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“An Elephant Dream...” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ithumba Camp

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Ithumba Camp
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
57 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“An Elephant Dream...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2013

I am at a lose for words..... Such an amazing experience to be amongst the baby Orphan Elephants being taught to go wild....will add that the wild elephants presence is there as well. Just the most special place to go..... Very spiritual time with them.... The Camp is wonderful and very comfortable and the staff certainly know how to look after you.... Wonderful.. Highly recommended....

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
6 Thank skvarose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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23 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi
Level Contributor
34 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 April 2013

Great self help camp. Four really nice bands - tents under a big makuti roof. All with outside bathrooms which are great till it rains then you have a wet towel!
All solar powered.
Cooks and staff very willing and helpful plus a good well equipped kitchen!
Apart from visiting the elephants at feed times - 6am, 11am and 6 pm - there is the river but little or no game really!
All made totally worth while by the fabulous interaction with the baby elephants - such a wonderful experience!

Room Tip: All four rooms seem the same no. 3 is furthest away...
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mzeenini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sheffield, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2013

An amazing experience getting close up and personal with elephants. The orphans have a daily routine which enables visitors to see them off on their walkabout in the morning, then visit AND bottle feed them at the waterhole and finally see them put safely to bed. The accommodation is excellent with open air bathrooms and wall to wall wildlife.
The vegetation is very thick which means that some animal encounters are sudden and very exciting.
The staff at Ithumba are dedicated to the elephants and are very happy to explain their tasks and enable very close encounters. A truly magical experience!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LewBagge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
39 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2013

Whether you "just" want the unique experience of spending time very near elephants, or if you are after true wilderness with no other visitors around, Ithumba is just fantastic. I don't think there's any other place where you can experience what you do at Ithumba:
- spend time with the elephant orphans
- see spectacular nature with no other visitors within many kilometers
- a magnificient luxury tented camp to yourself

Before going we had the impression Ithumba was a rather basic but decent tented camp. Boy were we surprised when we got there! While the tents themselves are, well tents, they come with a beautiful outdoor bathroom about the same size as the tent itself. Taking a shower under the stars is just amazing. There's a huge two storey open-air dining and lounge area. The top floor offers views of Kilimanjaro and is a great place to just sit and enjoy scenery. It gets even better with a cold beer in your hand.

While you have to bring everything you want to eat and drink, there is a large refrigerator in the well equipped kitchen. Not only does Ithumba come with a kitchen, but also with staff. We weren't aware of this, and brought our own cook, but I think the deal is that you bring food and the Ithumba staff cooks it for you.

The main draw is of course the orphan elephants of the Sheldrick's foundation. When staying at Ithumba camp you are a VIP visitor and get to meet the elephants three times per day.
- At 6 AM they get breakfast and you spend 30-60 minutes with them before they leave to spend the day in the bush with their keepers.
- At 11 AM you rendevouz with them at a waterhole where they come to snack on a bottle of milk and then take a mudbatch.
- At 5 PM they come back to their night quarters and you meet them their, watching them eat and play around.

In the past visitors were allowed to bottle feed the orphans, but this has been stopped as the Sheldrick's staff don't want the elephants to be too friendly with strangers, to minimize future poaching risks. You are still allowed to walk freely among them during their mid-day stop at the waterhole.

You have to rent the whole camp with three tents to stay here, even if you are just two people. This means it gets a bit expensive for a couple, but it's worth every cent! I don't understand why the Sheldrick's foundation don't market this more. We just stumbled across it by chance here on Tripadvisor. And go as soon as you can, as there are plans to build another camp nearby, with many more tents. When that happens you will not be alone with the elephants anymore, and the whole expeirence will be different. Hurry here!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank tordenmalm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 October 2012

This is one of the most incredible places I could ever imagine. What the David Sheldrick Trust is doing for Elephants is truly heroic. To see it first hand was life changing. This camp is everything you imagine for an African experience. So beautiful. I can't recommend it enough. And to support the Sheldricks is paramount.
Kristin Bauer van Straten

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank KristinBauervS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2010

I stayed three nights at Ithumba Camp, June 2010. I found the experience unforgettable. The camp is extremely isolated. Tents are on the slightly modest side (not for me, just compared to some of the over-the-top contraptions that seem to be required by people going on safari) but functional and very, very comfortable. Bathrooms are lovely with open-air showers. The staff, Kimwele, Josephat and Njage, are top-notch and go above and beyond in every thinkable way.

