About Your Kenya Photo Safari
We will ease into safari mode by staying at the delightful Macushla House in Nairobi. It is in the style of Karen Blixen’s home…the one from Out of Africa! You will feel welcome, and it will seem as if you are at home. On the second day, we relax and get into the groove of the time zone. There are many beautiful birds and playful monkeys to photograph at the hotel. We get things kicked off after lunch with a private visit to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. They do fabulous work rescuing baby elephants and raising them with an eye on returning them to the wild. We will be allowed behind the scenes to watch, photograph. and interact with the babies playing and splashing in their favorite waterhole. If you are fortunate, you might be gifted with a hug from a baby elephant!
For this safari, I take small groups of people to visit Kenya during the “green” season. While Kenya is normally beautiful beyond compare, during the green season, it takes on an almost magical presentation that is beyond your wildest imaginings. The plains are a vibrant green, surrounding you with luscious growth and beautiful visions for miles in every direction. The safari will lead you through the stunning Amboseli National Park, and if the “shy mountain” Kilimanjaro allows, you will have the opportunity to see vast herds of elephants crossing under the watchful eye of “Kili.” Watching families of elephants moving together is awe-inspiring, and you will never see such a sight with a more beautiful background. No amount of nature documentaries will prepare you for the image of these creatures as they make their way through the park. We spend three days roaming and photographing Amboseli’s famed elephants and who knows what other amazing sights.
Next up, the Masai Mara National Park. The Mara is “big cat country” and boasts the highest density of lions in all of Africa. On a recent safari, we saw 26 lions on the way from the airstrip to the lodge! I’ve been on safaris all over Africa, and I am always surprised at what we see in the Mara, it’s crazy good! We will stay at two camps in the Mara to cover as much of the park and the conservancy as possible.
Your safari accommodations are in tented camps, with running water for the ensuite toilets and wash basins. The best part is the bucket shower! It takes a minute to get used to that, but a safari is supposed to be an adventure!
Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.
The safari camps are located on conservancies that border the parks. These are basically huge parks unto themselves, and as such, they have their own rules that are far less restrictive than the national parks. For example, we can go on night drives, we can be out of the vehicles and most if not all of the guides and drivers were born here. Many of the guides are multigenerational and were literally raised to be guides. Nobody on earth knows the wildlife of this area like your guides. The guides really make this safari exceptional. Well, and me too!
This Kenya Photo Safari spans a total of thirteen days and twelve nights with each day acting as a new opportunity to see the world in a way that you never have before. I allow for a total of six clients to keep the experience intimate so that I can focus on each of you while you all focus on the endless photography opportunities that Kenya has to offer. Our travel will be carried out on two private safari vehicles, and each of you will have your own row to ensure that you don’t miss anything, have plenty of space and are more comfortable. Along the way, I will provide you with knowledge about Kenya as a whole, as well as with facts regarding the lives of the animals that we will be viewing and photographing so that you have a better understanding of what you are witnessing. In addition to this, I will act as your personal photography coach to ensure that you leave this experience with photographs that are sure to amaze anyone that you share them with.
I have designed this Kenya Photo safari to be a unique experience that you will rival any other you may have for the rest of your life. For any questions regarding the safari in Kenya or the process, feel free to contact me. I am always happy to talk about Africa!
“There is a language going on out there – the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops and chirps have meaning derived over eons of expression…we have yet to become fluent in the language – and music – of the wild.”
February 8, 2020 – Day 1
We will meet you at Nairobi International Airport and deliver you to our lodge in Nairobi. I’ve chosen a lovely nearby colonial-style lodge to ease comfortably into the local time zone. You’ll for sure feel the “Out of Africa” vibe of Macushla House. It’s my absolute favorite space in Nairobi.
The overnight accommodation is spacious with ensuite bathrooms for a maximum of ten guests. Open beamed ceilings, natural woodwork, log fires in the lounges and views over one of the last pockets of indigenous forest, complement the serenity and style of Macushla.
The bar and dining room take on an ambiance of intimacy yet have been host to many a celebratory function and informal business dinner. The food at Macushla will leave you in no doubt that you are in a private home and not a hotel. The terrace and swimming pool are regular venues for guests to relax, choose a tasty dish from the daily menu offered throughout the day and evening, or just a traditional tea with a hint of indulgence – scones, strawberry jam, and cream.
