Masai Mara Big Cat Photographic Safari 2020
24th October – 1st November 2020 – Fully Booked
31st October – 8th November 2020 – Fully Booked
Group Size: 6
Tour Leaders: Tom Way On Behalf Of Natures Images
Over the course of our years working in Kenya we have become increasingly impressed with what the conservancy area of Mara North has to offer in terms of space, species and at this time of year in particular relative quiet. We will based at the comfortable Offbeat Mara camp which will allow us to make the most of all of this. We will have exclusive use of the camp for our entire stay.
The area in which we will be based has excellent numbers of lion, cheetah and leopard which will be our main focuses throughout. We have the flexibility here to work off-road from vehicles offering a row per photographer and without time pressures to get back to camp for sunset either. This all results in a high-quality photography focussed trip at a time of year that additionally offers potentially changeable weather and the dramatic light that this can offer.
Day 1: We will look to arrive in Nairobi in early evening after our international flights and will transfer to the comfortable Macushla House for our short overnight stay.
Day 2: In the morning and after breakfast we will head to Wilson Airport for our 45-minute flight to our camp in the Mara North Conservancy in time to settle in and meet our local drivers and guides. After lunch we will head off for our first afternoon drive returning to camp after sunset before relaxing in front of the campfire and enjoying our first camp-based dinner. We have arranged for additional cargo seats for our flights and will therefore have an enhanced 25Kg luggage allowance per person.
Days 3 – 7: This is a corner of Africa that is famous for its big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah will be our main priorities for the week. The conservancy is an excellent location to work with all of these species as we have flexibility to work off road and also in terms of times we have to be back at camp and so we will never have to leave a leopard up a tree in great light to get back into camp. There is a great discipline here too at sightings which means relaxed subjects and quality photography opportunities as a result. The pattern to each day will be similar – will embark on our first drive at 6.00am and will continue until late morning dependant on animal activity and light conditions 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 and time for some advice on your images and also processing as you wish. We will return to our vehicles for an afternoon drive and return after sunset to again look to relax by the campfire and for dinner
Day 8: We will have time for a final morning drive on this our last full day before a final breakfast and then catching our return flight to Nairobi. We will have the chance to refresh at a comfortable airport hotel where we will base ourselves for the rest of the day and before our evening international flights home.
Day 9: Arrive home in the morning after our overnight flights.
Our accommodation consists of the comfortable tents typical of African safari lodges with all bedding and towels provided. 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 day time temperature is typically around 20 – 25 degrees celsius so in terms of clothing you will need light¬weight and shower-proof clothing with a fleece or warm outer layer for the early morning drives and evenings around the camp. Footwear needs to be just of the sensible outdoor variety. Sun cream, a hat, lip moisturiser and sunglasses are also recommended, as we will be exposed to the sun for long periods 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 daily at camp.
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 optionally 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 (assuming 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 intermediate zoom (70-200 or 100-400) so that you do not miss the chance for some images that put subjects in more of a setting are also recommended. The camp is quite happy to fill beanbags so you could look to bring an empty one of these with you. Tri- pods are not necessary really as they are not vehicle compatible and even more so 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 but a beanbag generally works best and offers the most flexibility. Bring plenty of compact flash cards with you as well because if you get a good drive you will take a lot of images! With the extra cargo seats we have pre-booked the flights out to the Mara have a strict weight policy of 25kg so your camera kit and everything else that you take 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 would 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), so a laptop for storing/reviewing images is fine as a method of storing images as you go. Plugs are British conformation.
Help And Guidance:
One of the most important factors of a photographic safari is that you receive as much help and guidance as required. You will receive personal coaching on this trip and Tom will assist you with every step. Whilst in the vehicle, Tom will be in constant communication with the driver to position yourselves in the best spot for your photographs taking into account the lighting and background. He will be able to give advice regarding what settings to use at different sightings and also advice regarding compositions.
During the heat of the afternoons when the wildlife is seeking shade or during the evenings Tom gives various talks and presentations about taking wildlife images on safari. Topics covered such as capturing character, shooting in different lightings conditions and looking for the perfect backgrounds. Tom also gives a processing session and shows you how to go about processing your images in Adobe Lightroom that you have taken on safari.Price
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:
Week 1: http://www.natures-images.co.uk/holiday/kenyas-big-cats-africa-2020/ -Fully Booked