BIG CATS of the Maasai Mara Photo Safari Kenya Aug/Sep 2023
US$ TBC Sharing
US$ TBC Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
LOCATION OF PHOTO SAFARI: Kenya
PLACE VISITED: Maasai Mara
PHOTOGRAPHY SKILL LEVEL: Any level from beginner to advanced. Photographic tuition and guidance will be available on the photographic safari.
PHOTO TOUR LEADER / HOST: Stu Porter
** Please note that the MAIN focus of this trip will be on photographing and spending as much time with Africa's Big Cats as possible (Cheetah, Lion & Leopard) There will be lots of opportunities to photograph other animals, but the MAIN focus will be on the Big Cats.
If photographing Africa's Big Cats is on your "bucket list" and you have always wanted to spend quality photographic time with them, then this photo tour does exactly that.
This 12-day photo safari begins in Nairobi with a 1-night stopover. A short flight from Nairobi on the following day will take you to the heart of the famous Maasai Mara Reserve. Gentle rolling hills, open savanna grassland, thickets, and the famous Mara River are some of the scenery highlights you will encounter in the Maasai Mara Reserve. Covering 1500 square kilometres (560 square miles), this is a fantastic location for a photo safari in the heart of authentic Africa.
The Maasai Mara ranks as one of the best places to photograph Africa's BIG CATS - Lion, Cheetah and Leopard. Lion and Cheetah sightings are consistently very good in the Mara and Leopards are also regularly photographed.
The main focus of this safari will be to go out in search of these three amazing predators, we will sit patiently with them as they rest and move with them when they move. Filmmakers spend countless hours waiting for predators to do something, and are often rewarded for their patience. We will be based in the same location in the mara for all 10 nights - the reason for this is so that we can follow the cats on a daily basis. In a 10 day period, we should be able to document many aspects of their day to day life.. and hope to be rewarded with some photographs of the cats in action.
August / September is a fabulous time in the Mara as not only will there be great big cat sightings, but the incredible Great Migration of over 1 million Wildebeest and Zebra will also be going on at the same time. The sheer numbers of animals you will encounter is astonishing.
On our final morning in the Mara, we will enjoy a short photo game drive and then fly back to Nairobi where we will be able to freshen up in a day room before our evening transfer to the airport.
This is an exclusive small-group photo tour 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.
Stu Porter will host this photo safari.
On this tour, it is not uncommon to stay out all day waiting for the cats to move. We will take packed food in the vehicles to enable us to remain in the field for as long as it takes.
You will have a good chance to see and photograph the following animals:
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Hippo, Black Rhino, Spotted Hyena, Jackal, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Thompson's Gazelle, Grant's Gazelle, Olive Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Coke's Hartebeest, 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 our driver/guides who will take our main luggage bags and drive them to the Mara by road. We will depart after breakfast for Wilson airport and catch the mid-morning flight direct to the Maasai Mara carrying only our Camera Equipment. Upon arrival in the Mara, we will be met and transferred to our lodge where we will have lunch and a briefing. Our driver/guides will arrive in the early afternoon with our main luggage bags. We will then head out for our first afternoon drive in the Maasai Mara Reserve (overnight in Maasai Mara for 10 nights)
Day 3 Morning & Afternoon photographic safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 4 Morning & Afternoon photographic safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 5 Morning & Afternoon photographic safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 6 Morning & Afternoon photographic safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 7 Morning & Afternoon photographic safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 8 Morning & Afternoon photo safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon photo safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 10 Morning & Afternoon photo safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 11 Morning & Afternoon photo safari game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 12 Morning photographic game drive en-route to the airstrip where we will catch our flight back to Nairobi - this time taking all our luggage with us. 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)
- 10 nights Maasai Mara (BLD) + Drinks
- 1 Dayroom in Nairobi on departure (L)+ Drinks
- all park entrance fees
- all road & air transfers
- private use of 4x4 Land cruisers with qualified guides
- bottled water on game drives
- laundry in the Maasai Mara when at ENTIM CAMP
- professional photographic host
- meals as indicated: (B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner)
- DRINKS - local beer, house wine, sodas, bottled water are INCLUDED where indicated ** Spirits and Cocktails are NOT included **
- All meals, drinks & laundry not indicated
- Tips / gratuities for camp / lodge staff and for your driver / guide - see FAQ's
- Visa fees
- Personal medical, travel (including trip cancellation) & photographic equipment insurance
- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
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 photographic safari with only two photographers per vehicle allowing you to have plenty of space for photographic equipment. You will be allocated the same local driver/guide for the entire safari.
