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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Wildlife Talk 
Thread started 11 Feb 2012 (Saturday) 17:50
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Planning a Kenya Safari Trip

 
mmackwan
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Location: Australia
     
Feb 11, 2012 17:50 |  #1

Hi guys i have read a few posts here regarding african safari, a few good tour operators mentioned in a post by matman thanks to him.
Finally after waiting for more than 20yrs have decided to take my wife and daughter to Africa for a 10day safari in 2013, we got a quote for accommodation and safari prices


Day 1 Sat 8th Sep Arrive in Nairobi to be met by As You Like It (Safaris) Ltd
and transfer to the hotel for the overnight.
Accommodation: Macushla House (BB)

Day 2 Sun 9th Sep An early start for the drive to the Maasai Mara, probably the
most prolific wildlife area of the World. Your first three nights will
be at an authentic “Out of Africa,” eco-friendly camp,
which is close to nature, and rare to find in today’s world. You will
be right in the middle of the Great Migration dispersal area,
with the possibility of seeing lions, maybe leopard, and
cheetah. Wildebeests and much more wildlife are in the vicinity
Accommodation: Nyumbu Camp (FB).

Day 3 Mon 10th Sep Situated in the Ngila Plains at the edge of Maasai Mara Game
Reserve, the camp overlooks a magnificent view of hills and
plains. With simple elegance and style, at Nyumbu Camp, you
will find unsurpassed peace and tranquility with wildlife
abounding at a nearby distance, in addition to an awesome,
breathtaking sunset experience. Welcome to a true African
experience of the untamed African bush in comfort and style.
Accommodation: Nyumbu Camp (FB).

Day 4 Tue 11th Sep Activities such as guided nature walk, picnic breakfast &
sundowners, a visit to the Maasai Village and a balloon ride can be
organized upon request.
Accommodation: Nyumbu Camp (FB).

Day 5 Wed 12th Sep Another full day with unlimited game drive to fully explore the
area and enjoy the camp too.
Accommodation: Nyumbu Camp (FB).

Day 6 Thu 13th Sep After breakfast , Game Drive across into the famous Maasai
Mara Game Reserve, the most famous game park in the world!
and to the Mara Serena Lodge for your last three days in the
Maasai Mara. Activities such as a Balloon Ride, Sundowner, can be arranged upon request.
Accommodation: Mara Serena Lodge (FB)

Day 7 Fri 14th Sep Maasai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s finest wildlife reserve.
Everything about it is outstanding. The wildlife is abundant and
the gentle rolling grasslands ensure that animals are never out of
sight. Birds, too, are prolific, including migrants. Well over 450
species have been recorded, among them 57 species of
birds of prey. The climate is gentle, rarely too hot, with well
spread rainfall year round. Rain, when it falls, almost always
chooses the late afternoon or night. Between July and October,
when the great wildebeest migration is in the Maasai Mara
National Reserve, the sensation is unparalleled.
Accommodation: Mara Serena Lodge (FB).

Day 8 Sat 15th Sep Another day in the Maasai Mara to fully explore the area on
Game Drives and enjoy the lodge too. Styled to echo the circular
motif of a traditional Maasai manyatta, the lodge blends
international sophistication with raw African beauty, while
featuring twin rows of individual rooms, each with its own view of
the famous Mara River. The central bar and dining areas enjoy
spectacular views, as does the rock-surround swimming pool.
Accommodation: Mara Serena Lodge (FB)

Day 9 Sun 16th Sep Your final day to fully explore the area.
Accommodation: Mara Serena Lodge (FB)

Day 10 Mon 17th Sep Drive to Nairobi into Ole-Sereni Hotel for a day room to
refresh before transferring to the airport.

xxxENDxxx

The cost this Safari is likely to be:-

Option 1: 2 Adults & 1 Child.

Adult: US$ 3,986 Per Person sharing a Twin/Double Room for the 10 days safari.
Child: US$ 3,061 Sharing with parents.


Option 2: 4 Adults & 1 Child.

