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Maasai Mara Safari The Great Migration… The greatest wildlife spectacle on earth!

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7 Days
Availability : 16-08-2020
Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya Safari Photo Adventure Vacations – Inspire, Create and Learn.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve in Kenya, which is named after the indigenous people of the area – The Maasai people. It is also well known for its exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, known as the Great Migration.

Many say it is the most spectacular wildlife event on earth. We tend to agree. During the Great Migration about 1,500,000 wildebeest and 500,000 zebra are seeking fresh pastures in the Mara and Serengeti Reserves separated by the Mara River. This is obviously a feast for predators and they are never far behind. Thousands of animals trying to cross the Mara River from small passages create bottlenecks where lions and crocodiles are waiting. This is an amazing spectacle that will be etched in your mind forever. Lions and hyenas are never far away and with a bit of luck we will also be able to see the elusive leopard and the cheetah – the fastest land animal on earth.

Although nothing can ever be taken for granted when talking about wild animals, we will most definitely see elephants, Cape buffalo, hippo, ostrich, eland, giraffe, loads of birds and with quite a bit of luck also the rhinoceros. So potentially we have the possibility to experience and photograph all of the so-called Big 5. (Lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros).

Rather than staying in a normal hotel-style accommodation we have opted for a more close-to-nature approach with tented camps. Listening to the call of a leopard or the grunts of a hippo during the night, sometimes right outside your tent is an experience not easily matched. Although a tented camp, this Hemingway-style accommodation is not the average tent. Tents have hot showers, regular beds, WC etc. and the food in the camp is second to none.

We travel in AWD style with each photographer having their own row of seat in the vehicle. This ensures that each photographer can photograph from a window on either side of the vehicle or from the roof hatch. It also ensures that plenty of room is available for gear etc.

This safari adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light, but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of, but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.

In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to photograph wildlife as well as survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our week together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas and great fun. It will be hard to find a better photo safari then our Kenya Maasai Mara Safari.

KENYA SAFARI 7 DAYS

Sunday (1) Nairobi

We meet on Sunday at one of Nairobi’s original hotels, the Nairobi Serena Hotel, which has all the comforts of the past with all the convenience of the modern era. We will discuss PWA’s “10 Guiding Principles of Photography” as well as Michael’s “THE ART OF SEEING” photographic technique. Johan will also give a few helpful tips on wildlife photography in preparation for the week. During a group dinner, we will have informal discussions on what our guests are trying to achieve in their photography, subject matters, styles and techniques. Airport transfer from Jomo Kenyatta international Airport is included.

Monday (2) Nairobi – Maasai Mara National Reserve

After a hearty breakfast we will be transferred to Wilson Airport for our domestic flight to The Maasai Mara National Reserve. After the short 1-hour flight we land at the Ol-Kiombo Airstrip and will transfer by road to our base camp for the rest of our stay. We are staying at the Entim Private, a classic East African style safari camp, consisting of luxury canvas tents, staffed by local Maasai. We arrive just in time for lunch, and afterwards we set out for our first game drive. Load up with plenty of memory cards because there is wildlife literally everywhere. (B) (L) (D)

Tuesday – Friday (3-6) Maasai Mara National Reserve

Although our next 4 days will be conducted in a similar fashion they will all definitely be very different. We have an overall goal to see a large wildebeest crossing of the Mara River, arguably the most amazing wildlife event in the world. The visual spectacle, the noise and the massive Nile crocodiles waiting for dinner are really something out of the ordinary. Obviously, these events don’t follow a strict schedule but are natural occurrences and they might happen during our week or they might not happen at all. We have maximized our chances by being in the right place at the right time of the year but nothing can be guaranteed. We trust our Maasai guides who will tell us if a crossing is close to happening or not. What can be guaranteed though, is an amazing experience in one of the most premium wildlife reserves in the world.

Apart from chasing a wildebeest crossing, we will of course search for the great predators of the plains. Lions are normally very placid and sleepy during daytime and not always the most exciting photographic subjects during these hours. Since night drives are not allowed in the reserve our best bet for some lion action would be during the early morning hours.

To be able to be the fastest animal around Cheetahs have sacrificed strength for speed and unlike lions or hyenas they need to prey on smaller animals. The cheetah is a daytime hunter and if luck is on our side we get to see the cheetah hunt. A hunting cheetah is hard to capture with your cameras due to the sheer speed involved, but just seeing a cheetah hunt for the first time is for sure a spectacular experience with or without the images to prove it.

The leopard is very elusive and hard to spot so the best use of our time would be to wait for someone else to spot a leopard and call it in on the radio, then rush to the site for our photography. Trying to actively search for a leopard can easily result in a wasted day.

Although the predators are high on our list, the other animals of the savannah are around us at all times. At any time we can stop the vehicle to work with zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, warthogs or whatever is on offer.

The local Maasai guides communicate with each other and we normally trust them to plan our day based on their local knowledge of the area and its wildlife.

