Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
Our Kenya photo safari begins in Nairobi, where we transfer to The Emakoko, an atmospheric new safari lodge bordering Nairobi National Park. Though it's a mere 40-minute transfer from both of Nairobi's airports, The Emakoko fulfills the vision of its founders, which is to create a place where travelers can commence or complete their safari in the wildlife environment they have traveled so far to enjoy. Here, guests fall asleep to the sounds of Africa—a lion roaring or the cry of a hyena—in stark contrast to the traffic, fire engines and barking dogs that are the normal sounds of the urban night. Our safari kicks off with a welcome dinner this evening.
Days 2–4: Private Maasai Mara—Mara Naboisho Conservancy
Transfer to the airport for our flight to Naboisho Camp. Enjoying peaceful seclusion within the private 50,000-acre Mara Naboisho Conservancy, this intimate tented camp is surrounded by scenic splendor and prolific wildlife of the Maasai Mara ecosystem without the crowds. The conservancy, established in 2011, is already making a name for itself as a top place to experience the Mara’s spectacular wildlife, and Naboisho is one of very few camps located within its bounds. Strict limits on guest numbers means
unprecedented wildlife viewing without crowds, especially of the wildebeest migration that occurs in close proximity. Our small group has plenty of room
to spread out and angle for perfect shots, as we encounter scene after scene of amazing wildlife drama.
The Mara Naboisho Conservancy serves as a migration corridor for several hundred thousand animals between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Loita Plains to the east. A multitude of species flourishes here, and Naboisho actually has a higher density of wildlife than the adjacent national reserve. Great herds of antelope dot the rolling savanna while acacia woodlands shelter abundant birdlife. Rich volcanic soils support a verdant landscape where we find more lion per square mile than anywhere else in Kenya—some 100 lions live on the conservancy, including the largest pride in the Mara region. Large herds of elephant, giraffe and zebra are at home here. We make the most of our unrivaled access to this setting, with endless opportunities for wildlife photography. In addition to daily wildlife drives, we enjoy guided bush walks, wilderness picnics, off-road safaris and night drives in search of nocturnal wildlife—activities not permitted in the national reserve.
Days 5–8: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Natural Habitat's Migration Base Camp, Maasai Mara
Transfer today via a wildlife drive into the Maasai Mara National Reserve, for another exhilarating photographic vantage point on the migration. The fabled Mara is the northern section of the Serengeti Plains, and we find excellent wildlife viewing in these grasslands. The reserve is named for the Maasai tribespeople, the traditional inhabitants of the area who still graze cattle here, and the Mara River that runs through it.
We stay at Natural Habitat's Migration Base Camp–Maasai Mara, our luxury mobile camp that provides access to an exclusive campsite near the Mara River where wildebeest cross during the migration. Deluxe canvas tents are situated in a private and secluded spot, with plenty of trees to offer shade from the midday heat. Located in a wildlife hotspot, the site also provides easy access to the rest of the reserve, including the main river systems. Wildlife drives offer myriad chances to photograph prolific plains game and the predators that pursue them. Not only will we be in close proximity to thousands of wildebeest and their zebra traveling companions, but also gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi
and giraffe. The Mara is especially famed for its lions, which we may see hunting in the early morning or evening, or resting under acacia trees in the heat of the day. Hyenas also roam the plains in some of the largest numbers in Africa. Optional hot air balloon safaris followed by a champagne breakfast on landing are also available (additional cost) from Migration Base Camp.
Day 9: Nairobi / Depart
Fly back to Nairobi today for the close of our Kenya photo safari, where day rooms await for relaxing prior to a group farewell meal and standard evening departures for international destinations.
Physical Rating: Easy