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“Fantastic experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

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andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
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C12 Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Dubai
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Fantastic experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

We booked a 4 day/3 night trip with &Beyond for our family of 5. We arrived in Nairobi from Dubai and were greeted at the airport and taken to the Norfolk for one night. The next morning, a driver picked us up and took us to the Wilson Airport for our 50 minute plane ride to the Kichwa Tembo airstrip. Our fantastic guide, Daniel, met us at the airstrip and our safari experience began! It is just a short drive to the camp, but it was really our first game drive. We saw at least a dozen animals along the way. The camp was perfect for a safari experience. There were warthogs, mongooses and monkeys all over the camp. The tents are clean and the beds are very comfortable. We paid extra to have electricity in our tents (I wanted to be able to dry my hair) but, if you didn't they had a charging station in the bar and hairdryers in the restroom by the bar. The food was good and the staff was fantastic! Everyone is very friendly and they make you feel very welcome. They were not busy when we were there (Jan 9-12) so we were the only 5 in the vehicle for all of our game drives. The game drives were unbelievable and Daniel was our guide for all of them. Daniel was so knowledgeable and made the experience all the more memorable. We also did a balloon safari one morning that included breakfast on the Masai Mara. Great fun! This was our first safari, so I can't compare this camp to others, but I loved the entire experience and would recommend &Beyond to anyone!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Our family of 5 (3 generations) treated ourselves to a 3-day break at Kichwa Tembo camp, flying from Malindi. We had been to the Mara many times before, and this trip was as good, if not better, than any. To reiterate a previous reviewer, the staff were exceptionally good - without exception. They were professional, friendly, courteous and made us all feel special and welcome. Our game guide - a young lady - was impressive: so knowledgeable and aware of our interests, and she drove brilliantly, manoeuvering a heavy land rover in thick black cotton mud! The food at the camp was the best we have ever eaten at a safari lodge in Africa, and way exceeded our expectations. The attractive swimming pool is beautifully situated and was enjoyed by the children. We also saw a delightful amount of game, including a pair of rare wild dogs hunting, so we were thrilled! All in all, we would happily return to Kichwa Tembo when we next visit the Mara.

Room Tip: The first set of standard tents (1 - 13) are on an open field nearest the pool and dining area. This...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

I have spent a good deal of my life in Africa, having lived in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, and as a result been on countless safaris with numerous lodges in these countries. One thing I can say about my experience at kichwa tembo is that you will never come across staff as courteous, welcoming and helpful as those at kichwa. We were there for 4 days and enjoyed every moment. The tents are wonderful, I would recommend going for the luxury tents vs the classic ones as there are no plug points in the classic one (you have to go to the lounge to charge your things) and the toilet and shower are separate in the luxury tents. The food was so delicious, usually buffet. The views are amazing (although I've stayed in lodges with much better views - you can't have everything!) if you're looking for a personalised experience with GREAT service I would highly recommend kichwa tembo. I cannot stress how superb the staff are! And our safari guide was probably the best guide we've ever had in the 12 years we've lived in Africa.

Room Tip: I would recommend the luxury tents, they're more convenient.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Harrow, England
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

We spent three days at the andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp at the end of September last year, an add-on to our beach holiday at Diani Beach Resort, just south of Mombasa. We arranged our safari (including the hot air balloon trip) before leaving the UK through JT Safaris of Ukunda.

The camp is less than a mile from the airstrip, and although the road to the camp was quite rough and the going was slow, it didn’t matter much when we had so many animals to stop and admire - and that was even before we had gone on a formal game drive.

The camp has a central area with restaurant, bar, shop etc and then the tents are spread out through the grounds, all overlooking the plains. We had one of the standard tents nearer to the central area and were very happy with the facilities - hot and cold running water, electricity etc. We lacked the recharging facilities of the superior tents but iPhones, cameras etc could be charged in the bar at night, so that wasn't a problem. The staff couldn't have been more helpful, the facilities were good, and the food was varied and well cooked.

We took a hot air balloon trip with the Skyship Company, and this was a real highlight of the trip. Our pilot, a Canadian called Peter was very informative and with only six passengers in the basket, we all felt really involved. After our flight we were treated to a champagne breakfast, and that is a memory that will stay with us forever. Yes, it was expensive but it was worth every penny.

The game drives in the reserve were stunning. The roads were better than that between the airstrip and the camp, but we often went off road in search of the animals Our driver was Jackson - a bit gruff perhaps, but very knowledgeable and knew where to go for the best viewing opportunities. Our jeep was open-sided with three bench seats tiered behind the driver for optimum viewing, far better than many of the other vehicles we saw on our drives. We shared with two lovely couples, Jacqueline and Roland from the Netherlands who were holidaying in Diani Beach also, and Ann and Steve, two wildlife photojournalists from the UK. We were lucky enough to see a great variety of animals, including all of the Big 5, and our only regret was that we didn't manage to see any cheetah.......oh well, I suppose we'll have to go back again to put that right.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Lagos, Nigeria
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

We spent 6 days in Kichwa Tembo, arriving there on Christmas Day, and we were blown away by how special the camp staff made us feel that particular day. We were welcomed at the airstrip with tea, coffee, cookies, and nuts then promptly whisked on our first game drive. We saw 7 kinds of animals within the first hour, and that’s just around the airstrip. When we arrived at the camp they offered welcome champagne and refreshments.

