Luxury Big Cat Safari in Kenya's Masai Mara, January 2014
January 18-26, 2014
Safari Leaders: Andy Biggs and Grant Atkinson
Safari Leaders: Andy Biggs and Grant Atkinson
Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for more workshop and safari dates.
About The Photographic Safari
In January 2014, Andy Biggs and Grant Aktinson will lead a private group of photographers to Kenya's famed Masai Mara. Come and avoid the crowds by staying in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy for offroading driving and very few vehicles. The safari will focus on photographing the amazing array of predators and large quantities of resident wildlife in Kenya's Masai Mara. This safari combines some of Africa's finest wildlife photography experiences, superb accommodation, and expert guiding. If you have ever wanted to be in the best location and have the best opportunities for cheetahs chasing their prey, this is the safari for you. These types of photographs take an enormous time out in the field, and you will be with like-minded photographers who are willing to put their time in to get the photos. We will have sole use of a luxury camp on private land, and we will have the ability to drive off-road in order to get the best angles possible of our subjects.
• Game drives in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy (where our camp is located), bordering the Masai Mara to the north. Unlike the Mara itself, this reserve is private to the very few camps located here, so we will not experience the larger crowds present inside the Mara Game Reserve. With this said, we will have the option of driving into the Mara each day if we decide to, although the game viewing is as good or better in the Orok. We will also have the option of returning to camp after dark since we are not subject to the rules of the National Park.
• We have modified vehicles, specifically setup for photography, with only 1 person per row of seating (the vehicles have either 2 or 3 rows behind the driver, plus a seat next to the driver if you want to be lower down to the ground.) The vehicles are open 4x4 vehicles with shooting platforms, storage areas, auxiliary power and regrigerators allowing for unhindered movement for photography.
• Private and exclusive use of the safari camp.
• Private air charters between Nairobi and our private luxury camp.
• Mara Plains Camp is, by far, the nicest camp in all of the Masai Mara.
• Extra luggage allowances to accommodate the special needs of our photographic equipment. The Nairobi-Mara charter flights will allow for an average of 30-35kg (66 to 77lbs) per person.
• This itinerary focuses on up-close and real wildlife experiences from the surroundings of premier accommodations.
Is This Safari For You?
Here are some key points to help you decide:
1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and offer an experience that will suit everyone’s photographic needs.
2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We will spend most our time and effort on safari / photographic activities and making images.
3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love this safari. The wildlife experiences on this trip will appeal to anyone with a love for animals and nature.
January 18-19, 2014; (1 Night)
OLE SERENI HOTEL - Nairobi, Kenya
On your arrival in Nairobi, you will be met by our local representative, who will assist you across the terminal and to check in at the hotel.
Ole-Sereni Hotel is very close to both airport, is well appointed and very secure. The hotel offers guest 134 exquisitely furnished, air-conditioned rooms and suites spread over three floors. Guests will have the opportunity to relax and unwind at the Roof top heated swimming pool that overlooks the park, the Gymnasium and Aerobics Room or the Sports Lounge. One could also enjoy special therapies and treatments at the Massage Centre. The Sauna & Steam Facility and Unisex Salon are other places guests can visit to pamper themselves. WiFi internet is included during your stay at Ole-Sereni.
January 19-26, 2014
MARA PLAINS CAMP - Olare Orok Conservancy, Masai Mara region, Kenya
On the morning of the 19th, we will be transferred to Wilson Airport, where we will catch our private charter flight to Mara Plains Camp.
Mara Plains is located on the northern border of the Masai Mara Game Reserve in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. Rarely a night passes without lion roaring nearby, while leopard are regularly found to wander through the camp and cheetah have established territories on the savannah off the main area.
Mara Plains Camp is a small, luxurious camp under canvas and on raised decks with sweeping views across Kenya’s notable savannahs. It is among the smallest and most personal camps in the Mara region. As one of just three camps currently operating within the Conservancy, which boasts the region’s lowest vehicle density, no mini-buses and only one guest room per 700 acres. It is possible to avoid the high tourist density of the Masai Mara Game Reserve proper, if desired.
No other camp in the greater Masai Mara Game Reserve or Olare Motogrogi Conservancy has the privilege of traversing opportunities of Mara Plains Camp. Guests are able to traverse three areas (Mara North Conservancy, Olare Motorogi Conservancy and Masai Mara) as part of their stay at Mara Plains.
We will have exclusive use of the camp, as well as all of their vehicles at our disposal day and night. Since we have the entire camp at our disposal, there are no set camp schedules or meal times. Plans are tailored around the whims of the day, and as the wildlife dictates.
Typically we rise just before dawn, have a quick bite, and head out at first light to see what has happened overnight. We look for tracks and signs of nocturnal activity, perhaps heading in the direction of the lion calls and hyena laughs we heard from bed. The big cats are usually quite active in the early hours. As the sun begins to rise in the sky, and the heat mounts, we head back to our mid-day resting post, Mara Plains Camp for a brunch and a bit of a siesta. Or, if guests prefer, it’s a lovely time sit quietly and bird on the river. Our guides will introduce us to the abundant bird life and can help you identify trees and local plant species, or sharpen our wildlife tracking skills. Quite often we have hunting cheetahs near camp, and we often choose to have lunch brought out to us while we sit and watch for drama to unfold. This is the magic of Mara Plains; the ability to do what we want, to have many photographic opportunities close by and to enjoy the experience of taking photographs in one of Africa's best locations.
In the late afternoon, as the sun wanes, we are off again in search of wildlife. It’s a time to savor the African sunset with refreshing sundowner drinks and snacks before continuing our drive as nocturnal animals become more active with dusk. A hearty dinner awaits us back at camp whenever its time to return. We share stories of the day around the campfire and under the stars. So goes another blissful day in Africa.
We may also do full-day adventures to the Masai Mara Game Reserve. For full day expeditions, lavish picnic boxes with cold drinks are provided. We will also have the opportunity to visit a local Masai village (or "Enkang" in Maa) to learn more about the traditions and culture of the surrounding community and photograph the people and their village.
Hot air balloon safaris are also available. This is a very early morning activity, giving stunning views of the sunrise, the landscape and a sense of the sheer size of the Masai Mara region.
January 26, 2014
Today we will catch our private charter flight back to Wilson Airport in Nairobi. On arrival, we will be met by our representatives and will have some day rooms at our disposal to shower and get ready for our international flights back home. International flights may be scheduled to depart that evening to home destinations. See note below regarding travel extensions.
The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $11,985 per person. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals (except as noted above and in exclusions below).
• Accommodation on a shared basis (single rooms in Nairobi).
• 2x trip leaders (Andy Biggs and Grant Atkinson).
• Private safari vehicles at Mara Plains Camp
• Luggage allowance Mara charters (2 caravans): 75 pounds.
• All safari activities and transfers to/from the airports and the hotels.
• Daily laundry.
• Olare Motorogi/ Mara North Conservancy fees and Masai Mara Game Reserve fees.
• Meet & Assist service on arrival in Nairobi.
• All meals and drinks at Mara Plains Camp.
• Round trip private air charter: Nairobi to Mara Plains Camp.
• The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Tax .
• One row per guest on game drive vehicles at Mara Plains - (note that the front seat next to the driver is also counted as a row for this purpose).
What is Not Included?
• International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Nairobi.
• Dinner / Drinks in Nairobi on May 30, due to late arrivals (except at breakfast).
• Travel Insurance
• Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
• Gratuities for guides and hotel staff
• Pre- and post- safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari
What Do I Do Next?
Our group size is limited and we expect that this trip will fill up. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.