If you would have told me when I was a young child that I would visit Africa and see wild lions, hyenas, leopards, rhinos and more in their own habitat, I would never believe you. Kichwa Tempo camp was a wonderful place to stay. The camp is well run, organized and more than comfortable. It is NOT a tent!!!
Our cabin tent was number 39. We paid extra for the more "luxury" tent, mainly because I wanted to be able to recharge my camera batteries easily. Tent number 39 is the furthest out from the dining area at the very edge of the complex. We liked it because it was away from the bussle and noises of the camp.
Point: if you have walking issues, you may want to address that BEFORE you arrive by emailing them and asking for a tent closer to the dining area.
Be sure to bring a flashlight or a headlamp for the walks at night to and from the dining area. The walks are lit, but extra light is always good. While we were there, a security person did escort us a couple of times. But, we did not rely on him.
We did not have any issues with mosquitoes when we were there, but we were prepared.
The tent was large with separate toilet area and shower area. There were two separate large closet areas for more than enough room. There was a safe for valuables. I loved the shower. Hot water while showering with the sounds of the wild around you. Don't bother to bring soap, shampoo, lotion, etc. They have it all. Do bring a washcloth. They don't have those.
The bed was large, probably king sized and comfortable for us. They placed hot water bottles in the beds at night (while you are eating) to make the beds nice and toasty when you get in. The water bottles stayed warm thru the whole night.
There idea of a wake up call is to bring to your cabin coffee, hot chocolate or tea to your cabin at the time you designate with cookies. They arrive hot in a thermos. NOTE: they may run ten minutes late. We were usually up and dressed by the time our coffee arrived. We drank it on the porch listening to the morning sounds, then headed out to meet our guide. We never had breakfast in the morning. Too busy .... we had breakfast out on the Masai Mara. :)
Our days were spent waking up early, meeting our guide, Sigue (who was wonderful and knowledgeable). Breakfast out on the savannah. The jeeps that and Beyond uses are open air jeeps. There are nine seats, three seats per row, three tiers of seats. We had six people in our group, so everyone had a "outside" seat. As a group, you decide if you want to eat breakfast then go out, or go out and eat breakfast on the savannah. We elected to do the latter. We got back to the camp about 1:30 for lunch. Then out again at 4:00 to 4:30 and back to camp by about 7:00 to 7:30 PM. The hours of the day flew by.
The lunches were buffet style. The food was great Good choices, flavorful with a local spices. Great desserts. You were assigned to the same waiter or waitress your entire stay. Beer was extra, but at $3.00 a bottle, a large pint, not expensive. Dinner was buffet one evening, ala carte on the other two nights. Desserts were delicious. You did NOT go hungry. Unless you are truly picky about your food, you shouldn't be disappointed.
We did the balloon ride. Paid for it before we got there. I found out that it was more expensive at the camp by about $30.00. While expensive, it was well worth it. It ends with a champagne breakfast on the savannah. Full breakfast, not continental. The balloon hold sixteen people, four per corner. If you are a large person, it might be tight. Our pilot turned the balloon around so that people in the back "row" became the front row during the ride.
The animal viewing... what can I say. We saw all of the big five... the lion, the cheetah, the rhino, the elephant and the buffalo. We saw babies, babies, and babies. A week old giraffe jumping and running with stilted unsteady legs, still with its umbilical cord remnant (viewed thru my telephoto lens); seven baby lion cubs running toward the communal mother, baby hyena puppies playing with each other, leopard eating their his prey, a mother rhino with her baby 25 feet from our jeep, hippo herds, ... I have so many memorable pictures. We did not see a crossing while we were there. In a way, it was probably best. I don't think I would have wanted to see the crocs get their meals while the crossing occurred.
NOTE: if you want great pictures, you really need to get a telephoto lens. I used a Nikon d300 with a 80 to 400 mm lens and got great pictures. I also took along my Nikon Coolpix for wide angle shots and up close shots out of the range of my telephoto lens. While you could get good pictures with a compact camera, you need something bigger to get the "great shots". There are companies that rent you camera lenses, check into it.
Be ready to tip you room steward, your waiter/waitress, and your guide. My husband and I also placed money in the communal tipping box for the people that do the jobs behind the scenes (the cooks, security, maintenance people, etc) We tipped the room steward $5.00 per person per day.
We tipped the waiter $10.00 per person per day. I left $20.00 per person per day for the communal tip. And for Sigue, because he made it all so wonderful.. we tipped him extra. I gleaned from various sites that the tips were varied and all over the board. Some said $120.00 for the day for the whole jeep, some said $20.00 per person per day, some said just $100.00 for the whole time. We spent at least 8 hours per day with him. He went out of his way to get us the great shot of the rhino mom and baby (within 15 to 20 feet of her), ... we gave him $50.00 per person per day. For our three days... we gave him $300.00. Money well spent for our lifetime memories.
Hope this helps all of you out there looking for a lifetime treat.
- 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