Our son was given a gift bag that included drawing pencils, bug viewer, and bath soap with rubber insects in them. We were also introduced to the waiter and steward who took care of us for the duration of our stay. Upon learning that our son eats only chicken tenders the waiter made sure he got it everyday. But everyone was friendly and we had different people bringing us food and drinks when our waiter was unavailable.

This is a kid-friendly camp. On some days there would be families with 2-3 kids around the camp. We thought our 5-year old would be the youngest, but there were also toddlers and other young kids. The camp staff entertained them and organized activities, but usually the kids were with their parents at the pool or playing chess and other board games at the bar area. We saw one family with a Maasai guide out for a nature walk close to the camp.

Yes, the tents are not locked and it felt uncomfortable to leave our iPad and laptop to charge at the bar area – but nothing bad happen. We kept our valuables locked in our luggage and with the camp office. By the way, the best place to access the Internet is also at the bar area, and the best time is in the morning or late afternoon when most people are out on game drives.

The meals were great, like the fresh fruits and salads, but breakfast was the same everyday and it got boring very quickly. We recommend going on a game drive at sunrise then having breakfast out in the bush at least once. You get to see the hot air balloons going up and down, and some nocturnal animals if you’re lucky.

We like the morning wake up call with hot chocolate and cookies, but decided it was not necessary, as we prefer to wake up after sunrise. So you can say no if you don’t want it. Our steward was good with cleaning our tent and the turn down service in the evening with hot water bottles, but did not replace the washcloth or shampoo when we ran out of it. Still he was efficient with having our light fixed and bringing back laundry on the same day as promised.

Every other night we would have a performance by the Maasai, who afterwards sold some souvenirs and trinkets. Negotiating is necessary as they often start with prices that are higher than what the same items are selling in the camp’s gift shop. I’m not a good bargainer and ended up paying more than what the beads cost in Banana Box in Nairobi, but I’m pleased to make a “direct donation” to the locals.

Overall we had a great experience, and having an excellent guide makes all the difference in the world. Thanks to Sigei we saw everything in our list plus more. We saw 15 kinds of animals on the first day alone, but maybe we were just lucky. We saw lions everyday, as well as the elusive leopards (three), cheetahs (two brothers), black rhinos (a male, a mom and her baby), jackals, and the nocturnal serval cat – while others would be there for a week without seeing a cheetah, leopard, or black rhino. My favorite is being in the midst of a herd of 200+ elephants!

More important though, is the fact that Sigei is a good driver. He knows how to drive on and off road, especially when it rained and everything was slippery and muddy. 4WD is the best way to get around here, and I personally think Kichwa Tembo had the best vehicles for viewing and photographing animals. We once had to pull out a van that got stuck in a ditch. Our vehicle never stalled or got stuck, and my husband can attest to this when they went “mud-bogging” one rainy afternoon, while everybody else decided to remain dry in the camp. Sigei also kept a safe distance from the animals, but somehow always managed to give us the best angle to take photos so backlight was hardly an issue. Sigei knows how to please and deliver but is not reckless with park rules.

At the end of the day we enjoyed dinner with wine and tasty dessert. A guard escorted us back to our tent where we happily crawl into our comfortable beds.

Lastly, the guide will provide ponchos if it rains. Sigei had extra binoculars but it’s probably better to bring your own. The camp provides insect repellent towelettes, a flashlight, and umbrella for each tent. The gift shop sells wood carvings, flatware, fashion jewelry, Maasai bead merchandise, safari hats, shirts, fleece jackets, books, CDs, etc. We booked everything through Concorde Safaris by e-mail and highly recommend them. From the moment we landed in Nairobi and every time we’re bound to and from a destination the manager Deena Patel phoned us to make sure everything was okay. She even instructed the driver to wait and make sure we’ve checked in and our flight to Maasai Mara was in order.

Room Tip: Tents 1-8 are closest to the bar and dining area, and have great view of the lawn.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maun, Botswana
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

