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“A wee piece of heaven” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kicheche Mara Camp

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Kicheche Mara Camp
4.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Acacia valley, Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A wee piece of heaven”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

This is my 3rd time staying at a Kicheche camp and the 2nd at Mara camp in its current location. Repeat custom should say it all really about the quality that Kicheche offers.

I am a keen amateur photographer and went with a friend who is a professional. We both had large telephoto lenses and had hired a landcruiser for the 2 of us to use exclusively and we had Joseph as a guide for a week long safari. The vehicle had beanbags supplied and also platforms attached to the windows to rest big lenses on.

Sammy and Colin were very welcoming and it was a pleasure to meet them. Happy birthday Sammy! Hope you had fun on the coast. Kat was on duty for the latter part of our stay and was also very helpful and friendly, as were all the camp staff. Asante to you all.

Our tent (Kongoni) was very spacious, clean and well appointed. I will need to train my husband to bring me hot chocolate and biscuits in bed every morning as I'm missing that, even if it was at 5.15am! Falling asleep listening to lions and hyenas never gets old.

Joseph was an excellent guide. He is a true gentleman who has a deep respect for nature. He also is sensitive to the needs of photographers and very rarely needed prompted to move the vehicle for us, this only happened when a bit of grass was perhaps not in his way but was in ours because of the different angle. He made lots of helpful suggestions which we took advantage of and was an expert at picking out a spot and a subject for the classic sunrise/sunset photos. He was also a good sport modelling for us with his spear. He was concerned for our safety and wellbeing at all times, it was no problem to mark our territory when needed! He was keen to make sure we wouldn't starve to death on our self inflicted 13 hour game drives and was a bit like a Masai Mrs Doyle at times, go on go on etc. He was happy to tell us about where he grew up and went to school and about his family. I was almost in tears when he talked about visiting the 'animal rescue and rehab' place in Nairobi where some injured/orphaned animals are sent with a view to returning them to the wild. In reality this doesn't seem to happen often, he cut a visit there short as he was so upset seeing his animals away from the plains they deserve to roam.

I completely take issue with the couple ?from Singapore who labelled Joseph as "surly and lazy". How insulting. He is a softly spoken Mara magician of the highest order. I think it says it all really that they " didn't see anything of note" on their first game drive. I have no idea where they were but it can't have been the Mara. It's not all about the cats (and this is from a self confessed mad cat lady). There are countless beautiful birds, smaller mammals, herbivores and plants to look at but you have to OPEN YOUR EYES. Their comment that they preferred the reserve to the conservancy is also revealing. If you want to watch animals being harassed by lots of vehicles full of baying idiots so that their occupants can get back in time for breakfast then this is the place for you. If you want to spend quality time, in the quiet, just enjoying being metres away from a lion family playing or a sleepy cheetah with no-one else there then the conservancy is just fine thanks. Also remember it's not a bloody zoo.

Food was simple and of high quality. I had a wee fat tummy to take home with me!

Office staff also quick to respond to emails.

I must also add, on a more personal note, that I had to postpone a trip planned for last year owing to the serious illness and subsequent death of a close family member. The Kicheche office staff were sympathetic and flexible and it was absolutely no problem to rearrange things. This made a very hard time a bit easier and was greatly appreciated by myself and my family.

To sum up, I had an entirely positive experience, again, at Mara camp and will be returning. If you want a classy and enlightened photographic experience with people who are sensitive to nature then you can't get better than this.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Sao Jose Dos Campos, SP
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

We spent a few nights in Kicheche Bush and Kicheche Mara camps in July 2013, and also in other "well known" camp in Serengueti (Tanzania), in the same trip.

What we can say is that the service provided in Kicheche is simply the best it can be. No pretentions to be a resort, but the details, food, service, guides, cars with few people and the amount of different animals, including lot of cats a few meters out from the lodge makes this simply the best choise we believe it can be. We wish had stayed at least a 3rd night in each camp.
For the ones are deciding between both camps, Kicheche Bush has newer tends and better for couples, the Mara Camp is better for bigger families.
We were in both and we could se hundreds of animals, including the migration of wildebeasts (from Bush Camp).
You cant find better experience.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

My wife and I spent three nights at Kicheche Mara camp as part of our honeymoon. The camp was in a beautiful setting, we really felt immersed in nature. We were spoilt on the game drives, seeing everything you could want to on your first safari. Our hosts Sammy and Colin were very welcoming and helpful, and the staff created a warm and friendly atmosphere. The food was excellent too!

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston UK
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

For our first Safari we used Exclusive Africa agents www.safari.co.uk and they recommended Keyna and the Kicheche Mara Camp. We really didn't know what to expect but the whole experience was fantastic start to finish.

