The Ultimate Kenya 2019 – Masai Mara and Samburu

The great migration in Kenya’s Masai Mara is arguably one of the most iconic photo safari experiences to be had and certainly on every wildlife photographers “Bucket List”.  Nowhere else sums up the East African dream like the Masai Mara. Always the best place in Kenya to see huge herds of grazers and a seemingly endless procession of carnivores big and small. In September, 2019 we will feature the Masai Mara while staying at the fantastic (and recently refurbished) Mara Bush Camp. In additon, we have designed this trip to include 3 nights in Samburu, where the wildlife will continue, but the cultural exchange and photographs will create lasting memories. 

Location: Kenya

  • Masai Mara – Highlights include wildebeest and zebra migration, big cats, black rhino, and optional helicopter and balloon photography
  • Samburu – Highlights include the reticulated giraffes, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s zebra and also the unique beisa (or East African) oryx , the Samburu warriors, beautiful landscapes

Duration: 10 Days / 9 nights

Dates: 3 Sep – 12 Sep 2019

Cost: $8995 per person based on double occupancy

Group size: Max 12 people – 

Space Remaining – One opening for female willing to share for our 2019 trip. Contact us if interested.

We plan to return during this time 2020

Are 10 days too much safari for you? No problem. If you would like to only do the Nairobi/Masai Mara portion of this trip, the cost is only $7,000 per person based on double occupancy.

Nairobi

Upon arrival in Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International airport and will meet your hosts and fellow travelers at the hotel in Nairobi where you’ll stay for the first night. You’ll head to Wilson airport early in the morning on the second day and board the private chartered flight to the Masai Mara. We have made the decision to charter all of our flights for this specific safari to maximize the time that we have and also to allow for extra baggage and camera gear for the group.

Masai Mara

This famous park – a northern extension of Tanzania’s Serengeti – is responsible for perhaps more images of African animals than any other. And with good reason: it is chock-full of wildlife, and blessed with open terrain that makes game viewing easy. From August to November the park plays host to the northern leg of the famous Serengeti wildebeest migration (not forgetting the countless zebra and other herbivores that accompany them), which many consider to be the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle. There are also few better places in Africa to seek out all three big cat species in a single day.

You’ll land at Ol Okiombo airstrip where we will be met by our team of drivers and guides in the customized Magnum Excursions/Pangolin game viewers.  We have three vehicles with a maximum of four guests plus one guide in each. Buddy, Charl and Andreas will rotate through the vehicles during the safari giving you a chance to learn and receive photo advise from each of them. We place the highest value on quality and top service. That’s why we only use Toyota Landcruiser 8-seaters modified for viewing and photography. Each vehicle will have a maximum of 4 clients per vehicle. The vehicles are also modified for the photo workshops. The vehicles have a 220V power supply allowing you to charge your batteries and cameras in the bush. During the photo workshop, we also provide Beanbags (bean bags) for hanging up and stabilizing your camera.

It should also be noted that our drivers are trained guides with years of experience in photo workshops.  This is a win for both the photographer and non-photographers as It helps assure a great view of the action.  All our vehicles are equipped with communication radios. This allows good communication with each other on private frequencies. Thus, you will not miss highlight and are always up to date. Our Maasai drivers are trained in the basics of composition and lighting, as they apply to wildlife photography, in order to best line up the vehicles for the most advantageous views and resulting shots.

Our five nights will be spent at Mara Bush Camp. We will spend plenty of time out in the Masai Mara National Reserve photographing in the areas surrounding the camp. The location is ideal for getting to the wildebeest crossings for which the Mara is so famous for.

Recommended Options to Consider during the Masai Mara Portion of Our Trip:

This is an OPTIONAL EXTRA – $500 – While at Mara Bush Camp you will also have the opportunity to photograph from the air in our private chartered helicopter. This was a real highlight on the previous trips with some startling aerial images being taken from the one hour allocated to each person on the trip. Each one-hour flight will be for two clients and one of our photo guides who will be seated behind you. This first part of the trip will involve full day game drives which will prove very productive photographically.

This is an OPTIONAL EXTRA –$450 – On the second day at Mara Bush Camp we are in for an early start as we make our way to the Hot Air Balloon station at Little Governors camp for a one-hour flight along The Mara River. After we land in the Mara Triangle we are treated to a full champagne breakfast at the foot of the escarpment overlooking The Masai Mara.

