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“There are no Good Days... They're all Excellent” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kicheche Bush Camp

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Kicheche Bush Camp
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Olare Orok Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00502, Kenya   |  
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Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“There are no Good Days... They're all Excellent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013

I’ve always been suspicious of Trip Advisor thinking one of two things about the whole process. Either the reviews are written by Moaning Minnies with far too much time on their hands or written by friends and or staff of the reviewed places. But it can be a useful resource when researching for your next trip. Well our trip to Kicheche Bush Camp was to be a special 50th birthday present for one of us and the whole trip schedule was researched and planned to the nth degree, it had to be; it was planned a Trip of a Lifetime. With that in mind we chose Kicheche Bush Camp. It had been recommended to me by a fellow photographer and then by a second wildlife photographer. Looking at the website and seeing the sumptuous tents, descriptions of the wildlife and environs we were halfway to booking. So looking at the reviews on Tripadvisor was the next logical step. You could be forgiven for asking the question “Is anywhere this good?” The reviews showed us that nobody disliked any feature of the camp. Some even appeared to be gushing in their praise. Well we booked it and then started to countdown the months, whilst occasionally dropping in to Trip Advisor to read the latest review.

Although well-travelled this was our first experience of a safari and could happily recount every single one of the fantastic experiences of the 4nights/5days there, but won’t. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and ours was meeting Livingstone at the Ol Kiombo airstrip who transferred us and another couple to the camp. And what a first impression it was! Livingstone went straight into Guide mode and this was not merely a transfer to the camp but our first game drive. All the usual game encountered in the very first minutes of the transfer then Hyenas cooling off in a water hole and our first ever Elephants with calves. Stonking great Kori Bustards on the plain right next to the Landcruiser and a lot of my targets already falling & all this before reaching the camp.

Arriving at the camp was another experience as Darren & Emma were there to greet us, as they were every single time we returned to camp. A lot has already been said about Darren & Emma by other reviewers. Meeting the camp managers for the first time was like meeting up with a dearly loved old friend. A short briefing then an introduction to those amazing tents, you could stay there all day if it wasn’t for the wildlife on your doorstep. And what wildlife! Within three minutes of the start of our game drive each morning we encountered the Monika Pride of Lions. One morning, two of the Kicheche crews had encountered and photographed all of Africa’s Big Five then had an al fresco breakfast on the plain. Simply wonderful. We were extraordinarily lucky to do this though. From the biggest land mammal off them all to the one of the smallest the wildlife is spectacular.

So what makes Kicheche Bush Camp stand out from the rest? The Wildlife is spectacular and all around you in an unfenced camp, so prepare yourself to hear Buffalo munching away on the grass outside your tent whilst you sleep. We even had 11 elephants almost wander into the camp as we were eating lunch before we left on the final afternoon.

The Guides? Livingstone is a fantastic guide and his eyes are amazing at picking up distant game and then looking through his binoculars for confirmation. He also knows the wildlife and has studied it so knows where to place the vehicle for what the Lion/Cheetah/Leopard etc. is going to do next. No request is too much for Livingstone, even my bizarre wish for a single Acacia Tree on the plain for a sunset picture and Sundowner. There are far too many people in the camp for me to mention all by name but a few standout such as Joseph who arrived at 5:45am with amazing coffee and was there preparing are shower whenever we turned up back at camp. Kennedy in the Mess/Dining Tent always remembers what you would like to drink and always ensures that your glass is not empty. Whether it was breakfast on the plain, lunch on the Mara or dinner back at camp the food is of very good restaurant standard. The recipe-protected Breakfast Pie is gorgeous, so good we put in a request for a repeat which Darren ensured we got, thanks. The dining experience in the evening was superb, Wildlife photography by day: dinner parties in the evening. Although Darren & Emma live in camp and are used to hearing all the fireside stories from the guests, they are genuinely interested to hear yours, from your perspective and that is one of their amazing qualities. We left Kicheche exhausted by the use of superlatives.

Would we go again?

Well, before we reached the coast for the next leg of our holiday my wife had already been on the Kicheche website checking availability for next year.

Room Tip: We stayed in Tumbili but all the accommodation is superb
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  • Stayed October 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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304 reviews from our community

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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 (59)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2013

Kicheche Bush camp did not disappoint during our week-long visit in October. The guides are amazing - both at spotting hard-to-find wildlife, but also knowing how to position the vehicles for the best photo opportunities. Darren and Emma are such gracious guests, responding to all requests with a smile. And the food - how is it possible that the kitchen staff can prepare such fantastic and varied meals in the bush? All staff, even the guys providing hot water for showers, are friendly and helpful. I will definitely visit Bush Camp again as soon as I can!

