DATES: 10 days/11 nights, Arrive Nairobi February 14, Depart Nairobi February 24, 2024

COST: $11,250* per person sharing, $1,130 single supplement

*note: There is a chance 2024 Park Fees will increase. If this occurs, the direct change in fee will be added to the overall park fee.

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 8 maximum (4 spaces remaining)

 

© Buddy Eleazer

I always enjoy the landscape and wildlife of Kenya. It is magnificent. On the other hand, there are a few things that I’ve always wanted to improve upon. The goal of this safari is to optimize the positive while eliminating the negative.

POSITIVES OF THIS SAFARI

  • Samburu – Unique wildlife compared to most of east Africa. Here we see reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra, Somali ostrich, Beisa oryx, Gerenuk, Vulturine Guinea Fowl and other species that are less common. What we have eliminated from past trips: In the past, our lodge has been a 30-minute drive from the best viewing. The new Soroi Larsen’s Camp is in the heart of the Samburu Reserve near the river.
  • Masai Mara in February – The Mara is amazing with it’s vast savannahs. In February, we have awesome cloud formations, lots of lions, leopards and cheetah, plenty of antelope, zebra and giraffe, but we don’t have tourists! In February, the weather is excellent as the ‘long rains’ don’t arrive in the area until later in March. What we have minimized: Simply put – the cost and the people. Going during the shoulder season, we will have sightings all to ourselves.
  • Shompole Wilderness – The majesty of the Great Rift Valley with chances to photo wildlife trekking through dust and flamingos in soda lakes. An authentic Maasai experience where we visit a village to photo herdsmen bringing in their cattle and goats. There was never a ‘downside’ to this location, but this new hide is really producing so now we MUST GO.
  • Hides – I have loved photographing in South Africa from water level hides in the late afternoons and also overnight. NOW, two of our planned destinations (Samburu and Shompole) have installed state of the art hides

© Buddy Eleazer

I am often asked where were Africa locations that you long to return to? On this safari, I want to take you to three locations with two of those being places I have been destinations I dream to return to: Samburu and Shompole, but we are in Kenya, so a visit to the Mara is a ‘must do’ also on our trip. In 2024, Magnum Excursions wants to take you on a safari like non-other. This trip will be limited to a maximum of eight (8) lucky guests. This should be a safari to remember.

Throughout your journey, the warm February sun caresses your skin, and the rugged beauty of the Kenyan wilderness captures your heart. Each moment is a testament to the extraordinary wonders that await those who dare to venture beyond the beaten path. Samburu, the Masai Mara, and Shompole Wilderness have woven together an enchanting tapestry of wildlife encounters, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural immersion that will forever remain etched in your soul.

Imagine embarking on a thrilling adventure through the heart of Kenya, immersing yourself in the untamed beauty of Samburu, the Masai Mara, and Shompole Wilderness. As you set foot in February, a world of captivating experiences unfolds, far beyond what typical safaris offer.

These three locations are among our favorites; however new for 2024 is the added bonus at both Samburu and Shompole of photographing during the golden hours at specially constructed photo hides with viewing at water level of the waterholes! In Samburu and Shompole, where water is a precious resource, an added dimension of excitement awaits those with a passion for wildlife photography. Imagine perching yourself in a specially built hide, strategically positioned at water level, mere meters away from the action unfolding at the waterholes.

© Buddy Eleazer

Samburu

I loved Samburu on my earlier visits primarily because of the unique animal species we encountered there. More specifically, the animals that stood out were the uniquely striped and endangered Grevy’s zebra, the giraffe with the most beautiful of coats (the reticulated giraffe), the strange long necked antelope (the gerenuk) and the vibrantly colored vulturine guineafowl. Of course, the land also supports cheetah, lion, leopard, olive baboon, ostrich and elephants.

Your journey begins in the captivating landscapes of Samburu National Reserve. We have selected late February because this is near the end of the dry season. In the coming month, the Southern Ewaso Ng’iro River will flow with water from the hills, but in February and early March, it is a dry sand waterbed. The dry season paints the horizon with warm hues, as the animals gather around the lifeline of water sources, including the waterhole at our hides.

In the late afternoon of our arrival, as you settle into your hide, an air of anticipation fills your senses. The stillness is broken by the gentle footsteps of animals approaching, their thirst drawing them closer to the life-giving water. Your camera lens poised, ready to capture the raw beauty of these magnificent creatures. Driven by the heat earlier in the day, elephants gracefully stride towards the water, their massive forms creating mesmerizing ripples as they quench their thirst. Silently, you click the shutter, freezing a moment that will forever be etched in time. This hide is connected via an underground passageway to Larsen’s Camp, allowing us to come and go through the evening, which is especially nice for bringing a late afternoon gin and tonic in the hide.

© Andreas Knausenberger

 

We will be featuring the hides, but game drives are also a critical part of our journey. The air crackles with anticipation as you venture into the wilderness, where rare and extraordinary sightings await. Majestic Grevy’s zebras gracefully roam the plains, their distinct stripes captivating your gaze. Towering reticulated giraffes extend their necks to nibble on the scarce foliage, a sight you’ve only dreamed of. The Somali ostriches, adorned with vibrant plumage, dance across the arid lands, showcasing their unique elegance. The Beisa oryx, with its striking horns, navigates the rugged terrain effortlessly. And the elusive gerenuk stands tall on its hind legs, reaching for foliage beyond the reach of others. In this land of rare wonders, you witness a symphony of life, an orchestra of untamed beauty that leaves you breathless.

© Buddy Eleazer

Masai Mara

Leaving Samburu behind, you journey towards the legendary Masai Mara, a land steeped in wildlife spectacle. While the great migration may not be present in February, you discover a hidden gem—a quieter, more intimate Mara awaits your arrival.  In the vast expanse of the Masai Mara, where the golden grasses sway under the endless African sky, the grandeur of the lion reigns supreme. As you journey through this iconic wilderness in February, you find yourself on the trail of majestic prides, an encounter that will leave you in awe. Lions, draped in golden manes, laze beneath acacia trees, their royal gazes meeting yours, as if inviting you to share in their kingdom.

As you venture deeper into the enchanting realm of the Masai Mara, you’ll discover that the lion prides are not the only stars of this extraordinary wilderness. The Mara is also home to an incredible array of gazelle species, graceful topis, elusive leopards, and lightning-fast cheetahs, each adding their own unique charm to the tapestry of wildlife encounters.

We will also be scanning the tree line in search of the elusive leopard. Known for its stealth and mastery of camouflage, the leopard is a master of hiding in plain sight. In the dappled shade of an acacia tree, you spot a flash of golden fur, and your heart skips a beat. There, perched gracefully on a branch, is the embodiment of feline grace—a leopard. Its hypnotic gaze meets yours, as if inviting you into its mysterious world. With your camera poised, you capture the essence of this enigmatic predator, immortalizing its beauty in a single frame.

And then, a blur of motion catches your eye—a cheetah, the epitome of speed and agility. With its slender form and distinctive tear marks adorning its face, this magnificent cat is built for explosive sprints. As it effortlessly traverses the open plains, you witness nature’s supreme athlete in action. The cheetah’s chase is a breathtaking display of power and precision, a reminder of the fragility of life and the eternal pursuit for survival. You follow its every move through your lens, capturing the fleeting moments of this extraordinary hunt.

A herd of elephants rumbles by, their majestic presence filling the air. A dazzle of zebra or maybe a journey of Masai giraffe will add variety to our sightings.  Against the backdrop of vast horizons, you witness the circle of life unfold, a timeless dance that connects you to the pulse of the wilderness.

Shompole Wilderness

But the adventure doesn’t end there. Your journey takes you to the exclusive Shompole Wilderness, a sanctuary hidden within the Rift Valley. Here, untouched landscapes and wild wonders await your exploration. As you venture into this pristine rarely visited realm, a sense of awe washes over you. Amidst it all, the enchanting melodies of the Maasai people beckon, drawing you into a cultural tapestry that has withstood the test of time. Engaging with the local community, you witness their age-old traditions, participate in their vibrant dances, and discover the profound wisdom that comes from living in harmony with nature.

