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“JT Safari ( www.julius-safaris.com ) - Thankyou Kichwa is out of this world”

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andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 5, 2010

We returned from a two week stay in the Diani area of Kenya on 9th February 2010 but due to a slight glitch with the computer and numerous hours editing the hundreds of photos and hours of video I have finally gotten around to writing a review. We stayed at Diani Reef Resort & Spa which is a fantastic hotel and well lives up to it’s five star rating. But the highlight of the holiday, was without doubt the 3 day / 2 night safari to the Masai Mara we booked with Julius Safaris - www.julius-safaris.com
I contacted JT before we travelled and although not necessary, wired JT a deposit prior to leaving UK as not knowing the demand of such trips we definitely didn’t want to be disappointed and miss out.
**Please DO NOT confuse www.julius-safaris.com with numerous other local companies with very similar names trying to cash in on the success and reputation of www.julius-safaris.com **
The day after we arrived I met Julius who travelled the few miles from his modest office to the reception of our hotel. He spoke great English, was very thorough with all arrangements and all seemed very promising- on Saturday we would be in the wilds of Africa!!!
Saturday came and Michael; JT’s trusted driver and a true gentleman collected us from our reception in a private air-conditioned mini van and drove us the short 3-4 mile trip to Ukunda Airport.
We bid Michael a farewell and waited to be called to the plane. Don’t worry if they have your names slightly wrong – I was Mr Daniel and the airport staff did not have a clue how to pronounce Phyllis, but it all added to the experience.
We need not have of worried a single jot. JT is a seasoned professional, and everything was taken care of.
After a fantastic 2 hour flight in a small plane which allowed us to take in the amazing sight of Mt Kilmanjaro from the left hand side of the plane we started our decent. The animals we had been longing to see soon came into focus – the odd tree somehow became Giraffe, the dark patches of grass turned to large herds of buffalo and the large grey boulders began to walk and somehow had bright white tusks. The plane got lower and lower until the wheels touched down on the gravel strip! WOW we were here!
Our guide Sammy was waiting for us at the air strip next to a canvassed roofed, but completely open 9 seat Toyota Landcruiser with a refreshing pot of Kenyan tea and biscuits.
I was so surprised to see so many animals on the 20 minute drive to our camp Kitchwa Tembo.
When we arrived at Kitchwa Tembo we knew our three day stay was never going to be long enough.
The luxury tent complete with colonial furniture and a stone bathroom at the rear was as good as any hotel room and very comfortable and warm.
The staff were nothing short of amazing, catering for our every need. The unique little touches which I will not mention, for fear of spoiling the staffs efforts, really felt we were being looked after by best friends or family who knew what we wanted when we wanted it - without even having to ask.
During our stay at Kitchwa Tembo we had four safari drives which are obviously all included. They each lasted 4-6 hours and covered upwards of 65 miles. The drives took us through grasslands, across and along the Mara River, through thickets and across baron scrub land. The variety and amount of animals we saw was truly everything we had wished for.
I think what made it feel so special was how isolated we were. Miles from anywhere with no other humans in sight and being truly off road, having the daily “African Massage” from the bumps and humps of the rough ground.
Our guide was truly amazing – never rushed, sharing his extensive and personal knowledge of the animals. We would decide if we wanted to move on or stay a little longer in one spot. His desire for us to see everything was strong, sometimes spending hours hunting for the elusive Leopard all the time pointing out the other animals that share it’s habitat.
Our meals times were considerately scheduled around our safari drives. The food was incredible, freshly cooked, lots of choice and alfresco under the stars, lit with romantic lanterns in the evening.
The mornings are something to behold. Get up early and get your room attendant to pull back your doors while you lie in bed and watch the sun rise over the Mara – wonderful.
The facilities are excellent at Kitchwa. There is internet connections to mail back home and share your day’s sights with friends. The pool is cool and fresh with wonderful views over the plains. There is modest entertainment courtesy of some local Masai dancers and numerous charging points for your cameras in the lobby area.
On our return to Diani Reef Resort we spoke with numerous guests who opted for the Tsavo Parks for their Safari. Although cheaper, I feel we made the right decision in going to the Mara. The flight only adds to it and is shorter than the uncomfortable drive to Tsavo. Also the true isolation of the Mara really adds to the true Safari feel. From what I heard the accommodation is far better on the Mara and the vehicles and guides far more comfortable and knowledable. The real reason for a Safari is obviously to see as many animals as possible and at close quarters. The Mara offers this in abundance and the frequency and intimacy of such encounters on the Mara far out way those in Tsavo.
Make no mistake – The Masai Mara is the place to Safari and Kitchwa Tembo is the place to stay - but above all trust www.julius-safaris.com to make the whole experience hassle free with a service second to none.
Please feel free to e-amil me for any tips or advice I might be able to give.

Dan & Phyl.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Dan2008Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 2, 2010

Arrived at Kichwa through julius-safaris.com. From stepping off the plane and having afternoon tea even before we got to the camp we knew we were in for something special. The camp is in the most spectaular of locations set in its own grounds. You can watch giraffes grazing as you swim and watch the entertaining warthogs around camp. The tents are all stunning, housekeeping impecable and personal butler service brilliant. Food was outstanding wherever possible they will sit you outside where they dress the lawn with lanterns. They also set up the most romantic candlelit dinner around your tent if you ask them. Our guide joseph was very knowlegable and professional and the bush breakfast was awsome. Saw 4 of the big five (missing leopard) and many other animals beside.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank EMT_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2010

it is hard not to resort to cliches. The staff, without exception, are generous, delightful & helpful. The setting is almost too perfect: giraffe & zebras as you laze by the pool, fireflies lighting your path at night. Charity was our driver and guide and she could not have been more knowledgeable, enthusiastic, thoughtful and fun. Our tent would have to rate as my favourite accommodation of all time and not simply for things like comfortable beds and a great shower, superb setting - being able to see lions and hear hippos from your bed takes some beating. Being woken up with a flask of wonderful Kenyan coffee to watch the sun rise over the Savannah before your early morning appointment with elephants, rhinos, baboons and antelope leaves even the most world weary speechless. We had a 5 night stay at Kichwa Tembo and we would go back tomorrow if we could. Thank you Jared, Jackson, Ester, George, John, Peter and everyone at Kichwa Tembo

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank carolynqDubai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2010

We chose Kichwa Tembo because at the time it was the number 1 rated on TripAdvisor.

We were collected at the local airstrip and greeted with hot chocolate and cake. Our driver to the camp gave us 2 options the long or short drive we choose the long, this took about 30 mins and was a mini safari in itself viewing monkeys, elephants, giraffe and zebra's.

We were looking forward to sleep under canvas and was not disappointed. Our room steward woke us up around 6am with a smile, tea and biscuits . Breakfast although not extensive was very good quality.

The gates to the Masai Mara were about 10 mins drive. We had a great day viewing the big 5 and the wildebeest migration. We saw lots of groups from other loges in small mini buses, Kichwa supply large open sided vehicles which is a great advantage.

After our long game drive back to camp for our dinner which was delicious and back to our tent to find hot water bottles keeping out beds nice and toastie.

Up earlier the next day for another drive . We booked the camp and flights with Jt Safari's
who I would highly recommend.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank JulesSurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2010

Great place to stay for your Safari. Good tours, friendly and mainly professional staff. However, the food is repeating after 2-3 days, so if you stay longer, be prepared to eat the same again (buffet). Spectacular view. The nights can get really cold in the tents. If it rains for several days, you have bad luck (however this happens not often.) It's a bit expensive, however it offers an unique experience.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank Culturetraveller12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2010

If we had to chose one place to return to amongst all the places we stayed during our two week safari in Kenya and Tanzania - Kichwa Tembo and the Masai Mara would be our choice with no hesitation. Set in a jungle at the base of a hill on the edge of the spotted plain, it's winding flagstone paths, open air restaurant and bar and luxuriously appointed tents bring all the magic of old Africa to the fore. You feel as if you've stepped back in time yet have all the modern conveniences at your fingertips. The grounds are teeming with colorful birds, chattering baboons and hilarious warthogs. The infinity pool is set at the edge of the camp overlooking the Masai Mara plain. As my spouse and I relaxed there one afternoon, we marveled at the fact that without turning our heads, we could see elephants, giraffe, gazelles, baboons, warthogs and more all at once. The game drives were unbelievable. Each morning, we left just before sun-rise with Alfred our Micato guide and Sammy, our driver and guide from Kichwa Tembo to start our first game drive of the day. Sammy would pause at the side of the road as we watched the clouds catch fire with the rising of the sun and hot air balloons silhouetted in the distance. Each moment of our days at Kichwa Tembo was unforgettable from the black rhinos to the pride of lions and amazing colorful birds. Our first evening came alive with Maasai warriors demonstrating traditional dance and song around a bonfire. The next day, we had the priviledge of visiting a local Maasai village. Sitting in a mud and dung hut that was surprisingly cool and fragrant with the embers of a cooking fire, we discussed different aspects of the Maasai life. After visiting the school and talking with the children who were learning English, we left promising to send them supplies for their studies. On our last evening at Kichwa Tembo, supper was served on the lawn where linen covered tables sparkling with candles were arranged under trees hung with lanterns. Truly magical! We toasted a wonderful stay as we listened to hyenas calling out, hippos huffing in the Mara River and baboons chattering. We promise to come back again soon!

