Elephant calf, protected by the massive umbrella
Masai Mara Kenya Photo Safari
Custom private tours
The lions were low in the grass stalking their prey, a small herd of impala, all at once they took off at full speed trying to catch their next meal. All the photographers in our photo tour group were happily clicking away getting amazing action shots.
Yes - we believe we can make this happen in front of your eyes, as it often does in the savannah of Kenya in East Africa. Even better - the value photo tour price includes all lodging and meal expenses while on safari. That's a significant discount from the average safari tour of the area and it is specifically designed for a small group of photographers.
Longtime wildlife tour leader, Daryl Hunter has crafted an affordable photo safari in a traditionally expensive part of the Masai Mara National Reserve which is actually an extension of the more famous Serengeti. We also will also stay in the Mara North Conservancy, a beautiful private wilderness area of more than 70,000 acres. Jennifer Hall will bring her wildlife expertise along. Jen has also been to Kenya several times before and is the lead crafter of this safari.
Masai Mara Lion family
Our safari will be based out of permanent tented safari camps (with good showers). We will be accompanied by local Kenyan guides who track wildlife and know where to find them in the best lighting situations.
Photographers have a different approach to viewing wildlife and you will benefit by traveling with only photographers on a safari which will cater to photographers’ needs. Traditional tourist-oriented, safaris are geared for the sightseers who are more interested in seeing the animals than concerned about the light and getting a world class photo. Africa's eco-tourism safari guides sometimes need reminders from the photo safari hosts what is expected by our photographer guests.
Masai Mara National Reserve is a legendary locale - known throughout the world for its diversity of species and dramatic landscapes. The diversity of habitats in the park, from open savannahs to lush riverine forests, allows photographers the benefit of selecting preferred landscapes for their photographs. The animals in the Masai Mara have adapted to the presence of vehicles which gives photographers many opportunities to get that special shot.
The camps Daryl and Jen have chosen are at the center of where the BBC's "Big Cat Diary" was filmed, the Marsh Pride of lions near one camp, Leopard Gorge near the other.
It has been said that even an hour in paradise is a rewarding experience and this can also be said to be true of Africa's greatest wildlife sanctuary. Yes, an hour is rewarding, but a week is a life-changing experience. For an authentic safari experience, this heart of Kenya safari will give us an unbelievable overview of this iconic destination.
Mating pair of lions
Game viewing in the Masai Mara has to be one of the ultimate safari experiences in Africa. These are the animals most people would like to see on safari as they are dangerous and/or exciting to watch. The "big five" was a phrase coined by big game hunters and it refers to the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot. The Big Five consists of the following animals: lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros. Africa's "super-seven", is the big-five animals plus wild dogs and cheetahs.
October is an excellent time for East Africa's savannahs - the wildebeest migration may still be happening which often provides awesome, if gruesome action in and along the Mara River.
We are arranging the best photo experience possible - with a true adventure atmosphere with fellow photographers. Your two hosts are known for their professionalism, organization and hospitality - and for making things fun. Couple that with a value price which includes all lodging and meals while in camp and at a significant discount versus other photo safaris in the area - and we feel we've got a winning combination for photographers of all ages and all skill levels.
Optional Safari Extension
A trip to Amboseli National Park for Mt. Kilimanjaro and elephants.
$1800.00 - single supplement = $255.00
A testimony from Jennifer
I was unexpectedly fortunate enough to be introduced to Kenya by my father. While I was excited to go to a country I had never been to and see animals I had really never dreamed were a part of my future, the entire trip took me by complete surprise.
The moment I set foot in our first park, I have never felt such a sense of excitement, peace, anticipation, and love. Both trips gave me the exact same feelings. Every moment seemed like the best moment - the best part of the trip - until the next moment. Driving down a dirt road and seeing giraffes eating, to see their long tongues working around the thorns of an Acacia tree was so interesting. An elephant walking out of the trees, its beautiful face, ears, tusks - those trunks, I immediately fell in love with them. And spending more time watching their behavior and learning more about them, I am in awe of them. I am especially infatuated with the babies! I was so excited to see my first lion, I remember telling everyone I didn’t want to leave (it was sleeping). Our guides assured me we would see more, and we did. To see lions in their natural environment, watching them interact with each other as a pride, was very special. The second trip to Kenya left me with more amazing images of these Masai Mara lions. Seeing Cheetahs close-up was a dream! Wow, did I just see that? All the cat sightings were just more than I could have hoped for.
Lion Cub, Masi Mara
The most entertaining animal may have been the baboons. I could spend all day watching them. They are so fun. Every animal, even down to the warthogs, were captivating. Each trip is different and you see such a variety of wildlife and birds each time, but the excitement is just as fresh and incomparable. Everyone has seen pictures of Kenya’s wildlife, but it is unbelievably exciting to see it in person. I wondered if it would be somehow different on my second trip, however, it was just as intoxicating. With every new animal came even more enthusiasm, it felt as if I was on another planet. If you love wildlife, you will love Kenya.
