After arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and having passed through passport control and collected baggage, you will be transferred to your luxury accommodation located in the suburb of Karen on outskirts of Nairobi. House of Waine is a family owned and run property, and this is reflected in the name “Waine”, which is made up of the initials of the family members. Originally a family house, it was lovingly converted to a boutique hotel and eventually opened to the public in 2004. The interior design takes its cue from the matriarch of the family, and is imbued with a timeless elegance much like her.
Tonight we will meet our fellow travellers, and photographic guide and “Mara” expert Elliott Neep, who will give us a rundown of the exciting photographic adventure that awaits us!
Overnight House of Waine
After a good night’s rest and a scrumptious breakfast, we will depart for the local Wilson Airport. After a short (40 minute) flight we will land on an airstrip in the Masai Mara National Reserve, where after we will embark on our first game drive en route to our fabulous camp.
Arriving at Naibor Camp in time for lunch, we will first be escorted with our luggage to our large Bedouin-style safari tents nestled inside a forest on the banks of the famous Talek River. Naibor Camp is one of the finest safari camps in Kenya, and during the days we will explore the incredible Masai Mara National Reserve and take in the sights of this game-rich photographers dream!
By basing ourselves in the heart of the park, we have no gate times to contend with and are surrounded by 360 degrees of the best photographic opportunities in Africa. This is no ordinary Masai Mara photo tour as we are able to access all the major wildebeest crossing points quickly, while also being able to access the remoter parts of the reserve (and thereby getting away from other vehicular traffic).
The Masai Mara is often regarded as the wildlife photography mecca of Africa, and we will photograph predators (and hopefully predations!) as well as a plethora of other local wildlife. Elliott knows the Masai Mara intimately and he will take you to the heart of the action. He not only knows where the wildebeests traditional crossing points are, but also where the predators territories are and he will ensure that your techniques are up to speed to capture the action!
Naibor Camp is a luxury tented camp – a striking combination of contemporary style and comfort, and consists of sweeping pale canvas tents, king sized beds made from local fig-wood, wide sofas furnished with bolster cushions, and woollen rugs.
Overnight Naibor Camp
The Masai Mara and the adjoining Loita plains form the northern-most part of the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem, a 25 000 km² area usually encompassing the annual movements of the migratory Wildebeest. These grazers, together with Plains Zebra and Thompson’s Gazelle traverse the eco-system through the year, and whilst there are resident animals in the Mara throughout (those that don’t migrate), numbers swell to gigantic proportions during the drier season (July/August to October/November). The Mara’s abundant herbivores make it a paradise for predators. The large carnivores include the big cats – Lion, Leopard and Cheetah (as featured yearly between 1996 and 2008 on the BBC’s Big Cat Diary), as well as the ever efficient hunter and scavenger, the Spotted Hyaena.
More than a million Wildebeest and two hundred thousand Zebra migrate annually following the rains in search of grass. Crossing the Mara River is the greatest obstacle they have to face, and include steep banks and strong currents, but the biggest menace is, without a doubt, the enormous Nile Crocodile that has been living in this river for hundreds of years.
The famous black-maned Mara Lions are possibly the stars of the Mara show, but various other species including African Elephant, Wildebeest, Topi, Grant’s and Thompson's gazelle, Defassa Waterbuck, Spotted Hyaena, and primates are all here too providing one of the most holistic photographic experiences in Africa. Another potential highlight here is the photographing of the Mara’s Cheetah, which is arguably the finest in Africa. Other predators we may encounter include Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox and with luck Serval and even Caracal! Black Rhino are a little shy and hard to spot but are regularly seen at a distance.
As with the rest of Kenya, the birdlife is abundant, offering remarkable opportunities for bird photography. These include various species of raptor, while vultures are often abundant and include Ruppell’s, White-backed and the biggest African species, the hulking Lappet-faced.
The undulating landscape, savanna woodlands and rich riparian habitats provide a theatrical setting for our photography, and round off a superlative photographic experience!
Nights Naibor Camp
After our final morning photography and breakfast we will head to the nearby airstrip for our 1 hour flight back to Nairobi, where our incredible adventure sadly comes to an end!