Kenya - Great Migration Photo Safari
01 - 08 Sep 2018
This September, experience the wilderness of Kenya, a land of sanctuaries and national parks with wildlife well-preserved and well-protected, where animals still roam as freely as they did, hundreds of years ago.
With a fun and adventurous group of travellers, go on African safaris, encounter lions, wildebeests and other wild animals up-close, meet friendly locals and Masai warriors and soak in views of the vast, open and beautiful landscapes of Masai Mara; after all, you’ll be surrounded by wildlife no matter where you are.
Dates: 01st – 08th Sep 2018
Price: Rs. 185,000/- per person on twin sharing - Early Bird
Photo Mentor: Abhishek Hajela
About the Photo Mentor
Day 1: Touchdown + In Nairobi
You’ll be greeted at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by our team. Today we will be staying at in Nairobi, the welcome dinner this evening will be a good opportunity to get to know your group members.
Hotel: Eka Hotel (BB)
Day 2: Samburu National Reserve
By road, the Samburu National Reserve is 325kms north of Nairobi, a journey during which you will cross the Equator and enter the northern hemisphere. The tarmac stops at a small town called Archer’s Post, and from there it is a 21km game drive on all-weather roads to the lodge.
The evening is free to relax.
Hotel: Samburu Sopa Lodge (FB)
Day 3: In Samburu National Reserve
Today we will enjoy an early morning and evening game drive in the Samburu National Reserve.
Ranging between altitudes of 800 to 1230m above mean sea level, the Samburu National Reserve forms a part of a far larger wildlife conservation area which incorporates the Buffalo Springs National Reserve to the south, and the Shaba National Reserve to the east between which the resident wildlife freely migrates.
And it was in this area that George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the lion cub, and where they wrote the best selling book, Born Free, which later became an award winning movie. Joy later also wrote books about her pet cheetah and leopard, and today there is a museum dedicated to their memory at Lake Naivasha.
The Ewaso Ngi’ro River flows through this semi-desert, arid and environmentally harsh region while it divides the Samburu and Buffalo Springs reserves, and forms the northern Border of the Shaba Reserve. While it sustains Samburu’s large populations of wildlife in an area of 165 km², it also nurtures numerous forms of lush vegetation along the lines of its banks to include doum palm groves and dense riverine forests.
While there is a wide variety of animal and bird life to seen in the reserve, several species are considered unique to the region including the Grevy’s zebras, Reticulated giraffes and Vulturine guinea fowls. Lions, leopards and cheetahs can also be found here, as can elephants, buffalos, crocodiles and hippos. Other mammals frequently seen in the park include Olive baboons, gerenuks, warthogs, Grant's gazelles, Kirk's dik-diks, impalas, waterbucks, and Beisa oryxes.
There are also over 350 species of birds which include Somali ostriches, Grey-headed kingfishers, sunbirds, bee-eaters, Marabou storks, eagles, yellow-necked Spur fowls, lilac-breasted rollers, palm nut vultures, red-billed hornbills, secretary birds, Verreaux's eagles, superb starlings and yellow-billed hornbills.
Hotel: Samburu Sopa Lodge (FB)
Day 4: Aberdare National Park
This morning we will start our drive to the Aberdare National Park which is about 6 hrs away. We will be stating in the ARK Lodge.
Set in the heart of the Aberdare National Park, iconic and yes, quirky. The Ark overlooks a floodlit waterhole and salt lick, which attracts a host of awesome wildlife. Resembling and named after Noah’s Ark, The Ark comprises of three decks from which numerous balconies and lounges provide a superb location for wildlife to be seen. So that you don’t miss any animal sightings, the night guard will buzz your room when special animals come to the waterhole. The Ark has four viewing areas for observing the ever-present animal activity.
There is also a ground level bunker – the perfect hideout for the discerning photographer. This is a circular pillbox-like structure, and it is from this vantage point that pictures of animals on the salt lick only yards away may be taken through the view holes in complete safety."In this intimate recess one can almost, but not quite, pat the animals, hear their sounds and smell the aroma of the night. This is a magical corner, where there is close contact with the essence that tells of an unexplored Africa, and where, very often, the visitor may enjoy in solitary state the beauty of it all."
The evening is free to observe the wildlife around the waterhole.
Hotel: Ark Lodge (FB)
Day 5: Lake Naivasha
This morning, after an early breakfast, we’ll check out from our hotel and drive through the very famous Lake Naivasha.
Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Kenya section of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and is located north-west of Nairobi with the town of Naivasha on its northeastern shore. At 1,890 meters (6,200 ft) above sea level, the lake is at the highest point in the Kenyan rift and is set in a complex geological combination of volcanic rocks and sedimentary deposits from a much larger Pleistocene era lake. Because the outlet for this ancient lake, now called Njorwa Gorge, is today much higher than the lake, the original Lake Naivasha must have indeed been a truly vast expanse of water. The gorge now forms the entrance to the Hell’s Gate National Park which, for obvious reasons, today contains some spectacular examples of water and weather-worn rock formations as well as an abundance of flora and fauna to include some extremely rare, resident breeding pairs of Lammergeyers, otherwise known as Bearded vultures.
