Useful things to know and some FAQ's
With regards to the camp itself, we would like you to know the following:
Security: The camp is not fenced in any way, and wildlife can walk through during the day or night. During the day you are more then welcome to walk around the camp, but at night we kindly ask that you are accompanied by one of our Maasai guards.
Phone & Internet: We do have phone reception here, however it is patchy. When the signal is strong we can give you a hot spot to collect emails, but not strong enough for much more.So, we suggest you take full advantage of this and enjoy turning off your connections to the outside world and enjoy the peace!
We are in the wilderness and we like it that way, if you would like to play on your mobile devices please do this in your tents away from others. There is a fine of $10 every time you are caught on your mobile device in the public area, we like to be social!
Drinking Water: Drinking water is not in short supply so please drink as much as you can. Dehydration is common here, so make sure you drink more than you think you should. Please bring your own ELECTROLYTES (e.g. Gatorade) as the rehydration salts we get here are not very tasty to most travellers!
Drinks: These are included in your stay (except Champagne and top shelf spirits) please ask for help in the main dining/mess area. This is not included for residents of Kenya.
Electricity: All rooms have only a small solar lighting system, so please do not try to charge anything or run any appliances, including hair dryers. Charging camera equipment can be done in the mess area.
First Aid: We have a good first aid kit here in camp, so please let Johann know if you need anything.
Gratuities: All tips are to be passed on to Johann. He will make sure that the tips are divided equally amongst the staff. If you wish to tip anyone extra, please do so privately. Our recommendation is $10 per client per night for the main camp staff and $5 -10 per person per night for your guide.
Showers: The four tents are all en-suite and have plenty of running water. We do also have two other traditional safari tents and in those your showers are safari-style bucket showers which you can request for at any time of the day. However, we prefer not having to do showers after dinner as it could also disturb your neighbour’s sleep! If you would like one after dinner we can put it up hot before dinner.
Laundry: Laundry service is done daily and normally returned the same evening at no extra cost.
Safe: We do not have a safe, so please keep all valuables locked in your car.
Smoking: Please refrain from smoking in your tents and in any confined communal spaces.
Frequently asked questions
Where is Shompole Wilderness?
We are in the south-western part of Kenya close to the Tanzanian border, directly in between Maasai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park. Magadi is the closest town.
What is special about the area?
We at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley, in an area that has pink lakes, flamingos (both Greater and Lesser), abundant birds and wildlife and is home to traditional Maasai people. There is nowhere else in Kenya, in our opinion, that can compare to the striking colours and contrasts of the lakes and back drop of the rift valley wall.
Getting to and from Shompole Wilderness
We are located on the Ewaso Nyiro river that comes from the Mau and the Loita Hills. We are 25 kilometres from Magadi town and 10 kilometers from Olkiramatian village.
Most of our international guests come by private charter flight or by helicopter. Our nearest airstrip is Rangers Airstrip near the Lale’enok Resource Centre and a larger airstrip is at Magadi town itself. The flights is approximately 25 minutes from Nairobi or 35 minutes from Maasai Mara. If you choose to come by road, it is approximately a 3.5 hour drive, most being on a good tarmac road with the last 30 km on rough dirt roads. It is known as one of the most scenic drives in Kenya.
What areas do you have access to?
We can access over 250,000 acres of Maasailand, much of this being the Shompole and Olkiramaitan Community Conservancies, and within this there are open acacia savannahs, fig trees forests, riverine fig woodland, the Shompole swamp and of course Lake Magadi and Lake Natron.
What animals are we likely to see?
The area is home to all of the Big Five with the exception of the rhino. You can expect to see plenty of the usual plains game including zebra, giraffe, Grant’s gazelles and impalas. There are also a huge variety of predators from the larger lions, leopard and cheetah to the smaller civets, servals and genets, however you do need to work a bit harder to find then than in places like the Maasai Mara. These are best seen very early morning or on a night drive. There is abundant bird life, and also lots of opportunity for watching primates including baboons, vervet monkeys and if you are lucky, the rare Colobus monkeys.
What type of clothing should I pack?
Shompole lies at an altitude of 2,000 feet above sea level. The area is generally hot and dry, and mornings and evenings are when we do most of the out of camp activities as they are the coolest times.
It does however cool off slightly at night and you may need a light fleece and long trousers for the evenings and early mornings. We would recommend that you pack lots of light clothes, a pair of casual trousers for the evenings, a pair of sandals for the day and some closed shoes for the evenings. For game viewing purposes, khaki or “bush” colours are preferred.
You will need a high factor sunscreen, sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat. A good pair of walking shoes is also beneficial, as are able to walk whenever you wish.
Most internal flights have strict weight restrictions on the aircraft of 15kg packed in soft bags.
Laundry can be done daily in camp, we do ask that you do not request the camp to launder expensive materials while staying with us or present laundry the day before your departure as it may not be dry/ready in time.
What is included in the rate?
Full board accommodation, local airstrip transfers, sundowners, drinks, day & night game drives, guided bush walks, cultural visits, local airstrip transfers (from Rangers airstrip or Magadi Airstrip) and laundry are all included in your stay at with us. Residents of Kenya please contact Irene for what is included in your package.
What is not included in the rate?
Not included are: conservation fees, champagne, staff gratuities and anything else of a personal nature. Residents of Kenya please contact Irene for what is included in your package.
What activities can you do?
Please have a look at the activities page for information on this.
What is your recommended length of stay?
Given the location and the range of activities, we recommend at least 3 nights in order to get the most out of the experience. For extreme photographers, we would however recommend a day or two longer as light and wildlife in the area is not a ‘dependable’ for photos as other places.
Malaria & Mosquito’s:
We recommend that you take the advice of your doctor when considering anti-malarial medication. Although the Shompole ecosystem does not have a high prevalence of malaria it is classed by the World Health Organization as an area of potential risk.
The tents are designed with netted windows and doors, and the staff will take precautions against mosquito’s during ‘turn-down’ service in the evenings.
We would also encourage you to wear long sleeves and trousers in the evenings, with socks and closed shoes and also recommended the use of insect repellent.
Just to let you know, Johann, Sam and their two children have never had malaria from the area since they started working here.
We do provide clean bottled drinking water from sustainable sources on all activities as well as throughout the camp. There are be sealed water bottles in your tents and on all of your activities. You will need to drink a lot here.
Food and dining experience:
Our chefs have been trained in international cuisine and produce a fantastic variety of food for you throughout your time with us. The main style of food would be best described as Western and homely and meat is served at each meal. Special diets and requests can be catered for but we do ask you for advanced warning in these cases, including vegans and vegetarians.
Tipping and Payments:
Many of our guests do feel that they would like to leave something as a token of their appreciation for the staff when they leave. Please note that we can only accept cash for the staff tips, this can be accepted in Kenya Shillings, US Dollars, GB Pounds or Euros.
As a guideline we would suggest $15-20 per guest per night ($10 per guest, per night to the general staff tip pool and $5 – $10 per person per day for your guide). Please remember that these are guidelines only and tipping is completely at your discretion.
What are the communication facilities like?
There is no mobile phone service at the camp, but you can sometimes get a weak signal on a drive.
We do have emergency Wifi if needed. Please note, that we like to be social and if you are seen using your phone or any device in camp there is a $10 fine for every time you are seen using your device! This goes towards the staff.