I fell in complete love with Kenya. The absolute abundance of wildlife in Kenya is amazing. I loved seeing a new animal for the first time. I loved getting to know each and every animal I saw, learning about them from our guides. Africa’s wildlife is just so different than ours, so unique - absolutely a thrill to see. The landscape and wildlife were amazing, but another unexpected part of the trips for me was the love of the people. The people of Kenya were so kind, caring, and happy. I loved seeing their villages, their smiles, and their way of life. Even though I have already been a couple times, I would jump at the chance to return to Kenya anytime. I hope everyone who joins us on this trip, feels the same love as I do about Kenya. Registration Form
Click through Jennifer's Masai Mara photo album
Impala and Rhino at the waterhole
What to Expect
Our main focus will be the amazing wildlife of the Masai Mara. We will always be on the look-out for interesting images during our photo adventure and for this reason, our itineraries are always subject to change. Weather plays a major role in capturing the best images possible. Changing light and weather conditions will always be assessed and changes in the schedule will be made accordingly. Flexibility, patience, and a sense of adventure are key to having a great time and capturing stellar photographs - and we intend to give you a great photography experience.
Group size is ten participants plus your two photography hosts, Jennifer Hall and Daryl Hunter. Small group dynamics enable more individualized instruction for those who would like to have the field guidance. Our adventure offers you a chance to combine a spectacular vacation, a wonderful creative learning experience with manageable group dynamics.
Zebras all lined up
October averages 78 degrees during the day
What we expect from you
Kenya safari vehicle setup, four people per vehicle, one sits shotgun, the rest have full benches.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, Kenya’s premier hub and ideal gateway into and out of East and Central Africa is where you fly into.
Lion, Balanite Tree, Masai Mara, Kenya - iconic Africa
Day One: Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya
Upon arrival at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport you will be met by our safari representative who will take you The Boma Hotel for overnight stay.
Nairobi is the capital and the largest city of Kenya, the city was founded by the British in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway. Nairobi is a major business hub in East and Central Africa.
Day Two: Masai Mara Game Reserve
After breakfast, we check out of The Boma Hotel and depart by road to the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve. It is one of the great wonders of the world in terms of animal migrations, as per ABC news “Good Morning America show." It’s also considered a "must see" by almost all visitors going on safari. It is on the "to-do" list for many because the park is graced by a wide variety of unique and exquisite wildlife and birds.
We arrive at our first camp in time for lunch followed by check in, here we will spend the next three days. You have the option afternoon at leisure, relaxing by the camp’s sun-heated pool and/or departing for an afternoon game viewing around 4:00 p.m. returning after sunset for supper and to enjoy the camp.
Day Three: Morning and afternoon game viewing in the Masai Mara National Reserve has been scheduled for you. You can also decide to book an optional balloon ride over the plains of the Masai Mara, which takes you over the diverse habitats of the Masai Mara Reserve; glide over the great Mara River, swamps, forests, wildlife and the African Savannah. The quiet, relaxing ride allows you to view an amazing assortment of wildlife from a unique bird’s-eye view. Once you land there is a bush champagne breakfast served, you will thereafter proceed on a morning game viewing drive in the reserve. Afternoon game viewing has been scheduled as well on this day.
Day Four: Enjoy your final full day exploring the Masai Mara National Reserve, this time the choice is yours, if its during the annual migration period, drive towards the Mara River, wildebeest arrive at the Mara River in the tens of thousands. Eventually they will choose a crossing point which may vary from day to day or even annually, fairly placid stretch of water without predators although occasionally they will choose suicidal places and drown in the hundreds while other will be attacked by crocodiles.
Maasai children in their village
Day Five: Mara North Conservancy
Short game drive before breakfast followed by check out; you will be transferred by road from camp one at Masai Mara National Reserve, to your second camp in the Mara North Conservancy, arriving at the camp in time for lunch.
Afternoon game viewing has been schedule on this day within Mara North Conservancy. The Mara North Conservancy is a private wilderness which forms the north-western boarder of Masai Mara within an area of more than 74,000 acres. Witness a spectacular sunset as the sun sets over the Ololoolo escarpment.
Day Six: Early morning game drive followed by breakfast at the camp or you can decide to take with you a picnic bush breakfast within the conservancy area. This is the day you will be searching for the pride of lions, coalition of cheetahs, clan of hyenas, leap of leopards or pack of jackals stalking the zebras, antelope, gnus, wildebeest, giraffes, warthogs, gazelles, hartebeests, hippos, elands, buffalo etc. Return back to the camp for hot lunch. An afternoon game viewing has been scheduled for the group.
