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9 DAY WILDEBEEST MIGRATION PHOTO SAFARI

Our 9-day Wildebeest MigrationPhoto Safari is a great way to experience and photograph one of nature's most impressive wildlife spectacles - the annual migration of the wildebeest from the Serengeti into the Maasai Mara via the Mara river. Spending the entire trip in various parts of the Mara, our goal is to get those "once in a lifetime" behavioral shots of the various African animals, including the Big 5 and a lot more.


TRIP OBJECTIVES AND DATES

The trip is scheduiled from September 5-13, 2009.

It is timed to coincide with the onset of the wildebeest migration into the Mara - our goal, with luck, is to see the famous "river crossing", where thousands upon thousands of wildebeest cross a river alive with hungry 18-foot Nile crocodiles! We should also see plenty of lions, hopefully with cubs and with kills, as well as the myriad of wildlife that makes this one of the world's best national parks for wildlife photography. Our goal is to help you get a portfolio of amazing wildlife pictures.

The trip is led by experienced Africa hand and professional wildlife photographer, Vandit Kalia, who has been visiting Africa regularly since 2002.


PRE-REQUISITES

Good wildlife photography is about knowing the park and animal locations (our job) and having the patience to wait in one spot for something exciting to happen. It is tempting to run around, looking for things to check off on the list, but that does not produce good results. So a key requirement for this trip is having lots of patience.

Also, since the goal is photography, things like meals, etc. are structured around shooting. This doesn't mean we will starve you - but it means that our daily itinerary is structured around photography, not anything else. If late mornings and spending quality time in the hotel pool is important to you, this may not be the right trip for you.

Depending on their country of origin, participants may be required by law to obtain yellow fever immunization prior to visiting Kenya. For Indian residents, failure to obtain immunization will result in 3 days of quarantine upon return back to India.

All participants are also expected to arrange their own visas and airfare, in order to arrive into Nairobi on September 5th - Photo Safari India will provide a pickup and transfer to the hotel on the 5th, and we will depart for the Mara at 6am on the 6th.


RECOMMENDED GEAR

For Africa, a 100-400 lens is the most-useful lens (70-300 and 70-200+TCs) also work well. Because we can get very close to the subjects, you'll rarely be needing extra-long lenses. However, it is always good to pack a long lens as well, for birds and tight closeups, so if you have one, bring it along. Tripods are useless - however, do pack one or two beanbags.

On this trip, photo opportunities will be so numerous and widespread that you can easily run through 4-5GB of memory on a given drive. So plan your memory & storage needs accordingly. Also, don't forget redundancy: a secon body and a second hard drive are essential. You will have the opportunity to get lots of memorable shots - you do NOT want to miss them or lose them due to gear failure.


ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi and transfer to hotel. In the evening, have an orientation session discussing the trip, itinerary and all the logistical details (Dinner)

Day 2: Early morning (6am) departure for the Maasai Mara. We should arrive by lunchtime to the Keekorok Lodge, where we will spend 3 nights. After lunch, we will depart for the afternoon game drive, returning back after sunset when the park closes for the day (B, L, D)

Day 3: Very early breakfast, departing the lodge before sunrise in order to catch the early-morning action. We will return back to the lodge once the sun is up and no more activity is happening. After lunch, we will depart for the afternoon drive, again returning after sunset (B, L, D)

Day 4: Depart the lodge before sunrise in order to catch the early-morning action. Return around 8:30 for a quick breakfast and then head out to the Mara river, to see if luck brings us wildebeest crossing the river. We will have a packed lunch with us, and spend the entire day out in the bush (B, L, D)

Day 5: Early morning departure, returning back to Keekorok by 9am. We will then have a somewhat leisurely breakfast and depart Keekorok for the Serena Lodge by 10:30am, doing a game drive and arriving at Serena for lunch. After lunch and settling in, we will spend the afternoon doing a game drive around the Serena plains (B, L, D)

Day 6: Now we shift to river crossing mode. We will leave early in morning after breakfast, and spend the entire day outside, with the objective of getting shots of the wildebeest crossing the Mara river. As the Serena Lodge sits within close proximity to the Mara river, we will be ideally positioned to get the shots that we need. (B, L, D)

