Kenya Photo Safari: Wildebeest Migration Season
Dates: September 10-22, 2019
Fee: $11,295 (includes lodging, private air charter and all ground transportation in Kenya)
Deposit: $1,500 (balance due by April, 2019)
Limit: 8 clients (spouses or non-photographers are also welcome)
Only 1 spot available! If interested, please inquire about a special discount. Registration closes soon.
This tour will be co-led by two experienced photography instructors (Nikhil Bahl and Michael Milicia). Mike and Nikhil will work with knowledgeable local driver/guides to make sure you have a great experience. Every vehicle will have no more than 3 photographers and each photographer will have their own row of seating.
A photo safari in East Africa is often considered an experience of a lifetime! However, most people that visit Africa seem to go back for more. This itinerary has been designed to maximize your time photographing and less time traveling. The Maasai Mara, is by far, the best place for photography in Kenya due the high concentration of animals and the wildebeest migration. Sometimes referred to as the 'Greatest Show on Earth', the wildebeest migration is a movement of an estimated 2 million wildebeest throughout the Serengeti and Maasai Mara ecosystems in search of green pastures and water. While we will be hoping to see/photograph a river crossing there are going to be a plethora of opportunities to photograph the amazing wildlife that the Mara has to offer.
We will have our own private 4x4 land cruisers that will be used for game drives. Three photographers per vehicle will allow for maximum flexibility for photography in different directions. Each photographer will have a full row to themselves so they can comfortably sit in one seat and keep their camera gear handy next to them. This will also maximize comfort during game drives and moving from one location to the next.
We start our tour at Amboseli National Park. This park is most popular for the large herds of elephants with the iconic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. This arid region also offers great wildlife viewing in a very different environment. That makes it a great addition to what should be an action filled safari in the savannah grasslands of the Mara.
Amboseli National Park
The name "Amboseli" comes from a Maasai word meaning "salty dust". The park covers 392km² (151miles²) and has a mixed topography of plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush, swamps and marshes. This diversity, along with a long dry season, ensures excellent viewing of the large concentrations of African animals living in this natural habitat. With its awesome view of Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa's highest mountain at 5,895m), Amboseli National Park offers a unique and breathtaking backdrop for viewing Africa's animals. It also has a dry Pleistocene lake basin that houses a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli, after the rains. Amboseli offers some of the best opportunities to see African animals because its vegetation is sparse due to the long dry months. Amboseli National Park is home to wild animals, which include the African elephant, buffalo, impala, lion, cheetah, hyena, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest among others. There is also a host of Kenyan birds, both large and small, to keep any birder interested.
Maasai Mara National Reserve (also known as Masai Mara or the Mara) is situated within the Great Rift Valley in the southern part of Kenya. Measuring approximately 1510sq. kilometers (approx. 938sq. miles) in size, this unfenced savannah grassland is roughly 150 miles East of Nairobi. Maasai Mara derives its name from the indigenous people of Kenya - the Maasai tribe - and the Mara River that cuts through the park. A lush riverine forest grows along the banks, where elephants, bushbucks, vervet monkeys and leopards find refuge. The Maasai Mara is also crossed by many seasonal streams and gulleys, where the big cats find shade during the hottest hours of the day. These habitats support one of the highest concentrations of game in Africa. In particular, it is the number of predators and the high chances of seeing them that make the Mara so unique and attractive for wildlife photographers and enthusiasts.
During the dry season from July to October, the Mara keeps on receiving regular rains. This attracts the large herds of wildebeests and zebras, the famous Great Migration, which culminates in the dramatic crossing of the Mara River, right here in the park. Animals are forced to cross the raging waters of the river with all its dangers: rapids, steep banks, rocks, crocodiles and other predators in ambush. It is a fantastic and unique natural spectacle. The Mara is also home to the richest concentration of wildlife, including the "Big Five" (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo), zebras, antelope, wildebeest, oribis, hyenas, giraffes, warthogs, gazelles, hartebeests, hippos, crocodiles and others. The park has the largest concentration of African lions, including the black-maned lion. Besides the numbers of wildlife, the great advantage of the Mara for photography is the vast network of tracks and roads that cover almost every corner of the reserve. This makes it possible to follow the animals throughout the day and to position optimally for photography.
The itinerary below is primarily to give you an idea of the logistics and transfer days/times. For location info and details of possible photographic opportunities, please read the section above.
Please note: all game drives usually last 2-3 hours. Some of our morning game drives will be extended. During those game drives we will take a picnic breakfast and eat in the field and return in time for lunch. We reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary if necessary.
Day 1 (Tuesday, Sept. 10) - Nairobi
- PM arrival in NBO
- transfer from airport to hotel
- overnight in Nairobi
Day 2 (Wednesday, Sept. 11) - Transfer to Amboseli National Park
The Adventure begins! After breakfast we take our private air charter to Amboseli, arriving late morning.
- Arrive in time for a hot lunch
- check into your rooms
- afternoon game drive
- dinner and overnight at the Amboseli Serena
Day 3 & 4 (Thursday, Sept. 12 & Friday, Sept. 13) - Amboseli National Park
- early breakfast followed by extended morning game drive
- lunch at lodge and some time to download and review your images
- afternoon game drive
- dinner and overnight at the Amboseli Serena
Day 5 (Saturday, Sept. 14) - Amboseli National Park and transfer to the Mara
- early breakfast followed by game drive
- return to lodge late morning
- check out and fly to the Mara by private charter
arrive in the Mara and have lunch after checking-in
- afternoon game drive
in the Mara
- dinner and overnight at our exclusive camp in the Mara
Day 6 - 12 (Sunday, Sept. 15 to Saturday, Sept. 21) - Maasai Mara
- the location of our camp puts us in the heart of the action! It will offer us tremendous photographic opportunities with a high chance of photographing Leopards and possibly a coalition of 6 male Lions. We will also be close to the river so we can monitor when the wildebeest are gathering for a possible river crossing.
- using one camp as our home base not only allows us to settle in but the opportunity to revisit quality photo ops as well. We will always have the option to stay close to camp or explore further away depending on your interests after hearing the latest wildlife reports.
- early game drives to catch those spectacular sunrises and early light on the animals
return to camp for lunch followed by some time to download and review images
afternoon game drive
dinner and overnight at our photographer friendly camp in the Mara
Day 13 (Sunday, Sept. 22) - Transfer to Nairobi and departure
- early breakfast and game
- late morning we take our private air charter back to Nairobi
- arrive in time for lunch and some shoping and transfer to the international airport
- international flight departs from Nairobi around 10pm
- All lodging (based on double occupancy; single supplement $1000*)
- Ground transportation and private air charter from Nairobi -Amboseli-Maasai Mara-Nairobi
- Services of experienced guides and drivers
- Water during game drives
- All meals at the lodges/camps
- All necessary permits and park fees
- All in field guiding and instruction
- Comprehensive and detailed information packet including logistics details, packing and equipment lists, and more
Itinerary Does Not Include:
- Airfare to Nairobi, Kenya
- Travel insurance - insuremytrip.com
- Extra activities not specified in the itinerary
- Meals in Nairobi
- Tips for guides/drivers and hotel staff
*Single supplement may be required if we cannot pair you with a roommate; we will inform you of the rooming arrangements as the trip fills.
||A deposit of $1,500 is required for registration. The balance amount should be paid by check by May 2019. This is done to keep the fees down and pass on the benefit to you.
Please contact Nikhil if you have any questions.
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