I stayed 5 nights beginning December at Kichwa Tembo. Having been already many times on Safari in Africa, I had a good idea what to expect. The trip was organized by a friend who chose this camp. Overall, I can recommend this place, they generally know what they are doing and are organized. With 40 tents, the camp sounds large, but they did a really good job when building it as the camp it tucked away in a little forest. Hence, it fits perfectly in the environment, and you won’t even know it’s there. The pool overlooking the plains is a great luxury to have, but personally I think it’s not a must-have. I was there on a photo workshop, and we spent as much time as possible on game drives and reviewing our pictures, so I did not even use the pool. One big improvement camp management should consider is the power situation. We stayed at the “regular” tents which do not have power outlets. Instead the only way to charge is in the lounge area where they installed 4 multi sockets [for various pins]. But these are all grouped together in two spots away from the seating. It would make more sense to have additional sockets installed around the walls we people then can sit with the laptop being charged. They do have so called “luxury” tents with sockets, but I don’t see a reason why I should pay more for this. A camp from the standard of Kichwa Tembo should have sockets in all tents. Another thing which I did not like so much about the tents is that none of the cabinets is lockable. Since there is also no safe and tents are only “locked” with a small simple string, it would be nice to have another option besides locking your stuff in the luggage. As a photographer, I carry some expensive equipment. I would just feel better as everyone can enter a tent. Or, maybe a padlock instead of the string would be an idea. Otherwise, I was really happy with my tent; all amenities were available, including insect repellent wipes. The shower has hot and with good pressure. I was able to wash my long hair without any problems. The staff provides some turndown service where they also put a hot water bottle in the bed, nice touch! The morning wakeup call with your choice of coffee/tea/chocolate and cookies is also very welcome. However, I found it uncomfortable having my male tent attendant come into the tent that early. I understand that they cannot leave the goodies outside as the monkeys will otherwise quickly take advantage. So I still used my alarm clock to be at least dressed. I was surprised that the towels were changed every day and no sticker or card was available to create awareness on the impact. Especially in Africa and a conservational area like the Mara, I think natural resources and the impact of human life should be addressed. Laundry service worked well and fast, only I think they should not deliver the cleaned linen in the same plastic bag which I used to drop the soiled. I would also recommend using rather a basket or linen bags, something reusable instead of plastic. In terms of food, the selection was generally good, a little disappointed were the breakfast boxes. They could have contained a bit more selection and food. As this was low season, we did not have a buffet all the time. Personally, I found too many curries and stews on offer. On the first evening, I had a weird incident whereby I had ordered a mixed juice and was charged for two glasses with the explanation that they had to open two packets. Rather unacceptable in my eyes. Also, I would have expected the orange juice to be fresh at least, not packaged. For the buffets, they should consider a bit more food protection i.e. fly covers and putting some foods e.g. cheese and cold cuts on ice. The last thing I was a bit disappointed was the bonfire, usually one of my favourite evening pastime when in Africa. They lit the fire early before sunset and it was off once we finished dinner. They should keep it until all guests retire to their tents; anyways there are always guards who would also benefit from the fire. As for the main reason come there: the wildlife! It’s quite funny to see some special residents roaming around such as warthogs, bushbucks and blue monkeys. They are quite relaxed and come really close, but obviously not for petting. From the pool area you can watch zebra, giraffe and buffalo pass by. The game drives were well organized with good vehicles. Our driver Daniel was a really good spotter and knows the area well. One afternoon we had a stronger rain shower, and it was brilliant to have Daniel pull out rain ponchos for each of us. As said, overall a good experience and I would stay there again. Thank-you Daniel, Joshua, Ether and James!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Sydney, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

My friend and I stayed 4 days at Kichwa Tembo and it was everything we were hoping for and more!! The staff are the real delight at this camp - they are all so pleasant, friendly and so good at what they do. We booked the luxury tents and chose these due to the fact that they have their own power outlets. A charging station with a good number of outlets is available in the main bar area but it would be worthwhile to keep in mind that if you are into photography or travelling during peak times it might be a bit hard to recharge your camera(s) so it might be worthwhile paying the extra to have your own outlets. After a morning & afternoon safari I pretty much put my camera on charge every night when going to bed and it takes a few good hours to fully charge. So if you are into your photography keep this in mind - either bring a spare battery or spend the extra for the luxury tents. The food was exceptional - the menu for breakfast , lunch and dinner was varied and always of top quality. Internet in the bar area is relative good - especially considering you are in the Maasai Mara. Our driver was such a delight - he really went out of his way to ensure we had the best game sightings. One morning drive we stayed out until 1pm because the game sightings that morning were amazing. The shower is great - lovely big shower head. Each night your room attendant will do the turndown service and place a hot water bottle in your bed - a lovely touch. If possible ask for a tent in the lower numbers - I was in tent 39 and it was quite a hike from the tent up to the bar/restaurant each time. We also took the optional hot air balloon ride (Skyship Co.) - I cannot recommend this highly enough!!! Yes, its expensive but for what you get out of it, it worth every single cent!! Both of us agreed it was the highlight of our trip. We also did the Maasai village visit - this was also very interesting. Just beware that at the end of it you will be taken out to their Maasai Market to purchase items & don't expect a bargain.

Room Tip: Ask for a tent in the lower numbers to be closer to the restaurant/bar area.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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 andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

Address: C12 Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #46 of 109 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
AndBeyond Kichwa Tembo Masai Mara Tented Camp is set on a private wilderness concession leased from Maasai landlords in the legendary Masai Mara. Situated where forest and savanna meet, these elegant, spacious safari tents boast some of the most magnificent views of the Masai Mara, especially from the large swimming pool. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kichwa Tembo Tented Safari Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
AndBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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