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 EKA HOTEL for an overnight in comfortable en-suite rooms. Due to the groups' different arrival times, we will not meet for dinner, but instead, we will meet up at 6:45 am on the following morning. You will need to have your main luggage bags packed as these will be collected by our driver/guides who will set off by road to the Mara. We will enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then depart for Wilson Airport for a 45 min flight to the Masai Mara.
LODGING IN THE MAASAI MARA
Accommodation will be inside the main reserve at MARA ENTIM CAMP in comfortable en-suite tents.
On this photo safari, you will fly from Nairobi Wilson Airport into the Maasai Mara. You will also fly back to Nairobi at the end of the safari (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 can get quite warm, up to 32 C or 90 F. Being near the equator it is difficult to predict the weather. There may be some afternoon thunderstorms.
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 enjoy a cup of tea, coffee and some cookies before we head out just before sunrise. We always take a packed breakfast with us and 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 we want to stay with (ie a Cheetah hunting), then we are able to stay out all day, 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.
It is officially not allowed to off-road in this area of the Maasai Mara. 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". Some areas are more sensitive to damage than others and some trees and bushes are more vulnerable than others. You can be assured that your driver/guide wants to show you the animals and get you into the best position possible but we will have to use common sense and respect other people, the rules of the reserve, the environment and the comfort levels of the wildlife.
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 flight to the Maasai Mara, we will avoid having to worry about our main luggage by having it go with our driver/guides who will drive it to the Mara for us. You are also welcome to let your camera equipment go with our guides too so that you can fly "hands-free" to the Mara. We will arrive at midday and be transferred straight to the camp when the light is harsh, so there will be very limited opportunities for photography before our afternoon game drive, by which time our luggage and equipment will have arrived with our guides. However, if you prefer to bring your camera equipment along on the plane that is also perfectly OK. Just be prepared to possibly have it packed into the hold as the cabin space on the plane is very limited.
For the return flight from the Maasai Mara back to Nairobi we will have extra weight allowance to allow you to take all of your 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 flights from Nairobi to the Mara and Mara back to Nairobi are approx 45 mins one way.
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 paramount.
The general rule in the Maasai Mara is that you can leave just before sunrise and return just after sunset.
Yes there is a laundry service available at all locations. (Please note that at some places you have to wash your own underwear and socks)
There is wifi available at all locations on this photo safari. 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 safari in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo tour.
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.
- Transport services in 4 x 4 vehicle as indicated
- English speaking driver/guide
- 02 nights on full board accommodation at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (BLD)
- 01 night on bed & breakfast accommodation at Lemigo Hotel in a standard room in Kigali (B)
- 02 Gorilla trek permits
- City tour as indicated on arrival day
- Community fees
- Meals as indicated: (B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner)
NOT INCLUDED in the package:
- All meals not indicated
- All Drinks
- Visa Fees
- Change of Itinerary
VIDEO trip report - Big Cats of the Maasai Mara Photo Safari by Stu Porter
Video trip report from the WILD4 African Photo Safaris tour of the Maasai Mara in Kenya to photograph the big cats, led by Stu Porter. Lions, Cheetah, Leopards and general game from the Mara in Kenya
African Photo Safari VIDEO Trip report from the Big Cats of the Mara Photographic Safari in Kenya by Stu Porter
African Photographic Safari VIDEO TRIP report Lions Leopards and Cheetah from the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Filmed by Tour Leader Stu Porter
US$ TBC Sharing
US$ TBC Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
23rd Aug - 3rd Sep 2023
6 places available
- 23rd Aug - 3rd Sep 2023
- 11 nights / 12 days
Tour Led By
As a return customer I can't recommend enough the experience of these trips as well as photographic opportunities that surpass all expectations. In addition I have now visited the reptile centre, as part of the extension, twice. Both times I have been delighted with the skill and expertise of the rangers there. The opportunities set up for photography are exceptional and that coupled with Stu's masterclass in close up and macro provides a day to remember. If you get the opportunity to do the extension, take it as it's worth every minute.
Sharron Franks, UK
Everything about my first Safari with Wild4 was so outstanding that I was afraid the second would pale in comparison. I needn't have worried! It was a huge success! Communications, details, accommodations all handled expertly by Justyna. Making sure that we got into the right situations and stayed with them long enough to get the shot handled incredibly by Stu. Susan was not a photographer when we began this journey, but Stu's patient tutoring assured that she came home with some fantastic photographs as well! Our heartfelt thanks to the whole Wild4 family! We'll be back...
Doug & Susan Croft, USA