  • Stayed October 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fife
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2013

I spent 6 nights at the Kicheche Bush Camp as part of a group. The journey from the airstrip to the camp is short. The tents are large and spacious with two single beds or they are put together to form a double. A hot water bottle in the bed at night was most welcome to take the chill off the sheets, but later pushed out as it was not really needed. The tents are well equipped with hanging space, a flushing toilet, tap with cold water, water for cleaning your teeth, a water barrel containing drinking water, a wind up torch, whistle and radio for emergencies, towels, toiletries, electric lighting and a bucket shower with hot water. This is one aspect I had my doubts about, but it worked really well and Joseph ensured we had plenty of water which was hot.
The food was tasty with a good variety and they very kindly dealt with my 'no wheat' problem. There was lots to eat and no one was going to starve.
Our guides/drivers were Nelson, Patrick and James, who were all excellent with a very good knowledge of the animals. We were photographers and all the guides knew where to place the vehicles to get the best light and positions for our photos. Without their enthusiasm we would not have done so well. A big thanks must also go to Livingston, another guide, who often found the animals for us. The wildlife in this area is amazing without having to travel too far.

Our hosts where Emma and Darren, who are lovely couple, prepared to do anything to make your stay more enjoyable.
This is one camp you should consider as it is outstanding. Great location, friendly and helpful staff, tasty food and superb wildlife.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oslo
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2013

This was my second time at a Kicheche camp in Maasai Mara, and the experience was for sure of life changing calibre. We stayed at Bush Camp for 1 week, and I am still flying high after the most amazing wildlife experience of my lifetime.

The conservancy is a heaven for Big Cat viewing, and we were so fortunate to spend time with cheetahs, leopards, lions and serval cats. (Notice the plural S´s ;) We had cheetah cubs, leopard cubs and lion cubs almost every day, and spent hours with them from early morning to late afternoon.

The camp, service, guides, tents, food, vehicles ++++ everything is just spot on!

So if you have not visited Kicheche Bush Camp before - here is why its an easy choice:
- The Olare conservancy secures few vehicles around. Its a luxury!
- Kicheche has the best vehicles in the Mara. Believe it!
- Guides are unlike anything else you will come across! They are hands down the best in the business, and their eyes will spot everything! (Except when I spotted the leopards first ;)
- Food is amazing!
- Darren & Emma are the best hosts I have come across! They will go to what ever length to make your stay unforgettable.
- Tents are just what a safari is about with all necessities.
- No fence around camp = a truly unique experience during nighttime :)
++++

I could go on - but as you might have understood, Kicheche is my preferred camp in the Mara. And I already look forward to going back :)

Best regards
Christian, Norway

  • Stayed October 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

If you are reading this review, you are probably considering Kicheche Bush Camp, just like we were. After returning from 6 weeks in Africa, which included 5 nights at Kicheche Bush Camp, the best advice I can give you is ... Just book it! We had some hesitation with the cost, but it was worth every cent and more. We did some amazing things in Africa, but Kicheche is probably the one I would recommend the most. A smorgasbord of animals in a magnificent environment. Seeing the migration was a bonus. I originally wondered whether 5 nights would be too much .. It definitely isn't , and I certainly hope to go back there again. I would HIGHLY recommend Kicheche Bush Camp .. It was our first port of call in Africa .. What a great introduction to a magnificent continent!

  • Stayed September 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
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2013

Our 2 nights at Bush Camp were an unforgettable experience - lions, lions and more lions.....and a few cheetahs and leopards too. Our excellent safari guide - Patrick - made sure that we ticked off all of the 'Big Five' including the very elusive leopards and black rhino in just 48 hours. The camp is excellently situated in the Olare Orok Conservancy and is well laid-out. Darren and Emma were brilliant hosts and made us feel like they were welcoming us into their own home. The staff couldn't do enough to make our stay more special and memorable. Our accommodation was extremely spacious and luxurious and was kept spotless by Joseph our tent attendant who was always on hand to adjust the temperature of our bush shower - felt like we had our own personal butler! Sad that we only spent 2 nights at Bush Camp, but hope to return one day.

  • Stayed October 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2013

Last September my wife and I made our first trip to Kicheche Bush Camp - it was an incredible experience! We had a large vacation planned for 2013 - but when we were relaxing outside our tent one afternoon - off in the distance a group of giraffes wandered by - Sandy and I looked at each other and said "cancel the vacation - we're coming back"!!... we contacted our agent at Imagine Africa in London and we were on our way back. There have been many reviews written about the camp - its spacious tents, outstanding food and great staff that is there to look after your needs - to write about it would only be repeating what other people have commented. What makes Kicheche Bush Camp so special for us is the feeling of complete ease - Darren and Emma are THE best managers - whether enjoying a meal, a drink or a conversation around the campfire at night, you feel like you're among good friends. I'm lost for words when it comes to their Guides - they know their job and they can make even a "would-be" wildlife photographer capture amazing pictures. We booked a Guide for ourselves - but I won't mention his name because we want to be able to book him on our next return (lol)!!..and yes like others have said, we to hesitated to post another review because we'd like it to remain a secret!!..During our stay we met a wonderful lady who mentioned that this was her "10th" trip to the camp - she commented that perhaps it's an addiction - we couldn't agree more and we're glad we are hooked!!!...We'll be back next summer for our "3rd" visit!!

  • Stayed September 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kicheche Bush Camp

Address: Olare Orok Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00502, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 110 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An intimate luxury camp of only 6 tents located in the exclusive Olare Orok Conservancy of the Masai Mara. The camps top quality guides and hosts will ensure you a superb safari experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kicheche Bush Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Kicheche Bush Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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