If you want to camp with hippos and Nile crocodiles, this camp is for you. It’s located in the heart of the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. The staff is so friendly and attentive to your needs that you feel like royalty during your stay.
When we arrived at the gate of the Reserve, the group of Maasai women, waiting for tourists, almost immediately surrounded us, wanting to sell their jewelry. I felt so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff and by the continuous way they were offering their colorful handmade products, that in the end I couldn’t resist. I succeeded in buying two bracelets, even though they still wanted me to buy more.
Jambo. Welcome to your new home. The staff of the camp greeted us in Swahili. We arrived after a 7.5-hour long, excruciating drive on the (probably) worst road in Kenya. We soon forgot the bumps and the dust and how tired we were seeing the place where we would be staying. The intimate camp, which consists of only 7 luxury tents, plus the dining area tent, the kitchen tent, and the tents for the staff, is almost completely surrounded by the Mara River. There is a short opening only, which serves as the entry to the camp. The closest wildebeest crossing happens only 200 meters from the tents. The game drives, starting here, promise the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, black rhinoceros). A unique location, indeed.
Our tent opened onto a turn in the river in which hippos were swimming day and night. I wish you could hear the sound they made. We heard them often. One hippo even came out from the water and walked through the open camp during the second night of our stay. Crocodiles too were close, lying almost unrecognizably on the bank of the river. Fortunately, on the other side of the river. The Maasai guards, James and Pashar, always kept an open eye – we knew we were safe.
Carmen, the camp manager, Joseph, the waiter, and all the others, took good care of us. Upon our arrival, a nicely set table waited for us by the river. While we ate our lunch, we could already see the first crocodile on the shore. The food was always simple but delicious, a true home cooked meal. The first night, besides us, there was one other family, but after that we were the only visitors. The whole camp was ours alone!
When Joseph learned from our guide, Arif, that the first day of our stay was the anniversary of our meeting each other, he prepared a surprise cake and served it as a dessert after dinner! When on the last afternoon the unpredicted short rain made us cancel a nature walk, he served an afternoon tea for us in our tent. He was soooo observant!
We stayed at the Hammerkop Migration Camp for three days, and we felt very much at home there. We will always remember these days fondly and will recommend this unique camp to anyone interested. Thank you, Carmen, and all, for the very special experience.