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Kichwa Tembo - Masai Mara, Kenya

Oloololo Escarpment - Masai Mara, Kenya

Kichwa Tembo (meaning ‘the elephant's head) is a large and well-maintained tented camp just outside the Masai Mara National Reserve to the northwest. Overlooking endless, game-filled plains and shaded by dense forest canopy, Kichwa Tembo nestles below the Oloololo Escarpment on the western boundary of the Masai Mara reserve. Most of the camp faces onto rolling lawns with dramatic circular cactus gardens. Beyond, are the wide open vistas of the Mara savanna. One of the Mara's largest tented camps with 45 well-appointed tents, Kichwa Tembo also offers six rondavels (circular chalets) for those who prefer to seep behind walls. There is a central lounge area with long views over the rolling grounds.

Word renowned for the breathtaking spectacle of ‘the greatest wildlife show on earth', the awe inspiring annual migration of the wildebeest, the Mara is Kenya's most visited protected area. Technically an extension of Tanzania's renowned Serengeti National Park, the Mara constitutes only 4% of the entire Serengeti ecosystem but its rolling grasslands, meandering rivers and towering escarpments offer one of the world's most rewarding and evocative wildlife arenas.

Location
The Masai Mara is 270 miles from Nairobi (five hours by road). All weather air strip - less than an hour from Nairobi by plane.

Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

The Miracle of the Migration of the Wildebeest
All the time, when on the move, the wildebeest emit harsh grunts, something like the sound of frogs, something like that of old men clearing their throats. People have called them ungainly because of their high shoulders and sloping hindquarters and also clowns because of their long pale faces and white beards, but in fact they move with grace and sometimes playfulness, leaping and cavorting with apparent joie de vivre.

Last Days in Eden
Elspeth Huxley and Hugo van Lawick

Between the end of July and November, over one and a half million wildebeest accompanied by half again as many zebras and gazelles, migrate from the short-grass plains of the Serengeti to fresh pasture in the grasslands of the Mara; thus creating one of nature's grandest spectacles. Moving in groups of up to 20,000 at a time they thunder across the plateau hesitating only briefly to cross the Mara River, where many fall prey to the waiting crocodiles. Towards the end of October they begin crossing back into Tanzania. The actual timing of the migration, however, is dictated by the weather and does not always ‘run to schedule'.

Accommodation
The camp has 45 well-appointed ensuite tents and six ‘Rondavel' (circular stone-built) rooms. All the spacious tents have private views from their verandas; some looking over the plains, others over a secluded forest area that is alive with birds and monkeys. The elephant theme is reflected in the décor.

Dining and bars
The extensive central dining room offers long views over the savannah while the cuisine is both international and local. Afternoon tea and sandwiches are served in the circular thatched lounge.

Wildlife highlights
Offering an abundance of herbivores, the Mara makes the ideal hunting ground for Kenya's famous ‘big cats' and hosts her largest population of lions. It also offers the best chance of spotting a leopard in the wild. Other predators include cheetah and spotted hyena. Historically teaming with wildlife, the Mara is famous for the large herds of elephant and buffalo that meander its plains; also for the fat pods of hippo that wallow in its mud-brown rivers. Other stars include the distinctive Masai giraffe, plum-coloured topi, Coke's hartebeest, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, zebra, impala, Kirk's dik-dik, bushbuck, waterbuck and red duiker. The Reserve also boasts plentiful Nile crocodile, monitor lizard, baboon, vervet, blue and red-tailed monkeys, nocturnal bush babies, and tree hyrax. There are over 550 resident and migratory species of birds.

Child-friendly

The camp welcomes children.

What to see and do

The pool and gift shop
The camp has a secluded swimming pool edged with boulders and gardens. The extensive lawns offer chairs and loungers and there is an extensive gift shop. Daily game drives and walks are offered as well as guided walks around the grounds. The camp also offers bush dinners in the true ‘Out of Africa' style complete with cut crystal glasses, champagne and starched white napkins. In the evening there are cultural dance performances by the local Maasai people. Visits are also available to nearby Maasai villages.

 

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