Today, we are on the sixth part of our seven-part “Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya” series.
On our international around the world trip we decided to pay a visit to Kenya and experience a wildlife safari. Having already researched a location and time of the year to visit [see our post on Plan a Perfect African Safari in Kenya: 5 – When & Where] we now had to find a camp with comfortable accommodations and excellent guides.
One of the biggest mistakes we read that a safari adventurer could make is to go cheap. A safari is one of those experiences where you get what you pay for and going cheap can result in low quality meals, poor accommodations, or even compromises in safety.
After much research we settled on Kicheche Mara Camp in the Mara North Conservancy. Here’s our experience.
The most amazing thing about the Kicheche Mara Camp is its unbeatable location in the middle of the Conservancy. The drive from the airport to the camp was a safari in itself. We saw many animals in close proximity on our journey to the camp.
The moment we arrived in the camp we were met by one of the camp managers. On the day we arrived the manager on duty, Olivia, greeted us. She was warm and friendly. While our luggage was taken to our tent, we sat down with her outside the main tent and checked in.
We received on check-in: camp regulations, a solar rechargeable flashlight, a walkie-talkie, and an emergency whistle. Olivia also walked us through the safety procedures, daily activities and meal options. The check-in was thorough, and we immediately felt we were in experienced hands.
The tents were luxurious. More comfortable than some hotel rooms we’ve stayed in. The restroom was large and had running water!
The tents were large and placed far enough apart to give everyone their own private area.
Now look closely at the tent on the right. See the bucket there? If there was one drawback about the accommodations it was the ONE bucket of water you had for taking a shower. Yep, every morning someone would come and fill up that bucket with warm water. It’s tough at first but you eventually come to know that you really don’t need much water to take a shower! And besides, we were literally in the nature together with the animals (one morning we woke up to a herd of zebras right outside our tent!), so having to take a bucket bath was well worth it. We would rather be closer to the animals than to be spoiled in a hotel. Another tip is if you tell the camp staff that you want another bucket of water in advance, they will gladly bring you another bucket (we used that a few times :)
In the main tent, you could charge all your electricity hungry devices.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were included in the rate. Dinner was served in a group setting where everyone would come together to eat and share stories of the day. The food was amazingly well prepared and truly luxurious. We were all friends at dinner and it was always one of the highlights of our day! Everyone would laugh and trade their safari stories at the dinner table. Oh, and of course the fact that wine and liquor flowed freely didn’t hurt either!
For breakfast, fruit, coffee, orange juice, eggs, toasted bread, cereal, all available for breakfast in a comfortable setting.
Your primary reason for going on a safari is to well, go on a safari. Kicheche offers both private and group game drives. Depending on how busy the camp is group drives can become a private drive if you’re lucky! We went on a game drive every day and we only had to share our vehicle once.
This is one of the Kicheche camp vehicles. They have an open top and sides that can be covered if it gets too hot or if it rains. This is the type of vehicle you need for a safari.
The open layout allows you to easily move around and see the action no matter in which direction it happens.
Here is our guide “Jimmy”. The guides all have easy English names since they’re easier to remember. Jimmy took us to several fabulous spots for taking some photos like this one!
Jimmy took us to the perfect place at the right time for us to take this photo!
He also had the eyes of an eagle and he could spot animals at a far off distance faster than I could with my zoom lens. Like many of the people we met in Kenya we had no trouble communicating with them in English.
You must know that Kicheche Mara is not a budget camp. At this price point you get a fantastic, luxurious, relaxing and comfortable experience out in the wilderness. A safari is about being out with the animals and watching how they live in the wild. It is not the time to go roughing it. Your camp should be the place where you rest after a long day out in the sun and gives you the energy to do it again the next day.
We have to note that on a few occasions on our game drive, we saw other tourists packed into a small enclosed van and we felt bad for them. We could only assume they also had an inexperienced driver (especially THAT one who scared off the wildebeest crossing by cutting them off at the river bank!)
A tent of our size cost about $500 a night. However the rate included full board, bush walks, group game drives, drinks including wine and spirits, and laundry (yes laundry!). Once you include all that $500 is a decent rate.
We think we made an excellent choice with the Kicheche Maasai Mara Conservancy camp. It was relaxing, staff was attentive and friendly, the guides were fantastic, and we enjoyed meeting other safari goers. We definitely recommend this camp and would go back again!
If you stay at Kicheche Mara let us know what your experience was like!
Tomorrow is the last part of our Kenya series, and we’ll fill you in on “Getting to Maasai Mara”!
You may also enjoy our Picture of the Week:
- Maasai Warriors Jumping Contest (Adumu)
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