This is my 3rd time staying at a Kicheche camp and the 2nd at Mara camp in its current location. Repeat custom should say it all really about the quality that Kicheche offers.
I am a keen amateur photographer and went with a friend who is a professional. We both had large telephoto lenses and had hired a landcruiser for the 2 of us to use exclusively and we had Joseph as a guide for a week long safari. The vehicle had beanbags supplied and also platforms attached to the windows to rest big lenses on.
Sammy and Colin were very welcoming and it was a pleasure to meet them. Happy birthday Sammy! Hope you had fun on the coast. Kat was on duty for the latter part of our stay and was also very helpful and friendly, as were all the camp staff. Asante to you all.
Our tent (Kongoni) was very spacious, clean and well appointed. I will need to train my husband to bring me hot chocolate and biscuits in bed every morning as I'm missing that, even if it was at 5.15am! Falling asleep listening to lions and hyenas never gets old.
Joseph was an excellent guide. He is a true gentleman who has a deep respect for nature. He also is sensitive to the needs of photographers and very rarely needed prompted to move the vehicle for us, this only happened when a bit of grass was perhaps not in his way but was in ours because of the different angle. He made lots of helpful suggestions which we took advantage of and was an expert at picking out a spot and a subject for the classic sunrise/sunset photos. He was also a good sport modelling for us with his spear. He was concerned for our safety and wellbeing at all times, it was no problem to mark our territory when needed! He was keen to make sure we wouldn't starve to death on our self inflicted 13 hour game drives and was a bit like a Masai Mrs Doyle at times, go on go on etc. He was happy to tell us about where he grew up and went to school and about his family. I was almost in tears when he talked about visiting the 'animal rescue and rehab' place in Nairobi where some injured/orphaned animals are sent with a view to returning them to the wild. In reality this doesn't seem to happen often, he cut a visit there short as he was so upset seeing his animals away from the plains they deserve to roam.
I completely take issue with the couple ?from Singapore who labelled Joseph as "surly and lazy". How insulting. He is a softly spoken Mara magician of the highest order. I think it says it all really that they " didn't see anything of note" on their first game drive. I have no idea where they were but it can't have been the Mara. It's not all about the cats (and this is from a self confessed mad cat lady). There are countless beautiful birds, smaller mammals, herbivores and plants to look at but you have to OPEN YOUR EYES. Their comment that they preferred the reserve to the conservancy is also revealing. If you want to watch animals being harassed by lots of vehicles full of baying idiots so that their occupants can get back in time for breakfast then this is the place for you. If you want to spend quality time, in the quiet, just enjoying being metres away from a lion family playing or a sleepy cheetah with no-one else there then the conservancy is just fine thanks. Also remember it's not a bloody zoo.
Food was simple and of high quality. I had a wee fat tummy to take home with me!
Office staff also quick to respond to emails.
I must also add, on a more personal note, that I had to postpone a trip planned for last year owing to the serious illness and subsequent death of a close family member. The Kicheche office staff were sympathetic and flexible and it was absolutely no problem to rearrange things. This made a very hard time a bit easier and was greatly appreciated by myself and my family.
To sum up, I had an entirely positive experience, again, at Mara camp and will be returning. If you want a classy and enlightened photographic experience with people who are sensitive to nature then you can't get better than this.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our bush hideaway welcomes you to a different world, centered at the heart of the African wilderness. Experiencing a traditional luxury camp is a must on safari and, with Kicheche, one that is intimate, secluded and in an area surrounded by prolific wildlife. Staying in a bush camp doesn't mean compromising on comfort, the food and service are first class, as are the warmth and experience of Kicheche's staff making your safari an unforgettable experience. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Kicheche Mara Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Kicheche Mara Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve