Kichwa Tembo was our second stop on our 50th Anniversary trip. OK, we really took it on our 46th Anniversary, but... The trip was arranged by Maureen Stover at Go2Africa, who really did a great job - and at a great price. I investigated about 12 companies doing safaris, and saw others with the same itinerary but double the price. She had the same balance of bang-for-the-buck that I have... It was a fly-in safari to Ambroseli (Serena), Kichwa Tembo, Olakira in the Serengheti and Explorians Ngorongoro at the crater.
We flew from Ambroseli to the Kichwa Tembo airport on SafariLink. An hour to Wilson, 15 minutes to change planes, an hour to the Mara, and we were set down at one of the nicest safari airports. It had a building and a rest room! James was there to pick us up for Kichwa Tembo. He came supplied with a table of coffee, teas, and snacks. After pleasantries and snacks, we proceeded to drive to the camp. But two minutes after leaving the airport, we ran into three lions right by the road... Eventually, we broke away.
Kichwa Tembo is a pretty large (about 40 tents) permanent tented camp. We stayed in tent #4 of the new basic tents. If this is basic, WOW! Each tent has a solid foundation and interior walls and tent exterior. The bedroom is quite large, with a king size bed and lots of space. The bathroom is split into three parts. There are two sinks and mirrors in an extension off the bedroom, and a shower (with rain forest head) and discrete toilet near the back of the tent. If you wish, the toilet and shower are open to the Mara - loo with a view! In the back, you have a patio with table, chairs, and lounge areas. There were lights everywhere and electric plugs for your chargers. Wi-Fi is available.
As in most tented camps, your wakeup call is your cabin man bringing you coffee, teas, and biscuits. At KT, there is a two sided door when the cabin man puts everything in on his side, wakes you up, and you open your side to get everything. Convenient and discrete!
The basic tents (1-9, I think) face the Mara and are close to the dining room. You have a great view. We watched giraffes and water buffalo - and early morning hot air balloon flights - from our patio. The luxury tents we saw were on stilts, facing the Mara, but looking over our tents. At night, a Maasi warrior would walk you to and from the tents.
The resort areas were clean and stylish. Food was consistently excellent. As usual, you had buffet and something being cooked at the stove/grills. There was a nice bar area, pretty big gift shop (which my wife loved ;-)) and a lounging area by the dining area. THere were several warthogs on the property that served as lawn mowers.
The staff was always friendly and helpful - just can't say enough about them.
We celebrated our anniversary at Kichwa Tembo, and Maureen had let the word out (they would have upgraded us to a luxury tent, but we have bad knees...). The entire kitchen staff danced and sang all around the restaurant, then presented us with a Happy Anniversary cake, which we shared with then others. Then, our cabin man Emmanuel told us about an incident at our tent. We'd already had monkeys in our room at Ambroseli, and they had gotten into our tent at KT also, found our vitamins and strewn them around the room, and he wanted to come to the room to make sure that nothing was missing. Well, we got to the room and it was OK - and decorated in red and white rose petals and candles were glowing. He'd made hearts on the bed and on both sides of the bed and spread them throughout the tent. My wife cried... in a good way. Nice touch!
Our guide was James, and he was excellent. We observed three lions from about 15 feet within two minutes of leaving the airport, 2 leopards (one with kill), lots of elephants, lots of lions, zebras and tens of thousands of wildebeest. 32 giraffes - at one time. A great hippo pool (with restrooms!). A lioness walking through a wildebeest herd and going into a culvert immediately below our vehicle... We saw a crossing of about 75 wildebeest, followed by 10 zebras. Game was much more abundant than at Ambroseli.
In summary, 5 Stars! Great resort, beautifully laid out, great food, smiling staff, and some of the best game viewing anywhere!
- 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