Jump to content

Kichaka Expeditions walking safari Ruaha national park


David C
 Share

Recommended Posts

We just thought we’d like to share with you our experiences with Kichaka expeditions in Ruaha national park Tanzania.

From the moment of arrival we could tell the signs were good for this trip. On the approach into the Msembe airstrip we were greeted with the view of at least four different groups of elephant. Advice to anyone making the trip: Keep camera handy at all times, even on flight into Ruaha.

As we taxied down the airstrip we could see the Kichaka game viewing vehicle with an enthusiastically waving Noelle and already felt welcome. We were greeted like old friends by Noelle and Mollie the owner/operators of Kichaka expeditions, and after loading up and being handed a cold drink were on our way to their camp.

The camp is a good 4 hours drive, with a stop for picnic lunch, through Ruaha national park which is treated like your first game drive and introduction to Ruaha.

From the moment Mollie started to talk we could tell that this was no “tired old guide” just going through the motions. Straight away Mollie’s obvious love of the bush and wildlife became evident to us in the way he talked us through the various animal sightings on the drive, but not just the animals also the trees and landscape were talked through and explained with an enthusiasm that had us both grinning from ear to ear.

With my wife Nicola being a vegetarian, the first meal on vacations is always approached with a certain amount of apprehension; however there was absolutely no cause for us to be concerned as the first picnic lunch was excellent. No “fake meat” here, just very good well prepared fresh vegetables and salads. And this was the case for the remainder of our stay. Noelle works wonders in the bush kitchen and every meal was planned, cooked and presented with care and attention to detail which made us feel very special indeed.

On arrival at the camp we were greeted by the staff lined up with smiling faces, refreshing wet towels and homemade iced tea. The camp is stunning, situated above the river bed, three double safari tents with private showers/toilets for a maximum of six guests. All very new, bright and airy. No tired old zippers or dark dingy tents here. Bush showers filled on request with your choice of hot, cold or “vuguvugu” (lukewarm) water. Everything you would expect from a top class establishment including laundry which was very handy as we’d been hiking in mountains prior to arrival.

We did two full days of guided walking with Mollie, which involved morning and afternoon walks with return to the camp for lunch in between. Walking out for five hours in the morning and being met by the vehicle for transfer back to camp for a shower, lunch and rest. Then out again around four in the afternoon to the spot we’d finished the morning walk to continue on for another three hours walk.

The guided walks were fantastic! Again Mollies enthusiasm for his subject is infectious, whether talking about elephants or termites he manages to keep you engaged and filled with a sense of wonder at the workings of Mother Nature. We have been living in Africa for six years now and have been on many guided safaris and game drives so thought we pretty much knew it all, but almost every time Mollie stopped to talk on a subject we seemed to learn something new. What also impressed was his ability to reference current scientific studies and statistics when talking through the various subjects of flora and fauna. It was so refreshing to be guided by someone who didn’t just roll out the same old facts and figures that unfortunately we hear way too often repeated as if by rote by some nature guides/rangers.

We had told Noelle and Mollie that, whilst not being serious birders, we were interested in birds and loved to try to spot as many species as possible. After which no bird was ignored, and nothing was deemed too small, common or uninteresting to stop for and take note of.

Our final morning consisted of a leisurely breakfast and drive back to the airstrip. Again, this could have been treated as a straight drive and drop off, but not by Noelle and Mollie! The drive back was an excellent game drive with detours from the main route to various water holes and pans during which we had some of our best bird sightings yet.

Our plane was waiting for us at the airstrip when we arrived and unfortunately it was time to leave Noelle and Mollie, we felt like we were saying goodbye to old friends.

One final surprise of a lovely packed lunch from Noelle and we were on our way.

The term “best holiday ever” has been issuing forth from our lips ever since.

We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Kichaka expeditions to anyone who has a love of nature and walking safaris.

We will certainly visit again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am booked for 12 nts with Kichaka this September, so its nice to keep hearing great reports about them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@David C, I loved reading your excellent and accurate report of Kichaka Expeditions. We spent 7 nights with them last Sept. and wished it had been more. They are so eager to make your walking safari the best ever; such passion and knowledge Moli and Noelle possess.

 

And you are so right about Noelle's cooking. My husband could not stop raving about it....and it was possibly the best we've ever had on any of our travels, cooked right there at camp. I was blown away by the whole set up.

 

So happy you dropped by Safaritalk to share; Welcome!

 

P.s. What time of year did you go? We want to return and are wondering about Green Season in Ruaha? If you wouldn't mind, I'd love to know the conditions of the park when you were visiting. Thanks!

Edited by graceland
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@graceland, We were there end of December. The park was just turning green from the first rains, there was a noticeable change as we got further from Msembe and closer to kichaka's camp as they hadn't yet got as much rain as the Msembe end. It did rain a couple of times when we were there (mainly at night) so even then we could see the change coming from brown to green. The main river had started to flow and Moli reckoned that the tributaries wouldn't be far off.

 

@@Zim Girl, you're in for a treat!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@graceland, We were there end of December. The park was just turning green from the first rains, there was a noticeable change as we got further from Msembe and closer to kichaka's camp as they hadn't yet got as much rain as the Msembe end. It did rain a couple of times when we were there (mainly at night) so even then we could see the change coming from brown to green. The main river had started to flow and Moli reckoned that the tributaries wouldn't be far off.

 

@@Zim Girl, you're in for a treat!

Thank you @@David C - It was so very dry in Sept. I was wondering when the change would occur. So glad you had an amazing time as well. Moli and Noelle's enthusiasm is quite contagious!

 

And lucky you, @@Zim Girl....12 nights! You will cover some territory for sure.

Edited by graceland
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@David C Thanks for the overview: I've moved it here to the Africa trip reports subforum where I think more people will read it. Now all we need are some photos to accompany it :)

 

Welcome to Safaritalk. Matt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be spending five nights at Kwihala camp. and five days walking with Moli and Noelle. I can't wait. I'll take photos for the first time, and prepare a full safari report,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy