September 2019 BIG CATS of the MAASAI MARA Photo Safari - Kenya
US$ 9,900 Sharing
US$ 10,300 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
PLACES VISITED: Maasai Mara (Kenya)
SKILL LEVEL: Any level from beginner to advanced - photo tuition and guidance is offered on this safari.
**COMBO TRIP** We have scheduled this trip to allow those who are interested in doing a longer safari in Africa, to combine this trip with the BIG CATS of the Serengeti trip, creating a 26 night photo safari in three of Africa's most photo productive reserves.
** please note that the MAIN focus of this trip will be on photographing and spending as much time with the Big Cats as possible (Lion, Cheetah & Leopard) There will also be opportunties to photograph other animals, but the MAIN focus will be on the Big Cats.
** Please ask for more details of how the back to back trip logistics will work and for the discounted price if you are interested in doing both trips **
If Africa's Big Cats are on your “favourites” list and you have always wanted to spend more time with them, then this trip does exactly that.
This 12-day photo safari will begin in Nairobi with a 1-night stopover. A short flight from Nairobi on the following day will take us 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 to experience authentic Africa.
The Maasai Mara is perhaps the best place 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, but a bit more effort in locating them is needed.
The main focus of this safari is to go out in search of these three amazing predators, we will sit patieintly with them as they rest and move with them when they move. Film makers spend countless hours waiting patieintly 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 up on the cats on a daily basis. In a 10 day period, they will go out hunting and they will catch something.. this is where we hope to be rewarded with some photographs of the cats in action.
February is a quieter time of the year for regular tourists, so we can also expect to be one of just a few vehicles at sightings. It is also not “peak season” which is why this February safari offers a better price compared with the same itinerary that will run during October which is the peak tourist season.
At this time of the year, the Mara's rolling hills are not covered with the mega migration herds, but there is still plenty of resident wildlife around. The cats also tend to be a bit more active at this time of year as they have to put in more effort to catch their food.
On our final morning in the Mara we will enjoy a short game drive and then fly back to Nairobi where we will have a day room at the EKA Hotel. International flights will depart that same evening.
This is an exclusive small-group photo safari with a maximum of 6 participants in 2 private vehicles (3 participants per vehicle). You will have plenty of space for equipment and guaranteed access to both sides of the safari vehicle.
Stu Porter will lead the tour and will alternate between the vehicles each day to offer photo tuition and guidance.
On this safari, it is not uncommon to stay out all day waiting for the cats to move. We 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 game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 4 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 5 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 6 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 7 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 8 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 10 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 11 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Maasai Mara
Day 12 Morning 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
- 10 nights Maasai Mara
- 1 Day Room in Nairobi on departure day
- all park entrance fees
- all road & air transfers
- private use of 4x4 Land cruisers with qualified guides
- bottled water on game drives
- professional photographic tuition
- all meals
- all drinks (local beer, house wine, soft drinks, juice, bottled water) ** PREMIUM BRANDS NOT INCLUDED **
- laundry in the Maasai Mara
- tips / gratuities for camp / lodge staff and for your driver / guide - see FAQ's
- 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 we will be travelling in 4x4 TOYOTA Land Cruisers that have a seating capacity of 7 passengers. There will be a maximum of 2 safari vehicles on this tour with only three photographers per vehicle allowing you to have plenty of space for equipment. You will be allocated the same local guide for the entire trip. Stu will be seated next to the driver / guide to offer photographic assistance and will alternate between the vehicles.
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 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 6:00am 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 park at MARA ENTIM CAMP in comfortable en-suite tents.
On this safari we will fly from Nairobi Wilson Airport into the Maasai Mara. We 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 would recommend a warm fleece as well as a wind breaker jacket, long trousers / shorts.
At the time of enrollment, we will send you a more detailed clothing and camera equipment list relevant to this specific photo safari.
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 enrollment.
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 7pm. Dinner will be at 8pm.
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 as close as possible but we will have to use common sense and respect the rules of the reserves, the environment and the comfort levels of the wildlife.
On all our safaris it is preferable to use a duffel type bag for your main luggage (not hard suitcases) as these are easier to pack into vehicles and planes.
The normal luggage restriction as far as weight goes are 20 kgs for hold luggage and 8 kgs for Cabin Luggage. We all know that as photographers 8 kgs for camera equipment is not enough ! However you will find that the size of the bag is more important. A normal Think Tank type camera bag (airport accelerator) should carry the amount of equipment you need for your safari. We will be flying from Nairobi to the Mara and back again.
