My wife and I were excited to go to Maasai Mara, Kenya with another couple after "Big Cat Diary" painted a picture of an amazing and adventurous vacation. It was better than I imagined.
We picked Cheetah Tented Camp because the price was great compared to other camps in the area (and not to mention the all-inclusive alcohol was quite enticing). After the 4-day safari vacation, I'm convinced if I'm ever lucky enough to return for another safari trip, I'm going straight back to Cheetah Tented Camp.
The camp has 3 tents. My wife and myself had one and our friends had another. They were clean, beautiful, and have more amenities than you could need. Every night we were safe in our beds as the hippos in the river right below sang us to sleep. Every morning we had hot coffee or tea waiting for us at our own table overlooking the Mara River.
The staff is made up primarily of the Maasai people who were very friendly and helpful. From serving breakfast while we sat down by the river, to the beautiful dinners served to the sound of an amazing guitarist playing in the background, to the rooms always clean and warm when we come back from safari, the service is top notch.
Our guide, Sampimpi (this is probably not even close to the correct spelling) is a Maasai warrior miracle, finding all the animals we were hoping to see. He could spot them from a mile away then slowly drive toward them saying, "do you see it yet?" The animals hide so well, we would not see them until we were on top of them. Great to have a native guide. Not to mention that we so heavily placed our trust in him as we got 10ft from a Lioness with a baby buffalo kill to take pictures with the engine off. We found lions, leopards, cheetahs, and many many other animals, learning about them as well as seeing them. He also drove through the rough terrain like a champion after the rain turned it into a crazy obstacle course. The safaris were on our schedule. As we were there only a short time, we wanted to make the most of it. We wanted safaris early in the morning, throughout the day, and even night safaris where we came across a bunch of giraffes. Any time we wanted to go on safari, no problem, part of the "all inclusive."
Now for the hosts, Jorge and Mariola... I say hosts because you are not going to a hotel that the operate... you are being invited into their home to appreciate the life that they love. The story-telling, experience sharing, and pure love of the safari is felt very strongly and very sincere. The wine glasses stay full, the hospitality is rich, and you begin to feel part of their family.
The logistics can seem a little unsettling with a domestic flight on a small plane from a small airport in Nairobi, but fear not! Let Jorge and Mariola know your plans and they will take care of you and you WILL arrive safe and sound in the Mara North Conservancy. You will see their tents on the river as you descend, ready for the trip of a lifetime.
That's all I will say for now. I could keep going, but best to leave some things as a surprise :)
I highly recommend Cheetah Tented Camp... and if you go, please say hi to Jorge and Mariola for me.
- Also Known As:
- Cheetah Tented Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve