One amazing week in Kicheche Camp/Masai Mara
Author Siggi Hosenfeld
I had been there before, on my first ever trip to Kenya, and I couldn’t wait to go back to the Kicheche Camp. Besides being in the Masai Mara, I can’t think of a better place to start and end your safari from. You are in the best of hands and are welcomed with open arms.
The camp has an intimate and relaxed atmosphere with no more than 21 guests, which is fantastic for meeting new friends. Also, one doesn’t feel lost in masses of tourists. Friends of mine and all the people I meet in Kicheche are seriously thinking and planning on coming back, or have already. Some of them even more then once. The hosts are the most wonderful, helpful, and accommodating people you would want to meet, and whatever your needs, they will try to help. Considering the location, it is fantastic to be able to reload all your electrical devices, digital cameras, laptop etc., at the end of the day.
Since it was the wildebeest migration season, we intended to get the most out of our stay and had a few ’all day safaris‘, leaving very early in the morning fully equipped with breakfast and lunch, and coming back in the late afternoon . The food, by the way, is absolutely incredible. It could happen quite easily that you feel the need to be rolled back to your tent at night. We’re not even talking about the goodies you’ll get for the afternoon tea, just before your safari drive at dusk.
The wildebeest migration! What an astonishing thing to witness. After seeing numerous documentaries on the matter it was quite a different thing to see it LIVE. What can I say; it took my breath away. Over 1000 wildebeest, ready to go, waiting for the right moment, back and forth, dust clouds hanging over the massive herd and then, all of a sudden, they go and everybody is in absolute awe at this incredible spectacle. You need to make quick decisions, photo first then watch, or watch first then picture, or if you can manage, multitask in high speed.
Then there are the crocodiles. After weeks of having food presented just in front of them, they did slow down a little, but nevertheless were still hungry. At this particular crossing, one of them got a young wildebeest and dragged it underwater. For a little while it looked absolutely hopeless for the animal, but then, there is was again, struggling up the opposite riverbank. Everyone was cheering! Once it’s over, you have a feeling of being totally exhausted in a crazy, exciting kind of way.
And then the ‘Big Cats’, lions and cheetahs. Lots of them. Never got to see a leopard this time; we arrived either too late or too early at the sightings. But spotting all these cheetahs made up for it; moms with their teenagers, mom with a very young , very fussy cub and then the ‘queen’ herself, Kike. She is the coolest of them all. Her favorite spot to be on the look out is on top of a 4x4 jeep.
The Kicheche lion pride, which amounts to 3 females and 8 young cubs at that time, created big news and excitement one day. The females killed one of the Masai cattle. This is considered a major loss and a great upset for these people. While two females were hitting and the other one went to fetch the children, the Masai got together and took the cattle and left only the head at the site.
We managed to catch up with mom leading the kids back to the kill and the ’look’ on those faces when they got there was priceless. Here they are, mom probably telling them all about this great, big feast and then they are left with just the head. Well, as it turned out, it was enough for a little snack and it looked like they made the very best out of it.
We also had some ‘ordinary’ days. With wonderful sunrises, (yes, we got up that early a few times and it was priceless!) many different antelopes, giraffes playing and running away from us, the fantastic ‘always looking good for a photo op’ zebras, big birds and little birds, a lone hyena and huge hippo families resting in the afternoon sun. This all was topped off with stunning sunsets on our way back to camp.
One morning we went on a little walk around the camp. Andy, the camp host, was our guide, and we were also escorted by an armed ranger, just in case. We learned a lot about the little animals in the Mara, things you don’t really get to see while driving around looking for the big ones.
All photos © Siggi Hosenfeld
Talking about big ones, the African elephants. They are still my favorite and we were rewarded with a great deal of sightings. We discovered a new ‘kicking it lose first with your feet’ technique to get the best, finest grass available. On our last morning in the Mara, getting ready to have breakfast, we found an excellent location to stop. View over parts of the Masai Mara with a herd of elephants grassing in the distant. Picture-perfect. Glorious!
Didn’t make it any easier to leave this place. But we all felt it was a very special week and there is always ‘Next time’.
PS: If you are interested in finding out more about The Masai Mara and the Kicheche Camp
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