Reviews of Naboisho Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Naboisho Camp review
This is the most luxurious camp of the three we stayed in during our trip to Kenya. Our tent was set high above the camp overlooking the Mara plains and had a fantastic view. The walk to and from the main lounge was over quite rocky paths so some care needed to be taken, especially at night, even with the aid of torches. The normal camp managers, Roelof and Helen were on leave during our stay so we were in the capable hands of Kim and Conway as relief managers. The tented accommodation is very spacious including an indoor bucket shower plus two outdoor showers as well. As with the other camps the electricity is derived from solar power so the lighting is low voltage and any charging needs to be carried out in the main lounge of the camp.
Meals were excellent especially some of the lunches and the staff made every effort to cater for any special requests.
The game viewing in this conservancy was on a par with the other reserves, with lions and their cubs, cheetah and leopard being seen. We came across a baby giraffe within a minute of it being born which was exciting to see it try to move about on four rather unconnected legs!!
We went on what we thought was a walking safari on our first afternoon but this turned out to be not much more than a 2 hour route march through the bush surrounding the camp. Having read some of the other reviews on the Expert Africa website regarding the walking safaris at this camp we do feel we were a bit short changed, but perhaps not having Roelof in camp may have something to do with that.
One other issue that I had was with the format of the Toyota Land Cruiser that this camp uses. Unfortunately they have no roof access so it is not possible to stand up in the vehicle and rest camera lenses on top as with the vehicles used in the Kicheche camps. Keen photographers might find this an issue, especially those interested in birds.
Naboisho Camp Review
Our trip was an amazing mini-miracle! Last week was the first time my colleague and I were in Kenya, working most of the week in Nairobi. We had intentionally booked a late flight home on Sunday, figuring we might like a chance to see some of the country and wildlife. On Thursday we did a simple google search, found the ExpertAfrica website, read about a couple of the camps, and sent an inquiry about possibilities for the weekend. I was delighted that an agent from ExpertAfrica replied that day, had some suggestions, and could help us book and go the very next day. We literally texted our credit card details from the taxi on the way to the play, purchased trip insurance and completed the booking forms while at the gate in Wilson airport only moments before the plain for The Mara took off. Somehow or other it all worked out and we found ourselves flying out of the city and into the bush.
Though our time was short--just 48 hours--it was well worth it! Both mornings we went on bush hikes (walking safaris) with Roelof starting at the crack of dawn and going for 4-5 hours. Here we saw elephants, lions, giraffe, baboons, zebras, gazelles, impala, dikdik, topi, eland, etc, all kinds of birds, etc. It was incredible to be out walking among them in their natural habitat. Roelof is a weath of knowledge, as were all the guides we met there.
The camp itself was beautiful, comfortable, and charming, as were the host and hostess. At night we could hear the lions from our tents. What a gift to stumble into this camp, these people, and this place.
Naboisho Camp review
We think this is a wonderful camp. We stayed 7 nights and did walking safaris every day and sometimes 2 in a day.
Roelof and Helen Schutte have really stamped their characters on the camp and have created a wonderful atmosphere there – so warm and friendly and they make yourselves so available to the guests. We were very impressed with both of them.
We absolutely loved Roelof's walking safaris – a definite ‘life highlight’ for us. He is a fabulous guide, really knows his stuff and you feel absolutely safe in his hands. We tracked elephants on most of the walks we did with him. I would also note:
- Being able to drive off road is a great bonus in the conservancy
- The fly camping: it is arranged so that it is just your group doing this. Great fun to walk in and out and Roelof barbecues a mean steak
- The night drives are a fantastic and very different experience
- The wonderful tent – very nicely decorated and spacious
- Good company at the table – we enjoyed most of the other guests
- Wonderful salads at lunchtime
- Porridge for breakfast!
- Dawa and hot towels on our return to camp
- The amazingly varied scenery at Naboisho and the sheer quantity of animals and birds
- Naboisho itself – how nice to see such a success story in action when generally the news from Arica about wildlife conservation is so negative and depressing.
Helen runs the camp and is an amazingly warm and open person.
High class camp in beautiful location
The camp is in a wonderful position, with varied views over bush and more distant hills, and the very comfortable tents are widely spread out. We again found lengthy game drives rather tiring, but our full day in the Maasai Mara Reserve was still a highlight, because of the great amount of game to be seen. The wide views in both the Reserve and the Naboisho Conservancy were also very impressive, our guides being able to spot huge elephant herds at great distances. Marion considers the two mornings of doing a walking safari with Roelof to be the best individual moments of the whole trip. In contrast to El Karama, it was possible to walk out directly from the camp.
Ken was sick one night and rested up the next day. Helen was most solicitous, and on the morning of the following day Ken was able to join the 3 hour morning walk without difficulty.
Our guide, Benjamin, was very knowledgeable and efficient but rather unsmiling.
