Reviews of Kichaka Expeditions
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A week on the wild side
where to start? and most importantly when to finish? as not to stop readers from reading it all???
We had met Moli and Noelle during a previous trip to Ruaha and since we learnt they opened their own little mobile camp we had wanted to go back and so we finally did!! We immediately thought we should have stayed longer than one week!
Their concept is very simple: a small camp that gives you the freedom of walking where and when and how long you want and makes you feel you are staying with old friends. Combine this with a legendary guide (could be a lecturer) and a fantastic hostess/chef and Kichaka comes straight out of your dreams.
The camp is basic-ish (not luxurious but with everything you need from the vuguvugu shower to toiletries and so on) and mobile so its location can change and you get to explore parts of the park that are completely void of other people...it feels amazing! The animals are curious of you and mostly not overly skittish considering you are on foot. We saw probably a thousand elephants - no I am not joking- lesser kudus, elands, zebras, giraffes, baboons (a troop of them followed us on a river bed for about an hour carefully keeping a distance but checking on us), hyraxes, jackals, mongooses, all kind of birds in great numbers.
One of the most moving experience was walking elephants and watching them without being noticed...there are no words to describe the feeling you just have to be there to understand! Opposite to our previous trip to Ruaha we saw no lions but this is what it is during the green season - this did not bother us at all but may be worth mentioning in case someone expects to see them. It was also a bit hot and humid (as expected but we had to take it easy a couple of afternoon)- again not a criticism but a note for future traveller: the fact that you can walk 5-6 hours in UK does not mean you do not feel the heat there :)
We did 2 nights fly camp and we loved it as we could walk a different area. Moli always makes sure that each walk is done in a new area and oh! we want to film Moli talking about the termite mount and make a documentary out of it! Every day is a new adventure that always finishes with a nice shower, a drink in front of the fire and a delicious dinner!
So to sum it up spending a week with a walking encyclopaedia - but a fun one - and a lovely enthusiastic friendly super hostess in an area of a remote park all for ourselves is...one of the best experience in a lifetime!
All the member of the staff, starting from Salum, are always fun and welcoming and just great - asante sana marafiki! I almost forgot every wish is possible at Kichaka: Noelle and Moli organized a surprise bush lunch for our anniversary, all in secret from my partner and the surprise was just great! Asante tena!
Guenuine old style bush experience
They are trying to recreate the old bush camp atmosphere and have succeeded . (The trouble is we are older and probably require a bit more comfort now. Unfortunate sickness incompatible with outside WC & shower!)
Beautiful location, very remote and lots of good game.
Everything was very personal ,organised around what you would like to do and very friendly. Superb staff and service .They take great care for your comfort and safety. You would be able to walk (long or short days), and/or drive.
Expert guiding with very entertaining stories although probably did not take into account our depth of prior knowledge.
Since most of the other bush camps (apart from straight camping) have gone up market, this must be one of the few remaining bush experiences left.
Superb Safari with Kichaka
From the moment we were collected by Moli and Noelle we knew we were in for a great time. They are an absolute joy to be with, both entertaining and full of enthusiasm. Their main camp was like a home from home with stunning views along the river bed and with very friendly staff.
We came to Kichaka to walk and that's exactly what we did. We covered approx. 130 kms over the holiday including around 60 kms of Ruaha riverfront. During our walks with Moli, who proved to be one of the most knowledgeable guides we have ever met, we were treated to many of his fascinating talks. So whether it is the workings of a termite mound or tuskless elephants, you will be totally captivated by Moli's passion for the subject.
We had some lovely elephant encounters on foot and watched a pride of lions cross the river right in front of us. However, the smaller animals gave just as much pleasure such as when we approached a very calm Dik-Dik to within a few metres.
Halfway through our stay we went on a 3 nt expedition to Mpululu in the north of the Park. No tourists have ever stayed overnight in this area. A fly camp was set up on the Mzombe river and we then spent the next few days exploring the area.
One morning we came across a big boulder strewn section of the riverbed, there were hippos everywhere, in the many pools among the boulders, and others making their way up and down the banks of the river. Other animals seen included kudu, giraffe, lion, buffalo and klipspringer. Aside from the immense pleasure for us of walking in areas undiscovered by tourists, one of the highlights was spending 2 of our evenings on Mpululu rock watching the sun go down. It felt like you were on top of the world and could see to the ends of the earth. It was a totally magical and special place.
Each evening, the next days activities are discussed and planned with Moli. You decide whether you want to walk, take a game drive, arrange fly camping or do a 'sleep-out'. The sleep-out tents are small dome tents made entirely of mosquito netting for an all-round view and are great fun. A special mention must go to Noelle's amazing meals which are by far some of the best we have ever had on safari.
