KITICH FOREST CAMP – MATHEWS MOUNTAIN RANGE

The Mathews Mountain Range rise up out of the desert; a chain of peaks covered in dense dewy forest. Within this lush indigenous forest Kitich Forest Camp is an idyllic hideaway and offering its guests a private and unique forest wildlife experience. The camp is small with just 6 ensuite tents and nestles in a grove of fig trees, indigenous flowering shrubs and prehistoric cycad palms on the bank of the Ngeng River.

Set in a pristine wildernessKitich Forest Camp avoids traditional game drives and instead encourages guests to explore this wild environment on foot guided by local guides. Swim in natural rock pools formed by crystal clear mountain streams, learn traditional ways of tracking wildlife and unwind by a cosy log fire in the evenings with nothing but the sights and sounds of this pure wilderness.

LOCATION

Kitish Forest Camp is located in the Namunyak Community Conservancy – Mathews Mountain Range in Kenya. The nearest airstrip is Samburu Kalama airstrip which is approximately 4 hours’ drive from camp.

CAMP

Kitich Forest Camp was originally established as a camp in the forest, intended to have as little a footprint as possible and blend in with the wild landscape around it.

With just six en-suite canvas tents the camp offers all the rustic charm of an old-school safari experience without compromising on comfort and luxury. Each tent has its own private veranda overlooking the Ngeng River valley, frequented by elephants, painted dogs, buffalo and antelope. The bathrooms are equipped with a flushing toilet and hot showers.

With a maximum of only 12 guests in Camp at any one time meals are enjoyed together in the dining area overlooking a lush river glade. The daily set menu features age-old Italian recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients from the kitchen garden. Mealtimes are relaxed and the camp offers a small range of good house wines as well as a selection of beer and spirits. For those who fancy lunch al fresco in the forest the kitchen team are more than happy to come and meet you on the trail with a beautifully prepared picnic.

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ACTIVITIES AND WILDLIFE

The Mathews Mountains Range is a place where elephants forge trails amongst ancient hardwood trees and endemic cycads, where crystal clear streams form natural swimming pools, and where rare and endangered monkeys thrive under the protection of local Samburu communities. The camp is nestled in one of the valleys overlooking a river frequented by African painted dogs, colourful birds, leopards and elephants and the area is a haven for more than 350 bird species and 150 species of butterfly.

Guided walks – the forests around camp are home to more than 150 species of butterfly, a number of wild forest orchids, and a rare and endemic giant cycad – a plant that looks like it belongs in the age of the dinosaurs. They are also home to forest elephants, leopard, buffalo, wild dog, greater kudu, waterbuck, giant forest hog and the only population of De Brazza monkeys in Kenya.

Walking is the only way to truly experience this magical place and the camp has experienced Samburu trackers who have an incredible mental map of the forest paths as well as an in-depth knowledge of the tracks, spoors and calls of local wildlife. All walks are accompanied by an armed ranger.

Quad Biking – Kitich Forest Camp has recently purchased 5 quad bikes and is offering a day at the Reteti Elephant Orphanage and the singing wells. Or spend a fun afternoon ride visiting the colourful local community.

Swimming in Rock Pools – there is no chlorinated swimming pool at Kitich Forest Camp. Instead you can take a dip in a crystal clear, spring-fed forest pool and enjoy swimming the way it should be – in the wild.

Bush Picnics and Sundowners – whether you would like lunch by the rock pool after a morning’s swimming or in a quiet forest clearing where you can listen out for the different bird calls, the camp will bring you a picnic in the wild.

Having a ‘sundowner’ is a safari tradition which simply involves finding a spot to enjoy a drink while watching the sun go down after a hard day in the bush.

Cultural Visits: Singing Wells and Ngilai Village – the culture of the Samburu people is rooted in their cattle and their semi-nomadic lifestyle is determined by the seasons. Close to Kitich Forest Camp are the Singing Wells which are deep excavations made by young warriors in dry riverbeds in order to reach water for their livestock. They sing as they scoop water from the bottom, pass it up, and pour it into wooden troughs; a process which can involve several young men. The singing helps them keep the rhythm of their chain and has a soothing effect on their cattle.

Ngilai is the closest settlement to Kitich Forest Camp. On a day-trip here you can experience life in a traditional Samburu village, from the buzzing market to the local school. This visit requires a donation that will go to supporting community projects.

Night Game Viewing – the Camp’s lounge overlooks an open river glade which is floodlit at night. Elephant, buffalo, bushbuck and occasionally leopard emerge from the forest after dark to drink from the river or dig for natural salts.

GIVING BACK

Kitich sits on National Forestry land, and is surrounded by Namunyak, a 383,000-acre conservancy owned and managed by local communities. Namunyak is part of a network of 39 community conservancies across northern Kenya supported by the Northern Rangelands Trust.

Together, these conservancies are empowering local peopleto take charge of their wild spaces, to build sustainable economieslinked to conservation, lead peace effortsto mend years of conflict, and shape government regulations to support it all. As institutions, they not only give people a voice, but provide a platform for developing sustainable enterprise and livelihoods either directly or indirectly related to conservation.

NRT member community conservancies work to conserve wildlife and sustainably manage the grassland, forest, river and marine ecosystems upon which livelihoods depend.  As a result, a region once infamous for conflict and poaching is now at the forefront of community-led development, inextricably linked to the protection of its incredible wildlife and landscapes.

The camp employs roughly 90% of its permanent staff from Namunyak, and 100% of casual labourers from the local village, providing income and career prospects in an area of little economic opportunity. Where possible, the camp sources any ingredients it cannot grow itself from local suppliers, and connect local groups with guests to enable them to earn revenue from cultural visits.

60% of the tourism revenue Namunyak receives goes toward conservancy operating costs, which pays ranger’s salaries and puts fuel in conservancy vehicles. The other 40% goes toward social projects deemed a priority by the community – such as education scholarships and water projects.

As well as positively impacting local lives, Kitich aims to be as environmentally responsible as possible. Our efforts to go green – which include running the camp entirely off solar power, recycling waste and sourcing local produce – have been awarded ‘Gold Level’ by Ecotourism Kenya.

KITISH FOREST CAMP IS CLOSED FROM THE 15TH MARCH TO THE 15TH JUNE AND FROM THE 15TH NOVEMBER TO THE 15TH DECEMBER EVERY YEAR

THE CAMP WELCOMES CHILDREN FROM THE AGE OF 3 YEARS OLD

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Call +44 1386 830264 or Email [email protected]

Our expert staff are on-hand, happy to assist with any enquiry you have.

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