Kitich Forest Camp is a classic old-style safari camp, which is utterly charming and offers an extremely comfortable safari experience in the Northern part of Matthews Mountain Range within the 9000 sq km of Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy. It is one of its kind in offering an authentic forest experience complete with walking safaris, hiking, and overnight fly camps.
The Matthews Mountain Range has also been dubbed a Sky Island. It is an isolated wilderness bordered by Karisia Hills, Ndoto Mountains, and plains. Matthews Range is a 150 kilometers long forest reserve in Laikipia County.
It was gazetted in 1956 and officially marked a forest reserve in 1964. The mountain range has several peaks, with Warges peak being the highest at 2688 meters above sea level. Other peaks include Ilmara Muroi, Ldoinyo Lenkiyo, Lolgek, Ilpisyon, Lomolok and Tipito.
Matthews Range was famous for hosting black rhinos until the 1990s. It is home to large herds of elephants, ostriches, buffaloes, greater kudu, Colobus, De Brazza, and Vervet monkeys.
One can also find lions, melanistic leopards, warthogs, striped hyenas, wild dogs, bushbucks, antelopes, and giant forest hogs. Additionally, there are 150 butterfly species and an excess of 350 bird species. Unique plants in the area include a rare giant cycad and wild forest orchids.
Matthews Range is home to the Samburu people in Kenya and is of significant importance culturally to the nomadic people of this area. The Samburu people interact with wild animals daily as they herd cattle.
The Samburu have always been aware of the importance of peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife. Today, the Samburu people play a massive role in wildlife conservation by limiting human-wildlife conflicts.
Together with the Ndorobo, they manage the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy and work closely with Kitich Forest Camp.
Kitich Forest Camp
In the 1980s, Kitich Camp was primarily used as a rhino monitoring post.
Today, Kitich camp is an eco-friendly, award-winning tented camp that delivers excellent service and accommodation whilst providing unique experiences within the conservancy, including fly camping, hiking through the mountains and forest, and wildlife tracking.
The layout of Kitich Forest Camp
The six large en-suite canvas tents are cozy and comfortable, with bush bathrooms, flushing toilets, and hot showers adjoining each tent. All tents are fully powered with solar power.
As far as views are concerned, you can enjoy a private viewing of wildlife in your own verandah. There is a beautiful, well-lit lounge overlooking a river glade. The lounge accords phenomenal views of wildlife such as bushbucks, leopards, elephants, and buffaloes.
There are sundowner spots for guests to enjoy refreshing drinks while viewing the magnificent East African sunset. Picnic spots in the forest are strategically positioned to ensure you have a true and perfect forest experience.
The camp has its own organic gardens offering fresh vegetables, salads, and herbs to complement the delicious and innovative meals served.
For 27 years, Lmariao Lolokuria and Lapparaine Lekerpees have worked at Kitich Forest Camp, and look forward to welcoming guests to Kitich.
Dining and Cuisine
There are several dining options, from alfresco dining to formal evening settings at dinner, and all meals are served to suit your mood and taste.
Serving delicacies from homegrown ingredients, James Lebite has successfully delivered the palate needs of Kitich guests for 12 years as the head chef.
Sumuland Lemojong is a pioneer staff at Kitich. He is the head waiter and barman. He won’t let your throat dry up in the wilderness.
Climate and terrain
Kitich camp is a prime wilderness destination as it allows you to experience nature fully. The climate at the camp is generally warm during the day, with temperatures going up to 30 degrees Celsius.
The evenings are pleasantly cool, especially in the forest. The area experiences increased precipitation in April and May.
Generally, the conservancy has a mixture of mountain peaks and valleys. This makes it technically challenging to explore all interesting spots on a Land Cruiser.
However, you can explore the forest trails on foot to view wildlife and swim in the Ngeng River. The diverse birdlife provides unrivaled song and entertainment in the mornings and evenings.
Kitich Camp has a go-green policy. It applies these policies through waste recycling, use of local produce, and solar power energy. Lighting and charging facilities are solar-powered with Type G sockets fitted at strategic points in the camp.
A satellite WiFi provides an internet connection for guests who need to communicate with regular messaging apps. There is a satellite phone to make direct calls in an emergency as the camp has no mobile phone signal.
The camp has its own airstrip for private charter flights to and from Kitich Forest Camp, and there are 2X daily scheduled flights into Kalama Airstrip.
Kitich Forest Camp can arrange for the road transfer it is approximately 1.5 hour drive away.
What to do in Kitich Forest Camp
Some of the most thrilling activities you can engage in while at Kitich Forest Camp include fly camping, swimming in waterfalls, hiking in Kitich Forest, sundowners at Murit Pass, cycling, and camel safari and fly camping towards the Seiya lugga and Milgis lugga.
If you want to chill out with minimal energy expenditure, you can stroll in the gardens, doze in a hammock, read a book or do yoga.
Viewing elephants is a thrilling activity. You can see the elephant herds feeding and tendering to their loved ones. Sometimes they get very close, and you can snap a lovely photo for your travel album.
Swimming activities at Kitich camp are done in the clear forest pool. There are no conventional swimming pools that you would find in hotels. So you are bound to get the true feeling of swimming in the wild.
At Kitich Forest Camp, it’s all about accessing the wilderness and forest on foot, being fully in nature.
You experience a slow safari that is fully immersive and environmentally sustainable to allow you to disconnect and enjoy being one in nature. This is to capitalize on the tracking experience of the Samburu trackers and to give you a chance to fully explore the forest ecosystem.
The trackers in Kitich camp have lived in these forests and mountains all their life, they have vast knowledge and in-depth senses, including animal tracking, forest navigation, the medicinal value of plants, and animal sounds.
Visiting local villages and centers is part of the safari experience as you get in touch with the traditional setting of the community. At the Singing Wells, young Samburu warriors fetch water for their livestock. They sing as they work in tandem to quench the thirst of their large herds of cattle.
Ngilai village is a Samburu settlement area near Kitich Forest Camp. It is abuzz with market activities and the general day-to-day traditional life of the locals.
The conservancy collectively protects its river, forest, and grassland ecosystems. The conservation efforts are geared to boosting the welfare of locals.
The community engages in development projects, peace-keeping missions, wildlife preservation, and land conservation. The people in Ngelai Community are essential in the running of Kitich Camp.
Corporate-Social Responsibility Activities
Pack for a Purpose is a community-based initiative geared towards a sustainable tourism model that allows tourists to bond with the community. In conjunction with other stakeholders, Kitich Forest Camp management arranges specific donations that tourists can deliver to the community to support ongoing projects.
The most common projects in the community include education, health, and environmental conservation. Institutions like Ngilai Primary School and Ngilai Health Center serve many locals and could really use these donations.
Best Bush Holiday Site in Kenya
In Maa culture, the word Kitich means ‘a happy place’. As a Gold-Eco award holder, Kitich Forest Camp is committed to offering you a superb and happy safari experience while maintaining an eco-friendly work culture.
You can stay at Kitich Forest Camp and visit neighboring areas like Kalama Conservancy, Sera Conservancy, Kalepo Camp, and West Gate Conservancy.
Annah is a travel and Safari enthusiast with a great passion for content writing. Her passion for travel and adventure fuels her travel blogging experience. You can connect with her via email or social media handles.