Day 7: As before, full day drives in the Mara. As before, we will return to the Serena Lodge only for a quick lunch, depending on how things are looking with the wildebeest. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Early morning game drive, returning by 9am. After breakfast and checkout, we will do a leisurely game drive en route to exiting the park and returning to Nairobi. No trip to Kenya is complete without a dinner at Carnivore and so, after having spent 8 days photographing the game of Africa, we shall go out for a group dinner to Carnivore and eat the game. Actually, Carnivore's menu has gotten a lot less exotic nowadays, but as one of the Top 50 restaurants in the world, dining here is more than just a meal - it is an experience in itself. Then back to the hotel. (B, L)

Day 9: Check out of hotel, catch international flight home or take the optional trip extension below.

We will be offering the following a 5 day extension to the trip, as follows:

Day 9: Check out of the hotel early in the morning and drive to Lake Baringo, home to over 500 species of birds. Check into Roberts Camp, situated right on the lake, and then go for an afternoon birding walk. (B, L, D)

Day 10: Early-morning departure by boat to photograph hunting fish eagles. Return by late morning and then depart for Lake Nakuru, home of the white rhino and the famous flamingoes of the Rift Valley. Check in to the lodge, have lunch and then do an extensive afternoon game drive in the park (B, L, D).

Day 11: Early-morning game drive, returning to the lodge by late morning. Have breakfast, check out and then depart the park for dusty Samburu. A very different ecosystem, the arid park of Samburu is very different from the lusher parks of southern Kenya, and home to quite a few endemic species, including Grevy's Zebra and Reticulated Giraffe. Afternoon game drive in Samburu (B, L, D)

Day 12: Extended morning and afternoon drives in Samburu, with a mid-day break for lunch. (B, L, D)

Day 13: Morning drive and then breakfast, followed by checkout and then drive back to Nairobi, stopping off for some picture sessions at the Equator. Overnight at Nairobi(B, L, D)

Day 14: Check out of hotel & catch international flight home.


GENERAL NOTES

These trips emphasize quality game viewing - which means in-depth observation of the animal. The idea is to try to produce pictures that go beyond the ordinary.. and to achieve that requires patience. Patience could mean sitting and observing a particular animal for anywhere from half an hour to half a day... but usually, this is rewarded with some spectacular images. The trip leader and the guide both have extensive knowledge of animal behavior, and will make suggestions based on this.

All travel is done in a pop-top minibus. They are actually a better choice for photography than a Landrover, as they are roomier and allow more flexibility in positioning of camera equipment. They can take up to 8 people respectively, but we limit ourselves to 3 people per vehicle, so that everyone has ample room to shoot and keep his or her gear. Typically, our day is structured around the best times to shoot - early morning and late morning. We will try to spend as much of this time as possible in good photographic locations: meals and traveling are, if needed, fitted around this. This will mean early morning departures with a relatively light breakfast. It may also mean delayed lunches, if we find something interesting to photograph. Yes, this can be a bit of an inconvenience, but the benefit is a chance to have a wild experience not possible anywhere else on the planet.

Accommodation is in plush, upscale lodges in the heart of the game parks. While we have mentioned Keekorok and Serena, we reserve the right to substitute comparable lodges in the final itinerary. Cultural programs and sumptuous buffets (with a full range of vegetarian options) complement a full day of shooting, and if you do feel like taking a break, there are swimming pools and great places to rest and observe nature within the lodges themselves.

The trip is limited to a maximum of 11 people. Non-photographers are welcome as well.


PRICES

Price for the trip is $3,000 per person, inclusive of all park fees, vehicle, accommodation, meals as described in the itinerary above (vegetarian options available) and guide fees. There is a $200 discount for couples or any 2 people booking together.

Cost of the extension is $1375 per person, inclusive of all park fees, vehicle, accommodation, meals (vegetarian options available) and guide fees.

Not included in the price are tips, personal expenses, bottled beverages and such. Also excluded from the trip is international airfare to/from Nairobi

A 10% "EARLY BIRD" DISCOUNT ON THE TRIP PRICE FOR BOOKINGS MADE BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2008. The discount applies to the base trip only, and not to the extension.


BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS

To make a booking, please email us at info@photosafariindia.com. A deposit is required in order to hold your place.

 

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