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“Words escape us - once in a lifetime!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kicheche Bush Camp

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Kicheche Bush Camp
Olare Orok Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00502, Kenya   |  
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Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Words escape us - once in a lifetime!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013

We've spent 4 nights/5 days here and feel like they were some of the best of our lives! Emma and Darren run this place flawlessly, clearly investing a lot of personal energy and care into the choice of staff, the routine and the overall set up. The camp is beautiful and cannot possibly be compared to glamping. The tents are well equipped and laid out. The bathroom is great and the bucket shower works really well, the tent staff care so much about the details you won't wait long for anything you need. The food is fantastic and we put on several kg! How they cater such stunning food inc gluten free is beyond me (and lovely wine). I will never forget bush breakfasts with giraffes, hippos and lion cubs. As for the safari, I'm not sure where to start. The brilliant thing about being in Mara conservancy rather than the reserve is that the number of camps and vehicles are severely limited. Yes you will have to pay more but its worth every penny. Most of the time it was just us and occasionally one other truck, maximum is 4 and they all self police so they keep respectful distances. You will never see harassed animals being chased or crowded, which cannot be said in the reserve. That mattered a lot to us and we now would never go to a crowded are. We spent our time with Patrick as our guide, who deserves to win every award going. His knowledge and patience, spotting skills and lovely nature made for the perfect drive. We saw every conceivable combination of animal and situation inc the big 5 along with a Cheetah kill with her cubs, multiple lion kills with cubs, baby elephants playing in their mud hole, a leopard and her cub in open and up a tree, giraffe of every generation inc males fighting, hyena chasing lions off a kill (seen to be believed!) and a crossing which we weren't expecting! I could go on, we also met lots of repeat guests including one who said in 17years this was the best week of game drives. We have come away dreamy eyed about how we plan a trip back and incredibly privileged to have seen so much. Be sure to book and the when you are there Get up early we left camp most days by 6am and don't expect to sleep as the lions and buffaloes surround your tent at night! - but none of that matters. This experience is all part of the magic and you can sleep when you are dead! This really is the trip of a lifetime and we cannot recommend it highly enough. Darren and Emma deserve to be No 1 as it simply doesn't get any better than this.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (57)
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English first
Poole, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

Many reviewers have raved about the facilities and I can only endorse them, but Bush Camp is really just about people - everyone wants you to have the best experience and goes out of their way to make it happen. From Darren & Emma's initial greeting on arrival, to Kennedy & Abe ensuring that your particular drink is on hand at all times (in my case tea!), Joseph keeping the tent immaculate and of course our guides, James, Patrick, Nelson & Livingstone whose talents include driving whilst holding a conversation and simultaneously spotting the wildlife at a ridiculous distance and then positioning the vehicle for the best possible photo opportunity. Of course these are just the forward facing staff and it takes many others in the team behind the scenes to make the camp run as well as it does. Needless to say this won't be my last visit.

  • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

We did a lot of research before choosing Kicheche Bush Camp and I have to say we were delighted with our decision (possibly even smug!). The wildlife in the area was superb, and worth all those early mornings. The food was outstanding and the whole vibe of the camp was exactly what we were looking for.....beautiful tents, amazing staff etc. There is nothing like being out on the conservancy with no other human life for miles around, and elephants, lions etc within 10 feet. There were no crowds around the animals. Back at the camp, i loved the campfire in the evenings, the hot water bottles in your bed, and going to sleep with the sounds of wildebeest and zebra in earshot. There is huge attention to detail, from the decor to the service - the staff (especially Livingstone & Kennedy) are a credit to Emma & Darren.
Tips on what to bring: it´s chilly in the mornings and evenings so bring layers and a fleece. It gets very hot in the afternoon so make sure you have suncream and a hat. I also found light scarves invaluable for both scenarios. Your clothes don´t have to be all khaki, any neutral or pastel shades will work. Unless you go on a bush walk, you won´t do a huge amount of walking so trainers are fine, or even Uggs ;). Finally, dry shampoo is brilliant to save time when you´d prefer a few more zzzzz´s.

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

I don't know where to start with this place, it is so good. I never thought I'd see my girlfriend get out of bed so early in the morning without a hint of a moan! The food was brill... too good if that's possible. Emma and Darren were top class hosts who really take pride in ensuring your stay is unbelievably comfortable and fun. There is a super cool dude called Kennedy who looks after you when you are relaxing, I'd love to take him out for a few pints in Dublin . I haven't even mentioned the drives yet, the bar has been set so high, the proximity to the wildlife is amazing, at one point we were so close to a lion we actually smelled its fart! How good is that! Our guide Livingstone was coolness personified! What a legend, unflappable in the face of a bill elephant, totally at one with his surroundings and he is only going to get better! It was hard to leave but it just means that we'll have to come back. I haven't mentioned everyone or even the luxury of the tents or the fact that we saw everything we hoped to see and more but I think you get the drift! Thanks again x

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
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
See more room tips
  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
10 helpful votes 10 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
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 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 #1 of 108 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 
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Also Known As:
Kicheche Bush Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Kicheche Bush Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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