Masai Mara Great Migration Photo Safari – Jul/Aug 2013

25 July – 03 August 2013 (9 nights)

In July 2013 I will lead a private group of photographers into Kenya’s Masai Mara. This safari combines some of Africa’s finest wildlife photography experiences, superb accommodation, and expert guiding. We have selected the Masai Mara at this time of year to coincide with the Great Migration as it moves through the Reserve and surrounding private conservancies.

The annual movement of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. This is a private safari geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing and participants will be witness to one of the last great wildlife migrations on earth.

Safari Highlights

  • Game drives in open-sided 4×4 vehicles at both safari camps.
  • Mara Plains Camp has quickly become the favorite destination in the greater Masai Mara for photographers due to its exclusivity, off-road driving permissibility, and the phenomenal game viewing in the Olare Orok Conservancy.
  • Nkorombo Camp is run by the well-known Alex Walker (part of the Serian group of camps) and this camp is perfectly situated within the Reserve in a very private area on the bank of the Mara River. The days at this camp allow us to concentrate on wildebeest and zebra river crossings as well as the masses of migrating herbivores.
  • Safari is limited to 7 participants.
  • Private charter flights between Nairobi and the Mara. This allows for a greatly increased luggage allowance of up to 80 pounds to allow for heavy camera gear and laptop.
  • I will lead the group throughout.
  • This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in the Masai Mara during the peak of the Great Migration.
  • This safari is for enthusiasts who want to spend a maximum amount of their time out in the wildlife areas, not back in camp – we push hard and work hard to get great photos!
  • This itinerary focuses on up-close and real wildlife experiences from the surroundings of high-quality accommodations.

Is this Safaris for You?

Here are some key points to help you decide:

1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.

2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort on safari activity and making images. We do meet daily to review images and discuss technique, but this is not a “classroom-intensive” trip. Our “classroom sessions” are optional (although the review sessions are valuable and there is not a more beautiful classroom).

3. Non-photographer or videographer travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (walking, balloon safaris, etc.) are also available at any time.

Itinerary

25-26 July 2013; (1 night)

Norfolk Hotel- Nairobi, Kenya

On your arrival in Nairobi, you will be met by our local representative, who will assist you across the terminal and to check in at the hotel. We will meet up as a group and dinner will be at the lovely Lord Delamere Terrace Restaurant (cost of which is included).

The Norfolk Hotel has played a leading role in Kenya’s colorful history (the original being first opened in 1904) and it continues to be Nairobi’s finest and best-known luxury hotel. Today, the hotel offers accommodations in 165 guest rooms and suites, has eight conference rooms, a heated outdoor swimming pool, a health club with gym, sauna and steam room, a beauty salon, book shop and gift shops.

On the morning of the 26th, our group will be transferred to Wilson Airport the next morning, where we will board our private charter flight to the Masai Mara and Nkorombo Camp.

 

26-30 July 2013; (4 Nights)

Nkorombo Camp – Masai Mara (along the Mara river), Kenya

On the morning of the 26th, we will be transferred to Wilson Airport, where we will catch our private charter flight to Nkorombo Camp.

The camp is positioned to blend unobtrusively into the surrounding vegetation and the tents are only a few steps away from the rushing Mara River – an incredible presence!

There are five en-suite “Selous Style” tents. Each tent is simply furnished in traditional safari style with single cots, carpets and tray tables. The bathroom has long drops and bucket showers (but note that the water is plentiful and hot).

The experience at Nkorombo is focused on viewing wildlife, in particular, the migration of Wildebeest and Zebra as they cross the Mara River and we have selected this camp for its prime position for getting to crossings. Despite this, the camp itself is very private and one feels alone on the Mara River when sitting at the camp fire and listening to the sounds of the lions and other wildlife. Each day will be new and exciting. Meals in camp will be interspersed with picnics out in the bush. There are no schedules to be met and we are again free to make our own timetable on a daily basis (which will be geared towards maximizing photo opportunities).

As with our time at Mara Plains, we will be out before sunrise. Here in the Reserve we will look for all the predators and general game, but our main emphasis will be to take advantage of and be present for the dramatic river crossings that take place this time of the year in the Mara. These crossings very often take place during the hottest part of the midday and into the late afternoon, so we will pack lunches and head out early to maximize our time.

In the evenings, the feeling of this camp is quite different to Mara Plains… Nkorombo is much more of a true “Bush Camp” and the experience of sleeping right next to the Mara River is something you will not soon forget… it is amazing.

 

30 July – 03 August 2013; (4 Nights)

Mara Plains Camp – Olare Orok Conservancy, Greater Masai Mara, Kenya

After the morning drive on 30 July, we will transfer by road north to the Olare Orok and our next camp, Mara Plains.

