Kenya has the greatest concentration of African wildlife anywhere on the continent. It is a photographer's paradise. There is nothing quite as exciting as capturing magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
This photo tour is different from most others to Kenya. We will be staying in only two national parks -- the Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru -- for three reasons. First, these are the best national parks in Kenya for game viewing and photography. You'll see everything: the big cats, elephants, giraffe, rhinos, cape buffalo, stunning birds, and much more. Second, travel time between several parks is eliminated, and that saves two full days of shooting! instead of traveling, you'll have four additional game drives. And third, less flights and transfers means a lower cost. In the Masai Mara, we stay in two different camps to take advantage of a variety of landscapes and wildlife encounters.
Every day, we take advantage of the best lighting for natural and wildlife photography. Each vehicle will have only three photographers which gives everyone a good vantage with which to take pictures. Regarding equipment, contact Jim and discuss with him what lenses you need for the trip. Depending on what you already have, he will advise you what you should bring to Kenya for the best possible results.
This photo tour is timed to coincide with the wildebeest migration. Huge numbers of herbivores bring lots of predators, and this is considered peak season for East African game viewing. There is a change we'll see the wildebeest crossing of the Mara River as well One thing is certain, though, and that is that you'll be overwhelmed by the numbers and diversity of wildlife at this time of year.
DAY 1, Thursday. Aug. 4. Depart from the U.S. (or elsewhere) for the international flight to Nairobi, Kenya (airport code NBO).
DAY 2, Friday. Aug. 5. Arrive in Nairobi and transfer to the Eka Hotel (4 star) where we overnight. You have time to catch up on your sleep from the long international flight.
DAYS 3 - 4, Saturday - Sunday, Aug. 6 -7. After breakfast we depart for Lake Nakuru National Park, a 3 hour drive. After lunch we have our first game drive in afternoon light. Lake Nakuru is Kenya's first rhino sanctuary, and it's the best place to see both white and black rhinos as well as leopards. There are also lions, hippos, giraffes, waterbuck, baboons, warthog, and more, plus an array of stunning African birds such as the glossy and superb starlings, marabou storks, white pelicans, tawny eagles, and lilac breasted rollers. We have two more game drives the following day in the best light, and some of your favorite pictures of the trip will be in this park. Overnight Lion Hill Lodge.
DAY 5, Monday, August 8. We depart for the Masai Mara this morning and check in to Porini Mara Camp in time for lunch, a short rest, and then an afternoon game drive. This is a 16,000 acre portion of land that belongs to the Maasai community who set it aside for the purposes of conservancy. It is home to only one camp which accommodates a maximum of only 12 guests at any given time -- making this an exclusive experience. This area us renowned for its unspoiled, breathtaking scenery. Overnight Porini Mara Camp.
DAYS 6 - 11, Tuesday to Sunday. Aug. 9 - 14. The Porini Mara camp is actually situated outside of the boundary of the Masai Mara Reserve which means the normal regulations limiting vehicles to the road won't apply here. That gives us a greater advantage in getting very close to the animals. After our morning and afternoon game drives, we enjoy a sundowner on the way back to the camp. We can also do night drives here, something that is not permitted in the Masai Mara Reserve itself.
For the next five days we have a game drive at sunrise and in the late afternoon until sunset. After three nights at Porini Mara Camp, we transfer to Entim Mara Camp. This is situated within the Masai Mara Reserve and is more upscale, but we will now be subject to the governmental regulations of the park (i.e. no night drives and staying on the roads). Wildlife photography will still be awesome, of course, and both areas of the Mara will yield great experiences and great pictures.
DAY 12, Monday, August 15. After breakfast we drive back to Nairobi this morning and arrive for check in at the Eka Hotel for a day room. We have lunch, and then per each person's schedule, you'll be transferred to the airport in the late afternoon or evening for the international flight home, satisfied in knowing that you've taken some of the best pictures of your life. How could you not in such incredible places?
TOUR COST: $8950
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1043
TOUR PRICE INCLUDES: All lodging per the itinerary, transfers to Lake Nakuru, to Masai Mara (both camps), and back to Nairobi as well as to and from the airport, all meals in the Porini and Entim Camp lodges, mineral water, soft drinks, house wines, beers, gin & tonic, park and conservancy fees, sundowners, guided walks, two lunches in Nairobi, all game drives, photo instruction, model fees for Masai, and luggage handling in the camps.
NOT INCLUDED: International airfare, visa, vaccinations, tipping safari drivers, items of a personal nature.
For the best wildlife photography, you will need a lens at least 400mm in length, although a 500mm or longer is better. Jim always carries to Africa a 1.4x and a 2x teleconverter to boost the focal length of his long lens.
You should also have a flash, a macro lens, and a wide angle. A tripod isn't essential since most photography will be done from vehicles. A good sand bag is important to steady your telephoto lens in the vehicle.
Drop Jim a note and ask him what he recommends for you given the equipment you already have. His direct email is email@example.com.