During our days in The Mara we will have covered nearly all of the photographic hotspots and crossings and have hundreds if not thousands of brilliant images.  You will then have the opportunity to move on to a very special reserve in the north of Kenya – Samburu. It is however the unique species of animals that draws us to this place as well as the beautiful Samburu people who call the magical region home.

Samburu

There is nothing better than coming across a hidden gem and especially one that offers an opportunity to not only photograph some extraordinary animals endemic to the region but to spend time with the magnificent Samburu people who this reserve is named after. Our lodge of choice in the region is the spectacular Saruni Samburu which has to be seen to be believed.

The Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness, made famous in the best-selling book and award-winning movie Born Free. Set in the land of the Samburu people, this pocket-sized game reserve enables you to experience everything that is best about the burning semi-deserts of theNorthern Frontier District, as this wildly beautiful and mountainous province used to be called. Samburu lies on the north side of the Ewaso Ng’iro River, whose waters sustain the animals through the dry season. Elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard all come to drink under the graceful doum palms and shady riverside acacias, together with the animals unique to northern Kenya that make up Samburu’s “Special Five”: Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx, gerenuk and Somali ostrich.

The animals of the Samburu are as exotic as the reserve itself with rare species like the Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and Grevy’s Zebra making for very unique subjects. In addition, there is a wide variety of other animals and birds seen at Samburu including the all three big cats known as the East African lionTanzanian cheetah and leopard as well as the elephantCape buffalo and Hippopotamus. During our stay you may also see olive baboon, warthogs, Grant’s gazelle, Kirk’s dik-dik, impala, and waterbuck not to mention over 350 bird species.

A photo tip: When you are in Samburu spending some time with the tribe its an idea to pack a flash with you to make the most of the portraiture opportunities. The warriors are very amenable to having their photo taken and this experience is very rewarding both photographically and culturally. The Samburu people who work in the reserve and lodge are among the most charming, beautifully dressed and adorned people we have encountered and are more than happy to have their photos taken.

Time at Saruni Lodge will be spent photographing in the reserve, from the Saruni photo hide near the lodge and also doing more editing and post production in between. Saruni is a great way to end the trip in a more relaxed fashion…it is a holiday after all!

We’ve worked with our Chobe friends, Pangolin Photo Safaris to put this package together. As a tease, here is a short video of their time at Saruni Lodge in 2017.

Herewith breakdown of inclusions and costs:

Masai Mara portion

  • Arrival transfers in Nairobi and between Nairobi & Wilson airport
  • 1 Nights Ole Sereni Hotel – welcome dinner included
  • Charter flight from Wilson – to Mara
  • 5 Nights Mara Bush Camp – all meals included
  • Unlimited game drives
  • Private use of 3 customize Land cruisers
  • Photo guidance from Buddy, Nelis & Andreas

Samburu portion

  • Flight to Samburu from Wilson
  • 3 Nights Samburu – All meals and drinks and laundry
  • Game drives, night drives, guided bush walks with the Samburu guides
  • Bush meals
  • One complimentary back and neck massage
  • Flight back to Wilson and transfer onto NBO

Excludes:

  • All international flights into Nairobi (NBO)
  • Drinks and meals other than those specified
  • Visa Fees
  • Gratuities and items of personal nature

RATES

  • $8995.00 based on double occupancy
  • Single supplement $1100.00
  • To book your space on this safari a non-refundable deposit of 10% is required.
  • Payment of the balance of the safari fee is broken into two equal payments, one due Jan. 1, 2019 and the other due May 1, 2019, (approximately 4 months before departure). All details on the booking form which you will receive upon inquiring.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS:

  • Mara – Helicopter open doors photography – $550.00 per person
  • Mara – Hot Air Balloon – $450.00 per person
  • Mara – Masai Village visit – $100.00 per person

WHAT TO DO NEXT?

This group will be small so extremely space is limited. If this exciting trip fits your bucket list and you are excited to 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 buddy@MagnumExcursions.com.

To book your space on this safari a non-refundable deposit of 10% is required. Payment of the balance is due 4 months before departure. All details on the booking form which you will receive upon inquiring.

Recently refurbished Mara Bush Camp