Masai Mara Migration Safari
27th July – 4th August 2019 – 1 Place Left
Group Size: 12
Tour Leaders: Tom Way and David Lloyd On Behalf Of Natures Images
Way up among the great wildlife spectacles is the annual migration that occurs in the Masai Mara – the river crossings of the vast numbers of wildebeest being the dramatic peak of this amazing annual event. The private luxury camp at Entim, inside the park itself and where we will be based for this trip, will place us right at the heart of the action as the camp is based right next to one of the river crossings so there’s every chance one could occur literally on our doorstep. As if this mass gathering isn’t enough there is the added drama of crocodiles lying in wait for the crossings themselves, and further opportunities to photograph the famous prides of lions, cheetah, leopard, elephant and with luck black rhino as well as the dramatic settings that the Mara has to offer: every day is more than capable of delivering something totally different and equally special here. This will be a photographic safari to remember on which we will work with a whole row of seats per photographer in each vehicle to ensure you the best of the many encounters we will have.
Day 1: We will look to arrive in Nairobi in early evening after our international flights and will transfer to the comfortable Serena Hotel for our short overnight stay.
Day 2: In the morning we will arrange the ground transportation for your luggage to ensure that the 15kg weight restriction on the next morning’s internal flight proves to be no issue given the heaviness of carrying photographic and other gear. Taking our photographic equipment with us, after breakfast we will head to Wilson Airport for our 45-minute flight to our camp in the Masai Mara, in time to settle in, meet our local drivers and guides. We will be based at Entim camp which is based inside the reserve, close to the action and with quick access to the main river crossing points, one of which is located right in front of the camp itself allowing us the chance to watch crossings from the camp confines and away from the tourist traffic elsewhere. After lunch we will head o for our first afternoon drive at around 3.30pm. We will return to camp about 6.00pm where our luggage will be waiting for us before relaxing in front of the campfire and enjoying dinner at around 7.30-8.00pm.
Days 3-7: We will look to make the most out of each of these full days we have to photograph in the Mara. This is a setting that has the highest density of wildlife in Africa, and with this trip coinciding with the peak of the migration season there will be over 1.5 million wildebeest, giraffe and zebra around us along with the Masai Mara’s justifiably famous big cats with lion, cheetah and with luck the more elusive leopard in good densities and offering the chance for some great encounters. The possibility of serval, plenty of hyenas, birdlife including secretary birds and tawny eagles and the diversity and potential on offer is endless for every drive. Looking for the drama of a wildebeest crossing though will be our main priority as this has to be one of the most amazing spectacles in the natural world. Our camp actually embraces one of the main crossing points so we might even be lucky enough to witness a crossing whilst at base. Each morning we will embark on our first drive at 6.00am and will continue until around midday or longer dependant on animal activity with a short break for a light breakfast and refreshment during this outing. Every photographer will have a whole row of seats on each drive, ensuring ample space and flexibility for photography. On returning to camp there is time for lunch, a short rest, downloading images and time for some advice on your images and also processing as you wish. We will return to our vehicles for an afternoon drive at 3.30pm and return at 6.00pm to again look to relax by the camp fire with dinner at 7.30-8.00pm and no doubt with images also to be discussed and compared as well!
Day 8: We will have time for a final 3 hour morning drive on this our last full day before a final breakfast at 9.00am and then catching our return flight to Nairobi at 11.00am. We will have the chance to refresh at the Serena Hotel once again in the afternoon while our luggage catches us up and before our evening international flights home. There may be an option for you to book a day room during our time here but this is not included: the lounge area where we will relax is comfortable and spacious and there is also a pool area we can relax in outside too: this has a changing room/shower too.
Day 9: Arrive home in the morning after our overnight flights.
Our accommodation consists of the luxury tents typical of African safari lodges and it is clean and very comfortable with all bedding and towels provided so you simply need to bring yourself. If you have any special dietary requirements we can sort that out when we get to camp but if there is anything very unusual in that respect do please let us know in advance. Bottled water is provided at all times in the camp. The daytime temperature is typically around 20 – 25 degrees Celsius so in terms of clothing you’ll obviously need light- weight and potentially shower-proof clothing with a fleece or warm outer layer for the early morning drives and evenings around the campfire. Footwear needs to be just of the sensible outdoor variety. Sun cream, a hat, lip moisturiser and sunglasses are also recom- mended, as we will be exposed to the sun for long peri- ods as the vehicles have an open hatch. Malaria tablets are recommended, and please liaise with your doctor as to which to take and bring. Insect repellent is useful as they can occasionally be a nuisance and other items like aspirin and the like are good for peace of mind. Laundry is provided free of charge daily at camp but they will not cater for women’s underwear.
Finally in terms of tips for our drivers and camp staff then the preferred denomination for this (and any expenditure generally) is US$ and as a rough guideline $10 – $15 per day for the driver is advised: there is also a camp tip box for the camp staff which you can op- tionally contribute to on the last day. Other than this there should be no need to pay anything in the camp as all food, water, soft drinks and local alcohol is included in the price; the only extra charge would be for non-local alcohol like foreign wines and spirits.
In terms of camera kit it very much depends on your style of photography. Lenses of up to 400mm (as- suming a full frame body) will suffice for 90% of your needs as the animals can get quite close: if you want to work on your bird photography while you are here a longer lens will be required though. Supplementary lenses for other opportunities such as a 24-70mm for wide-angle opportunities and definitely an intermedi- ate zoom (70-200 or 100-400) so that you don’t miss the chance for some images that put subjects in more of a setting are also recommended. Beanbags are pro- vided but they are not the best, but the camp is quite happy to fill a refillable one so you could look to bring an empty one of these with you. Tripods are not neces- sary really as they are not vehicle compatible so we will not be taking them, especially given their weight. If you want to use a tripod head then it is possible to attach it to the vehicles but you will need to have a clamp attachment to do so. If you have and wish to use a monopod then this is a further option. Bring plenty of compact flash cards with you as well because if you get a good drive you will take a lot of images! Flights out to the Mara have a strict weight policy of 15kg (hence why we arrange ground transportation for your luggage) so your camera kit that you will take and need for that first afternoon drive needs to meet that very strict maximum.
During the mid-day rests and evenings we will have a chance to critique and look at individuals work if you so wish so feel free to bring anything you’d like to share on either a laptop or memory pen/CD. If you have any questions or concerns during the trip please ask, we are here to help.
There is power in the camp (although the generators are turned off overnight), 3G phone reception and Wi- fi too in the communal areas (although of the speed you would expect of a remote satellite based system), so a laptop for storing/reviewing images is fine as a method of storing images as you go. Plugs are British conformation.
Cost includes: All transfers, park fees, game drives, meals and accommodation in Kenya.
Cost excludes: International flights, Kenya visa, sundry items, non- local alcoholic drinks (ie spirits) and tips/gratuities for camp staff and drivers.
If you have any questions at all about this trip please do not hesitate to get in contact with either Tom (07876 333787) or the team at Natures Images (01952 411436). You are able to book this trip directly through this link: http://www.natures-images.co.uk/holiday/masai-mara-migration-africa-2019/