Apart from a private visitor, we were the only guests the whole time at Naboisho Camp. Helen and Roelof kept us company at meals and took great care of us.
The meals at lunchtime were very good but again in the evening the meat tended to be tough.
Cannot fault Naboisho Camp. Superb guide.
A superbly run camp. Very professional but with a relaxed, warm homely atmosphere.
We loved lunch under the acacia tree. All our meals were excellent. Beautiful log fires each evening. Very friendly and respectful staff seemed to anticipate our every need.
Our room was gorgeous. We loved having our beds prewarmed each night with hot water bottles. Hot showers whenever we desired.
The animals could wander through the camp, but generally only come close at night. We always felt safe even hearing the roar of lions from our room at night.
The guides were highly knowledgable and passionate about their subject. They spoke excellent English and were keen to teach us all they know. We saw all the big five and lots more.
Great camp wonderful position bird walk great
As above, very good
[Ed: In his general comments on the trip, this traveller wrote: "Naboisho Camp was good, small but everyone so friendly. Bush bird walk great. Rolloff and Roger great guides, if you could stop them arguing about the size of the spot underneath the left wing of the LBJ lark. Tent great position. Saw the Wilderbeste crossing."]
Location fully appreciated after (long) trek over to the Mara N.P., where found the hustle of traffic there quite distracting. Bliss to return to Naboisha, a haven filled with other dramas - zebra galloping through camp, a couple of lion kills, ditto cheetah, elephant every time we left camp. The lion pride of 18 or so, also popped up with regularity. Game viewing heaven.
Rooms- family tent great for us, particularly given the amount of lion activity/noise at night. Embarrassingly luxurious, apparently US visitors check the thread count of the linen. Yikes. But did leave them with the suggestion that could use a reading light in the single room too.
Service - high spec at the camp. Being met with a tray of rolled wet towels on each arrival is probbly luxury to some but could also strike another note. Was relieved to be able to be able break through formality and talk to staff. Assigned guide 21year old Christine was great. Astonishing odds to have overcome to get to be a bronze guide, quite something. Roelof and Helen very careful hosts, learnt an enormous amount from them about the models of game management and community relations. Very generous. Roelof drove us to the landing strip himself, stood at the end of the runway on takeoff, waving farewell!
Food- very good and particularly good at packed meal, although over generous quantities
Activities- gave us a lot of control over how time could be spent, high input from guide in vehicle and extraordinary guiding on foot by Roelof.(Fitted in twice) A highlight,plus gave us all a chance to get to know him better.
Facilities - enjoyed the books, especially one about early part of last century, laying railway, WW1 etc
Excellent Stay At Naboisho
From start to finish our visit to Naboisho was excellent. We visited the sister camp Rekero before we stayed here and the main difference is that this camp is based on a conservation area which means much less vehicles and no animals being surrounded by vehicles which does happen on the Mara. (The Rekero guides we had didn't crowd the animals in the Mara, but others did do occasionally)
Over the course of 3 days we were very lucky and our guide Wilson has the sharpest eyes of anyone I have ever met. We saw between 10 and 17 lions together on 3 occasions whilst we were there and this included being able to watch 5 cubs play fighting and seeing the 3 large male lions from this pride up close as well. On a night safari we were surrounded by this pride as they relaxed before their evening hunt. The guides turned the light off and we could see every star and consellation there is to see. On the same night safari we got see some of the smaller animals up close such as the bat eared fox and the bush babies.
There are two additional options that I would recommend that you take up which are the fly camping safari and the walking safari. Unfortunately we missed our chance to go on the fly camping safari but the guests that went on it really enjoyed it and it is far from basic camping with showers and toilet tents plus the extra excitement of being really out in the wild. We had a 5 hour morning walking safari (this can be as short as you want it, but we were happy to stay out this long) and it was great to be able to stretch our legs after 4 days in jeeps and being so well fed. We got to see the giraffe behaviour up closer, saw lots of birds and Roelof was very informative as he guided 6 of us around the area. We tracked a lone bull elephant for a couple of hours from a safe distance and we were up close with some baboons as well and it was really enjoyable to be walking around the area.
Breakfast and lunches whilst out in the jeep were great and the food served in the evening at the camp was good. As with Rekero the hosts were very welcoming and good at keeping all the guests engaged at the dinner table despite the varying backgrounds of the guests.
The tents are much more luxurious than you might expect. The bucket showers (inside and outside available) work well and there are flushing toilets in the tent, with a very comfortable bed and hot water bottles at night if it is a bit chilly. All that said it is great to hear the animal calls at night safe in the knowledge that the friendly Askari guards are on patrol around the camp. We had a late night visit from a zebra chewing the grass right at the side of the tent, but when we switched the light on to check which animal it was he/she ran off.
My only regret is that we didn't stay longer and we will definitely be returning to this camp.