There are some great birds and Vervet Monkeys in the gardens, and you can get some practice in for our safari. Oh, the managers are Carrie and Grant! How cool is that?
“Nothing but breathing the air of Africa, and actually walking through it, can communicate the indescribable sensations.”
William Burchell, 19th Century Explorer
February 9, 2020 – Day 2
Sleep in as you please today and have breakfast at your leisure at Macushla House. We have a light schedule today, and we will have time to do a little shopping for forgotten items, curios, and some local sightseeing.
The highlight of the day will no doubt be our trip to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Orphanage. The DSWT has been rescuing orphaned elephants for years, and to date, they have saved the lives of more than 150 African Elephants! I have made special arrangements with DWST to go on a private tour. We will walk out into the bush with the handlers as they bring the babies home for the night. Along the way, we will stop and watch the elephants drink and play in a waterhole. This is particularly special as it is for our group only.
I’m sure it’ll be a battle to get you out of the baby elephant orphanage so your reward will be dinner at the world famous, Carnivore restaurant. The Carnivore is the ultimate ‘Beast of a Feast’ A variety of meat including ostrich, crocodile, and camel, is roasted over charcoal and carved at your table. Delicious side dishes and an exceptional array of sauces complement this fixed price feast that also includes soup, a selection of desserts and Kenyan coffee. Set in attractive tropical gardens, the service, and the décor are outstanding. Those of you that are not carnivores, there is something for everyone on the menu.
February 10, 2020 – Day 3
Our safari gets underway after breakfast. We’ll head to Nairobi Wilson Airport for our 50-minute flight to the spectacular Amboseli National Park. The park is home to the most amazing elephants in all of Africa. The elephants here have a very high percentage of big tuskers. Fingers crossed we will photograph one of these magnificent beasts.
Our home for the next two days will be Porrini Amboseli Camp (Trip Advisor – 5 Stars) in the private reserve, Selenkay Conservancy.
The camp includes nine spacious guest tents, comfortably furnished and with en suite bathrooms including shower, wash basin and flush toilet. Our tents have solar-powered electric lighting. The camp is small and is on the lines of the traditional luxury safari camp.
Once you settle into your tent, we will re-group for lunch and discuss the rest of the days’ activities. After we eat, we’ll take a short walk to visit the local Masai village for some insight into their way of life and culture. Photography is welcome.
After we return to camp, we will head out on our first game drive. You never know what to expect on a game drive, I’ve been on hundreds, and none of them have ever been the same. The one thing I will guarantee is that you’ll be very excited! We’ll photograph until the sunsets and stop to enjoy a sundowner in the bush before we enjoy a night drive back to the lodge and our evening meal.
February 11-12, 2020 – Days 4 & 5
For the next 2 days, we will explore the conservancy and Amboseli National Park. Amboseli is the home of the elephants, and we will spend a considerable amount of time with the numerous breeding herds in the park. This will be the best photo opportunities of the safari for elephants.
February 13, 2020 – Day 6
After an early breakfast, we will break camp and game drive our way to Porini Mara Camp (Trip Advisor – 5 Stars) in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy on the edge of the Masai Mara.
Once we are settled in and fed, we will head out on a game drive.
February 14-15, 2020 – Day 7 & 8
We will have game drives morning and night as we explore the Ol Kinyei and the magnificent Mara. The Masai Mara and the conservancy are home to lots of big cats! We will surely find lions, leopards, and cheetah. With some luck, we may also find African Wild Cats and some of the other nocturnal felines. We won’t be picky though and take whatever mother nature offers. There is so much wildlife here even the camp offers great wildlife, with a Bush Buck living in the camp and a tree full of birds by the mess tent!
February 16-19, 2020 – Days 9 thru 12
We move camp today to the Olare Moroogi Conservancy and the wondrous Porini Lion Camp (Trip Advisor – 5 Stars). Lion Camp would get 10 stars from me! It’s superb!
Porini Lion Camp is in a unique and stunning setting on the banks of the seasonal Ntiakatiak River within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. This vast area borders the Masai Mara National Reserve and is home to an abundance of animals including Mara’s great Big Cats. There is excellent game viewing within the Conservancy due to its pure natural state and the Porini Lion Camp – with just ten tents – ensures guests have a genuine “away from it all” experience deep in the African bush.
