Best of Kenya Photo Safari - Samburu, Lake Nakuru and the Maasai Mara - Nov/Dec 2020
US$ 12,800 Sharing
US$ 13,800 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
PLACES VISITED: Samburu National Reserve / Lake Nakuru National Park / Maasai Mara
SKILL LEVEL: Any level from beginner to advanced
TOUR LEADER: Mamai Karesi
This 14-day photo safari includes three of Kenya's most famous and photographically productive reserves—Samburu, Lake Nakuru and the Maasai Mara.
This time of year is the build-up to the start of the short rains, where mornings are generally bright and sunny, followed by a build-up of dark thunder clouds in the afternoon. This offers dark dramatic backdrops with animals bathed in warm sunlight in the foreground. The reserves are also a lot quieter at this time of year, with fewer tourists and vehicles.
The safari begins in Nairobi.
You will depart Nairobi and head north by road, crossing the equator and passing Mount Kenya on your way to the "jewel of the arid north"—Samburu Reserve. The reserve is home to a number of special species that you will see only in Samburu. These include the Grevy's Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, and the long-necked Gerenuk. Elephants are abundant, and Lion and Leopard are often seen along the banks of the beautiful Ewaso Nyiro River, which rises far to the west in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains.
Your photo safari will continue by road to Lake Nakuru. Established in 1961, Lake Nakuru National Park offers a wide variety of both mammal and waterbird species, notably White and Black Rhino, Rothschild Giraffe, and great numbers of Flamingos, which feed on the lake's abundant algae. Other common waterbirds include Pelicans, Cormorants, Grebes, Ducks, Stilts and Herons. Your 2-night stay at Lake Nakuru will offer a variety of photographic opportunities and is a convenient stopover between Samburu and the Maasai Mara.
Your final road trip of the safari takes you past Lake Naivasha and Narok and into the Great Rift Valley. You will reach the famous Maasai Mara Reserve, in time for a late lunch. Your stay in the Mara will be spent at a small tented camp in the heart of the reserve allowing you easy access to all areas of this amazing reserve as you seek out its abundant wildlife.
This safari offers an incredible diversity of both animal species and landscapes, great weather, quiet reserves, and a true feeling of adventure. You might even be lucky to catch a late river crossing as the final herds of the great migration make their way back towards Tanzania.
Lion and Cheetah photography is especially good in the Maasai Mara.
After a final morning photo game drive in the Mara, you will fly back to Nairobi and enjoy the comfort of a dayroom before you depart for the airport.
This is an exclusive small-group photo safari with a maximum of 6 participants in 3 private vehicles (2 participants per vehicle). You will have plenty of space for equipment and guaranteed access to both sides of the safari vehicle.
You will have a good chance to see and photograph the following animals:
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Reticulated Giraffe, Rothschild Giraffe, Maasai Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk, Grevy's Zebra, Hippo, Black Rhino, White Rhino, Spotted Hyena, Jackal, Plains Zebra, Wildebeest, Thompson's Gazelle, Grant's Gazelle, Olive Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Coke's Hartebeest, Topi, Waterbuck, and an excellent variety of birdlife.
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi Kenya at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where you will be met and transferred to a Nairobi Hotel for an overnight stay (1 night)
Day 2 Meet up with the rest of the group and depart after breakfast. Drive North towards Samburu Reserve arriving in time for a late lunch and our first afternoon game drive (overnight in Samburu for 3 nights)
Day 3 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Samburu
Day 4 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Samburu
Day 5 Depart Samburu after breakfast and travel by road to Lake Nakuru arriving in time for a late lunch and our first afternoon game drive (overnight at Lake Nakuru for 2 nights)
Day 6 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives at Lake Nakuru
Day 7 Depart Lake Nakuru after breakfast and travel by road to the Maasai Mara Reserve arriving in time for a late lunch and a short afternoon game drive in the Mara (overnight for 7 nights inside the Maasai Mara Reserve)
Day 8 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 10 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 11 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 12 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 13 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 14 Morning game drive en-route to the airstrip and fly back to Nairobi. Arrive midday in Nairobi - check into our day rooms then have lunch. Afternoon at leisure before being collected and transferred to Jomo Kenyatta Airport to connect to your international flights home
- 1 night in city hotel in Nairobi (B)
- 3 nights Samburu (BLD)
- 2 nights Lake Nakuru (BLD)
- 7 nights Maasai Mara
- 1 Day Room in Nairobi
- Meals as indicated above (B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner)
- All park entrance fees
- All road & air transfers
- Private use of 4x4 Land Cruisers with qualified guides
- Tips / gratuities for camp / lodge staff and for your driver / guide - see FAQ's
- All Drinks other than bottled water for Game Drives
- Personal medical, travel & equipment insurance
- Visa fees
- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
- Any extra nights of accommodation before or after the safari - we can arrange these for you and add it to your statement.
For the duration of this photo safari, you will be travelling in 4x4 TOYOTA Land Cruisers that have a seating capacity of 7 passengers. There will be a maximum of 3 safari vehicles on this tour with only two photographers per vehicle allowing you to have plenty of space for equipment. You will be allocated a vehicle and guide for the entire trip.
The vehicles are equipped with WILD4's own professional beanbag system designed by Stu to allow for a comfortable shooting position, from both the roof and the window.
LODGING IN NAIROBI
On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Int Airport, you will be met by one of our photo safari representatives and you will be taken to NAIROBI TOWN LODGE for an overnight stay in comfortable en-suite rooms. Due to the groups' different arrival times, you will not meet for dinner, but instead, you will meet up at 6:30 am on the following morning for breakfast. Your guides will meet you at 07:00 am and you will then depart for Samburu at around 07:00 am
LODGING IN SAMBURU
Accommodation will be inside the park at ELEPHANT BEDROOM in comfortable en-suite rooms.
LODGING AT LAKE NAKURU
Accommodation will be at LION HILL LODGE in comfortable en-suite rooms.
LODGING IN THE MAASAI MARA
Accommodation will be at Entim Mara Camp
On this safari, you will fly into and out of the Maasai Mara from Nairobi (flight time approx 45 mins one way)
The weather in Kenya at this time of year is very pleasant. Cool clear mornings are very refreshing and the days warm up to 32 C or 90 F. Being near the equator it is difficult to predict the weather.
We have a more detailed kit list which we will send out to you at the time of registration.
All the accommodations you will be staying at on this safari will have electric points for recharging your batteries and laptops. A detailed Plug & Voltage document will be sent out to you at the time of registration.
We usually enjoy a cup of tea, coffee and some cookies before heading out just before sunrise. Packed breakfasts are always taken, allowing us to stop at a convenient time during the morning drive, or we eat in the vehicle whilst waiting at a sighting.
If there is something really interesting going on, we can stay out, otherwise, we will return to the lodge at around midday for lunch and a short break. We head out again in the afternoon and return to camp at around 7 pm. Dinner will be at 8 pm.
There is no off-road driving allowed in Samburu or at Lake Nakuru. At these two locations, we are required to stay on roads and official tracks.
In the Maasai Mara, off-road driving is also not permitted. However, a "grey" area surrounds this rule and it will be up to your guide/driver as to whether he thinks he can take you off-road or not. It is not a simple case of crashing off into the bush after wildlife so that you can "get the shot". You can be assured that your driver/guide wants to show you the animals and get you into the best photo position possible.
Respect for the rules of the reserve, the environment, comfort levels of the wildlife and other people, will be taken into account before going off-road.
On all our photo safaris, it is preferable to use a duffel type bag for your main luggage (no hard suitcases) Duffel bags are easier to pack into the vehicles and planes.
One concern people often have is that they struggle to carry a duffel bag if it does not have wheels. Once you arrive in Africa, there will always be somebody willing to carry your bag for you. If you are concerned about not being able to carry your bag before you get to Africa then a duffel with wheels is also acceptable as a second choice.