On a normal day we would have a quick tea with biscuits at around 5:30AM and then head out just before sunrise, which is around 6:00. We would stop around 9:00 for a packed breakfast in the bush and at about midday we head back to camp for our lunch and a few ours of rest during the middle of the day. During these hours the light is too harsh for any good photography and most animals are inactive. We go out again for our afternoon game drive at around 3:00 and stay out till sunset, which is around 7:00. We then enjoy a dinner together at camp and afterwards maybe a local beer or a drink or two in front of the campfire.

Unlike the visitors staying in accommodation outside the reserve, we take full advantage of the great light in the morning and the evening by staying in a camp inside the reserve.

If something interesting is going on further away from the camp we might decide to stay out a full day and will enjoy a packed lunch in the bush and be back in time for dinner. (B) (L) (D)

OPTIONAL: We enjoy visiting the local Maasai village to familiarize ourselves with their customs and traditions. The Maasai is a colorful people both visually and spiritually and great photo opportunities can be expected. It is custom to buy some crafts or tip the people of the village as a thank you for showing us a little bit of their customs and unique lifestyle.

Saturday (7) Maasai Mara National Reserve – Nairobi

After our last morning game drive we return to camp for a late breakfast before making our way to the airstrip for our flight to Nairobi’s Wilson airport. Flight departs at 11.00hrs to arrive Nairobi at around noon. A transfer back to Jomo Kenyatta international Airport concludes this fantastic adventure. Most international connections depart in the early evening. (B)

NOTE: Baggage allowance is strictly 15 kgs in soft bags (for the domestic flight) and therefore, we are going to provide you with a road transfer to / from Mara for the extra baggage at NO extra cost. This baggage will arrive the first day of arrival in Mara in the evening and will have to leave Mara the night before they depart for Nairobi. Guests can carry their camera equipments and whatever is important with them. The rest will come by road

May all who come as guests… leave as friends®

Experience | Difficulty

Beginner, amateur, enthusiast, semi-pro and pro photographers

DSLR or mirrorless cameras

Busy schedule

Travel by AWD safari vehicles and airplane

Minimal elevation changes and a limited amount of walking

(non-photographers also welcome)

Includes

Safari, wildlife, nature, travel, landscape and people photography

Professional photographer | guide

Photo drives, walks & discussions

Small group size (4-8 guests)

Luxury tented camp

All meals

Maasai Mara Park entrance fees

Domestic flight

Airport and hotel transfers

Local AWD transportation

Emergency flying doctor’s evacuation insurance to Nairobi

Soft drinks, beers, house wines, selected house spirits (Entim Private)

Transfers for cultural visits, sundowners and laundry (Entim Private)

Accommodations

Nairobi – Nairobi Serena Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel or similar

Maasai Mara National Reserve – Entim Private Luxury Camp or similar

Travel Information

Arrival & Departure Airport: Nairobi, Kenya – Jomo Kenyatta Intl (NBO) – Transfer time to hotel 45min

Our adventure begins at 11 AM on the first day and ends at noon on the last day.

Travel Visa: A visa may be required depending on your nationality.

Price

Single Supplement: $2000

(Optional) Early Arrival Hotel Room: $300

(Optional) Late Departure Hotel Room: $300

Options and Benefits

Private Guided Tours & Adventures

We offer amazing private guided photo adventures, cultural tours and vacations for individuals, couples, families and groups. We can customize any of our published adventures, as well as others, to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. This may include the finest 5-star accommodations, business-class travel, and private guides and fixers who are able to make the impossible possible. If you are not interested in a photo-centric vacation, but you love our approach to private travel, we will be happy to design and deliver an amazing adventure focused on travel, culture and cuisine. Click here to request a quote. Feel free to call us at 1-888-834-0288 or contact us for more information.

Travel Insurance

We offer travel insurance through Travelex. The cost for travel insurance can be as low as 4% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other factors. Knowing you have trip cancellation coverage can make a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason. Travelex Insurance Services is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating.

About Photographer

JOHAN SIGGESSON

Wildlife, Bird and Nature Photographer

MALTA

Johan is a wildlife photographer from Sweden but residing in the small Mediterranean island of Malta. From an early age Johan was passionate about animals and the natural world. Before Animal Planet, Nat Geo Wild and the likes, he was always glued in front of the weekly nature program on Swedish state television. No matter if it was lions in Africa, wolves in Yellowstone or Polar bears in Svalbard, he practically grew up with Sir David Attenborough’s voice at the back of his head.

With a degree in Digital Information Production and many years of experience in the web- and graphic design industry he feels that he has a good sense of the esthetic part of photography. What works and what does not work.

From the moment he bought his first digital camera he was hooked. The creativity that is unleashed with instant feedback on the screen, variable ISO and more or less unlimited image capacity is something that really appeals to Johan. This, combined with a passion for animals, is a recipe for a wildlife photographer.

Purely due to incompatibility between most brands Johan uses predominantly Nikon cameras and gear. We all know that the gear doesn’t make the photograph.

When Johan is not out photographing or stuck in front of his Mac processing images, he enjoys a good meal or watching a game of soccer with friends… And a cold beer.