Rekero is tucked into a beautifully wooded stretch of the Talek River.
Rekero: Our full report
A traditionally styled, tented camp, Rekero is sited on the north bank of the Talek River, in a prime location in the centre of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. During the migration season (roughly July to October) the plains around the camp are thick with wildebeest.
Rekero is some 3km upstream from the confluence of the Talek with the Mara, an important ‘bottleneck’ area favoured by predators. One of two properties in the Mara region now owned by Asilia, it was first set up in 1999; for 12 years before this, the location served as a ranger post and overlanders’ campsite. Rekero is on the southern boundary of the Musiara sector of the national reserve. It faces the Sekenani sector across the Talek River, with a ford allowing easy access between the two (except when the Talek is in flood), giving guests at the camp outstanding access to the bush, plains and marshes of both sectors.
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Rekero is an unfenced, seasonal camp, occupying about three hectares (seven acres). When closed, the entire camp infrastructure is dismantled and removed to allow the area’s riverine vegetation to regenerate.
Rekero’s main areas focus around its pretty lawn, which slopes gently from the lounge and mess tent to the riverbank, with informal, natural tropical gardens all around. The small gift shop offers crafts and souvenirs made by staff and their families and other items bought in from a Nairobi slum children’s project.
Breakfast and lunch are usually served at large communal tables on the lawn, where guests mingle to share experiences or to do some birdwatching. The evening fire is lit just off the lawn in the same area.
The lounge tent is a good size and well furnished with comfy sofas and armchairs. The mess tent is fairly spartan, featuring a long, communal dining table and folding chairs.
Below the lawn, overlooking the river, a recent addition to Rekero in 2012 is the tented river deck, with stylish sofas and chairs and a good-sized alternative dining table. The deck stretches out over the river to make a really good sundowner or observation spot.
- Spaced well apart along the river, Rekero’s nine south-facing tents stand in cleared bush in the shade of thick forest, with views over the normally shallow waters of the Talek to the wooded banks on the far side and the plains of the Sekenani sector. Each of the tents is accessed by a private path leading from a main footpath cut through the bush to their rear.
- The tents are a very good size, though not enormous. Tall trees offer some shade and double fly sheets help to keep down daytime temperatures. There’s plenty of ventilation from very large screened windows on all sides: in addition, the thick bush growing close to the tents allows the screen covers to be kept unrolled without affecting privacy.
- In front of each tent, on a small ‘deck’ area of groundsheet, a washbasin is provided with water, towel and umbrella. Apart from the plumbed-in toilets, water for each tent is delivered by the staff, with hot bucket showers available on request and a thermos for hot washing water in the bathroom. Each tent is also supplied with drinking water – filtered in camp and refilled rather than in plastic bottles.
- The front part of each tent forms a good-sized, fully screened vestibule, furnished with a day bed, a pair of canvas directors’ chairs and a card table. With the front screens open, guests can look out across the river. The main bedroom contains a large and comfortable double bed (with the option of twin beds), a chair and writing table with mirror, and a large storage trunk (which, however, does not lock). The spacious bathroom is furnished with a double washstand with artisanal toiletries, a clothes chest and hanger rail, and a curtained-off, wood-floored shower area.
- The tent décor is stylishly understated, using muted greens, fawns and browns. The flooring is vinyl groundsheet, largely laid with soft rush matting.
- Tents 1 and 2 are an older style than tents 3–9. They are the closest to the main areas and serve as family tents, sleeping five (or six at a pinch). On request, any of the tents can be converted to a triple, with a maximum of three triples in at any one time.
Rekero aims to give each group of guests their own vehicle, but you may occasionally have to share in high season. Their vehicles are fully enclosed Toyota Land Cruisers with roof hatches, although an open-sided vehicle from Naboisho Camp is also sometimes available.
Because the camp is within the Maasai Mara National Reserve, game walks and night drives cannot be offered from Rekero, although both can be done at Rekero’s sister camp Naboisho Camp, in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, adjoining the national reserve. All-day game drives from Rekero can be offered in this conservancy (additional conservancy fees payable). Alternatively, some travellers who have four nights or more in the Mara region choose to split their time between Rekero and Naboisho.
Other activities at Rekero include nature walks around the camp (free), village and school visits (US$30 per person) and, for children, bow-and-arrow making and practice.
Our viewRekero has one of the most central locations in the Mara but this also makes the surrounding area an attractive target for game-viewing vehicles from other camps, and the area can be very busy in the migration season. Nevertheless, Rekero is a friendly and comfortable camp and we found it easy to relax here. It's run by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team and we were impressed by the service and attention from staff. The large number of repeat guests is indicative of Rekero’s dedication to offering a first-class safari experience that justifies its relatively high rates.
