For those willing to stray off the beaten track, Kitich Camp offers an invigorating forest wildlife experience unique in Africa. Overlooking a river glade within the lush indigenous forest, Kitich is the only camp situated in the Mathews Mountain Range, a spectacular 'sky island' that stretches back at least 10 millennia, formed by isolated mountain forests that rise up from the surrounding vast desert plains to an altitude of 2,200 metres.
In this 900 square kilometres of untouched mountain wilderness you can swim in rock pools formed by crystal clear mountain streams and learn traditional ways of tracking wildlife while being guided by experienced Samburu warriors along the dense forest paths.
Dubbed a 'biological bonanza' by the BBC, this area is home to melanistic leopard, forest elephant, lion, buffalo, wild dog, the rare De Brazza monkey, Colobus monkey, greater kudu, giant forest hog as well as over 200 bird species, 15 species of butterflies, unique endemic cycads that dominated the landscape 280 million years ago and uncounted species of wild orchids.
There are just 6 well designed guest tents, well spaced under a shady tree canopy overlooking the Ngeng River. The tents are classic in style and decor, offering a comfortable and authentic safari stay. Fresh linen, double or twin beds and a stone alfresco ensuite at the rear of the tent houses the toilet and bucket shower. Comfy chairs on your veranda make for an ideal place to enjoy a peaceful cup of tea, as you listen to the sounds of nature, far from everyday life.
The lounge in the main area is a cosy spot to spend the evening with a crackling open fire and sheepskin-covered chairs. Sitting here, you overlook the floodlit river glade where you can watch wildlife make an appearance at dusk. Mealtimes are an atmospheric affair
The cultural experience is a big part of your stay at Kitich Camp. Explore the forest together with your Samburu guide, learning about their culture and customs along the way, then cool off in various rock pools, fed by crystal mountain streams. The Samuburu staff hosting you at camp are warm, friendly and more than happy to share their stories with the guests, you may want to drive down to the local village and visit the market and see the school. No day of safari would be complete without a sundowner, fear not, these are a feature at Kitich too.
Kitich Camp can be easily combined with other better known areas in Kenya, such as Samburu and the Masai Mara. It is a great option for people who have been to Kenya before and are looking for something new and different.
All images copyright Kitich Camp, Kenya
Open: Kitich Camp is open all year.
Location: Somewhat off the beaten track, Kitich Camp is in the Mathews Forest area of the Namanyuk Wildlife Conservancy.
Rooms: There are 6 safari tents, 3 doubles and 3 twins. The tents are well spaced to ensure privacy. The en-suite bathroom at the rear is alfresco and made of stone, it houses the bucket shower. The tents have solar electricity. A private veranda has comfy chairs.
Activities: This is predominantly a walking camp. You are guided by the Ndorobo and Samburu people who know this forest intmately. Swim in the clear, cool waters fed by mountain springs. Bush dining is offered, enjoy lunch alfresco. Stop for a spectacular sunset with sundowner in hand. Enjoy a visit to the local village and experience the market and the village school. The families of the village of Ngalai are gentle, friendly and colourful.
Facilities: Central areas of the camp include a wide veranda with views over the river glade. There's a log fire in the lounge and dining area which can be lit on cool evenings. There is a set menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and meals are often served at a large table lit by candles and oil lamps.
Dining: Meals are taken communally. Bush lunches can be arranged.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: Mathews Forest is considered a malaria area.
Communication: There is no Wi-Fi internet access at Kitich Camp.