……….Follow the Wildebeest Migration on a Photography Safari to Kenya’s Maasai Mara………July-September 2010/11……..

The migration is one of the World's biggest spectacles that feature’s high on the exclusive luxury vacations in Kenya. The migration takes place from mid July to the end of August or September depending on pastures and rain patterns. It’s all takes place in Maasai Mara with all the famous 'Out of Africa', ‘Safari by Balloon’, ‘Wildebeest migration’ movies back drop, as well as Mara’s breathtaking views! Not just the migration, East Africa is home to the most remarkable large mammal fauna and birds on earth! Our accommodations include fully equipped, often splendidly located, lodges, and in established Classic Tented Camps, with large standing-room tents and attached bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. We will travel in custom sa-built safari 4x4 vehicles expertly driven by our excellent local driver-guides. Ben and his team of guides have led many tours for many years throughout East Africa, often with other internationally recognized naturalists.

ITINERARY;
This itinerary is purposely meant for the wildlife photography; however, we will encounter an incredible number of birds which will be best appreciated. The tour will be guided by a leader who is an Ornithologist, so those who enjoy looking at our ‘feathered friends’ will also have someone to tell them which one is that!

Safari Outline;
Day 01 – Nairobi – Safari Orientation
Day 02 – Mt. Kenya NP
Day 03 – Samburu/Buffalo Springs NR
Day 04 – Samburu/Buffalo Springs NR
Day 05 – Sangare Private Ranch
Day 06 – Lake Nakuru NP
Day 07 – Lake Naivasha Area
Day 08 – Maasai Mara GR
Day 09 – Maasai Mara full day
Day 10 – Mara Full day
Day 11 – Mara Full day
Day 12 – Fly/Drive Back

Detailed Itinerary;
DAY 01 – Nairobi
The activities of this day will depend on your arrival timings. Upon arrival we will meet you at the International Airport and transfer you to your Nairobi Hotel. Later we will meet you for the safari program orientation before embarking on your favorable excursions of the day. A couple of options are; a visit to the nearby Nairobi National Park, a visit to the Giraffe Centre, Karen Blixen & National Museums or taking a tour of the City’s main streets and monuments . Overnight at either Nairobi Serena Hotel or Boulevard Hotel (BB).

Nairobi National Park: Set on the very edge of the capital, this extensive area of acacia-dotted grassland has an ugly backdrop of high-rise apartments but a surprising variety of game.  Giraffe, Burchell's Zebra, Grant's and Thomson's Gazelles, Impala, Eland and even Lion and Black Rhinoceros may be seen in the park.  Ostriches, Secretarybirds and Yellow-necked Spurfowl are to be found in these grasslands, whilst Crowned Plovers, Red-eyed Doves, Speckled Mousebirds, Pied Crows, Crowned Cranes, Blue-eared Glossy and Superb Starlings, Fiscal Shrikes and Baglafecht's Weavers offer an introduction to the common birds of east Africa.

DAY 02 – Mt. Kenya
Today after breakfast we will pick you from the hotel and drive towards the Kenyan Highlands. On our lovely drive we will have a couple of favorite stopovers and our first among several will be at Thika Falls. Here there are small but picturesque waterfalls as the Thika and Chania Rivers tumble over low cliffs, the grounds at Thika Blue post are good for birding. Proceed to Mt. Kenya and hope to arrive in time for a sumptuous lunch at the Serena Mountain Lodge. The rest of the day will be spent game viewing from the balcony of our rooms and the lounge. We could also take a walk on the forest trails in the company of a game ranger. If the weather is clear, our appetites will be whetted by views of the snow-capped Mount Kenya. Dinner and overnight will be at Serena Mt. Lodge

DAY 03 – Samburu Game Reserve
After breakfast this morning we could bird on the rooftop or take a short walk along the lodge trail and then depart for Samburu Game Reserve.  Situated in the "arid north" of Kenya, Samburu is perhaps the most beautiful of all the country's reserves.  Grasslands, acacia woodlands and lush riverine forests present an attractive African mosaic and a diversity of habitats that make the reserve one of the finest in terms of mammal and bird variety.  As well as a good range of more common game, we shall be particularly enjoy looking for Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk, Grevy's Zebra and possibly Leopard.  Amongst the wealth of birdlife, African Pygmy Falcon, Vulturine Guineafowl, Kori Bustard, Orange-bellied Parrot, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Northern Crombec, Pygmy Batis, Golden Pipit, Golden-breasted Starling and Somali Bee-eater are some of the specialties.  We shall be based here for the next two nights in Samburu at the riverside Samburu Serena Lodge.

DAY 04 – Samburu Game Reserve
We will have a full day of tracking the northern arid mammal and birdlife on a set of game drives. All our meals and the second night will be at Samburu Serena Lodge.