I have certainly seen a lot on the hundreds of game drives I have experienced, but I’ve been blown away by the game viewing at this camp. Two safaris ago we saw 24 lions in the first hour of the first game drive! This will no doubt be the highlight of this Kenya Safari!
The tastefully furnished tents feature solar-powered lighting, ensuite facilities (with hot shower and flush toilet) and a private verandah.
Our active safari life; sleep, eat, game drive, eat, rest, game drive, drink, eat and sleep continues at Lion Camp!
February 20, 2020 – Day 13
Sadly, it’s our final game drive, and then we drive through Masai Mara Reserve (cameras out) on the way to the airstrip. We’ll return to Nairobi and enjoy the luxuries of a day room at the Eka Hotel. Think showers that never run out of hot water, TV, fast internet; wait don’t reflect on that it sounds like home!
We take you by private vehicle to Nairobi International Airport where you can connect with your onward flight.
Note: camp managers or guides may change the daily activities or daily scheduled activities
Note: “delayed departure” options with a later flight back from the camps still require checkout of your tent at the standard time.
Included in the Kenya Safari
Well, you get me and at the price of this safari that is quite a bargain! I will help you with your photography, and of course, we’ll spend time together looking at images and all of that sort of thing. I’ll make sure that your cameras are set up correctly and can answer all of your photography questions.
At Macushla House: Breakfast daily
At Porini camps: all meals & drinks (bottled water, soft drinks, beer, wine, and gin & tonic), sundowners at scenic spots for sunsets, walks with Maasai warriors (optional but included), off-road driving advantages, exclusive wildlife viewing opportunities, day AND night time game drives in private 4×4 safari vehicles, and park fees included.
All domestic airfare is included.
Not Included in the Kenya Safari
Your only expenses will be airfare to Nairobi, gratuities and any items you may decide to buy. And no you can’t buy one of the baby elephants!
There is no such thing as enough glass for birds, but for the mammals, you can live with a 400mm equivalent. There may be times when we will be much closer than you imagine, especially in the conservancies, consider bringing a mid-level zoom too.
Taking 2 camera bodies is good insurance in case something awful happens!
It’s almost impossible to list everything that you’ll need, so just get in touch, and we can talk about what you have and what you might need.
I wrote this blog post about what to pack for safari.
My Safari Kit
I take my Sigma 150-600 that I use on a full frame camera, and I bring a 70-200. I also carry a crop sensor body for a bit more reach and the Sony RX-100 (24-70mm) for landscapes.
US Citizens Traveling To Kenya*
Valid at time of entry and your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of departure from Kenya.
Two blank passport pages are required.
Kenyan Immigration has instituted a strict visa policy whereby all visitors are strongly encouraged to obtain visas by using an online system, though Kenyan Visas are also available upon arrival at international ports of entry including Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required. Please consult with your physician if you have any health concerns or questions.
Arrival and Departure Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NB0) is the international airport in Kenya
When you arrive, you will take a bus from the plane to the arrivals area, where you’ll go through immigration. If you bought the E-Visa, you will see the three lines that are cleverly marked E-Visa. Look at the lines closely and see how many people are working at each station, some have 1 and some have two attendants, the line with two workers does go faster. 🙂
You do need a visa for entry into Nairobi. As of today, it costs $50. As I said before it is possible to buy your Kenya Visa in advance, in my experience, it is usually faster to buy it in person at the airport. Here is the link, if you would prefer purchasing your Visa in advance.
Once you are through there, you will go and get your checked baggage and then leave the baggage area and go outside to find your driver from Gamewatchers. When you exit the baggage area, follow the ramp to the end ignoring the people that you will see before the rock-walled ramp ends. Just say no thank you to anyone that asks if you want a taxi. When you are clear of the ramp, you will see a line of people with signs on your right. One of them will have your name. Just say Jambo or hello, introducing yourself and he’ll take you to the hotel for a great nights sleep. Easy Peasy!
The driver will also give you a Gamewatchers package that has valuable information included, not just promo stuff. Your driver will also tell you what time to expect your pick up the next morning.