Apart from transient streams, Lake Naivasha is fed by the perennial Malewa and Gilgil rivers and, most unusually, it now has no visible outlet. However, it must be assumed that such a large body of water has to have an underground outflow through a volcanic fissure or similar somewhere beneath the expanse of its lake bed, and it has been suggested that the water emerges through the fresh but hot water springs at Lake Magadi, an otherwise brackish and pinkish coloured soda lake 120kms to the south.
Because this is a volcanic area, as witnessed by Mount Longonot, an extinct nearby volcano to the south-east, and ancient fumaroles – including the tiny but spectacular Crater Lake – to the west, Kenya is blessed with the presence of the Olkarria Geothermal electrical generating complex – high in the hills just to the south – which feeds massive amounts of much-needed power into the national grid.
Since the lake’s underground outflow might perhaps be limited in size, the lake has a surface area of between 140 and 180 km² depending on the rainfall although, and in years gone by, it has been known to either dry up altogether or to expand exponentially during the somewhat cyclic curse of the El Nino weather system which creates flood chaos with its multiple or lengthy torrential rain storms. It has an average depth of 6 meters (20 ft), and its deepest point of 30 meters (100 feet) is off Crescent Island which is a wildlife conservation area.
Lake Naivasha is home to a wide variety of wildlife including a sizeable population of hippos which usually invade our property during their nightly forays for food. Being a freshwater lake, it also has a healthy fish population to include Black bass, Tilapia and Crayfish which attract a variety of fish-eating birds such as Long-tailed and Great Cormorants, along with Fish Eagles, Pelicans, and various types of Kingfishers.
Hotel: Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort (FB)
Day 6: Masai Mara
This morning we will drive to the famous Masai Mara National Reserve. It is perhaps one of the few regions left in Africa where you’ll find wildlife in exceptional abundance, with hundreds of thousands of zebras, plenty of lions, leopards, cheetahs and of course, hordes of wildebeests grazing and galloping in herds.
With its rolling hills, dense riverine forests, hills and a high, flat-topped escarpment that forms its western boundary, this wildlife conservation area takes up an area of 1,510sq.kms in southwestern Kenya and shares an international border with Tanzania’s fabled Serengeti National Park. It is owned and managed by the Maasai people who, because of their traditional respect for wildlife during the course of hundreds of years of their continued co-existence, they have ensured that the wildlife splendour of the Maasai Mara exists today.
While this reserve is home to over 410 species of birds and 60 species of raptors, it is also one of the world’s finest game viewing destinations. This is because it plays host to an abundance of every form of wildlife possible except for those few species which can only be seen north of the Equator, and from our Samburu Sopa Lodge
Not only this, but the reserve is also world famous for its annual migration of literally millions of wildebeest – not to mention tens of thousands of zebras and gazelles – when they annually migrate north from the Serengeti, usually between July/early August to October, to find food. To access the reserve’s lush grazing they first have to cross the Mara River with its battalions of enormous and hungry crocodiles and, if you are lucky enough to watch one of these crossings, it is an event you will never forget.
Hotel: Masai Mara Sopa Lodge (FB)
Day 7: In Masai Mara
In the afternoon: another game drive! It’s quite common and easy to spot the ‘Big Five’ in the Masai Mara, so keep your eyes open and cameras ready as we drive our way through bushes and open plains.
Later: Arrive at your camp, check-in and relax.
Early this morning: an optional hot air balloon safari. Climb into the basket and drift upwards over the Mara just as the sun rises. From this unique vantage, you'll be able to spot gazelles galloping across the grasslands, herds of elephants and zebras going about their morning routine. It's truly spectacular. (Please note that this is an optional activity at an additional price of INR 37,200.00/person plus service tax for 1 person including transfers to and from the lodge).
Spend the whole day exploring the Masai Mara.
We’ll drive through plains and rolling hills for fascinating views of the savanna. And if you’re lucky, you might also spot some action- with glimpses of lions, cheetahs and other predators prowling in their hunting grounds.
Day 8: Depart
After breakfast, we’ll check out and drive back to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. Arrive at the city and head to a restaurant where we’ll have lunch.
In the afternoon: unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. You’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.
Activities & Experiences
Wildlife observation deck at the Ark Lodge, Aberdares
Lake Naivasha National Park
Game drives in Maasai Mara National Reserve
You’ll stay at the following accommodations or similar:
Nairobi: Eka Hotel (BB)
Samburu: Samburu Sopa Lodge
Aberdare National Park: The ARC Lodge
Lake Naivasha: Sopa Lodge
Masai Mara: Sopa Lodge
All meals in the Parks
Only Breakfast in Nairobi
Airport transfers as per the suggested flight schedules will be provided on a private basis.
Safari transport and game drives in our custom 7-seater Minibuses with fuel and park fees for guides and vehicles
Assistance with arrivals and departures
An English-speaking local guide (driver-guide) will accompany you on tours
Entry to National Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries mentioned in the itinerary
Any other meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Service tax (as applicable)
Any other item not mentioned under inclusions
+91 997 109 5453