Reviews of Kichaka Expeditions
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Kichaka Expeditions review
Our week at Kichaka was one of the highlights of our lives. We have done walking safaris before but not in such thick bush and not with the intent of getting as close as possible to elephants. It's incredible, sometimes scary and definitely addictive.
Moli did the longer morning walks and Jacques, his number 2, the afternoon walks or drives. Both are accompanied by a very good Tanapa ranger so you do feel safe behind their 2 guns and 2 pairs of eyes.
Moli is amazing: we've heard many explanations of particular animal behaviour but no one who has had the depth of knowledge of Moli or his infectious enthusiasm. It was informative, fascinating and also a lot of fun: we laughed a lot over the week.
So we walked to within 5 metres of an elephant, watched them for 10 minutes and then left without it ever knowing we were there. That was very exciting. And that's the target every day though of course they have to work with the animals and conditions which present themselves..
Jacques, a Zim pro guide, was also very good and a fascinating man who seems to have done a bit of everything over his life
The camp is lovely; I guess relatively simple but all very nicely done and with very attentive staff. Nothing is too much trouble. We said we wanted to swim in the Ruaha and so that was arranged and Jacques and the ranger ensured it was safe for us to do so: no crocs or hippo in sight.
The food was good. Showers/loo/washing are slightly separate from your tent which can make nocturnal loo trips exciting when you can hear lions are around.
The camp's position on a hill above the river is fantastic with sweeping views down and along the Ruaha River. It is very remote and feels like that: you could be the first (or the last) people on earth. We didn't see anyone else the whole week were there apart from some lion researchers. The absence of people and vehicles means the animals are quite skittish; Moli likes it that way and it makes the close encounters you get feel even more special.
It's a very small camp and feels very intimate. We cannot praise it enough.
David Attenborough & Anthony Bourdain boxset!
This was our first safari & Kichaka provided us with a showstopper introduction!
The location was a good 2 hr drive from the Msembe airstrip but rather than being a drag, we had our first intro to our guide's (Moli) encyclopedic skills - each corner contained a new topic and ensured that we covered History, Zoology, Geology and more in what could have simply been a long, dusty drive to camp.
The best description would be to give an overview of the day: These started before 06-00 with coffee brought to our 'tent' (more a hotel room!) before a welcome cooked breakfast with fruit and pastries.....we then left the camp on foot around 07-00 led by our guide and Tanzanian Park Ranger. All guests (no more than six guests in camp at a time) were then treated to Moli's wide ranging and amusing observations on whatever we encountered. Truly fascinating!
The walking safari lasted around five hours, but the time flew and there we plenty of stops of refreshment and a few treats to keep our energy levels up. We were then met by the Kichaka truck who would either return us to camp, or had set up a mobile kitchen to cook us lunch.
That brings me to the cuisine......it certainly wasn't 'simple bush food' but a thoughtfully prepared variety of dishes that presented starters, main courses and deserts that were wonderfully unexpected but a delight. It seems that being in the bush doesn't restrict Kichaka's culinary ambitions!
The afternoons were then a choice of a safari drive or another walking safari.........after a little nap, of course.
The camp was a perfect mix of style & comfort (wonderful beds!) and bush (bucket shower & short-drop loo) that left us feeling that we'd had a wholly authentic experience.
Glamping? Possibly, but it was a holiday that was about more than just nice facilities - the sights, stories and food took it beyond that & the hospitality (10 staff to 6 guests!) made for a memorable experience.
Return to Kichaka- in the green
We very rarely revisit places but we came back after just 7 months to experience green Africa, which is testament to the very special experience that Moli and Noelle have created. It's certainly a myth that you don't see animals at this time of year, as we had great animal sightings and also flowers, butterflies and a completely different impression of Africa. Being the only guests in Ruaha was a true privilege and surveying the expansive wilderness from Kichaka's new home up high was like looking over a lost world.
This is a very special safari experience; completely immersive and unique. Thank you Moli and Noelle and all the team.
Moli and Noelle are an awesome couple and very easy to connect with right away. Moli's guiding and knowledge of "his" environment are second to none and the best I've ever experienced in several safari destinations.
This is definitely a place for people who want to feel completely connected to the bush and it's inhabitants and not for luxury seekers. Although they do an admirable job at providing the creature comforts, (in fact I don't even know how they manage to pull it off so well!), it is ultimately a rustic, simple camp to experience nature rather than simply viewing it. It was by far our favorite destination between the 3 camps we visited although both others were considerably more upmarket.
The food and service were great, the intimate setting and time spent with our hosts very special and made it difficult to say goodbye. Ideal for adventurous and open minded people.
Kitchaka is all bout walking and there are simply none better to do that with than with Moli.
My ratings below reflect the grades based on expectations, and not in absolute terms.
Operating in a remote part of Ruaha, this is a special wilderness experience. Four nights at base camp and three nights fly camping were a perfect mix for us. We enjoyed walking four/ five hours each morning and evening game drives; a great combination. Game viewing was excellent and Moli is an inspirational guide.
Noelle is an excellent hostess and we enjoyed the food and their company. All in all outstanding; we want to go back!
Unique experience at Kichaka
A fabulous experience. Wonderful location for both base and fly camp.
Thoroughly enjoyed walking with the exceptionally knowledgable 'Moli' and was treated to outstanding cuisine by his partner Noelle. A beautiful quiet part of Ruaha park added to our enjoyment. Fantastic sightings of Roan antelope and a family of cheetah.
Combining walking and driving was for us the ultimate safari experience.
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.