In Shompole Wilderness, the photographic hide experience takes on an exclusive allure. Nestled within the heart of this private conservancy, you find yourself immersed in a secluded paradise. From the hide, you capture intimate moments of the wilderness, framed by untouched landscapes. As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow, you have a front-row seat to nature’s nocturnal stage. Creatures of the night emerge, casting enchanting silhouettes against the darkening sky. With patience and skill, you capture the secrets of the night, the magic of nocturnal Africa captured forever through your lens.

© Andreas Knausenberger

The hides in Samburu and Shompole offer a privileged perspective, allowing you to intimately observe wildlife behavior, study their interactions, and capture the raw essence of the untamed. It is a rare opportunity to witness and photograph nature’s most intimate moments, where every click of your camera becomes a testament to the extraordinary encounters that can only be found in the hidden corners of Kenya.

Here, from the unique vantage point of the hide, you witness nature’s theatre unfold before your lens. Zebras, their black and white stripes creating a living work of art, gather in small herds, jostling for their turn to drink. Graceful antelopes, like the Beisa oryx and impalas, approach cautiously, ever vigilant of lurking predators. Perhaps a leopard stealthily makes an appearance, drawn by the allure of the water, affording you a rare opportunity to capture this elusive feline in its element.

But it’s not just the larger animals that grace your lens. Vibrant birdlife, resplendent in their colorful plumage, flits around the water’s edge. From the regal African fish eagle, its piercing gaze matched only by its majestic wingspan, to the dainty Malachite kingfisher, a vibrant jewel against the backdrop of the water. Each click of the shutter reveals the intricate details of these avian wonders, immortalizing their beauty for generations to come.

 

© Buddy Eleazer

Join Us

Embark on your journey through Samburu, the Masai Mara, and Shompole Wilderness, but don’t forget to bring your camera, for these game drives and hides offer a gateway to a world of photographic wonders like no other. Unleash your creativity, and let your lens tell the story of this remarkable land, where the convergence of wildlife, water, and photographic artistry create an unforgettable tapestry of visual splendor.

© Buddy Eleazer

COST: $11,250* per person sharing, $1,130 single supplement

*note: There is a chance 2024 Park Fees will increase. If this occurs, the direct change in fee will be added to the overall park fee.

Initial Deposit: $3,000 per person payable via Zelle (buddy.eleazer@gmail.com) or personal check. Please Note: We can accept PayPal but must inflate costs by 2.75% to cover PayPal processing charges.

WHAT IS INCLUDED:

  • 1 night upon arrival at Tamarind Tree Hotel, double/single, B&B
  • 3 nights at Larsen’s Camp, Samburu, double/single, full board, drinks, activities
  • Hide Use at Larsen’s Camp
  • 4 nights at Mara Bush Camp, double/single, full board
  • 2 nights Shompole Wilderness Camp, double/single, full board
  • Hide Use at Shompole Wilderness Camp
  • All Park Fees
  • 2 Photographic Landcruisers for Mara and Shompole
  • Flight Nairobi to Samburu
  • Flight Samburu to Mara
  • Flight Mara to Nairobi
  • Road Transfer Nairobi to Shompole
  • Extra Baggage Allowance for all flights
  • Airport transfers

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:

  • International flights to Nairobi, Kenya
  • Kenya Visa if required ($51 for U.S. citizens)
  • Tips for staff and guides
  • Laundry Services
  • Any drinks not mentioned above
  • Any souvenirs purchased
  • Travel Insurance (highly recommended)
  • Helicopter flight over Lake Magadi (This can be added as an extra!)

Near Shompole is Lake Magadi, which is often filled with flamingos. In the past, we have found photographing flamingos from the ground can be challenging but photographing from a helicopter takes the shots to the next level. Our stay at Shompole is only 2 nights and we really want to feature the overnight hide for one of those nights; however, for those interested, we can make best efforts to bring in the helicopter at an extra charge to allow the aerial photography. This cost will be split among participants who wish this extra. To accomodate this activity, one should also consider an additional night lodging at Shompole Wilderness Camp.

© Will Berrard Lucas

Last modified: October 13, 2023

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