KENYA: Wildlife Photography Safari

KENYA Wildebeest Crossing 2000 BINNS cc IMG_0174 copy

TOUR FOCUS
PHOTOGRAPHY

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SCHEDULED TOURS

2022 :: September 17 - September 28

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $9,500 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Nairobi, Kenya (NBO)

GROUP SIZE

4-6 Participants

AVAILABILITY

2022 – taking registrations

 

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of KENYA: Wildlife Photography Safari

  • Two amazing wildlife parks – Nakuru and Maasai Mara
  • Extraordinary photographic opportunities with an OM-D Pro Ambassador, Lee Hoy
  • Spectacle of wildebeest migration
  • Small group experience
  • Continuous photographic instruction for those who wish help capturing spectacular images

 

Description of KENYA: Wildlife Photography Safari

Kenya is world-renowned as a wildlife photography destination par excellence with a breathtaking range of often easily approachable mammals and birds in landscapes of immense beauty. Our unique wildlife photographic safari takes in two of Kenya’s finest game reserves, Nakuru National Park and the Maasai Mara. Everywhere pulsates with life, from the alkaline and freshwater lakes of the Rift Valley to the endless undulating grasslands of the legendary Maasai Mara, perhaps the best place on earth to see large mammals in abundance, where our photographic safari is timed to witness the Wildebeest migration.

We’ll spend two full days at Lake Nakuru National Park, home to thousands of flamingos that ring the soda lake – this surely being one of the great wildlife spectacles. The park  has an abundance of mammals. Here we’ll target Leopards lounging on tree limbs, and seek great photo opportunities of Rothschild’s Giraffe, Buffalo, Black and White Rhinos.

A boat ride along the shore of Lake Naivasha will take us close to African Spoonbills, Goliath Herons, African Jacanas, diminutive Malachite Kingfishers and majestic Fish Eagles, common inhabitants of the lakeshore as are hippos and Nile Crocodiles.

Our tour culminates with six full days in the world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve, encompassing nearly 600 square miles in southwest Kenya. This expansive savannah grasslands hosts exceptional populations of big and small cats, and serves as center stage for the ‘Great Migration’ of wildebeest and zebra. Our visit is timed to witness this spectacular phenomenon in action, when vast herds move steadily into the northern reaches of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. These determined grazers face tremendous obstacles in their quest for fresh grass, and many will fall to powerful predators and river crossings fraught with gigantic Nile Crocodiles.

Multiple wildlife drives facilitate ample opportunity to observe and photograph prides of lions, majestic elephants and plenty of giraffe, hyaena, gazelles, warthogs and more. We’ll focus on finding the elusive cats – cheetah, serval, and leopard. We’ll observe a mind-boggling assortment of birds including weavers, bee-eaters, rollers, sunbirds, hornbills, go-away-birds, guineafowl, bustards, secretary birds, raptors, and much more.

Throughout the safari, we will be discussing exposure, base settings, advanced features and more photographic techniques to help you capture the best images possible on one of the greatest places on earth! During breaks, opportunities for macro photography and post-processing discussions will be provided for those who desire to participate.

This once-in-a-lifetime East African extravaganza provides the ultimate opportunity to experience and photograph some of the most amazing animals on earth. I hope you can join us!

Focus: Photography, Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Scenery and macro when possible.

View our webinars on  The Great Wildebeest Migration,  Birding Kenya’s Rift Valley,  Samburu Safari,  Unique and Amazing Adaptations of Birds on Safari,

Read more about Savanna Scavengers

Length of Tour

12-days/11-nights

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 :  AM arrival in Nairobi; Transfer to Lake Nakuru NP

Day 2 & 3 :  Lake Nakuru NP

Day 4 :  Transfer to Lake Naivasha NP

Day 5 : Transfer to Maasai Mara

Day  6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11:  Maasai Mara

Day 12 :  Return to Nairobi

Itinerary

Day 1 : Morning arrival in Nairobi. Transfer to Lake Nakuru NP

From Nairobi, we transfer by road several hours north to Lake Nakuru National Park passing through the Great Rift Valley escarpment with a stop to admire and photograph this stunning landscape. Upon arrival at Nakuru National Park we embark on an afternoon game drive to preview the amazing wildlife of the park before dinner.

Day 2 & 3 : Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru is the most famous of the Rift Valley’s lakes, and we will have two full days to explore this wonderful small park, with very attractive Yellow-barked Acacias (fever trees) and magnificent escarpments.

The rich concentration of wildlife provides plenty to experience, observe and photograph. Changing water levels provide an assortment of wildlife that varies with conditions. The shallow edges of this unique saltwater body teems with Lesser and Greater Flamingo, and an assortment of waders and shorebirds, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, White-breasted and Long-tailed Cormorants, Yellow-billed Stork, Pied Avocet, Blacksmith Plovers and terns.

Mammals are abundant, including Buffalo, Zebra, Rothschild’s Giraffes, Waterbuck, Black-backed Jackals, Spotted Hyaena, Bat-eared Fox and Impala. We’ll make a special effort to look for Leopards lounging on tree limbs, and seek optimal positions to photograph Black and White Rhinos.(There are no elephants in this park.)

Birdlife is abundant and we will hope to see White-fronted Bee-eater, Little Rock Thrush, Mocking Cliff Chat, White Helmet-Shrike, Grey-backed Fiscal, Violet-backed and Ruppell’s Starling, Arrow-marked Babbler, Long-tailed Widowbird, Lilac-breasted Roller and Green Wood-hoopoe.

