue when I told her about my frustration. I mentioned to her that I could try Meru County but needed a place that fit my bill; small, discrete and eco. When she shared photos of Rhino River Camp, I said this was it! We got a good deal through her intervention and went ahead to book.
Directions to the camp by Google are fairly good except it leaves you around 100m from the camp. Actually it takes you right into a river (there are a number of them crossing the road and without bridges...or is it the road crossing the rivers?). One has to drive all the way to Maua town (almost 450km from Nairobi) then branch off into a mixed stretch of tarmac and murram road...approximately another 30km or so). Best to have a 4 wheel drive on this stretch since the road is under construction and further on you will drive through streams. The entrance into the lodge is quite a bush. You actually wonder if there is a any lodge at all but that is the beauty of the place. We were being waited for by the whole team at the reception. I felt very royal. Lol! I want to commend the hotel since we got an emergency that made us push our reservation by a day and they gladly obliged with less than 24 hour notice.
The lodge has only 7 tented rooms with a common reception and dining area. They have a pool overlooking the river. We tried to swim in it but the water was too cold! The whole place has a safari feeling and decor to it. I loved the cutlery that is from Kitengela Glass if I am not wrong. The tents are far apart from each other and hidden in the bushes so you get your privacy. Ours had a separate seating tented area where we could enjoy the river gushing below and the monkeys and bush babies frolicking around.
Network signal is poor and there is no TV so prepare to totally detach from the busy modern world. Our meals were freshly prepared based on the available options. Their cuisine leans heavily on a continental menu and is 5 course. If you want the ugali, veggies nyama Choma type this may not be your place. We had the option of stating when our meals would be brought and where they would be served. The sound of the gushing river is very soothing especially at night. At some point it felt like it was raining heavily but it was just the river.
Accommodation is on full board basis because of the safari trips into Meru National Park. The afternoon we landed we toured the Rhino sanctuary inside the park and second day we drove further into the main park and had a bush breakfast which I found very romantic! Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable on the animals and the birds. We say 3 of the big 5. The lion and the leopard wer elusive.
By second day afternoon we were tired and just wanted to laze around in the pool. They could consider heating it because...wueh! We gave up on that activity because of the temperature of the water. They have various indoor games fo a quiet evening. A bonfire was also lit for our enjoyment as we watched the bush babies being fed.
Overall, the service was very professional and discrete. We felt well taken care of. The food could do with a lot of African menu but maybe their clientele is different. We asked for kienyeji chicken...expected the full shebang of bones and all...we were served chicken fillet with ugali. Did I mention I am a full-bodied Luhya woman and what I saw and what I had envisioned were totally different. But we were too hungry by then so eat we did!
Overall, our experience was quite relaxing. I enjoyed the safaris. I love animals so anything to see them and be with them is a plus. The long drive though to the camp would be better if one booked 3 nights to enjoy the facility better.
Average cost per person sharing 19500 full board. We got a good discount though.
Amakove rating 8/10. 2 marks went because of my precious chicken meal.
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https://www.facebook.com/RhinoRiverCamp/

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