Kicheche Bush Camp has a superb, central location on the fringes of the reserve.
Kicheche Bush Camp: Our full report
Located in the quiet Olare Motorogi Conservancy and with only six tents dotted through the bush, Kicheche Bush Camp is an intimate tented camp owned in partnership with photographer Paul Goldstein. As a result, there is a keen focus on wildlife viewing and photography here, making this a popular camp that safari enthusiasts flock to year after year.
Kicheche Bush Camp is one of three Kicheche camps in the Maasai Mara ecosytem, the others being Kicheche Mara Camp and Kicheche Valley Camp.
The main communal tent at Kicheche is simple yet stylish, made mostly from a crisp cream canvas but with an added shade sheet to help keep things cooler. Entirely open at the front and looking out into the surrounding bush, the tent has no view as such, but that just enhances the bushy nature of the camp, whilst plants in terracotta pots add a homely slant.
Inside is a lounge, with cream sofas and comfortable cushions. Coffee-table books, including the inevitable one of Paul Goldstein’s photographs, are strewn across a central table making this a great place to sit in the afternoon with a coffee. On the other side are two tables that are usually set together for communal dining – indoors in the cooler evenings but outside under a shady tree for lunch and breakfast. In a small neighbouring tent, a shop offers some curios such as jewellery and branded T-shirts, hats and fleeces.
The attentive staff are always around to help with drinks and requests, bending over backwards to make sure that you enjoy your stay. The engaging and approachable managers, who host meals and greet you off every drive, create a very homely and welcoming atmosphere.
The tents at Kicheche Bush Camp are spread far apart, making each very private. They are vast and much more complex than your average safari tent, with rooms created by canvas walls. During the day these are opened right up to create quite an open-plan room, but at night the various areas can be separated off, enclosing you in a smaller and cosier bedroom.
At the front is a lounge with comfortable chairs and a coffee table. It is here that your coffee or tea is left in the morning, while during the afternoon it is a nice spot to while away your siesta. In the spacious bedroom, pale-wood furniture and cream fabrics look very contemporary and stylish, and the odd bit of Maasai jewellery dotted around reminds you that you are in Kenya! A large decanter of drinking water, radio for emergencies, and wellington boots for wet weather offer some useful practicalities too.
The bathrooms, too, can be separated off by a canvas flap for privacy. A free-standing wash basin sits atop a white wooden table, with a plumbed-in tap and mirror. There is plenty of hanging space for clothes, a proper flush loo and lovely toiletries too. The tent’s bucket shower, set over a beautifully crafted wooden shower stand, and plenty of hot water brought at a time to suit you, might make this one of the best bucket showers you’ll ever have. Cold water is available at all times.
You’ll need to tear yourself away from the lovely tents to join the activities at Kicheche Bush Camp, which focus mainly on game drives in comfortable, open-sided 4WD vehicles, with only four seats (there's also one six-seater). They all have plug socket strips with inverters, for charging your batteries. You will spend most of your time exploring the Olare Orok Conservancy which has few other vehicles around and some superb wildlife viewing. For guests who spend three nights here a full-day visit to the main Maasai Mara National Reserve is also included. In the national reserve driving is restricted to the roads and during the day only, but in the conservancy drives can take you off-road and extend after dark as well. Most evening drives bring you back to camp after a short night drive, in time for dinner at 8.00pm.
It is also possible to arrange trips to the local Maasai village, and nature walks led by a Kicheche Bush Camp guide with a radio, and an armed ranger. If you’re really adventurous you can also arrange an overnight fly-camp – you leave Kicheche in the afternoon and walk to a very simple bush camp consisting of dome tents and a single bush shower and toilet.
Our viewKicheche Bush Camp is a real favourite, with fantastic managers who create a very convivial and friendly camp. This, twinned with the high quality of the camp itself, which is spotlessly clean, well kept and stylish, makes it a first-rate choice for people who like bush camps but with a high degree of comfort. The most telling thing we noticed when we were there was that out of ten visitors in camp, eight were repeat guests. For us that says it all!