Day 4 : Lake Naivasha National Park

This morning we transfer a short distance south to Lake Naivasha. A leisurely boat ride around the lake’s perimeter will show case African Fish Eagle, herons and egrets, Hamerkop, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, and there is always a chance of being amongst a pod of hippos and seeing crocodiles up close!

Day 5 – Lake Naivasha National Park / Maasai Mara National Reserve

After breakfast we depart Naivasha and head for the southwest corner of Kenya to the world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve. We will settle in to our perfectly situated lodge and in the late afternoon enjoy the first of our wildlife drives as we traverse the savanna in search of wonderful photography opportunities. Basing ourselves in the heart of the park allows us to track the Wildebeest migration at the Mara’s nearby river crossing points.

Days 6 – 11 – Maasai Mara National Reserve

Situated at the northern end of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, the Maasai Mara National Reserve encompasses nearly 600 square miles of land, home to an incredible diversity of wildlife. We’ll take multiple game drives throughout our six-day visit, to maximize encounters with big game, birds and reptiles. Many animals will be close to our vehicle(s), providing excellent photographic opportunities.

These expansive savannah grasslands serve as center stage for the ‘Great Migration’ of wildebeest and zebra. Our visit is timed to witness this spectacular phenomenon in action, when vast herds move steadily into the northern reaches of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. We’ll keep an eye out for predator-prey interactions, when powerful big cats take down a hapless youngster, or a gigantic Nile Crocodile thrashes its victim at a river crossing.

The Mara is among the best places in Africa to see the ‘Big and Small Cats’ with nearly all the members well represented here. We’ll observe prides of lions and focus on finding elusive cheetah, serval and leopard. Herds of elephants lumber through vegetated areas, and schools of Hippopotamus bask in shallow pools along the river banks. Other mammals include Silver-backed Jackal, the delightful Bat-eared Fox, Banded Mongoose, Spotted Hyena, lively warthogs, gazelles, and Maasai Giraffe. Hundreds of bird species are present, including an assortment of weavers, bee-eaters, rollers, sunbirds, hornbills, go-away-birds, guineafowl, bustards, secretary birds, raptors, and many more. The experiences and photographic opportunities of the Maasai Mara are nearly boundless – there’s always something to see and snap!

Day 12 – Maasai Mara National Reserve / Nairobi

After breakfast, we pack luggage, and savor our last morning photographic drive in the Maasai Mara. We work our way out of the park and head back to Nairobi. We’ll arrive in late afternoon, and use day rooms to repack and freshen up before dinner, then transfer to Nairobi airport for overnight flight home.

Cost

$9,500 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Nairobi, Kenya (Airport code NBO).
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).

Single Supplement and other Cost Additions

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $1,075 will be assessed.

The Cost Includes

All ground transport, game drives and park entrance fees; professional driver guide; meals and accommodation; boat ride at Lake Naivasha; Flying Doctors Temporary Medical Travel Insurance; mineral water on game drives.

Note: There may be an additional surcharge should Park and or Conservation fees increase, which often happens with very little notice.

 

Cost Excludes

Airfares to Kenya; Visa fees (currently $50); trip insurance; beverages; any items of personal nature (laundry, telephone calls and so forth); any Covid related tests, quarantines, costs; any services not mentioned or indicated as optional; gratuities to drivers / guides / porters / waiters.

 

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants are registered the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.

Deposit Requirements

A $2,000 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

All the accommodations on this tour have clean comfortable rooms with en suite showers/baths and toilets and an the whole are very good, with excellent service.

Lodges and camps are based on availabilty and convenience to our wildlife locations.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

There will be little walking on this tour as we will be restricted to the vehicle when we are within the parks.

Recommended Field Guide: Birds of East Africa (Princeton Field Guides, 2020) by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe

 

 

You will need to get an eVisa to enter Kenya, which can be applied for online prior to our trip.

Non-smoking tour

This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our safari.

Trip Insurance

Trip Insurance is highly recommended for all safaris

Covid-19 Protocols

Please read our latest information and requirements in regards to Covid.

Currently you are required to show proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to travel, and are required to do the same prior to returning to the US. We will arrange to have this done at a convenient place before the end of the trip.

Malaria

There is a risk of malaria through the country. Check with your doctor for the recommended prophylaxis.

What to expect

This is a safari and as such we will concentrate on all the wildlife, as one would expect, the birds and mammals giving everyone time to view, experience and photograph them.   Easy wildlife viewing from the confines of our open top safari vehicle in some outstanding parks; though we expect to see about 450 bird species we will spend considerable time with the incredible mammals that make this part of the world unique and hope to come across about 50 species including the “Big 5” – elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard.

 

One or two hikes, though there will be little walking on this tour in the parks; midday breaks, when in the parks; a mostly pleasant and dry climate, breathtaking scenery and many excellent photographic opportunities. At Mt. Lodge, Baringo, Naro Moru and Mara West birding will be mainly on foot.

We will be using the typical safari ‘combo’ vehicles such as a 4X4 Safari Mini Bus or Land Cruise. There is a pop-up roof that enables one to stand up to view and photograph wildlife. We will have a maximum of six participants per vehicle as this will guarantee everyone a window seat.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

KENYA: Wildlife Safari 2019 TRIP REPORT

Videos made by tour participant Marianne Walsh:

Kenya Part I:  Nairobi Mt. Kenya Forest, and Samburu
Kenya Part II.  Central Highlands, Rift Valley, and Kakamega Forest

Location Map