Luxury Great Migration Safari in Kenya's Masai Mara, September 2014

September 4-12, 2014

Safari Leaders:
Andy Biggs and Grant Atkinson

Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for more workshop and safari dates.

Mountain Gorilla

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 off-roading driving and very few vehicles. We have selected the Masai Mara at this time of year to coincide with the Great Migration as it moves through the Game Reserve and surrounding private conservancies. The annual movement of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. 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 lions, cheetahs and hyenas hunting 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.

Note: This safari can be combined with our Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees, The Ultimate Great Apes Photo Safari, which runs immediately prior to this safari.

Safari Highlights

• 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 Olare Motorogi Conservancy. 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 refrigerators allowing for unhindered movement for photography.
• Offroading capabilities within the conservancy, allowing for excellent vehicle positioning for the best possible photographs.
• 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.

The Schedule

September 04-05, 2014; (1 Night)
THE EMAKOKO - Nairobi, Kenya

On your arrival in Nairobi, you will be met by our local representative, who will assist you across the terminal and to your Emakoko transfer vehicle. The drive to your hotel will take you through Nairobi National Park, where the Emakoko is located.

The Emakoko allows guests to start their safari in the wildlife environment they have travelled so far to enjoy. Within 15 minutes of clearing customs they can be viewing game in Nairobi National park. The only “transfer” delays likely to be encountered en route to or from The Emakoko are the natural pauses to watch a pride of lions or waiting for a rhino or journey of giraffe to cross the road.

The beautifully appointed rooms look out over the game park so one can fall asleep to the sounds of Africa, a lion roaring or the cry of a lone hyena, an amazing contrast to the sounds of traffic, ambulances, fire engines and dogs barking, which are the normal sounds of any sleeping city. There are five rooms on the same level as the main areas and a further five rooms with the most spectacular views positioned on top of the cliff, overlooking the valley.

The Emakoko is situated on the Nairobi park boundary and they have direct access into the park. The Emakoko has 4 Toyota Land cruisers, converted especially for game viewing. The guides are also KPSGA qualified and have a huge amount of knowledge on the flora and fauna in the area. Nairobi National park is famous for its very healthy black Rhino population and is renowned for very close encounters with lions.

On the morning of the 5th, our group will be transferred to Wilson Airport, where we will board our private charter flight to the Masai Mara and Mara Plains Camp..

Mountain Gorilla

September 5-12, 2014

MARA PLAINS CAMP - Olare Orok Conservancy, Masai Mara region, Kenya

On the morning of the 5th, 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 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.

Mountain Gorilla

September 12, 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 at the Ole Sereni Hotel, near the airport, 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

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $12,995 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). This safari can be combined with our Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees, The Ultimate Great Apes Photo Safari, which runs immediately prior to this safari.

What's Included?

• 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).
• Visas
• 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