First the location is in the North Conservancy which is part of an umbrella set of conservancies designed to expand the original Masai Mara reserve. Taking a safari link light aircraft from Nairobi Wilson Airport we landed at the local airstrip and were greeted by one of the Masai guides. We immediately went on a mini game drive on our way to the camp which is around 30 mins drive across some pretty challenging terrain.

upon arrival at camp we were meet by the camp Manager Sam, and a selection Masai guides plus room and service attendants. After a refreshing mango juice and a camp briefing were we're shown to our tent called Punda Milea or stripy donkey....aka Zebra. The tents were stunningly clean, airy and come equipped with bathroom sink with running cold water, flushing toilet and best if all a bucket shower. There are only about 8 tents in the camp and they are well spaced out so total privacy is a guarantee. The animals are literally right outside of your tent, however, the local guards keep you safe at night escorting you back and forth whenever you need it.

The food on camp is unbelievably good. My wife has to eat Gluten free but this posed no problem. At ever sitting the chefs had prepared gluten free alternatives even down to baking gluten free bread alternatives which is better than most restaurants I the UK.

The game drives were brilliant, more animal activity than you could ever wish for and the guides are really knowledgable about the area and the animals. Our guide, Jimmy, was a lovely guy, great sense of humour and real passion for the animals and his work as a guide. He worked tirelessly for the whole time we were there to ensure we had a special time. He wasp also a pretty handy photographer too so give hick you camera and prepare to be amazed.

Breakfast with the hippos is a real treat, we did it twice, basically a picnic in the bush overlooking the Mara river with the hippos and crocs shuffling around below you.

We can't recommend this camp enough, the whole set up is very professional and every single person is friendly and make you feel like one of the family. Dinners are taken in the mess tent with the other guests so you get chance to socialise and share your game drive stories every night.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oslo, Norway
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013

I just came back a couple of days ago from my safari trip to Kenya. The camp was perfect for me as a solo traveler. The food was amazing and the staff was very friendly. The game drives were amazing. I had a very good driver and spotter by the name of Joseph. I saw cheetahs everyday not to mention lions and their cubs. We tried very hard to track the leopard but he was very good at hiding so I need to travel there again and hope I get to see this big beautiful cat. I highly recommend Kicheche Mara to anyone. The room was always clean and every morning I got nice coffee and amazing cookies prior to start the game drive at 0630!
Breakfast and lunch in the bush were fantastic and meals were always nicely prepared. On my last morning in the Mara, I took breakfast beside 2 resting young cheetah males ( I was in the jeep of course!) How many people in the world can say they have taken their breakfast in such an amazing setting?! I am already planning in my head my next trip there!

Room Tip: Bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper... many little and big creatures are nocturnal and make a...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

For us, service has always been a key factor during our travels and Kicheche excelled in pampering us from beginning to end.

Sammy and Colin were kind, welcoming, attentive and managed a fantastic staff with an unparalleled attention to detail both in the accommodation (tents, amenities, bedding, meals, etc.), logistics (game drives, showers, sundowners, etc.). Unfortunately for us, it was our first stop in our 2 week trip and it positively ruined us for the rest. Even though we couldn't complain about anything in particular during our other stops, nothing ever compared to Kicheche Mara.

Our guide, Jimmy, deserves a special commendation as he managed to show us all sorts of animals (leopard, cheetah, lions, rhinos, hippos, kingfishers, etc) with superb driving skills and a deep knowledge of the Mara, the animals and responded to our every inquire.

Our only word of caution is that it will ruin you for other safaris.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

Kicheche was my first Safari experience and I am very sad to say that I've ruined it for myself, because everything from here on out is going to be a big disappointment. Having come highly recommended I was intrigued to see why this place had so many repeat visitors and I was certainly not disappointed, it lived up to expectations and then went above and beyond.

The drive from the airstrip in Mara North to Mara Camp provides a perfect opportunity to soak up the amazing landscape, meet and get to know your wonderful guide (in my case George) and get very excited about the wildlife drives to come. The diverse and striking valley setting creates a real sense of being deep in the bush which is in keeping with the classic style of the Mara tented camp. I was instantly made to feel welcome, relaxed and at ease.

Upon arriving a delicious lunch of fresh salads and chicken make it easy to relax into the surroundings and laid-back camp atmosphere instantly. The general chit chat around the table made me soon realise that I had come somewhere special and I was really impressed to hear of the camp’s creative eco-credentials and their aim to reach a Gold status (they currently hold Silver).

The wildlife drives were exceptional at Mara Camp, with George taking time and consideration to cover a broad and diverse range of areas, being very considerate to the fact I was not an experienced safari aficionado.

From the hippo-soup filled lake to the vivid yellow long grass home to many a sleeping lion I really fell in love with this beautiful part of the world. Breakfast in the bush was one of the most special and unique moments that I will be sure to never forget, it's a must when staying at Mara Camp.

An authentic bush camp offering, the combination of expert guides, great wildlife and wonderful service make it easy to see why people return time and time again.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Kicheche Mara Camp

Address: Acacia valley, Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 108 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Kicheche Mara Camp 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our bush hideaway welcomes you to a different world, centered at the heart of the African wilderness. Experiencing a traditional luxury camp is a must on safari and, with Kicheche, one that is intimate, secluded and in an area surrounded by prolific wildlife. Staying in a bush camp doesn't mean compromising on comfort, the food and service are first class, as are the warmth and experience of Kicheche's staff making your safari an unforgettable experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kicheche Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Kicheche Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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