For the internal flight from the Mara back to Nairobi, we will book a freight seat to allow us to take all of our luggage on the plane. However, we still recommend that you pack only the necessary amount of clothing and keep your bag as light as possible.
We recommend a maximum total weight limit of 20kgs (around 44lbs) for your main luggage bag plus your Photographic Equipment.
The safari begins with a drive from Nairobi north towards Samburu Reserve - this is a 6.5 hr drive.
From Samburu, we drive to Lake Nakuru which is also a 6.5 hr drive.
From Lake Nakuru, we drive to the Maasai Mara which is also a 6.5 hr drive.
We will fly from the Maasai Mara back to Nairobi which is a 45-minute flight.
As a photo safari company, we believe it is crucial to offer our clients a stable photographic platform on safari vehicles. In this regard, we have invested in our own professional photo beanbag system which we use in the vehicles in Kenya. These beanbags allow you to enjoy a comfortable shooting position from both sides of the safari vehicle and when photographing from the roof in a standing position.
Along with the complimentary use of our beanbags, we also offer each client the complimentary use of one VISUAL ECHOES PANNING PLATE which allows you to pan smoothly from left to right and lifts the focus & zoom rings of your lens off the bean bag enabling better focus and better control of your zoom. (Please view the "TRANSPORT & LODGING" tab for photos). Remember that you will often sit and wait patiently for long periods for a shot to present itself, so being comfortable is very important.
The general rule in all three reserves is that we can leave just before sunrise and return just after sunset.
Yes, there are laundry services available at all locations.
You are responsible for settling your own laundry charges
There is free wifi available at all locations. Cell / mobile phone coverage is really quite good in Kenya at all locations.
Tipping is a safari tradition in Africa. We respectfully request that you follow our guidelines regarding tipping as it helps to set a standard across all of our photo safaris.
Any form of gratuity should be earned by the recipient through excellent service and for effort beyond their job description. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable tipping then please let your tour leader know.
We do our utmost to source quality safari companies/lodges and guides who have a similar work ethic and passion to us. The staff and guides work extremely hard to make sure we have a good time and they are incredibly patient and flexible.
We will send you a detailed recommended tipping policy for this photo tour in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo safari.
It is best to contact the embassy of the country you will be travelling to, and double-check to see what their latest policies are with regards to Visas and whether you should apply for them before you travel or if you can obtain them at the port of entry.
Smoking is not allowed in the safari vehicle and generally, it is not a very good idea to smoke in the bush as the grass is often tinder dry and bush fires can start easily. We do not take specific breaks for smoking either, but we will stop at relevant times for everyone to have a break and stretch their legs or have a cup of coffee. This would be your opportunity to have a smoke break. We ask you to respect the environment and carry your cigarette ends away with you.
Spending long hours in the safari vehicles will inevitably end up in folks needed a bathroom stop. We have to respect the rules of the different parks when it comes to this and these rules will be explained before the start of each safari. Generally, the safari saying of "any tree is a lavatree (lavatory)" goes. We will make sure we stop in a safe location for the comfort break.
The Kruger National Park is the only location that has proper washroom facilities at designated picnic sites or in the camps, and as per the rules of the park, we are required to stop at these specific places, not anywhere in the bush. Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania have limited facilities, and stopping at an appropriate place in the bush is allowed.
All of our safaris have emergency procedures in place. We will have contact with the office via either radio, cell phone or satellite phone. The office would then dispatch the relevant help - be it medical or otherwise.
In the case of medical assistance, the initial recovery from the field to the most relevant medical facility would be covered by our safari insurance. Your medical insurance would need to cover you for all other expenses.
The type of photo tuition or guidance on offer really depends on which safari you choose to do.
Generally speaking, photographic guidance on camera equipment, settings to be used, post-processing and DSLR Video are on offer during any of the photo safaris that I personally lead myself.
On the trips that I do not personally lead, we only use very experienced local nature guides, who not only know the reserves and where the wildlife hotspots are, but they are also good friends of mine, who I have personally worked with over many years. They have a like-minded outlook and know exactly what photographers need. They are excellent at positioning the vehicle for the best distance and angle for light. They are also very open to your own suggestions and will work hard to get you the photos that you are looking for. Specific detailed photographic tuition is not available on these safaris, so it is recommended that you do have a fairly good knowledge of your own camera and photography in general.
On some of our extensions and Bespoke Photo Safaris we really hit the photo tuition hard and work through as many elements of nature photography as we can in a "workshop" style. This is because it is at the request of the particular clients who have asked for a high level of tuition and because we have a good deal of time available to focus specifically on certain aspects.
On our scheduled photo safaris you will soon find that the days are long and tiring, we get up early, return late and barely have time to download the days images before getting to bed at a sensible time only to do it all over again on the following day. The tuition format is therefore very informal, I like to approach topics as they become relevant and we will do these in the field in front of real live situations - this is the best way to learn. There will be times when we are waiting patiently at a sighting and can discuss any topic that you feel you would like help with. Siesta times at midday are usually well used for that exact reason, but I am personally available at any time of day or night. I have sat up until midnight on many occasions running through workflow, camera technique and doing night photography with those who are keen.
I am on the safari so that you can pick my brain, ask questions, watch my workflow and teach me a new technique that you might like or find useful yourself !- there is always room to learn and I always learn a lot on each trip myself.
I like to pick up on elements that would be relevant to each photographer. I adjust the level of tuition to the needs of each individual, again this is the beauty of having a small group. I like to talk my way through scenarios as they unfold in front of us and let you know what I am trying to achieve.
If you are a more experienced wildlife photographer, this option would suit you better. During the past 14 years I have met and worked with many excellent safari guides who are not necessarily professional photographers. However they know what the needs of photographers are and how to position the vehicle and predict animal behaviour. They are also very keen photographers themselves and I can highly recommend them as specialist photographic guides. If you are a confident & experienced photographer you can confidently book a safari with one of our specialist guides in the knowledge that they will always be looking out for photographic opportunities, and not simply trying to show you african wildlife, which would be the case on a regular safari with a regular safari guide.
In this option you would then not receive any specialist photo tuition or assistance with setting up your camera or which settings to use etc.., but you will be in very capable hands as far as getting photographs would be concerned. These safaris are also better priced compared with the scheduled trips that I personally lead as I do not have to build my own accommodation, travel and personal costs into the safari.
Regardless of which safari you register for, I will also send you my own set of PDF Photo Tuition Documents which include a pre-safari Camera Set-up guide and my "Seven Top Tips". Reading these before the safari begins will help to prepare you for the types of things you will be doing on safari.
Yes, we can cater for special medical dietary requirements, but you need to inform us of these requirements when you register. We will then be able to inform the lodges/camps we will be staying at about your requests well in advance.
Depending on what your special requirements are there may be a surcharge for this service.
Your time on safari is YOURS, you can feel free to use it as you wish. However, I can confidently say that very few people have ever opted to sleep in or spend time at the pool. This is a photo safari after all. Our main reason for being on the safari is to spend every possible minute doing photography so leisure time is not something people normally request.
On occasion people have wanted to sleep in on one day or skip an afternoon game drive, this is entirely up to you. However please note that we will not change our usual schedule to accommodate "leisure time" If for example, you decided to sleep in, you would not have the right to request the vehicle to come back and collect you at a more convenient time.
The photographers who go out with the vehicle can decide when to return. If you have a private vehicle to yourself then you can do as you please.
Credit Cards are by far the most convenient 90% of the time. Bringing along some cash as a backup is also a good idea. US$ are readily accepted in most African Countries and can also be used in some local shops (**Please note that there are some exceptions like South Africa and Namibia - both of these countries DO NOT ALLOW the use of US$ in their economy.
** If you are unsure please ASK us about which option is most suitable for the safari you are doing.
As far as tipping goes (more on the tipping section) you could separate it into the following two scenarios:
1) Your Local Driver / Guide / Ranger: - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
2) Lodge / Camp staff
> Kenya - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD
> Tanzania - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
> Botswana - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
> South Africa - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD ** this depends on the actual accommodation used - please ask us for clarity **
> Namibia - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD ** this depends on the actual accommodation used - please ask us for clarity **
Any other major foreign currency will also be readily accepted (EURO, GBP)
If you have any concerns please contact us and we will clarify it for you further.
All of our scheduled photo safaris (except for Namibia) are vehicle-based for the majority of the time. You will need to be in reasonable health but we will not undergo any long walks or hikes unless you personally choose to do so, or unless it is detailed in the safari description. Our extensions and custom safaris might warrant a different fitness level - please ask us for more details about the fitness level required for your specific custom photo safari or chosen extension.
Our Landscape tours of Namibia do require a fairly good level of fitness to get the most out of them. There is a lot of sand in Namibia and walking in this sand and up sand dunes are part of the trip. If you have more questions about fitness levels PLEASE ask us before signing up on any of our safaris.
On any trip to Africa, there is a risk of getting Malaria. Some areas have a higher risk than others. As we are not medical doctors we cannot advise you about whether or not you should take malaria medication. Our advice is to consult your local doctor or travel clinic and ask them for their opinion based on the most up to date and relevant information regarding malaria as well as any other potential diseases.
This is a topic you would need to consult a doctor or travel clinic about as details of these change on an ongoing basis. Be sure to ask your doctor or clinic about YELLOW FEVER as it is relevant in some of the countries we visit.
We highly recommend that you contact your doctor or clinic as soon as you can after registering to do a photo safari with us.
Yes, we do spend time photographing birds.
On our photo safaris, we will be stopping for "the large and colourful birds". If you would like to try and cover the birds in more detail then we recommend you travel with a like-minded photographer or that you book out a private safari vehicle so that you can go entirely at your own pace.
The pace of a regular photo safari compared with a bird photo safari is very different. If you do stop for every single bird no matter the distance or size, you will fall far behind the other vehicles who might find other sightings that you might not be able to get to in time. You would need to understand this and know that you cannot be everywhere at the same time and you will miss out on other sightings and photo opportunities. Also be aware that if you are sharing a vehicle with other photographers that you do not know, they may not be as interested in stopping for every single bird.
In general, we would recommend that you stick to bottled drinking water on all the safaris. In Kenya and Tanzania, this also includes brushing your teeth with bottled water. In South Africa it is possible to drink the local water and brush your teeth with it, so the risk of getting ill is small, however, we still recommend you drink bottled water.
Yes, the vehicles in our group are in radio contact with each other and we do pass on relevant information about photo opportunities to each other.
Our local guides are also excellent at acquiring any relevant pieces of information from their colleagues and friends. In Kenya, our guides do make use of cell phones to relay relevant information when radio comms are weak.
Each country has its own electrical and plug system. After you have registered to do a photo safari with us, we will send you our "PLUG & VOLTAGE" document which will explain this topic in more detail.
YES, it is possible to add on an extension to any of our safaris if you wanted to stay longer or visit a different place. There are some extension suggestions on the photo safari pages under the "EXTENSIONS" tab. Please ask us if you need help with this.
Alternatively, you can also request a specific extension that you might like to do and we will gladly set this up for you.
Yes this is possible to arrange for you - please ask us at the time of registration
Yes, this is possible to arrange, there will, of course, be a surcharge for the exclusive use of the safari vehicle, please ask us what this would be for the safari you are interested in.
Having worked with many different guides in different locations I have found that it is always nice and refreshing to have a guide with new ideas and suggestions and work together to achieve new images. It is also important though that the basics are understood by all the guides we use on our photo safaris which is why my training manual came to be.
The manual covers the basics of how to guide photographers, looking at the light, the distance from the subject and parking in a position to predict the animals next move. The manual also illustrates "in the field examples" so that guides know what we photographers are talking about when we say "can we move 1 meter forward, my background is not good from this position, etc etc..." !!
The manual has a big section on communication - this is the key to a successful safari. Both guides and photographers need to know what is going on so that they can prepare for potential situations, never assume, always ask, it will allow you to achieve more successful images.
We secure the use of "Private" Photographic vehicles on all of our safaris. This is a very important element of a successful photographic safari. Essentially it means that you will not share the vehicle with other guests staying at the lodge/camp who are not part of our group. Regular safari clients and nature photographers do not mix very well. You will want to stay for extended periods at a sighting waiting for the best photo opportunities.
Many regular safari clients just want to see an animal, take one picture and leave to go and look for more animals to tick off their list. We avoid this by securing private safari vehicles at all locations. Understandably there is a surcharge to hire these vehicles as the lodge or camp has to issue a specific vehicle and guide for our group and the vehicle is not filled with up to 9 people as it often is on regular safaris. In our case, there will only be a maximum of up to 3 photographers per safari vehicle.
Our full booking terms and conditions are found at this link on our website:
Authentic photographic safaris, by their very nature, have to be flexible. We do our utmost to accommodate our client's needs and requests which are very different from regular safari clients. We take each day as it comes and yes we are able to be flexible and stay out all day if a particular situation warrants it.
For example, if we are far from camp and are patiently waiting for a Leopard to descend a tree, a Cheetah to hunt or a group of Wildebeest to cross the Mara River, then we will stay out. It is always a good idea to bring along some extra snack bars for these situations.
However, If there is nothing worthwhile waiting for and no particular need for us to stay out the whole day, we will return to the camp/lodge for lunch and a short break before heading out again once the animals start to become more active and the photographic light improves.
- First contact us to confirm that there are spaces available on the photo safari that you are interested in - (please use the enquiry form on this page)
- Once we confirm with you that there is space available, and you would like to make a booking, these are the steps you would follow:
We will send you a link that will take you to the photo safari that you want to join. Along with the link we will send a detailed PDF document that will guide you though the booking process.
We only accept International Bank Transfer as method of payment / or PayPal **
** PayPal - please note that an additional 4% handling fee will be added to all payments made through PayPal
Please note that ALL bank charges are for your account
Your place on the safari is only guaranteed once we have received your completed booking form/s and deposit payment/s
Once this is complete, will update your "outstanding balance" amount which will be due 90 days before the start date of the safari.
Please note that it is recommended that you take out your own travel insurance to cover unexpected trip cancellation, medical, personal and photographic equipment. WILD4 will not be held responsible in any way for the loss of or damage to any photographic equipment or personal belongings, nor for any medical expenses. Our medical insurance will only cover you for evacuation from the field to the closest most appropriate medical facility, at which point your medical insurance would take over.
Cancellation Fees & Refund Policy
We must receive a formal written notification of your cancellation.
Deposits are non-refundable.
If for any reason a participant ends a tour early or does not make use of a service that has been included in the price of any scheduled tour, tailor-made tour or tour extension, no refund for this unused portion or service will be made.
Tour fees are not transferable.
All Photo Safaris:
The per person non-refundable deposit amount stated on our website is required to secure a place on one of our photo safaris. Full payment of the outstanding tour fee is due 90 days prior to the departure date. In the case of a cancellation, we must receive written notification of your cancellation, at which time the following fees will apply:
- Deposit is non-refundable
- 89 to 60 days before departure: 75% of tour fee
- 59 or fewer days before departure: 100% of the tour fee.
- We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance (including trip cancellation insurance) at the time of booking your tour with us to cover any eventualities relating to having to cancel your safari.
- If due to circumstances out of our control, we are not able to run the photo safari, we are entitled to either cancel the trip, in which case our policy above will apply. Or, with the client's permission and consent, we could look into modifying or postponing the itinerary, which may also mean having to modify the price. Please note that in this case, your deposit would still be non-refundable and non-transferable.
4 DAY MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Rwanda
For those who would like to extend the length of their PHOTO safari, we offer an exciting 3 night / 4-day extension to see and photograph the highly endangered Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda. The extension can be added on before or after the scheduled safari.
The standard package (if added on before or after our scheduled safari) would start with a flight from Nairobi to Kigali in Rwanda. As you leave the arrivals hall in Kigali, you will be met by our representative and he will be your driver/guide for the duration of your stay. You will start with a tour of the city and a visit to the genocide museum (optional), followed by lunch in one of Kigali's Restaurants.
After this, you head on towards your overnight accommodation in Ruhengeri. You will pass through the very scenic Rwandan countryside with endless rolling hills and lush vegetation. The 3hr drive is a very beautiful one and on the way, your guide will tell you about the country and its interesting history.
You will arrive in the late afternoon, settle into your lodge and enjoy dinner in the restaurant.
The Gorilla treks are done in the early morning (after your breakfast) and depending on which gorilla group you have been assigned to visit, the walk may take a couple of hours (if the Gorillas are close) or it may take longer - 4 or 5 hours if the group is further up the mountain. Either way, the walk is very interesting. We recommend you hire the services of a local porter who will happily and easily carry your camera equipment for you. This allows you to have two free hands to be able to grab onto vegetation during your hike. Gardening gloves are very useful items to protect your hands from stinging nettles and thorny plants. We also recommend you wear gaiters to protect your legs from mud and biting ants, as well as waterproof trousers and a waterproof jacket.
The itinerary offers two treks to see the Gorillas. This is always a good option as both treks will be completely different and it allows you the opportunity to have two chances to photograph the Gorillas. You are never sure where you might find them or in what situation they will be in. They might be in an open area or a dense bamboo thicket.
Group sizes are never more than 6 guests and you will be led by two specialist Gorilla guides, the porters will carry bags and you will also encounter the trackers who find the Gorillas for you and guide your group into them, thus saving valuable trekking time.
Once you are close to the Gorillas, the procedure is to stop and take only the items you need with you. You must also leave your camera bag with your Porter, he will look after it. It is vital therefore that you can carry all your equipment with you as you will not be allowed to go back to your camera bag.
A very strict time limit of 1 hour is given to view and photograph the Gorilla group. After your hour is up everyone leaves the Gorillas and heads back down the mountain. The trackers then stay with the Gorillas for the rest of the day to protect them, but also to take note of where they bed down for the night. Early the following morning the trackers head back up the mountain to find the Gorillas again before they begin their day of foraging.
It is possible to request to walk to one of the closest groups of Gorillas, but it is never guaranteed that you will be picked for that specific group. Thus we recommend that you are in reasonable health to undergo the treks, which will be up fairly steep muddy and slippery paths. You need a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots with long socks that you can tuck your trouser legs into. This will help to prevent against biting ants.
The lodge does offer some items for hire such as raincoats, gaiters and gloves, but they are not guaranteed to always have them available.
When you return after your trek they kindly wash your shoes for you and return them to your room before dinner. A pair of sandals would be useful to have in the interim.
After your second Gorilla trek, you will depart after lunch and head back to Kigali where you will spend your last night in a hotel. The following morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Nairobi or on to a destination of your choice.
Day 1 - Depart your Nairobi Hotel after breakfast and transfer to Jomo Kenyatta Airport where you will catch your flight to the Rwandan capital, Kigali. This is a 1.5 hr flight and upon arrival, you will be met by our ground operators at the arrivals area just outside the airport. You will then take in a tour of the city which includes a visit to the genocide museum. You will also enjoy a lunch in a Kigali town restaurant. Depart after lunch on a 3hr drive to your lodge in Ruhengeri. Dinner at the lodge and overnight - Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
Day 2 - Depart the lodge after an early breakfast and head to the main meeting area for your first Gorilla Trek registration. Head off on your trek and return to your lodge around lunchtime. Afternoon at leisure, dinner in the restaurant and then overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
Day 3 - Early breakfast and then head out on your second Gorilla Trek and return to your lodge for lunch. Depart in the early afternoon and head back to Kigali via road - 3hrs. Arrive in the late afternoon and overnight at Lemigo Hotel in Kigali
Day 4 - Breakfast then depart for the airport and your flight back to Nairobi. Connect with your international flight back home
INCLUDED in the package:
- International flights Nairobi – Kigali - Nairobi ** PLEASE NOTE ** if you would like to arrange your own flights to take advantage of Airmiles then please let us know.
- Arrival & departure transfers in Kigali
- Transport services in 4 x 4 vehicle as indicated
- English speaking driver/guide
- 02 nights on full board accommodation at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
- 01 night on bed & breakfast accommodation at Lemigo Hotel in a standard room in Kigali
- 02 Gorilla trek permits
- City tour as indicated on arrival day
- Community fees
NOT INCLUDED in the package:
- Beverages, laundry, telephone
- Any extra excursions and extra meals
- Visa fees
- Change of itinerary
"Best of Kenya" Photo Safari Highlights
A few video highlights from previous "Best of Kenya" photo safaris to Samburu, Lake Nakuru & the Maasai Mara Reserve
US$ 12,800 Sharing
US$ 13,800 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
20th Nov - 3rd Dec 2020
6 places available
- 20th Nov - 3rd Dec 2020
- 13 nights / 14 days
Tour Led By
I did a photo safari in and around Kruger National Park with Wild4. At the end of the trip I could not think of one significant thing that I would have changed to make the experience better. I have travelled to various parts of East and Southern Africa many times to photograph wildlife and I have to say that this was THE most photographically productive trip of them all. Not simply the volume of pictures, but the quality and variety of images that I returned home with was simply awesome. Key to this was Stu’s knowledge, enthusiasm and patience. Most days we were photographing from first light until sunset, and beyond on some occasions. I quickly learned not to worry about getting the vehicle into the best position for background, light, etc. We would see an animal and I'd start to assess where I would like to be for a shot, no sooner would I have done this I would realise that Stu was already getting us into that very position. The man is a first class guide AND an excellent photographer. Perfect. The whole trip, from start to finish, ran like clockwork. The camps were comfortable, the food was great and the company delightful. Going on Safari with Stu and Justyna was like being with friends, I had a truly unforgettable time. Photographic safaris do not come any better than this.
Mike Needham, UK
We have a particular affinity for bird photography, but also enjoy the African game animals. I'm pleased to say we are all thrilled with the entire trip. Stu met us at the airport on day 1, and what was to have been a quick couple hour drive to camp, took all afternoon until sunset, we found so many things to shoot. Then we wanted to do something slightly off the itinerary on day 2, and Stu again accommodated us. It was like that throughout the entire trip, the Porter family was very accommodating. Even though we were in a big national park using public facilities, the Porter family made us feel like we were in our own private game reserve, and the animals were there just for us. Stu's local knowledge of the birds and game is just great, he's a walking guide book. And because he's in Kruger so often, he knows where the best spots are. Also he knows all the other guides, and they share information. And most importantly if you are considering a photo safari, Stu is an accomplished nature photographer himself. He knows the light and how to position and approach for the best shot. He knows what photographers want and how to get it. The experience might be quite different if just any guide were to drive you around. And having a spotting vehicle out searching for game really helped us see some extra animals we wouldn't have seen. The results were outstanding. We saw and photographed all the of the big five, and several seldom seen animals totaling 33 mammal species and 164 bird species. All in all, the trip was great!! highly recommended!
Con Foley, USA