LOCATION - Kichwa Tembo is located just outside the Masai Mara park boundary, it literally takes about two minutes to get to the gate. While we were there the largest concentration and variety of wildlife in the park was found just outside Kichwa Tembo.
CAMP - The camp is beautiful, laid out through the woods. Monkeys swing from the trees, resident warthogs join you for lunch each day, just outside the fence all kinds of animals are present most of the time. There is a small store in the main lobby where you can buy some warm clothes for the morning game drives and ballooning, and some souvenirs. The bar has wi-fi internet access (only accessible at the bar) which is slow but workable. For lunch, they put the tables out on the lawn which is quite nice. For dinner it's mostly indoors. The Masai guards walk you to your tent in the dark which is very nice because it's really dark. They really care about you having a good experience here, and it feels genuine. The camp is 20 years old but you'd never guess it. It's in great shape.
TENTS - There are two types of tents - luxury and standard. The standard tents have the best views, mostly tents #1-11, but the luxury tents have electricity, outlets, and indoor showers. This is important for charging your cameras and laptops. Otherwise you have to leave your things at the charging area at the bar.
We stayed in a luxury tent, and all the luxury tents are in the very back, a pretty fair walk from the restaurant, bar and reception. There is very little view, mostly facing the bushes. However, as we sat at our bistro table in the morning having a cup of coffee, we saw monkeys looking down at us from the top of the tent, hippos grazing in the fields and herds of elephants having breakfast. The bed is comfortable, and they put a hot water bottle in your bed ot keep it warm. The electricity goes out from 4-6:30 every day, which is inconvenient if you're not on a game drive at the time, and again at midnight.
There is plenty of hot water as long as you don't want to shower while the electricity is turned off. There is no heat or air conditioning in the tents. The tents were nice enough, but if you want real luxury tents check out the Bateleur camp next door, they are much nicer. Laundry is not included, but available at good prices.
SERVICE - The service at Kichwa Tembo was exceptional, from the welcome song by the staff when you arrive, to the rose petals on the table and song to wish you goodbye, they always have a smile and a "jambo" for you. They are all so nice and helpful, always asking how your safari was that day, how you are enjoying everything, and always eager to please. By the end of our stay, they felt like family.
FOOD - The food was by and large a disappointment, though there were bright spots. Unfortunately most of the food is buffet style, which we didn't know and didn't like and the quality of meats used was poor. The breakfast buffet was ok, but nothing special, and the lunch buffet often left us hungry as we couldn't find something we enjoyed. One thing that was nice was a different variety of freshly baked bread every day. Another was the soups which were always good. We didn't try the desserts, but the dinners were iffy at best, inedible at times. Drinks are not included, so you have to settle a check after every meal.
ACTIVITIES - The morning and afternoon game drives are done in open sided vehicles which have three seats to a row. By doing a private drive, you avoid being stuck in the middle. Everyone we talked to saw everything they'd hoped for. The downside of the open sided vehicles is when it rained - everyone looked freezing and wet. We did a private driver in a pop-top vehicle with sides and were nice and warm. There is an optional walking safari and night safari which we didn't have the energy to try. The Balloon Trip we did was through Governors who is a different company than the lodge uses, and it was fantastic. The Masai Village is a total scam to pressure you into buying ridiculously priced trinkets and we left feeling totally ripped off. Give it a miss. That said, we did learn some things about the culture and seeing the small village was kind of interesting. But not worth it. There is a Masai show a few times a week where they do dancing and singing - it only lasts about 15 minutes, followed by putting out 20 different blankets full of factory-produced trinkets for you to buy at ridiculous prices, but if you can resist buying, it was fun to see.
We had a lovely stay at Kichwa Tembo. It is not the highest end camp in the Mara by a long shot, but it's $1100/night less than Bateleur Camp next door, for example, so you can't really compare. Great experience for the money.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.