All in all, this was a stand-out safari for us - unspoilt Africa at its best in the company of two people who are so very obviously passionate about their surroundings. You cannot ask for more!
Moli is the Best
Kichaka-Moli and Noelle Satisfied My Highest Satisfactions.
I had heard the most fabolous things about the legendary Andrew Molinaro, and while I was at Kichaka Camp, they all turned out to be true. Moli as he's best-known has not only been guiding for years in the Tanzania wilderness. He also studied zoology at Cardiff University in the U.K. Noelle's experience managing camps is very extensive. They both speak fluent Swahili. Kichaka is in a section of Ruaha National Park, where it's the only lodge, and you won't see any vehicles. In my six African Safaris, I have never been to a more secluded area. it's a also a very flexible camp as it emphasizes on walking safaris, but also does game drives and sleep outs. Kichaka will only take one group ensuring that there will be a maximum of six people in your party.
Moli gives an ongoing narration as he guides you. He is nothing less than a stirring narrator. He can lecture on a wide variety of subjects. he should, without a doubt have a shoe on television, and am not exaggerating. I believe that guiding is is an individual style and Moli's makes everything nothing less that sublime.
After one walk, I developed a nasty blister on my toe. I was amazed that Moli knew how to treat it with a plastic blister treatment, and it soon went away. For sometime I was unable to walk due to it. During the game drive, I saw another mongoose, a lesser kudu, a Defassa waterbuck and more lons.
During my walks from Kichaka camp I saw lots of elephnats, giraffes, a male lion crossing the Mwagusi river and another Egyptian mongoose. i also had the luck to see three Roan antelope. The most fabulous thing I saw was a black a black-necked spitting cobra.
The birding in Kichaka was excellent. Amongst other birds, I saw an African Harrier Hawk, a Bare Faced Go Away bird, a Shallow Tailed Bee-Eater, a Mottled Swift and too mant others to list here. I was thrilled to see the Ruaha Red-Billed Hornbill as it's indigenous to the National park.
I enjoyed the food, as it was way better than Kichaka's. All was excellent particularly Noelle's Zanzibar fish soup. The lunch of fajitas was memorable.
Thus, Kichaka is one camp that deserves only the highest praise. I'll be returning soon enough. Yes, I give Expert Africa the highest marks for this safari.
Great time with Kichaka
We loved our time with Moli , Noelle and the team ,
An fantastic experience in the bush , with just the right level of comforts,
From the morning walks with Moli, to the sunset drives and lovely dinners in camp
All leave you wanting to see and learn more...
Visiting in the wet season means you have to work a little harder for your wildlife spotting ( they are there !) but the beauty of the Ruaha in full bloom easily compensates
Amazing Time with Moli and Noelle
Imagine visiting a couple of good friends who live at this most beautiful campsite on Ruaha river, deep in a remote part of Tanzania. There were no other guests so everything is tailored to your wish. That was how we felt at Kichaka with Moli and Noelle.
Moli is like a walking and talking encyclopedia. He has deep knowledge about the bush and is able to explain it beautifully with great passion. You may find yourself saying "wow" a couple of times while he is describing termites or African dung beetles. You learn to appreciate the little things that keep our complex ecosystem working, and feeling like you've been transported into a BBC documentary on animals.
On our drive from the air strip to the camp, we saw a pride of lions, 2 leopards, a large herd of elephants, and even had some exciting interaction with a (mock) charging bull elephant. We felt like we were in good hands with Moli and he knew what to do in such situations.
One particular day, we saw over a thousand (we like to say "thousands") of elephants. It was incredible. Elephants everywhere, large and small, eating, crossing rivers, mating, play-fighting, mock-charging, and just doing what elephants do. One of the most amazing things we've ever seen. It was like a scene from the Jurassic Park. We also saw Elands and Cheetahs during our stay, along with large numbers of impalas, dik diks, warthogs, baboons, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, hippos, and lots of beautiful birds.
Noelle's cooking was amazing. Our favorite was definitely the Zanzibar fish soup, although everything was so delicious. Even a simple grilled fish fired up in the bush was perfectly executed. The camp was very well run and the staff well trained and eager to take care of you.
The camp setup is basic but nicely done. Makes you really feel like you're in the outdoors and still have all the comforts you need. The open-sided outside bathroom had a beautiful view of the river, and we left the curtains open the whole time.
Our fondest memories were sitting by the camp fire, looking at the river, eating truly delicious food under the stars with great company, while hearing the calls of lions, hyenas, and jackals in the background. We wish we could have stayed longer than 3 nights, and hope to return soon.