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.
- 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