Mara Plains is located on the northern border of the Masai Mara Game Reserve in the Olare Orok Conservancy. Rarely a night passes without lion roaring nearby, while leopard are regularly found to wander through the camp and cheetah have established territories on the savannah off the main area.

Mara Plains Camp is a small, high quality, eight-roomed camp under canvas and on raised decks with sweeping views across Kenya’s notable savannahs. It is among the smallest and most personal camps in the Mara region. As one of just three camps currently operating within the Conservancy, which boasts the region’s lowest vehicle density, no mini-buses and only one guest room per 700 acres. It is possible to avoid the high tourist density of the Masai Mara Game Reserve proper, if desired.

No other camp in the greater Masai Mara Game Reserve or Olare Orok Conservancy has the privilege of traversing opportunities of Mara Plains Camp. Guests are able to traverse three areas (the Olare Orok and Mara North Conservancies, and The Masai Mara Reserve) as part of their stay at Mara Plains.

We will have two private vehicles at our disposal day and night. We will tailor our group’s plans to maximize all photographic opportunities and as the wildlife dictates.

Typically, we rise just before dawn and head out well before first light to see what has happened overnight. We look for tracks and signs of nocturnal activity, perhaps heading in the direction of the lion calls and hyena laughs we heard from bed. The big cats are usually quite active in the early hours. As the sun begins to rise in the sky and the heat mounts, we may head back to camp for a brunch or we may decide to have an all-day safari and bring our lunch with us.

Depending on the reports regarding the herds and river crossing possibilities, we may also do full-day safaris into the Masai Mara Game Reserve. For full day expeditions, lavish picnic boxes with cold drinks are provided.

We will also have the opportunity to visit a local Masai village (or “Enkang” in Maa) to learn more about the traditions and culture of the surrounding community and photograph the people and their village.

Hot air balloon safaris are available (at extra cost). This is a very early morning activity, giving stunning views of the sunrise, the landscape and a sense of the sheer size of the Masai Mara region.

 

03 August 2013

Safari Ends

This morning after breakfast at camp and an abbreviated game drive, we will board our private charter flight back to Nairobi. On arrival in Nairobi (around midday or early afternoon), we will be met by our local representative who will transport us to Jomo Kenyatta Airport for onward flights home. Note that most flights depart in the evening, so day rooms at nearby hotels or a visit to a nearby restaurant may be arranged upon request – please ask us for options. See also the note below regarding travel extensions.

NOTE: Additional customized extensions to this safari, including other camps in Kenya and/or Tanzania, gorilla trekking in Rwanda, or other destinations may be arranged as desired. Ask me for further information.

Costs

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $10,500 per person. This is an approximate cost and will be revised as soon as accurate accommodation rates are available for 2013. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals (except as noted above and in exclusions below).

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.

Notes

• Base gratuities for camp guides and staff are included at $30 per day.

• Any additional gratuities for guides, staff and trip leader may only be paid in cash.

• Note also that the safari camps will only accept cash for curio purchases.

Inclusions and Exclusions

What is included

  • Accommodation on a shared basis (singles available in Nairobi and possibly in safari camps based upon availability – ask if interested).
  • 1x trip leader (Grant Atkinson).
  • 2x private safari vehicles at both safari camps.
  • One row per guest on game drive vehicles (note that the front seat next to the driver is also counted as a row for this purpose).
  • Increased luggage allowance for Nairobi-Mara air charters of 30-35kgs.
  • All safari activities and transfers to/from the airports and the hotels.
  • Daily laundry at safari camps.
  • Olare Orok Conservancy fees while at Mara Plains Camp.
  • Masai Mara Reserve fees while at Nkorombo Camp
  • Meet & Assist service on arrival in Nairobi.
  • Gratuities for vehicle drivers in Nairobi.
  • Dinner on night 1 in Nairobi at hotel.
  • All meals and local drinks at Mara Plains Camp and Nkorombo Camp.
  • Private round trip air charters between Nairobi and Masai Mara.
  • Gratuities for camp guides and staff ($30 per day total) – does not include tips for trip leader.
  • The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Tax.

What is not included

  • International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Nairobi.
  • Drinks in Nairobi (except during dinner, which is included).
  • Gratuities for hotel staff in Nairobi.
  • Laundry or extras at Nairobi hotel.
  • Visas Travel Insurance Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
  • Any additional gratuities you may wish to pay for camp guides and staff ($30 per day already included).
  • Gratuities for Trip Leader
  • Pre- and post- safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari.

Gallery

 

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