Spent 3 nights here last week. We flew in with SafariLink and got collected by our driver, Ketembo, who was to be our safari driver for our stay. He was an excellent driver and spotter, seeing things we would have NO hope of spotting, a leopard hidden in a bush, a cheetah on a safari truck (yes you heard right!!) a kilometer or more away!
The camp is only 2 minutes drive from the airstrip, so no lomg drive to get there! From arriving to leaving, we were treated like kings and queens. We got a very courteous and friendly welcome, with fruit juice and a nice cold towel, it felt like they were welcoming old friends! We got showed to our tent (number 11) which was a lovely tent with a great view of the river. Calling it loosely a tent, because camping it was not, this is GLAMPING (glamorous camping!!) the tent had 4 poster beds, teak flooring, flush toilet, shower, 2 lovely vanity sinks, a deck with cushioned relaxing chairs, basically all very luxurious. We had stayed at a tented camp in tsavo 2 years ago and we decided this was the way to go. We didn't want to stay in a lodge, to us, a safari didnt mean staying in a brick building not having the true experience of staying in the bush. We feel that staying in a tent does give you that true safari experience, feeling at one with nature, intrepids allows this, but with the luxuries of a 5 star room.
The food was absolutely Michelin quality, I have eaten in many great restaurants, and this was up there with the very best. How they can produce this high quality, high presentation food in the middle of nowhere baffles me (assume they get daily food flown in with the plane that we took into the Mara from Nairobi). The chef Tom has been trained in the very best hotels in Nairobi, and boy, it shows! Kirkland, our waiter, was equally proficient, within a few minutes he had remembered our names and during the stay always welcomed us, by name, with a huge smile and lovely personality.
Musa our tent attendant was fabulous and nothing was too much bother for him, which in fact, was the same for ALL the staff. When passing every team member, you always got a friendly and happy 'Jambo'. You can tell that they really love their job and the camp.
Edwin the manager regularly came up and chatted with us, wanting to know how our experience was going, what we saw that day on our game drives, and anything he could help us with.
There Was also a lovely girl whom I forget her name, but she did a masters in Eastbourne (a small world, my parents live next door to the part of Brighton uni that she studied in!!) her name began with a K. She was absolutely fantastic and so interested in our experience. She was so excited for us when we came back from our drives sharing with her what animals we saw!
Suzanne at reception also deserves a mention and everyone else whom I forget their names!
Tsavo will always be special as it was my first safari, but you can't beat the mara for the amount and different types of animals. In tsavo you could spend half an hour driving looking for animals (tsavo is MUCH bigger than the Mara). In the Mara within metres Of the park gates, you can see animals. We saw pretty much all of those who live there, from all the different antelopes (impala, tommy's, grant gazelles, eland, hartebeest etc), MANY lions (even the marsh pride of Big Cat Diary fame), cheetah (keke's daughter, also from Big Cat Diary, she actually jumped up on a neighbouring safari vehicle much to the amusement and nervousness of the occupants, but this was a regular happening and not unsafe at all), leopards, elephant, giraffe, loads of different birds (we liked the secretary birds!) tons of hippos (one small stretch of the mara river had 50, one started grunting and they all followed suit, a hilarious experience!) Nile crocodiles, baboons, and we were VERY VERY VERY lucky to see a black rhino in the open, one of less than 20 in the park, and they are usually in the bushes, this chap slowly walked from one bush area to the next, all in the vehicle we silent in absolute awe), and so on. The concentration of animals in the mara is second to none, and we feel that you can't beat it.
We did a walking safari with Jospeh, a Maasai. This was a totally different experience to being in the safari truck, he did a great job of talking to us about the various uses of plants and trees, got up close to giraffe and zebra, impala etc, we felt very safe as a ranger, Naomi, came with us to protect us (don't be put off that they have to carry a gun, it's exactly this that made us feel so safe, along with the level of knowledge of Joseph). A real MUST!!
So in conclusion, we were so happy we chose intrepids, after MUCH research We definitely chose the right camp! The individual care and attention we received was the best we have ever experienced in all our travels.
THANK YOU TO ALL THE STAFF! We hope to return. In fact, the percentage of return guests is incredibly high, around 40-50%. I am not at all surprised by this figure.
Tent 11 has a good view of the river (they all overlook the river, but this tent had a lovely patch...
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