After reading all the reviews about this tented camp I had high hopes and expectations.
The good things...the food was on the whole was very good. The view from the camp was stunning looking out over the Mara River. The staff kept the camp and tents very clean.
Now the bad things...
The reason to go on Safari is to see the animals. And whilst you are not guaranteed to see anything you can take certain steps to maximize what you do see. With that in mind the staff at Kilima Camp appear to not understand this. The game drives generally are scheduled to leave at 0630 hours, every day we left late for one reason or another, the drive down to the park takes up another half and hour, you then stop to collect tickets for entry into the park and for the driver to stand around chatting with his mates for another fifteen minutes and finally get into the park at 0715 hours...
The reasons for the lateness were simply...disorganization. The manager (David) was away during the first two nights of our stay at the camp and the owner (Axel) was in charge. They couldn't even get the number of picnic lunches right for the amount of people going on the game drives...which meant more had to be made up...resulting in more waiting around.
Kilima Camp markets itself as a 15 minute drive to the Masi Mara. Whilst this may be the case in perfect conditions and without any passengers on board it is certainly not the case when the vehicles are fully loaded. The quality of the road which leads to Kilima Camp is in an extremely poor state of repair and it is normal for the journey from the camp down to the Mara to take at least 30 mins. Due to the state of the road you then run the risk of getting a puncture or other damage to the vehicles. This happened to two vehicles during our stay of four nights. When it does happen you spend the best part of an hour sat there waiting for both the wheels on that axis to be changed.
The state of the vehicles that the camp utilize were on the whole poor. One of the vehicles had a broken rear axel which meant it was off the road. Quite simply there were insufficient vehicles available for game drives. The camp was full or nearly full for all four nights we stayed with between 22 to 24 people staying at the camp. This meant these numbers were cramped into three vehicles...seven people per vehicle on a game drive! Forcing an unfortunate person on occasions to sit in the front seat where there is a limited view.
The park itself opens at 0630 hours and closes at 1830 hours. Be careful that the entry into the park is included in the price you are charged...It was for us...but other people staying were surprised by a $60 per person per 24 hour bill for entry fees. Over a four day stay a family of three had to pay an additional $540...!
Invariably you get covered in dust but you have to remember that you are in the African bush...however, the water for our bush shower was normally cold. We stayed in Tent 12 the furthest from the main reception/lodge building. The water often took an hour to arrive so in the mean time you we just left waiting in your tent. They informed us on arrival that water would take 10 minutes once requested....not an hour!
Our tent leaked quite alot when it rained during the night resulting in pools of water forming in the bathroom area and the mats in the bedroom becoming soaked...
When David the manager returned...a number of these issues were brought to his attention, with one of the guests commenting that alot of people were unhappy...He replied, "Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves". It was explained to him that just because people are enjoying themselves does not mean they are happy with the disorganization, generally malaise or crumbling camp and vehicles.
At approx 1600 hours when I asked one of the drivers if we could go back via the airstrip (the territory of a cheetah) he smiled and stated no problem thats fine. He then dropped his speed from approx 30 km/hr to barely 15 km/hr...crawing back to the Mara entry/exit. Once there he stated, "I don't think we have the time to go to the airstrip".
This is the attitude towards game viewing!
The Mara itself however is stunning and I urge people to go and visit. The animals we saw were fantastic and varied as were the habitats.
My recommendation would be....don't stay at Kilima Camp. Go for one of the camps inside the Masi Mara. Spend the extra money and benefit from staff that are interested in showing you what you go on Safari for...The animals!
Mat & Caroline
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kilima Camp is a small and intimate eco-friendly tented camp with a stunning view over the Mara rive and the Masai Mara Reserve.Like all our standard tents, our two new Deluxe tents benefit from fantastic and unspoiled views!We offer excellent game viewing in the Mara Triangle with our 4x4 vehicle and our qualified and experienced guides. Being this close to nature , with panoramic views of the Masai Mara, we guarantee you that you will see amazing wildlife ! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Kilima Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Kilima Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve