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The Great Kenya Migration Safari

The Great Kenya Migration 2020 Photo Safari Itinerary

Learn more about the steps we are taking to enhance safety in response to COVID-19.
Itinerary Map
For photographers of all ability levels, our photo departures offer unparalleled access and guidance in capturing images of the migration and classic Kenya safari shots. In 2020, this photo safari is one day longer than our regular itinerary, and  hosts a smaller group—just eight travelers—divided into open safari vehicles with a maximum of 4 travelers each. Everyone gets a "window" seat, of course, with extra room for all your equipment. And you can take all your gear, too, since photo safari guests get to carry up to 70 pounds on our chartered flights—a much higher limit than most companies allow. Travel with a naturalist guide who is also an expert photographer, by your side with tips at every turn.

Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya 
Our Kenya photo safari begins in Nairobi, where we transfer to The Emakoko, an atmospheric boutique lodge bordering Nairobi National Park. Though it's a mere 40 minutes from both of Nairobi's airports, The Emakoko fulfills the vision of its founders as a place where travelers can commence a 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 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 Mara Conservancy—Nat Hab's Private Mobile Camp
Transfer to the airport for our flight to the Maasai Mara. Our first safari destination is a vast private conservancy offering unparalleled access for wildlife photography. Nat Hab's own mobile camp offers bush luxury in classic canvas tents, surrounded by all the wonders of the Maasai Mara ecosystem without the crowds. The conservancy model has been a boon to the region's legendary wildlife, creating buffer zones and protecting migration corridors while providing economic benefits to local landowners through responsible safari tourism.

Within this private reserve, we experience the Mara’s spectacular wildlife in peaceful seclusion, as our camp is one of just a handful of located within its bounds. Strict limits on guest numbers mean unprecedented wildlife viewing without crowds, especially of the wildebeest migration that occurs in close proximity, with scene after scene of wildlife drama. The conservancy serves as a migration corridor for several hundred thousand animals between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Loita Plains to the east, and a multitude of species flourishes here. Great herds of antelope dot the grassy, rolling plains while stands of acacia woodland shelter prolific birdlife. Rich volcanic soils nurture a verdant landscape where we find more lions per square mile than anywhere else in Kenya. Impressive herds of elephant, giraffe and zebra are also at home here. Our activities make the most of our unrivaled access to pristine wilderness. In addition to daily wildlife drives, enjoy guided walks, bush picnics, off-road safaris and night drives in search of nocturnal wildlife—pursuits not permitted in the national reserve.

Days 5–8: Maasai Mara National Reserve—Nat Hab's Migration Base Camp
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 Nat Hab's Migration Base Camp, 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 to Moderate

To participate in this trip, you must be able to walk unassisted at a steady pace for at least one mile over uneven terrain, climb steps to get into and out of our raised safari vehicles, and be able to tolerate daily outdoor excursions that may last 4-5 hours or even a full day at a time, sometimes in hot, windy and/or dusty conditions. Wildlife drives pose a particular type of physical demand on the body, as they require long hours of sitting and take place over terrain that is often very rough and bumpy, including dirt roads with many ruts and potholes. Travelers with back or neck problems, or other health issues that could be exacerbated by such conditions, should take this into consideration. While any walking safaris are considered optional, travelers must be able to walk unassisted to and from the vehicle to our camp accommodations, sometimes walking over uneven ground or on boardwalks. Days spent on safari are often long, as mornings typically start before daybreak and evening meals are served after sundown. Safari accommodations and vehicles are not climate-controlled and, depending on the season, temperatures can range from quite cold to extremely hot, so it is critical that travelers come prepared.
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Physical Requirements