travel guide Masai Mara

Roho Ya Chui, Swahili for "soul of leopard", your partner for innovative training solutions in combination with safari packages and wildlife photography.

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M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya M a s a I M a R a M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya s l E E P I N g M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya N a B o I s H o c o N s E R V a N c y Naboisho Conservancy Created in 2011, the Naboisho Conservancy is flourishing. There's plenty of wildlife here, including cheetahs, elephants and a fair few lions, as well as all the plains wildlife, and the landscape is a classic mix of open grass- lands and light acacia woodlands. 4 Sleeping oBasecamp Wilderness TENTED caMP $$$ (% 0733333909;; Naboisho; s/d full board Us$400/720) S Of all the camps in the Mara conservancies, Wil- derness is probably the most authentically safari. There are five simple but very com- fortable tents with hot bucket showers and good beds set in a hidden valley that's home to a resident leopard and lots of other ani- mals. Guests are encouraged to walk here from sister camp, Basecamp Eagle View. If you want to get even closer to nature, 'fly camping' trips are offered out of here. Staying here isn't just a wild experience, it's also great value and affordable to mere mortals. Asilia Naboisho Camp TENTED caMP $$$ (% Nairobi 020-2324904;; s/d all-inclusive Us$1230/1930) S So what if the tents here, with their huge beds and indoor and outdoor showers, are the most extravagant around. What people really stay here for is the opportunity to walk for kilometres over animal-crammed savannah with an expert South African guide. If that wasn't enough, the wildlife viewing right outside the tents is superb, with big cats frequently passing right through the camp. Encounter Mara TENTED caMP $$$ (% Nairobi 020-2034197; www.encountermara. com; s/d full board Us$783/1250) S This very welcoming camp, which has some of the most impressive tents in Naboisho, is bur- ied away among a patch of woodland but with views over a salt lick and waterhole. A big plus is the hide down by the waterhole, where happy hours can be spent birding and getting seriously close to the animals. Basecamp Eagle View TENTED caMP $$$ (% 0733333909;; s/d full board Us$530/980; W ) S The most up- market of the three Basecamp offerings around the Mara. The six tents here are stretched along a ridge with mind-boggling views over a salt lick and miles of savannah. Despite the undisputed luxury, Eagle View still follows the company ethos of uncom- promising sustainability. Excellent walking safaris are a highlight of a stay here. Kicheche Valley Camp TENTED caMP $$$ (% Nairobi 020-2493569;; s/d full board Us$925/1580) S Six fabulously at- tractive tents spaced around a waterhole that draws wildlife right up to (and into) the edge of camp. The tents, all of which have wooden terraces facing the setting sun, feel very open, which gives guests a real sensation of being immersed in the bush. All the tents have electric sockets and the safari jeeps are designed with photographers in mind, thanks to the addition of bean bags. Such touches shouldn't be a surprise though, since one of the owners is renowned wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein. WESTERN BULLFIGHTING Bullfighting (between two bulls) is one of the more popular 'sports' in we ern Kenya, and Khayega (6km south of Kakamega) has Saturday morning showdowns at the bullfight- ing grounds. They art at 7am (the whole thing wraps up at around 8am) with a whole lot of horn blowing, drumming, chanting and ick waving. The purpose-bred bulls are fed on molasses-spiked grass and, to help them conserve their energy, isolated from heifers, making them under andably tetchy. Then the bulls are fed secret concoctions guaranteed to make them even more aggressive. When the bulls meet, they'll lock horns and fight until one submits and turns tail. Besides a bruised ego or two, no bulls are injured during the show of rength (cattle are valued too highly for owners to put them at risk). There are no safety barriers, so specta- tors should keep their di ance and be prepared to run or climb a tree should a bull break away. The winning bull (and all of the crowd) then race to the next venue, usually about 1km to 2km away, where they meet up with a similar winner and the whole performance is repeated. Bullfighting is practised mo ly by the Isukha and Idako peoples. 1 2 2

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