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jewelsworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2010

Having just returned from our first holiday I Kenya, I want to express my thanks to Julius and his team at JT Safaris www.julius-safaris.com for the wonderful service he provided in arranging our safari to the Masai Mara.
We had arranged the trip on-line from the UK before we left and were met, as arranged, by Julius’ driver at our hotel, the Baobab Beach Resort, which is only a five minute drive to his office. We had opted for a 3 day/2 night stay at the Kichwa Tembo camp in the Masai Mara and Julius gave us a detailed breakdown of the trip and what we were to expect. We were only asked to pay a deposit at this time, with Julius collecting the balance on our return when were satisfied with the service he had promised
We were collected from the hotel on time by Robert from JT Safaris and joined Dave & Debs who had also booked through JT Safaris www.julius-safaris.com and who were to be our companions on safari and drove the 5 miles to Ukunda airstrip where we took a 2 hour flight to Masai Mara, passing Mt Kilimanjaro en route. We landed at Kichwa Tembo’s own airstrip where we were welcomed by Daniel, our guide, and his Masai ‘apprentice’ Joel, with coffee and cakes laid out on a table next to or specially converted Landcruiser which was to be our ’home’ for the next couple of days. The perfect start which set the standard for the rest of the safari.
During the short drive to Kichwa Tembo camp we saw elephant, giraffe, numerous antelope, warthog and buffalo. The camp itself is hidden in a small forested area and consists of about 40 tents, reception area/shop, swimming pool, bar and restaurant all with the most helpful and courteous staff I have ever met. Our tent looked out over a lawned area, with it’s resident herd of warthog, toward the Mara plains where you could sit and watch the wildlife meander by. The tents were equipped with all the mod cons, (flush toilet, shower etc )and were extremely comfortable. After stowing our gear and a quick lunch (3 courses) we set out on our first game drive at 3:30pm.
We were asked what we wanted to see and off we went. Daniel and Joel were so knowledgeable about the wildlife, climate, Masai history and the surrounding area and nothing was too much trouble for them. We had seen more elephant, giraffe, buffalo, eland and antelope before we saw our first pride of lions, literally walking alongside the track. Then the rain came which turned into a heavy downpour lasting well into the night, which meant we had to return to the camp, crossing the previously trickling streams which were now raging rivers with care. Another 3 course dinner and it was an early night ready for the 6:30am start in the morning.
5:45am and a ‘knock’ on the tent from Titus with our coffee and biscuits and we were off. The rain had stopped and the sunrise over the Masai Mara is not to be missed. Cheetahs were on our list for today and we set off south to the shorter grasslands which they favoured. On our way Daniel spotted an agitated herd of buffalo and he drove off-road for a closer look, we could see the pride of lions seen the day before encircling the herd planning a kill. However as the buffalo were all bulls, the lions thought better of it and after 1/2 hour or so they moved on. We also saw hyena, jackals and countless species of birds as we returned to the track.
Breakfast ! Daniel drove to a higher vantage point overlooking the grassland where we would be safe and set up the most magnificent breakfast table you could imagine. Fresh coffee, sausages, cakes, you name it. What a wonderful setting, and joined by a herd of giraffe that came for a look. An experience I’ll never forget. We caught up with a group of 4 cheetahs after a drive alongside the Mara river where we stopped to watch the hippo and a troop of about 100 baboons. The cheetahs, a mother and three nearly full grown cubs, were stalking a herd of Thommies and Topi but after 3 unsuccessful chases appeared to give up and left the gazelles to graze some distance away. The other safari vehicles, also gave up which left just us and Daniel’s colleague in another vehicle from the same camp to witness what happened next. One of the cubs was alerted to a clump of grass not 50yards from the vehicle where he stalked and caught a young Thommie right in front of us. Not the classic Cheetah chase, but a sight not to be missed. Daniel’s patience had paid off. Back for lunch.
Set off at 3:30pm to try and find Leopard and Rhino. Headed south east this time and completely off road heading for the Mara river. Saw a huge bull elephant on his own and later a herd of females with very young calves. Daniel and his colleagues were in constant radio and contact and he heard that a bull rhino was in the open between forests just a mile behind us. A quick u turn and we were within 50 yds of him in a matter of minutes. Not the time for your camera battery to run out! Unfortunately we didn’t see a leopard, but their kills, suspended in the branches of trees were evidence of his presence. Back to Kichwa Tembo for dinner and a drink!
5:45am and a ‘knock’ on the tent from Titus with our coffee and biscuits and we were off. We had a 3 hour game drive this morning to spot the leopard before we returned for breakfast and prepare for the return flight. Off-road again, following wooded valleys through shrubland we found more kills in the trees bat unfortunately no leopard – a good excuse for coming back again next year. Returned to the camp for a hearty breakfast and took the 2:00pm flight to Ukunda.
What a wonderful experience, something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. The whole trip had been so well organized by JT Safaris and the Kichwa Tembo team, and their attention to your comfort and satisfaction was their first priority.
We were met at the airstrip by Julius’ driver and driven to meet up with Julius to settle our account, at which he handed me a gift of carved animals.
JT Safaris www.julius-safaris.com must surely be the most experienced operator around the Mombasa area and is real value for money. His attention to ensuring that you have the best experience you could wish for is his sole aim and trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
One point to be aware of is that there is a bogus company operating as Julius Thuvi Safaris that may try to sell you a safari through beach boys and other locals in the area. Make sure you book through JT Safaris www.julius-safaris.com for the best service. The service he gives is second to none and at a fair price.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank UncleLino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

Address: C12 Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 146 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $660 - $2,457 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 40
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 
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Also Known As:
Kichwa Tembo Tented Safari Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
AndBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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