Ideal length of stay: We would recommend a minimum of three nights at Rekero, allowing time for two or three morning and two or three evening game drives and enabling you to become familiar with the plains and riverine forest of the national reserve. For a slightly different environment, you could easily combine several nights at Rekero with two or three nights at the co-owned Naboisho Camp, approximately 1½ hours’ drive away in the Naboisho Conservancy, where the rewards include a much lower density of visitors.
Directions: The flight from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Ol Kiombo airstrip takes about an hour, then it’s a 20-minute drive through the reserve to Rekero. After rain, this route, which crosses the Olare Orok River, can be impassable, in which case Musiara airstrip is used, a 45-minute drive from Rekero (flights from Nairobi to Musiara also take about an hour).
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Rekero’s food is well prepared and creative. Early morning tea or coffee are brought to your tent at the time you arrange, depending on when you want to start your first game drive.
Breakfast is often a picnic by the Mara River in the course of a an extended game drive, and includes the full range of cereals, fruit and yoghurt, with bread, hard-boiled eggs and cold sausages. Alternatively, breakfast in camp is normally served in the garden, with a full cooked English-style breakfast available as well as a buffet.
Afternoon tea, coffee and cake are available at 4.00pm, before the evening game drive.
Lunch includes soup, a variety of salads and quiches, with at least one hot dish, and a choice of dessert or fruit. Guests on all-day game drives have a picnic lunch.
Pre-dinner drinks and nibbles are served around the fire. The three-course set dinner is normally served in the mess tent, as a convivial group meal hosted by the managers, who also help to serve. Alternatively, private dining arrangements can easily be made if you prefer. The menu can be altered for dietary requirements.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks are included apart from premium wines and champagne.
Birdwatching: There’s good birdlife in camp at Rekero, with a variety of habitats in the vicinity. Birders will enjoy the privacy of the tent veranda areas with uninterrupted views across the rocky valley of the Talek River.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Kenya
Wildlife safaris: Rekero was the camp where Jackson Looseyia (of Big Cat Diary fame) first earned his spurs as a spotter and outstanding guide. More recently its first-class lion, leopard and cheetah viewing made it ideal as a base for much of the filming of Disney's African Cats documentary.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Kenya
Attitude towards children: ‘We love children and welcome them.’ Children are popular with the Rekero guides. There are no formal age restrictions, but over six is recommended.
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: There are nature walks for children around camp, and down to the riverside, as well as bow-and-arrow making and practice. Informal football or other games can be played on the lawns (with guests’ own equipment). Children’s meals can easily be provided. Babysitting is not available in the daytime, although an askari can be posted near the tent at night to allow parents to have dinner without the children.
Equipment: No specific children’s equipment is available, but all requirements can be organised.
Generally recommended for children: Although Rekero happily welcomes children above the age of six, we don’t think of the camp as particularly child-friendly or ideal for families. Many guests are serious photographers and wildlife watchers, so family guests will need to keep younger members reasonably quiet most of the time. Guests often bring nannies and the majority of family guests are local residents.
Notes: Parents/carers will need to keep an eye on young children at all times because of the proximity of the river and wild bush close to camp.
Communications: Each tent has a horn to alert your askari in the event of an emergency, and nervous guests can be provided with two-way radios to communicate with the central area. There’s good cellphone network coverage, with a good Safaricom signal. WiFi internet is being installed in the lounge/mess tent.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All Rekero’s vehicles are equipped with first-aid supplies and all staff take a first-aid course every six months. A trained nurse is available at the neighbouring camp, Mara Intrepids. The flying doctor service can always be contacted and would fly to Ol Kiombo or Musiara airstrip. In addition, Asilia are covered by the South African insurance group SATIB, whose doctors are trained to offer remote first-aid advice and instructions in case of emergency.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Hippos come ashore at night and the area is full of wildlife. During the day, housekeeping staff will escort guests or help with luggage. At night, askaris armed with traditional weapons patrol the camp and are always on hand to escort guests. The head askari has been with Rekero since it was first opened in 1999.
Fire safety: The Talek River forms a natural fire break. Fire extinguishers are located in all tents and all staff know how to use them. There is a formal fire assembly point and staff have regular fire drills.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included
Money: Valuables can be locked in the main camp safe if required. There is no currency exchange and few guests need to pay for anything apart from staff tips.
Accepted payment on location: Cash payments may be made in US dollars, euros, pounds sterling or Kenyan shillings. Visa and MasterCard are accepted with a 4% surcharge.