DAY 05 – Sangare Game Ranch
Today after breakfast, we shall drive southwards and back to the highlands hoping to arrive in time for a late lunch at Sangare Tented Camp. We shall settle into the Camp, take an evening walk as the setting sun turns the barren, but spectacular surroundings to a deep shade of pink. We shall dinner and overnight here at Sangare Tented Camp.
Sangare is a nice quiet place along a small magnificent fresh water Lake called Lake Sangare on a private ranch at the shadows of Aberdare Mountains. The spectacular views across the vast savannah make Sangare one of the richest private wildlife sanctuaries. The terrain hosts elephants, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, leopards, warthogs amongst many others. Here we will have activities that range from: Bird walks, Boat riding, mountain biking, horseback riding, trekking, fly fishing, mysterious river rides, flower farm visit and tea farm visit. Tonight we will also enjoy a night game drive watching the entire galaxy identifying stars & sporting he nocturnal animals. 

DAY 06 – Lake Nakuru NP
After breakfast at Sangare, we depart for Lake Nakuru with a stopover at the picturesque Thompson Falls. Proceed on to Lake Nakuru National Park hoping to arrive in time for lunch at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge. Early afternoon will be spent at leisure enjoying the panoramic view of the lake from the comfort of your room veranda. Later we will embark on our evening game drive with dinner and overnight at Lion Hill Lodge.

Lake Nakuru is a soda lake renowned as a great ornithological spectacle of the world. Hundreds of thousands of Greater and Lesser Flamingoes traditionally form a carpet of shimmering pink that stretches as far as the eye can see across the lake (though you should be aware that in recent years these numbers have often been greatly reduced - whilst the numbers at lakes such as Bogoria have increased).  Pink-backed and White Pelicans line the shores; feeding amongst them are Yellow-billed and Marabou Storks, Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbills, and an almost complete range of East African ducks, terns and gulls and a host of other waders. Mammals too are plentiful - particularly Bohor Reedbuck, Waterbuck and Impala - whilst anyone tiring of the lakeside spectacle will find more than enough passerine birds in the surrounding scrub and woodland. Nakuru is also one of the better places in Africa to chance for Leopard, and a sure place to see the endangered Black and White Rhinoceros.

DAY 07 – Lake Naivasha
We will start with an early morning game drive, and then return to the lodge for brunch before we depart for Lake Naivasha. We will hope to arrive at the breathtaking Drifters Floating Restaurant for a mouth watering Lunch. If the weather is good, optional boating trips can be organized at minimal cost (payable direct) hoping to end at Lake Naivasha Country Club where we will have our dinner and overnight.

The country club at Naivasha has got beautiful grounds and spectacular Lakeside acacias, which attracts a lot of insects and hence attract a lot of insectivorous. The Lake itself is a paradise for water birds as well as several schools of Hippos. There is also a lot of other plain game, which was brought here during the shooting of the film ‘Out of Africa’.  

DAY 08 – Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
We leave Naivasha after breakfast for the 7th wonder of the world - Maasai Mara Game Reserve with picnic lunch boxes to allow us a leisure en route game drive towards our comfortable Mara Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight.

DAY 09, 10 & 11 - Mara Game Reserve.
For the next three days we will be at the Maasai Mara having full day programs of tracking the migration at the various crossing points. The Maasai Mara is at its best at this time of year.  Between August and October, hundreds of thousands of Wildebeest and other ungulates move into the area from the Serengeti plains in their search for fresh pastures. The Wildebeest migration is one of the world's great wildlife spectacles. They are pursued by hungry predators - Lions, Cheetahs, Spotted Hyenas and Black-backed Jackals.  Other animals in the reserve include Impala, Grant's and Thomson's Gazelles, Eland, Giraffe, Warthog, Kirk's Dik-dik, Waterbuck, Burchell's Zebra, Topi, Hartebeest, Hippopotamus and Nile Crocodile.  The birdlife is equally diverse.  Huge Ground Hornbills, Temminck's Coursers, larks, pipits and longclaws inhabit the grasslands; above soar Martial Eagles, Lappet-faced, African White-backed, Hooded and Ruppell's Vultures.  Within the lodge grounds and acacia woodlands we find barbets, finches, weavers, turacos, go-away-birds and kingfishers. All our meals and overnights will be at Mara Serena Lodge.

DAY 12 – Drive / Fly back to Nairobi.
After breakfast , we will have a final morning game drive in the Maasai Mara, (if driving) we must sadly make the long return drive to Nairobi with picnic lunch, bird watching of course en route. (If flying) we will have our final morning game drive and after lunch depart for Nairobi with the pm flight. On our eventual arrival back in Nairobi, we shall drive straight to the Carnivore restaurant for our dinner before heading for the airport to catch your late overnight flight back home.

For more information and the cost of the tour, please contact us.