Reviews of Kicheche Laikipia
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Kicheche Laikipia - super camp !
We really enjoyed our stay at Kicheche Laikipia.
The assistant manager - Andrew, made us feel very welcome and was very entertaining company at lunch and dinner.
The poor man even ate vegetarian meals along with ourselves . I felt very guilty and was sure he'd have preferred a nice steak or something.
Our guide was Onesmus .He gave us some amazing wildlife viewings including a lioness moving her cubs one by one !
Cheetah mom and two youngsters, hyena - babies with no fur , elephants - And of course rhino !
He really knows the area well and unlike many wildlife areas , he operated without the help of radio information from other guides.
We also met Sonia - one of the managers. Unfortunately we missed Andy (her husband) as he was not well when we visited.
( Hope he is OK now ?)
The camp is situated in the wilderness area of Ol Pejeta and benefits from having very few vehicles in the area which gives a wonderful "wilderness" feeling. The camp's vehicle can go offroad if need be - which can be helpful.
We had a night drive there , which I haven't done for years and was such a different way of seeing animals.
We also visited the East side of the conservancy , which is open to the public ( not that the West side is closed to the public but they don't maintain the roads or put up road signs - so drivers have to know the area really well to drive there)
We had excellent sightings in the East as well as the West however - so if you only visit the East you will see a lot.
Kicheche is a small camp of 6 tents - which felt a really nice size.
It overlooks a waterhole - which at the time of our visit was getting to be a puddle ! I hope the rains the following week sorted that out for the animals .
Nevertheless, puddle or not - many animals , including a herd of 11 elephants visited for a drink.
The camp has a low electric fence around it which keeps elephants and buffalo away from the tents.
Laikipia was a bit colder than I expected - we visited at the end of August and on our first game drive ( staring at 6am) I was wearing about 4 layers and was still cold.However , it was very windy - so that probably made it feel colder than it was.
Each day got a little warmer while we were there and if there is no wind it's probably OK.
As soon as there was no sun - it was cold . First time I've had a sundowner inside the vehicle :) Recommend bringing a pair of gloves.
As regards the accomodation - the tent was very spacious with wardrobe, desk,chairs and table inside . Chairs outside on the deck. The usual bathroom arrangement behind a screen and another wardrobe in there too.
Drinking water is provided in an urn in the tent and two metal water bottles for you to use either in the tent or on a game drive.
Good to see so many camps trying to discourage the use of plastic water bottles.
Lighting is solar-powered so rather dim ( bring a head-torch)
Hot showers are available in the evening automatically and at other times by request.
Hot water bottles in the bed and extra duvet and blankets available.
Food was amazing ! We are both vegetarian and were astonished each mealtime by the inventiveness of the chef.
I know Sonia is a foodie ( she revealed her addiction to recipe books to us) and many of the recipes are ones she has chosen.
We ate no processed food at all while we were there and left feeling very healthy indeed.
I did pack two chocolate bars in case I should feel the need for something sweet - but both bars remained untouched.
The presentation of both the food and the dining table would not have been out of place at a top London restaurant.
I would say that three courses at each meal was really too much for us and they could make life easier for themselves by doing a salad buffet for lunch and not bother with a hot course ( delicious though it was).
The dining tent had two long wooden dining tables in it and a fire at each end ( as well as one outside)
The morning game drives were marvellous and much longer than you normally get.
We tended to go out at 6am - have a picnic breakfast in the bush - return about noon - then lunch was at 1pm.
Tea and cake overlooking the waterhole and it's visitors at 4pm - then a game drive from 4:30 pm til 7pm-ish
Dinner was at 8pm or 7:30 if doing a night drive.
There is a small shop on site that I only discovered the day we were leaving. Bought a nice fleece, hat, tee-shirt etc..
The visit to the rhino sanctuary was really good and well worth doing.
I only realised as we left that nobody had asked for a donation.
I think we paid $35 each and obviously tipped the rangers too. They do a great job there and it was so lovely to see Sudan, Baraka, Najin and Fatu living in a lovely spacious enclosure under the African sun. ( Baraka is a local anyway - but you get the point). We didn't get around to seeing the chimpanzee sanctuary unfortunately ,due to lack of time - and we had seen chimpanzees both wild and in a sanctuary last year in Uganda. Sorry to Sweetwaters - maybe next time?
Poor Baraka had a microfilaria infection when we were there which they were trying to treat.
He is very happy for an old, blind rhino ! Loved feeding him alfalfa.
The whole experience was really enjoyable but over in a whoosh - so try and savour each moment while you are there.
I recommend downloading a map of the area too , as I had not realised how separate the camps and the sanctuaries are.
Excellent food and great guiding at Kicheche
For three out of our four nights we were the only guests here so it was strange having the camp to ourselves.
The food here was probably the best we've had anywhere in Africa. Michelin style in the bush with beautiful presentation. The staff were lovely. They gave Adam a birthday cake with candles and performed a Swahili rendition of Happy Birthday with makeshift musical instruments and dancing. Very special memory for him.
Unfortunately the Wild Dogs haven't been seen on the conservancy since April, having been regularly sighted, so that was a major disappointment but we had some great lion and rhino sightings. We had a very good guide in Onesmus who was willing to go the extra mile and tried very hard to find us some of the less fashionable game like Beisa Oryx and Patas Monkey, sadly neither with success.
The Night Drive wasn't particularly productive either but win some lose some.