Ideal length of stay: 3 nights
Directions: Kicheche Bush Camp is reached via a 90-minute flight from Nairobi to Ol Kiombo airstrip. It is then a 9km drive along bumpy tracks to the camp, taking 45 minutes, or longer if you pause to watch wildlife on the way.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food we had at Kicheche Bush Camp was really good – tasty, well presented, varied and a cut above the norm that we have experienced in the Mara. We mostly enjoyed the fun and chatty atmosphere around the table at mealtimes.
Breakfast is usually a picnic taken out in the bush. We had boiled eggs, cold bacon and sausage, as well as yoghurt, cereal, fruit salad, coffee or tea, and fruit juice. In camp, you’ll also be offered a proper cooked breakfast.
On most days lunch is a cold buffet, with dishes such as an onion tart, green salad, chicken skewers, couscous and bean salad, along with irresistible fresh bread. Cheeses and dessert are also a daily feature; we particularly enjoyed the rich chocolate mousse.
Dinner is a set menu with starters such as spiced butternut soup or tomato and mozzarella salad. For a main course we had beef fillet with potatoes and vegetables, and on our second night we had oven-baked pork with potato mash and baked apples, with vegetables. For pudding, the homemade rhubarb crumble with custard, and melon and strawberry tart, were exceptional.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included, apart from champagne and specially imported wines and spirits.
Further dining info: Kicheche Bush Camp can do room service though it needs to be arranged in advance.
Solo Travel: With its fun and unpretentious atmosphere and informal group dining, Kicheche Bush Camp is very good for solo safari holidays. Wildlife activities like 4WD game drives are shared with other guests and outside peak season, they don’t charge single supplement.See more ideas for Solo Travel in Kenya
Photography holidays: With keen photographer Paul Goldstein a major shareholder and frequent visitor to the camp, Kicheche is well geared to photographers. The guides are very good at using light in their positioning, and the vehicles have handy bean bags, tables to rest on, and bars to attach lenses.See more ideas for Photography holidays in Kenya
Attitude towards children: There are no formal age restrictions at Kicheche Bush Camp, but they pointed out that, aside from a few games in the main area, there is little to accommodate children.
Property’s age restrictions: Usually 8
Special activities & services: None
Equipment: Kicheche Bush Camp will do separate children’s meals and can fit a third bed in each tent.
Generally recommended for children: We felt that Kicheche Bush Camp is quite wild and better suited to adults. It is also a small camp and it is likely that boisterous children would impact negatively on other guests.
Notes: Children are their parents’ responsibility at all times, and will need supervising extensively. Any families with under-7s will need to book exclusive vehicle use.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: There is generator backup. There's no charging possible in tents but charging can be done 24 hours a day in the mess tent.
Communications: There is cellphone reception all around Kicheche Bush Camp with a choice of networks and 3G available, so you will be able to stay in touch if you want to. In 2016 they introduced Wi-Fi for guests' use.
TV & radio: There is no guest TV, though the staff have TV and guests could share that, for example for an important sporting event.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: The camp's borehole water isn't potable, though it is fine to shower and wash with. Drinking water is brought into camp in large plastic bottles and provided in flasks to each guest.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest clinic to Kicheche Bush Camp is at at Mara Intrepids lodge which is 45 minutes away by road. There are also some local health centres in Talek, which is about a 35-minute drive. Kicheche Bush Camp has links to the flying-doctor service in case of emergency and private charter planes can land at the nearby Olare Orok airstrip. When we visited recently, the guides and managers were all first-aid trained and told us that they had annual refresher courses. The vehicles all had first-aid bags, whilst in camp the first-aid box was slightly more substantial and contained basic medicines.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Kicheche Bush Camp has askaris on site and an armed ranger. Guests are escorted around camp at night due to the presence of wildlife.
Fire safety: There are fire breaks all around the camp, and fire extinguishers at every tent and in the main area. Staff have regular training in fire safety.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included
Money: There is a central safe for valuables. Kicheche Bush Camp can exchange small amounts of cash and when possible will offer cashback against credit cards, with a 5% surcharge. However, guests cannot rely on this service as it depends on the petty cash available in camp.
Accepted payment on location: Kicheche Bush Camp accepts payment for any extras in cash – euros, US dollars, Kenyan shillings and pounds sterling – or by credit card; there is no surcharge on purchases.