Kicheche Mara Camp
From being picked up from the Mara North Airstrip our adventure properly began. Right from the off we were greeted by numerous zebra, wildebeest and gazelle, and somewhere in the region of 20/30 hippos! We were so distracted with the wildlife that we forgot that we were in fact just on our way to the camp. Sammy and Colin greeted us and Sammy gave all the new arrivals a briefing of how the camp worked (the amazing bucket showers, torch / night-time escorted system etc.). We were put straight at ease and quickly got into the flow of things.
The ‘tents’ were incredible and well distanced from each other (ours was called ‘Kiboko’ which means Hippo), and during the nights we had elephants, buffalo and other animals wandering freely between the tents and I really enjoyed the wild noises at night! A good night’s sleep was fairly important as the days were quite long, sometimes stopping briefly for a tasty breakfast or lunch whilst out on safari. It is quite a strange feeling nibbling on a bit of toast with half an eye out for lions, hyenas, vultures etc. (we had our breakfast pretty close to a cheetah and her grown cubs who were also tucking into their ‘fresh’ breakfast aswell)!
Our guide during the drives was an amazing Maasai chap called Jimmy Tinka who knew everything about everything. His knowledge of the animals, plants, ecosystems, terrain and seasons was second to none. He knew how to approach animals so that they were not disturbed from doing what they would normally do, and he always managed to get the vehicle into the perfect position for photographs (this also included consideration for other vehicles so that our vehicle wasn’t in their photographs). Jimmy is a very patient man and clearly adores his work and his country. His love of nature is an inspiration and he has very strong environmental and conservational beliefs which are strengths that should give hope to Kenya and her future.
We decided to visit the Maasai village and were very happy that we did. They’re a tad cheeky with their prices, however I am notoriously difficult to extract money from however I did dip into my pocket! If you decided to go be prepared to get a little involved! Great people, and thank-you to David for telling and showing us how his tribe survive (and good-luck with your education too!). We also visited the Rhino sanctuary and got extremely close up to these beautiful animals. How can someone murder one of these animals just to cure a cold or ache? Idiots, have a lemsip instead or lop-off your own body parts and grind them up. A rhino horn is made of hair so why can’t they just gulp down a wig? Anyway…
We also decided to do the guided walk with an armed guard which was very interesting. Once again Jimmy excelled with his knowledge, this time with tracks, trees and shrubs etc. The animals were a little quiet and we were beginning to get a bit suspicious as it usually clears of animals when the lions are in town! We bumped into a couple of Elands and Hyenas and some very big and busy ants though and it was all very interesting. I kept lagging behind to take photos which probably wasn’t the best idea…
The food was amazing and every night was different. We would all gather by the fire-pit in the dark and have a drink and a chat about the day’s adventures, then sit down at the big table. It seemed people came from all corners of the globe which is always nice as well. It was also nice that Sammy and Colin; the camp managers, joined us throughout the evening.
We were very sad to leave and the whole experience was incredible. If you want an environmentally considerate first class safari experience look no further than Kicheche Mara Camp.
Alex & Aleks