There is much said about these flights and the weight restrictions. To avoid the hassles of extra weight, our driver / guides will collect our main luggage from us at the hotel at 7am on the morning we depart for the Mara. We will then take only our camera equipment on board the flight from Nairobi to the Mara. We will arrive at the camp before our guides and have lunch. In the early afternoon our guides will arrive after the 6 hr drive from Nairobi, deliver us our luggage bags and we will continue with an afternoon game drive. For the return flight from the Mara back to Nairobi we have bought extra weight allowance to allow you to take you main back back on the plane. ** However, we still recommend that you pack only the necessary amount of clothing and keep your bag as light as possible. There is a FREE laundry service available at the camp in the Mara so you do not need to bring a lot of clothing.
The flights from Nairobi to the Mara and Mara back to Nairobi are approx 45 mins
Please ask us for our latest equipment hire details
I firmly believe that having a stable shooting platform on the safari vehicles is a crucial element to the success of a photo safari. You need to be comfortable when shooting so that you can concentrate on the image and not how to balance a telephoto lens on a wobbly monopod or on your knees ! We will often sit and wait patiently for long periods for a shot to present itself so being comfortable is paramount.
I have invested in a professional beanbag system which we use in the vehicles in Kenya. This will offer a comfortable shooting position from both sides of the safari vehicle and from the roof. I personally like to use the Visual Echoes Panning plate along with beanbags as it allows a smooth panning motion from left to right and it lifts the focus ring of the lens off the bag allowing you to focus manually if necessary.
The general rule in the Maasai Mara is that you can leave just before sunrise and return just after sunset.
Yes there is a FREE laundry service available at the camp we use in the Maasai Mara.
** PLEASE NOTE that you must wash your own “smalls” i.e. your underwear & socks.
There is wifi in the Nairobi Hotel, and at the lodge we use in the Maasai Mara. Cell / mobile phone coverage is really quite good in Kenya at all locations.
Wifi at all places is complimentary.
Tipping is a safari tradition in Africa. We politely recommend you try to follow our guidelines regarding tipping as it helps to set a standard.
Firstly, even though it is expected, it is not compulsory. If you feel that you have not been given excellent service then you do not have to tip. I personally feel that if somebody goes above and beyond their job description then it is polite to tip them and I am more than happy to do so.
We do our utmost to source quality safari companies / lodges and guides who have a similar work ethic and passion to us. All the staff and especially your local driver / guides, work extremely hard to make sure you have a good time and they are incredibly patient and flexible, and work extra long hours on photo safaris.
Please ask us to send you our detailed recommended tipping policy for this photo safari if you would like more details. It will also be in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo safari.
YES, any level from total beginner to experienced wildlife photographers can enjoy our photo safaris. Having a small group allows me to accommodate the different levels very easily. The amount of tuition and approach is tailored to the needs of individual clients on each trip.
As far as equipment goes, this can make a difference in your overall enjoyment of the safari. If you are concerned you might not have the appropriate equipment then please contact me to discuss this in more detail.
It is best to contact the embassy of the country you will be travelling to; to double check and 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 do not have such 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.
From a photo tuition perspective, we have two options available to potential clients.
When I personally lead any photo safari, there will be photo tuition and guidance available. 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, myself and the guides I use do take photos and I feel that it is important for us to do this. We are constantly looking for the best angle for a good photograph. We have many years of experience in the African bush and can predict a lot of animal behaviour. Getting the vehicle into position where we feel it would make a good photo often helps others who are unsure of where to park, which lens to use, how to compose, which settings to use and what behaviour might follow.
We all have an interest in photography but our passion is our business; which is guiding people on a photo safari. We want to make sure you achieve the best photos possible.
Our main aim is not to sell our portfolios, it is to sell our photo safaris. We do need good photos of animals to do this, but more importantly we want our clients to go home with the best portfolio possible.
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$
** 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 is 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.
This is also a question 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.
Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs do not have a specific birthing season and give birth at anytime. The short answer to this question is “anytime” it really depends on your luck at the time of your visit.
Yes we do spend time on photographing birds but we have two safaris which are truly dedicated to bird photography - the “BIRDS of KRUGER” photo safari and the “BIRDS of KENYA” photo safari, both of these usually run every November.
On our other scheduled photo safaris we will be stopping for “the large and colourful birds”. If you would like to try and cover the birds and the mammals in 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 want to 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.
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.
