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Kenya Photo Safari: Wildebeest Migration Season

Dates
: October 3-13, 2019
Fee: $8,995 (includes lodging and transportation in Kenya)
Deposit: $1,500 (balance due by March 2019)

Pre-tour extension to Amboseli National Park
Dates: September 29 - October 3, 2019
Fee: $2,295 (includes lodging and transportation in Kenya)

Register for the pre-tour extension along with the main itinerary by December 31 and receive $400 off!

Limit: 10 clients (spouses or non-photographers are also welcome)

This tour will be co-lead 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.

 


 

Description:

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 approximately 1.5 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.

A pre-tour extension has also been organized for people who want to visit the amazing Amboseli National Park. This is the park is most popular for the large herds of Elephants with 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.

Please let us know if you are interested in a 4-day pre-tour extension to Amboseli National Park when registering. Please note: this extension will only be arranged if there is enough interest (6-10 participants).

 

Location details:

 

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

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.

 

Itinerary

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.

 

PRE-TOUR EXTENSION TO AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK (Sept. 29 - Oct. 3, 2019)

 

Day 1 (Sun) -   Nairobi 

+ PM arrival in NBO
+ Proceed with Customs/Immigration/Baggage Claim procedures
+ Transfer from airport to hotel 
+ Overnight in Nairobi at the Tamarind Tree hotel


Day 2 (Mon) -   Transfer to Amboseli National Park

The Adventure begins! After an early breakfast and orientation we will join our guides and load up in the 4x4 land cruisers. The drive to Amboseli is roughly 4 hours.

+ Arrive in time for a hot lunch
+ check into your rooms
+ afternoon game drive
+ dinner and overnight at the Amboseli Serena

                  
Day 3 & 4 (Tue & Wed) -   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 (Thu) -   Amboseli National Park and transfer to Nairobi

+ early breakfast followed by game drive
+ return to lodge for early lunch
+ check out and head back towards Nairobi
+ arrive at the Tamarind tree hotel in time for a leisurely dinner (not icluded in cost of tour)
+ Overnight in Nairobi at the Tamarind Tree hotel

 

 

MAIN ITINERARY - MAASAI MARA (Oct. 3 - 13)

 


Day 1 (Thu) -   Nairobi 

If you are part of the pre-tour extension this is the same day you will be transferring from Amboseli National Park to Nairobi. Please refer to day 5 of the pre-tour extension itinerary above.

Those not part of the pre-tour extension will arrive on this day - Oct. 3, 2019.

+ PM arrival in NBO
+ Proceed with Customs/Immigration/Baggage Claim procedures
+ Transfer from airport to hotel 
+ Overnight in Nairobi at the Tamarind Tree hotel 

  
Day 2 (Fri) -   Transfer to Maasai Mara (Ilkeliani)

+ breakfast and orientation at hotel
+ transfer to the airstrip for our private charter to the Maasai Mara. The flight will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
+ we will meet our guides when we land in the Mara.
+ game drive on route to the camp - get your cameras ready!
+ arrival at the Ilkeliani camp in time for lunch
+ afternoon game drive
+ dinner and overnight at Ilkeliani

      
Day 3 - 5 (Sat - Mon) -   Maasai Mara (Ilkeliani)

+ early games drives to catch those spectacular morning sunrises and early light on the animals
+ picnic breakfast in the field to maximize time for game drive
+ return to camp for lunch followed by some time to download and review images
+ afternoon game drive
+ dinner and Overnight at Ilkeliani.


Day 6 (Tue) -  Transfer from Ilkeliani to Entim -  Maasai Mara 

+ early breakfast
+ check out and transfer to the Entim camp
+ game drive on route to next camp
+ arrival in time for lunch
+ check in followed by some time to get settled into your rooms
+ afternoon game drive
+ dinner and overnight at Entim

            
Day 7 - 10 (Wed - Sat) -   Maasai Mara (Entim)

+ early games drives - sunrises and animals galore!
+ picnic breakfast in the field to maximize time for game drive
+ return to camp for lunch followed by some time to download and review images
+ afternoon game drive
+ dinner and Overnight at Entim


Day 11 (Sun) -  Transfer to Nairobi and departure

+ early breakfast
+ game drive on route to airstrip for our private charter back to Nairobi (Approx. 10:30am departure)
+ lunch in Nairobi
+ time for a little souvenier shopping
+ if we have time, dinner at a local restaurant (not icluded in cost of tour)
+ transfer to airport, arriving 3 hours before departure time
+ flight departs from Nairobi around 10pm

 

              

Itinerary Includes:

  • All lodging (based on double occupancy; single supplement at Amboseli $400 and for Maasai Mara $800*)
  • Ground transportation and round-trip air transfer from Nairobi to Maasai Mara
  • Services of experienced guides and drivers
  • Water during game drives
  • All meals at the lodges/camps
  • Breakfast at the Tamrind tree hotel in Nairobi
  • All necessary permits and park fees
  • All in the field instruction
  • Comprehensive and detailed information packet including logistics details, packing and equipment lists, and more
  • At the Entim camp: drinks (including beer and wine) and laundry

Itinerary Does Not Include:

  • Airfare to Nairobi, Kenya
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance -  insuremytrip.com
  • Extra activities not specified in the itinerary
  • Meals in Nairobi
  • Any drinks with meals at Ilkeliani camp and meals in Nairobi.
  • Tips for guides/drivers and hotel staff
  • Incidentals

*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.


Please select one:
A deposit of $1,500 is required for registration. The balance amount should be paid by check by March 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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