Great Service, Food, and Wildlife
Great restaurant quality food. Friendly service and beautiful location.Read more about the whole safari
Kicheche Laikipia review
We received a very warm welcome on arrival to the camp. The position was beautiful overlooking a waterhole where eland, waterbuck and elephants drank. The tents were very well equipped and had hot and cold water. The food and drink were excellent.
We travelled early in June and it was cold in the early mornings and late evenings. We wished we had taken two fleeces! However the hot water bottles kept us warm in bed at night.
We were combining this with a trip to the Masai Mara so our focus here was on things we would not see in the Mara and we were not disappointed. We saw both white and black rhino everyday and at close quarters, as well as reticulated giraffe (which are beautiful), Grevy's zebra, and oryx. Unfortunately the wild dogs were not denning in the area when we were there. However there was plenty of other wildlife such as lions, elephants, plains game etc so it provided a diverse wildlife experience. This was enhanced by the excellence of our guide, Onesmus.
Kicheche Laikipia review
Andy and Sonia looked after me very, very well indeed.
My Guide Onesmas was excellent. We got on very well and his abilty to 'read' my mind in what we wanted to see was spot on.
Andy and Onesmas included in part of their desire to track (and help assist the tracking team) for the wild dog research project.
We took Andy's 'configured' tracker pc out for a trial with the channels of the collars on one of the dogs to assist locate the pack.
We found (not due to the pc as it turned out) but through good spotting on teh three (maybe Onesmas) behalf.
Andys diner table stories very interesting and Sonia's recipes she compiles for the camp (and the chef's to fathom out) are just superb. Different meal every night as I understand it.
The staff in that camp are just a great bunch and can see teh team all working well together.
Kicheche is well run and comfortable, with a relaxed bush camp atmosphere. Tents are spacious with a lovely view and the common areas are nicely laid out. The food was very good and the staff were very accomodating setting up a dinner for me in teh tent when I was feeling a little tired.
Game drives with Andrew were very informative and while we did not hit the jackpot for game this time around, we did have a few fun sightings! Great attention was paid to ensuring I was getting everything I needed and was having a good time.
In fact, I had an infection in my finger while travelling and the managers at both Kichche camps I stayed at made a point of making sure I was looked after. I very much appreciated their concern and care.
We had a great time a Kicheche lodge at Ol Pejeta.
The game drives were fantastic. They were not set up to do as much birding as we would have wanted, but they really had their act together for the mammals. Accommodations were fantastic and the meals were fine, and the hosts were as gracious as can be imagined.
Expert Africa comments
These travellers pictures from these three days can be seen at https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=34318245@N08&q=pejeta
Excellent camp, good game viewing
This is an excellent small intimate camp with only 6 tents which are reasonably well spread out. The tents themselves are very spacious with a very comfortable large king size bed, hot and cold running water which includes the shower. No bucket showers here!!. The lighting in the tent is power by the camps solar panels so it isn't particularly bright but more than adequate. Hot water bottles are provided at night although we didn't feel the need for them as the weather wasn't too cold in July.
Charging of batteries etc. is carried out in the main lounge area of the camp.
The standard of food is excellent, we have constantly been amazed by the level of cuisine that these camps can produce given their location and obvious supply issues but yet again they continue to produce great meals each day.
The camp manager, Andy, was extremely helpful and a fund of useful information and stories. He appreciated the 10mm of rain that fell in 10mins on our arrival a lot more than we did, the welly boots that he supplied came in very handy indeed.
Game viewing was excellent, our guide Oness doing a great job of meeting our requests each day. The highlight being able to see two males cheetahs sunning themsleves at the end of the day on our last night.
We also took advantage of a vist to the Ol-Pejeta Rhino conservancy project whose aim is to prevent the extinction of this particular species. This was a very informative but at the same time somewhat sad experience.
Overall a great camp with which to start our trip.
Kicheche Laikipia review
A lovely couple run this beautifully furnished camp. Much of the furniture is made from recycled wood, very well done. Our room was a little dark. We could have done with more natural light. Liked the hammock.
The food was superb, and the table presentation gorgeous. The staff decorated the dinner table each evening with rose petals and candles. Lovely big open fires each evening.
We experienced a lot of heavy rain (willies were provided). As a result it became quite muddy and damp. We definitely needed some warm and waterproof clothing. However it was fun in the jeeps with spinning wheels and floods, we had fun.
We saw some wonderful and exciting sights with regards the animals! Lions, cheetah, elephants, rhino, wild dogs and many more. Animals hunting and challenging each other over the kill!
Great camp wonderful experience
Andy was a great host, bird walk very good, even Andy saw a new bird.
Everyone very flexible to suit our needs
[Ed: In his general comments on the trip, this traveller wrote:
"Kicheche Laikipia was also great, including the bird walk where even Andy the camp manager saw a bird for the first time (Abasynian swallow on migration). 6 tents only with ours being the best position (3), we left both the internal and external flaps up so the only thing between us and the Tigers and Polar Bears was a fly mesh, cold but exciting."]
Expert Africa comments
Ed: In his general comments on the trip, this traveller wrote:
"Kicheche Laikipia was also great, including the bird walk where even Andy the camp manager saw a bird for the first time (Abasynian swallow on migration). 6 tents only with ours being the best position (3), we left both the internal and external flaps up so the only thing between us and the Tigers and Polar Bears was a fly mesh, cold but exciting."