Each country has its own electrical and plug system. After you have registered to do a safari with us, we will send out the “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 or if you would like to tailor a specific extension.
Yes this is possible to arrange for you - please ask 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 Safari 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 3 photographers per vehicle.
We must receive a formal written notification of your cancellation.
Deposits are non-refundable.
All Photo Safaris:
In the case of a cancellation, we must receive written notification, 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 tour fee.
We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance at the time of booking your tour with us to cover any eventualities relating to having to cancel your safari.
Authentic photo safaris, by their very nature have to be flexible. We do our utmost to accommodate our clients needs and requests which are often very different from a regular safari. 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.
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 most certainly stay out. It is always a good idea to bring along some snack bars or take a piece of fruit with you in case we do not return for lunch. On most occasions our packed breakfasts have enough food in them to last the full day anyway.
If there is nothing to wait for and the day is particularly hot with animals resting in the shade, it would not be sensible to stay out and so we do return to camp on such occasions for a midday break, some lunch and then we head out again when the temperature drops and the animals become more active.
Tipping is a safari tradition in Africa. You are welcome to stick to your regular personal tipping policies but we politely recommend you try to follow our guidelines regarding tipping as it helps to set a standard.
Firstly, even though it is expected, it is not compulsory. If you feel that you have not been given excellent service then you do not have to tip. I personally feel that if somebody goes above and beyond their job description then it is polite to tip them and I am more than happy to do so.
We do our utmost to source quality safari companies 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.
Please ask us to send you our detailed recommended tipping policy for the specific photo safari you are interested in joining. It will also be in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo safari.
- 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
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.
- We must receive a formal written notification of your cancellation
- Deposits are non-refundable.
- Tour fees are not transferable.
- 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.
- Full payment of the tour fee is due 90 days prior to the departure date. We must receive written notification of your cancellation, at which time the following cancellation fees apply:
- 89 to 60 days before departure: 75% of tour fee
- 59 or fewer days before departure: 100% of tour fee
- 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 clients will be entitled to a full re-fund. Or, with the clients permission and consent, we might modify the itinerary, which could also mean modifications to the price.
4 DAY MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Rwanda
For those who would like to extend the length of their 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, 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 your guide will tell you about the country and its interesting history.
You will arrive in the late afternoon, settle in to 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 in itself 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 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. For example an open area or thick dense bamboo.
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, haul out the camera equipment you need and you must take it 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 rain coats, 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 in Kigali. 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 lunch time. Afternoon at leisure, dinner in the evening 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 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, we will then deduct the flight costs from the totals mentioned above.
- 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
US$ 9,900 Sharing
US$ 10,300 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
7th - 18th Sep 2019
2 places available
- 7th - 18th Sep 2019
- 11 nights / 12 days
Tour Led By
I was fortunate to be on Wild4's “Best of Botswana” trip in May 2014. It could well be the Best of Africa. This trip featured two expert guides (Stu Porter himself and Nkosi from Letaka Safaris) and the abundant wildlife of four different Botswanan hot spots, with relatively few other vehicles around. Those features alone are worth the price of admission, particularly since they include Stu's vehicle modifications that ensure the best possible photographic experience. But if that isn't enough, we spent the first ten nights in expedition style mobile camps, roughing it with bucket showers and drop toilets, and listening to the leopards, elephants and hyenas wandering in and around the camps at night. But don't worry about the “roughing it” part. The expert staff prepares perfect meals, including fresh baked breads and cakes, and ensures that the camp is safe and clean. We finished the 12-night trip in a luxury lodge on the Chobe River, where we photographed from a boat customised to accommodate serious photographers (i.e. people with lenses bigger than their legs) and a waterway full of hippos and elephants and lined with Africa's most iconic birds. If you can only go once to Africa, go to Botswana with Wild4 Photographic Safaris. They will take care of every detail of your safari to ensure that everything is just right. If you are an old Africa veteran, ditto. You just can't go wrong with Wild4.
George Cathcart, USA
We just got back from our first trip to Kenya, our third trip with the Wild 4 Team. We would not consider doing an African photo safari with anyone else. As usual, Justyna did a great job with the bookings and paperwork. Stu and our drivers (James, Julius and Mamai) did a fantastic job on game sightings and positioning our trucks for the best possible photo opportunities. Members of our safari got to see and photograph animals from Aardwolf to Zebra. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Time to start planning our 4th safari with the the Wild 4 Team!
Michael & Toni Anderson, USA