You will need cash for things like souvenirs, incidentals, gratuities, etc. US dollars are widely accepted, however, be aware it needs to be new money! Please note that due to the number of fake notes in circulation, no US currency printed before 2003 is accepted in Kenya and, in fact, your safest bet is to carry currency printed after 2006. Your money also should be clean, they will often refuse bills that are torn or even creased. The safest thing is to go to your bank and ask for uncirculated currency. This sometimes requires advance notice for your bank branch to place an order.
On big trips like this, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have trip insurance. I always use trip insurance for my travels. It’s so much easier and with so many more benefits when you compare it with your insurance. I’ve found the costs to be reasonable given the benefits. I use Travel Guard when I travel and even though; I’ve not had a claim they were helpful and easy to deal with on the phone.
*Information for US citizens travel to Kenya was obtained from the US Department of State and was valid as of October 2017. If you are going to Kenya from another country, please check with your embassy to check the travel requirements for your country.
All of the bookings for the safari are being handled by my partner in Africa. When you are ready to register just message me with the button at the bottom of the page, and I will walk you through the process.
My safari partner Gamewatchers will handle all payment and as such Gamewatchers’s Terms and Conditions apply.
The deposit for this workshop is 25% per person. The deposit can be paid by PayPal, Credit Card, or Wire Transfer.
The balance of the workshop tuition will be due December 22, 2019 (60 days prior) and unlike the deposit, there is a 3% convenience fee to pay via PayPal or Credit Card. There is no surcharge to pay your balance by Wire Transfer.
Please note the cancellations policy is different than the standard Wildlife Workshops policy.
Our cancellation charges are determined by the fact that once we have booked with hotels and safari camps/lodges and with local airlines, they will charge us a cancellation fee if we cancel a booking. We try to keep such charges to a minimum, and they are as follows: ·
Bookings canceled or amended up to 120 days before commencement of the safari incur a 10% cancellation charge.
Cancellation or amendment less than 120 days and up to 60 days before the commencement of the safari: 20% cancellation charge.
Cancellation or amendment less than 60 days but up to 30 days before commencement of the safari 50% refund, 50% cancellation charge.
Cancellation or amendment less than 30 days but up to 15 days before the commencement of the safari: 25% refund, 75% cancellation charge.
Cancellation or amendment less than 15 days or more than 3 days before the commencement of the safari: 10% refund and 90% cancellation charge.
Cancellation or amendment 3 days or less before the commencement of the safari – nil refund, 100% cancellation charge.
Please note that any refunds due to you in the event of cancellation can be credited only to the original card used for making the initial payment. Credit card payments: Please note that your payment will show as a charge from I&M Bank, LTD (on behalf of Gamewatchers Safaris). Gamewatchers does not charge credit card processing fees on the deposit even for international transactions however your credit card company may have fees for international transactions. A 3% credit card fee will be charged for credit cards used for the final payment. It reimburses us for the cost we are charged by the credit card company. If you would prefer, we can also accept direct bank wire transactions instead in which case you can avoid any charges your own credit card company may impose. Note: camp managers or guides may change the daily activities or daily scheduled activities
Note: “delayed departure” options with a later flight back from the camps still require checking out of your tent at the regular time.
I’ve been very passively advising my clients to purchase travel insurance for a while, but lately, it seems like there have been multiple people having travel issues. Some have lost their deposits and sometimes even the cost of the entire trip!
Based on my client’s experience, I cannot stress more strongly how crucial it is to purchase travel insurance. Like I said before, and here it comes again, there is never a way to predict what is going to happen when you are booking trips months and years into the future.
You can read more about my thoughts about the importance of travel insurance in this blog post.
Please at least check out what insurance will cost with a free quote and of course you can also book your vital travel insurance.
This awesome 11 day private safari is $8685 (Single Occupancy) $7759 (Double Occupancy).
If you are a solo traveler, I will do everything I can to assist you in finding a suitable person to share your lodging. If we cannot find a person for you to share accommodations, the single supplement will be applied.
The deposit for this workshop is 25% per person.
The balance of the workshop tuition will be due December 22, 2019 (60 days prior)
Have a Question?
Send me a message and I’ll get you the answers that you need.
You are going to join a very experienced group leader, you are going to create great images, you are going to leave a better photographer than when you arrived and we’ll have some laughs along the way! You Will Be Amazed!
Registration is not automated for the Kenya trip, so message me and I’ll get you registered.
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