Day Seven: This day will be spent exploring the conservancy for selected photos or spend a relaxed day at the camp which is stylishly designed to provide the ideal safari experience where comfort, luxury and outstanding personal service combine naturally with the beautiful wilderness. Lunch will be served at the camp. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, relax by the sun-heated pool before you depart for your evening game viewing.
Day Eight Short game drive, then breakfast followed by check out. Depart by road back to Nairobi. Lunch will be served at a city restaurant in Nairobi.
Transfer to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your international departure flight or a night of hotel rest before departure for the "Optional Safari Extension."
Optional Safari Extension
A trip to Amboseli National Park for Mt. Kilimanjaro photos
$1,800.00, single supplement = $195.00
Giraffe beneath Mount Kilimanjaro
Have you ever seen that iconic African Savannah photo of the elephant with snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro towering above? Amboseli National Park is where you go to capture that photo. The caveat; Mt. Kilimanjaro, like all of the tallest mountains of the world, often hides in the clouds of their own making. Amboseli National Park is also known for its plethora of wild elephants. If the mountain appears, it isn’t difficult to put an elephant between you and the mountain. Daryl can’t imagine having an African Portfolio without this classic savannah photo as a part of it.
Day Eight: For those continuing on the optional safari extension upon arrival in Nairobi transfer to The Boma Hotel for overnight stay.
Day Nine: After breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart for Amboseli National Park. Amboseli National Park is famous for its large herd of free-ranging elephants. The park 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 their natural habitat. We arrive in time for lunch.
Kilimanjaro at sunset
Afternoon game viewing in the park set at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is at 19,341 feet above sea level, the highest freestanding mountain in the world and topped by one fifth of all the ice in Africa. Hopefully with an elephant in front of it!
Day Ten: Breakfast will be served at lodge, thereafter depart for morning game viewing. The park is famous for its tranquil beauty that allows fabulous wildlife viewing, photography and easy approachable wildlife which include big families of elephants, lions, impalas, giraffes, gazelles etc. Hopefully with Mount Kilimanjaro towering above!
An optional and recommended complimentary visit to a Maasai Cultural Village that reveals the singing and dancing which are part of their daily lives and sacred rituals. A glimpse into their homes and social structure is a memorable experience. They live in close harmony with the environment and the wild animals. Lunch will be served at the lodge followed by afternoon game viewing.
Day Eleven: A short early game drive followed by breakfast served at the lodge, game viewing enroute to Nairobi. Upon arrival in Nairobi transfer to the city hotel or to the airport for departure back to the states.
Maasai child and yes, those are flies all over his eyes. The Maasai live in such close promixity to their livestock, this doesn't even bother them.
Services Not Included
That is our safari!!
Boma Hotel Nairobi
Mara River view from camp two
A tent bed from camp one
Tent bathroom, camp one
Outdoor shower, camp two
Lodging and Hotel Accommodation
We begin at Nairobi's The Boma Hotel to rest up from the long flight.
Safari Camp = 6 nights 7 days
We will be staying at two different modern tented safari camps. Intimate and comfortable traditional lodging is combined with excellent service. The camp creates a traditional African Safari feel to your journey, and you can be forgiven for thinking you were transported back in time to a different era in unexplored Africa.
Permanent semi luxury tented rooms. We will debark every day from here to experience wildlife game drives in the Masai Mara.
African styled tented rooms create the perfect ambiance for your safari stay.
The tented rooms combine privacy and comfort complete with en suite bathrooms with a shower, while upholding the traditions of an African safari camp. Wifi is available at the camps. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided at the camps.
Drinks are not included.
Safari camp swimming pool
To be determined by wants and needs
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$300.00 discount if deposit is received by 6/1/17
Single suplement = $650.00
Couples discount, $200.00 pp, including traveling buddies.
What's included in the price?
What's not included in the price?
Deposit, payment schedule and refund policy Read carefully
Do you recommend trip insurance?
Yes, there are few things more disconcerting than paying for an adventure that you can't join because of unforeseen difficulties. It is recommended that you purchase travel insurance to cover any non-refundable registration fees, travel, lodging, equipment rental or any other related expenses. Things happen. The cost for travel insurance is typically 4-7% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other factors. Knowing you have 100% trip cancellation coverage can make a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason. Travel Insurance is highly recommended.
What type of camera equipment do I need?
Is this a tour or workshop?
Are there any baggage limitations during the trip?
What will the weather be like?
I plan on traveling alone. Do I need to bring someone?
Can a non-photographer friend or spouse attend the workshop?
Does weather ever alter or cancel events?
Do you recommend trip insurance?
Do I need a passport?
Have more questions?