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“A delight for elephant lovers” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ithumba Camp

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Ithumba Camp
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Northern area, Tsavo National Park East, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
San Francisco, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“A delight for elephant lovers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2010

I stayed three nights at Ithumba Camp, June 2010. I found the experience unforgettable. The camp is extremely isolated. Tents are on the slightly modest side (not for me, just compared to some of the over-the-top contraptions that seem to be required by people going on safari) but functional and very, very comfortable. Bathrooms are lovely with open-air showers. The staff, Kimwele, Josephat and Njage, are top-notch and go above and beyond in every thinkable way.

The camp is self-catering.

The draw here of course is the elephant experience available to guests of the camp. The other posts here on TA have described it better than I could, but suffice it to say that if you are interested in the reintroduction of orphan elephants back into the wild from the Sheldrick nursery in Nairobi, Ithumba is for you. Quiet, peaceful and far from the madding crowds of other parks, here the focus is on the orphans, their committed keepers and the impressive Tsavo sky.

Traditional game is unpredictable/scarce and skittish, though I was more than satisfied with what we saw. Many dik diks, some kudu, baboons, a cheetah from very far away, lion tracks, leopard sounds at night, bat-eared foxes, terrific! birding, and more. Don't come here expecting the Mara, Nogorongoro Crater, etc. But come, recalibrate your expectations, and enjoy the peace, the quiet and the elephants.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
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14 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
199 reviews 199 reviews
166 hotel reviews
Reviews in 118 cities Reviews in 118 cities
315 helpful votes 315 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2009

We have supported the Sheldrick Orphanage for some time, mainly by the Adoption of one or two Orphans. A chance Email exchange led to plans for a visit but our Orphan was now out in the remote north of Tsavo East National Park.
We learned that it was possible to visit but the only place to stay was Ithumba Camp on a self catering basis. This sounded ominous but we decided to do it. As the previous reviewer has said Ithumba is at the end of a very long dusty drive some 7 hours from Nairobi. There is an airstrip so "Fly In" is possible but as you will need transport on arrival there seems little point to this unless time is really precious. You then send the car on ahead together with the necessary supplies. You rent the whole Camp so there is an element of exclusivity which is very nice. Payment is direct to the Sheldrick HQ on behalf of the Kenya Wildlife Service. On arrival our minimal concerns totally vanished. What a fantastic place!
The tents are some of the best I have ever seen and the Lapa is superb on two stories served by spiral staircase. We DID get that promised view of Kilimanjaro one evening.
The whole thing is set in nice grounds where there is prevalent wildlife and many species of birds. The Tsavo scenery is simply splendid with rocky hills and deep green bush under a deep blue African sky. Game is hard to find but we found Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Kudu, Impala, Jackal and Warthog. We lost count of the Dik Diks. Are there really that many in the whole of Africa??
There are Lions, Leopard and Wild Dog but we never got close to these. We understand that they are often encountered drinking from the Stockade tanks in dry season which must make for an interesting life. Ithumba would be a nice place even without its 'piece de resistance'! The Orphans.
We were told that "The access to the Elephants is unique!" That must be like saying the Sahara has some sandy bits. It was fantastic! As described you can join in the morning feed and also join in the fun at the midday bath and mud wallow. Lock up is at 5.00 pm. If you are really lucky you can spend time in the Bush with the 'herd' as they feed and do their Elephant things. These chaps are not babies any more and stand quite tall so care is required not to get stood on. They are so gentle that they would not mean to harm you but accidents could happen.
We had five nights in Ellie Heaven so by the end of the stay we knew most Orphans by sight and more importantly we had been accepted as part of the team.

  • Liked — Perfect camp built in a perfect location. The Ellies were a bonus.
  • Disliked — Having to leave!
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Newcastle, Australia
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2008

I recently visited the elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Ithumba Unit, and stayed at the Ithumba Camp. The camp is situated in the Tsavo East National Park (Northern area), and is remote and wild. We loved the peace and serenity of such a remote place (you are literally the only tourists for hundreds of kms), and the surrounding terrain is stunning.

The camp sleeps up to 6 guests (3x twin bed tents with outdoor ensuite toilet and solar powered hot shower with a view of the surrounding hills- just delightful!). There is a kitchen, and a 2-storey dining/lounge room complex which has many day beds, lounges and bean bags scattered around. The camp is fully booked for each group (ie you pay the same amount for 1 person or 6), and bookings are only taken through the Sheldricks (see the website for contact details www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org). You must bring all of your own food and water and do your own cooking, and there are 3 staff members who help with boiling water/basic cooking tasks, setting the table, washing up, making the beds and cleaning.

The keepers let you know when you can visit the orphan elephants- for milk feed and the midday mudbath. Meeting these happy healthy baby elephants was a highlight of our trip, they are so beautiful and full of personality. The keeper who looked after us was Abdul, who was very welcoming and very nice, he made sure we had a wonderful experience meeting the elephants.

I would highly recommend visiting the Ithumba Camp if you love nature (due to the dense vegetation and the remote location of this national park, do not expect to see wildlife at the side of the road as you would in a tourist park). The camp is also the only opportunity to visit the elephant orphans at Ithumba as there is no other accommodation around. We thoroughly enjoyed the camp and the visit to the Sheldricks, and would love to visit again.

  • Liked — very comfortably set up, beautiful views from the lounge area, very peaceful location
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ithumba Camp

Address: Northern area, Tsavo National Park East, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Tsavo National Park East
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Tsavo National Park East
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Ithumba Camp Hotel Tsavo National Park East
Ithumba Camp Kenya/Tsavo National Park East

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