The camp is self-catering.

The draw here of course is the elephant experience available to guests of the camp. The other posts here on TA have described it better than I could, but suffice it to say that if you are interested in the reintroduction of orphan elephants back into the wild from the Sheldrick nursery in Nairobi, Ithumba is for you. Quiet, peaceful and far from the madding crowds of other parks, here the focus is on the orphans, their committed keepers and the impressive Tsavo sky.

Traditional game is unpredictable/scarce and skittish, though I was more than satisfied with what we saw. Many dik diks, some kudu, baboons, a cheetah from very far away, lion tracks, leopard sounds at night, bat-eared foxes, terrific! birding, and more. Don't come here expecting the Mara, Nogorongoro Crater, etc. But come, recalibrate your expectations, and enjoy the peace, the quiet and the elephants.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank SFLeely
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
342 reviews
237 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 396 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 January 2009

We have supported the Sheldrick Orphanage for some time, mainly by the Adoption of one or two Orphans. A chance Email exchange led to plans for a visit but our Orphan was now out in the remote north of Tsavo East National Park.
We learned that it was possible to visit but the only place to stay was Ithumba Camp on a self catering basis. This sounded ominous but we decided to do it. As the previous reviewer has said Ithumba is at the end of a very long dusty drive some 7 hours from Nairobi. There is an airstrip so "Fly In" is possible but as you will need transport on arrival there seems little point to this unless time is really precious. You then send the car on ahead together with the necessary supplies. You rent the whole Camp so there is an element of exclusivity which is very nice. Payment is direct to the Sheldrick HQ on behalf of the Kenya Wildlife Service. On arrival our minimal concerns totally vanished. What a fantastic place!
The tents are some of the best I have ever seen and the Lapa is superb on two stories served by spiral staircase. We DID get that promised view of Kilimanjaro one evening.
The whole thing is set in nice grounds where there is prevalent wildlife and many species of birds. The Tsavo scenery is simply splendid with rocky hills and deep green bush under a deep blue African sky. Game is hard to find but we found Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Kudu, Impala, Jackal and Warthog. We lost count of the Dik Diks. Are there really that many in the whole of Africa??
There are Lions, Leopard and Wild Dog but we never got close to these. We understand that they are often encountered drinking from the Stockade tanks in dry season which must make for an interesting life. Ithumba would be a nice place even without its 'piece de resistance'! The Orphans.
We were told that "The access to the Elephants is unique!" That must be like saying the Sahara has some sandy bits. It was fantastic! As described you can join in the morning feed and also join in the fun at the midday bath and mud wallow. Lock up is at 5.00 pm. If you are really lucky you can spend time in the Bush with the 'herd' as they feed and do their Elephant things. These chaps are not babies any more and stand quite tall so care is required not to get stood on. They are so gentle that they would not mean to harm you but accidents could happen.
We had five nights in Ellie Heaven so by the end of the stay we knew most Orphans by sight and more importantly we had been accepted as part of the team.

  • Liked — Perfect camp built in a perfect location. The Ellies were a bonus.
  • Disliked — Having to leave!
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
23 Thank mfuwe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ithumba Camp

Property: Ithumba Camp
Address: Northern area, Tsavo National Park East, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Tsavo National Park East
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Tsavo National Park East
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Ithumba Camp Hotel Tsavo National Park East
Ithumba Camp Kenya/Tsavo National Park East

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