Adult: US$ 3,500 Per Person sharing a Twin/Double Room for the 10 days safari.
Child: US$ 2,600 Sharing with parents.

The single room supplement is US$ 950.


The costs includes:-
Accommodation as stipulated in the Itinerary.
FB is full board, all meals
BB is bed and breakfast only
Transport in 4 WD Toyota Land Cruiser, fully equipped.
HF Radio, roof hatches, luggage space, fire extinguishers.
Experienced English speaking driver/Guide
Fuel
Park fees for you.
Park fees for the driver and Vehicle
Unlimited Game drives ( No limits on your game drives).
All the transfers
Mineral Water in the Vehicle.
Flying doctors evacuation cover.
First Aid Kit
Biscuits and Sweets ( Nibbles in the Car)
Blankets.
Welcome packages
Bean bags (to steady your Cameras)
Government taxes and Levies

Extras, and excluded,
Drinks
Tips
Laundry
Any personal expenses (e.g. Telephone calls, or any extra activities)
Travel Insurance is mandatory.

Optional:-

Balloon ride in Maasai Mara is possible at US$ 500 per person.


how reasonable are this prices??
The reason we only went for maasai mara is cuz of the travelling distance between the parks are too great and i dont wanna put up with winging kids and womens...
which month would be great FEB or Mid SEP
if we go in SEP would we be able to see the migration crossing ???
at present am waiting for canon to release 200-400mm f4 which will definitely be on my list for this trip.

Any suggestions welcome
i know i have a long time to plan it all but i wanna be prepared as this could be the only trip for me for a long time.....

Thanks for reading guys


1D MK IV,7D Grip, 24-105mm f4, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, 500mm f4 IS II, canon 580 & 430 EXII

  
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MCAsan
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Feb 11, 2012 22:27 |  #2

In 2010 I had to do a 1 week business trip to Cape Town. We had never done a safari and I investigated the options for adding a 1 week photographic safari. I ended up selecting Stu Porter at Wild 4 Photographic Safaris http://www.wild4photog​raphicsafaris.com/ (external link).
We had a fantastic time; for us it was the trip of a lifetime. We were so pleased that we are heading back to South Africa in June for 2+ weeks with Stu on another safari. Stu not only does photo safaris in South Africa, he also does them in Kenya. Check out his site for descriptions and prices. You can compare the info to what you have already received.




  
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hollis_f
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Feb 12, 2012 06:42 |  #3

It sounds like a great trip. I, too, dislike lots of travelling between different areas. But I might be persuaded to spend a couple of nights up near Lake Naivasha, especially as I like birds.

As to the timing - I'd go for September. In February the wildebeest will all be giving birth in Tanzania, so you'll miss out on the huge herds. By September they'll mainly be in the Mara. You'd have to be very lucky to see a river crossing (they do indulge in some to-and-fro movement between the Mara and the Serengeti). But you will have some large herds to admire.


Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll complain about the withdrawal of his free fish entitlement.
Gear Website (external link)

  
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mmackwan
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Feb 12, 2012 10:59 |  #4

Thanks guys, I checked wild4 photographic safari website it's more expensive than as u like it. Frank thanks for ur suggestion we will be planning for sept would we see more tourist in this month


1D MK IV,7D Grip, 24-105mm f4, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, 500mm f4 IS II, canon 580 & 430 EXII

  
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asavani
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Feb 17, 2012 03:23 |  #5

So I am a kenyan and do live here, but unfortunately as a local I can't really comment on how reasonable the prices are - cos prices are different for non-kenyans and I usually drive myself every where.

Masai mara is definitely an amazing place to visit and mara serena is a great lodge! however I do think 10 days is a bit much there. There are many other parks that offer very different experiences, in terms of landscapes and certain animals that are not found in the mara (some of my favourite parks include Samburu, lake nakuru national park and Tsavo west).

You can possibly start off with nakuru (2.5 hour drive, NW of nairobi) then head down to mara (SW of nairobi) if you're interested in that.

Further, if you are willing to check out the other parks or the coast (nearly all flights are less than an hour long from nairobi).

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Cheers


www.adnansavani.zenfol​io.com (external link)
Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS Rebel XSi
15-85mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 L IS
Vanguard Alta pro 263 AT with SBH-100 ball head
http://adnansavani.pho​tography.com (external link)

  
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hollis_f
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Feb 17, 2012 04:21 |  #6

asavani wrote in post #13913184 (external link)
I do think 10 days is a bit much there. There are many other parks that offer very different experiences, in terms of landscapes and certain animals that are not found in the mara (some of my favourite parks include Samburu, lake nakuru national park and Tsavo west).

You can possibly start off with nakuru (2.5 hour drive, NW of nairobi) then head down to mara (SW of nairobi) if you're interested in that.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I think Asavani is correct. A couple of days at Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha (stay near one, visit both) will give you something quite different from the Mara. Nakuru should have loads of Flamingo - something you may regret missing.

IMAGE: http://www.frankhollis.com/galleries/Kenya_2007/photos/Kenya_20070916_0227.jpg

If you're even slightly interested in birds then a boat trip on Lake Naivasha is a must. The birds seem to ignore boats and you can get quite close. And when the Fish Eagles think that food may be provided you can get very close

IMAGE: http://www.frankhollis.com/temp/Fish%20Eagle.jpg

Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll complain about the withdrawal of his free fish entitlement.
Gear Website (external link)

  
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asavani
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Feb 17, 2012 08:30 |  #7

hollis, thats an absolutely cracking shot of the fish eagle!


www.adnansavani.zenfol​io.com (external link)
Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS Rebel XSi
15-85mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 L IS
Vanguard Alta pro 263 AT with SBH-100 ball head
http://adnansavani.pho​tography.com (external link)

  
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asavani
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Feb 17, 2012 08:34 |  #8

Following Frank Hollis' idea, an incentive to visit nakuru maybe: http://adnansavani.zen​folio.com/?q=lake%20na​kuru (external link)


www.adnansavani.zenfol​io.com (external link)
Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS Rebel XSi
15-85mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 L IS
Vanguard Alta pro 263 AT with SBH-100 ball head
http://adnansavani.pho​tography.com (external link)

  
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mmackwan
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Feb 18, 2012 05:00 |  #9

Frank how many days are good for lake nakuru ?? i do love to photograph birds of prey, would we see the fish eagle at lake nakuru aswell???
Regarding lenses i read a lot of forum about the choices and was thinking of buying a canon 500mm f4 is which will cover me for the long end and birds in flight shots, some of the search on net suggested that 400mm for kenya is sometimes not enough and sometimes even 300 is too long, so if i buy the 500mm f4 then i can have all areas covered... has anyone taken 500mm f4 to maasai mara ?? or tanzania safari and if so how much use did you get out of it???


1D MK IV,7D Grip, 24-105mm f4, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, 500mm f4 IS II, canon 580 & 430 EXII

  
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hollis_f
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Feb 18, 2012 07:11 |  #10

Nakuru and Naivasha are right next to each other, so there's no problem visiting both. If you go to the lakes first then you could drive up to the lakes on your first morning and look around the Nakuru National Park - where you'll see lots of wildlife, including much better views of rhino than you're likely to see in the Mara...

IMAGE: http://www.frankhollis.com/temp/Rhino%20Nakuru.jpg

Stay overnight in the area and go for a boat trip on Naivasha the next morning. Although you'll see the Fish Eagles almost everywhere - Naivasha, Nakuru and the Mara, this is the best place to photograph them. Especially if you get one of the boats where they've trained the eagles to come down for fish (which is how I got that shot). Then you can drive down to the Mara in the afternoon.

I wouldn't take the 500 because it's really difficult to use handheld in the restricted environment of a safari vehicle - which is essential for birds in flight. My first trip to Kenya I used a 100-400 and got some nice shots. The second time I used a 300 f2.8 and a 70-200 f4 IS. The 300, most of the time with a 1.4x TC, was my default. I find it light enough to handhold all day and the f4 at 420mm is long enough and wide enough for almost everything. But you do need something shorter sometimes which is where the 70-200 comes into play. I chose the f4 over the f2.8 because of the weight difference.

Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll complain about the withdrawal of his free fish entitlement.
Gear Website (external link)

  
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mmackwan
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Feb 18, 2012 16:30 |  #11

Frank is it wise to book a tour( the tour company is local in kenya) or wait till we get there and then book everything?? i might even wait till the new 200-400mm f4 comes out and see if i can score that instead, might change the trip to 1 night at or near lake nakuru and visit the naivasha on second day before heading down to mara, and stay 4 nights at mara this will even get the costs down to where we can afford, is 4 nights really enough for mara ??? or should i go one more night ??

Thanks everyone for your input


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mmackwan
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Feb 19, 2012 03:52 |  #12

what do you guys think of this one


Day 1 Sat 1st Sep Arrive in Nairobi to be met by as You Like It (Safaris) Ltd
Driver/Guide and transfer to the Hotel for the over night.
Accommodation: Macushla House (BB).

Day 2 Sun 2nd Sep Drive across and down into the Great Rift Valley, Here you
will visit Lake Nakuru National Park, famous for the
millions of pink flamingos that wade in the shallow shores together with multitudes of pelicans and a wide variety of other birds. You will get a chance to see both the Black and White Rhino, the endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe, Waterbuck, Rock Hyrax, a Euphorbia forest and many plains game.
Accommodation: Lake Nakuru Lodge (FB)

Day 3 Mon 3rd Sep After breakfast, drive to Lake Naivasha one of the Great Rift
Valleys’ fresh water lake. You will do a boat trip and later
drive to the Hotel for Lunch and overnight.
Accommodation: Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge (FB).

Day 4 Tue 4th Sep Drive to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which is probably the most prolific wildlife area in the world. Your first 3 nights will be at an authentic “Out of Africa”, eco-friendly, camp, which is close to nature, and rare to find in today’s world. You will be right in the middle of the Great Migration dispersal area, with the possibility of seeing Lions, maybe Leopard, and Cheetah; Wildebeests and much more wildlife in the vicinity.
Accommodation: Nyumbu Camp (FB)


Day 5 Wed 5th Sep The excitement is the search, the adventure is
awesome, the thrill is in finding – perhaps a cheetah kill, or a
Gazelle giving birth, Lion cubs frolicking, Zebra grazing, or a
Topi standing on top a mound like a centurion on guard.
Accommodation: Nyumbu Camp (FB).

Day 6 Thu 6th Sep Activities such as Balloon ride, a visit to the Maasai village, Sundowner and guided nature walk can be arranged upon request.
Accommodation: Nyumbu Camp (FB).

Day 7 Fri 7th Sep After breakfast , Game Drive across into the famous
Maasai Mara Serena Lodge, to experience a different
ecosystem of the vast Maasai Mara.
Accommodation: Mara Serena Lodge (FB).

Day 8 Sat 8th Sep Maasai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s finest wildlife
reserve. Everything about it is outstanding. The wildlife is
abundant and the gentle rolling grasslands ensure that
animals are never out of sight. Birds, too, are prolific,
including migrants. Well over 450 species have been
recorded, among them 57 species of birds of prey. The
climate is gentle, rarely too hot, with well spread rainfall
year round. Rain, when it falls, almost always chooses the
late afternoon or night. Between July and October,
when the great wildebeest migration is in the Maasai
Mara National Reserve, the sensation is unparalleled.
Accommodation: Mara Serena Lodge (FB).

Day 9 Sun 9th Sep Drive back to Nairobi into Country House in to refresh
before driving to the airport for your departure flight.
Accommodation: Country House Inn (Day room)


1D MK IV,7D Grip, 24-105mm f4, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, 500mm f4 IS II, canon 580 & 430 EXII

  
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rossmtbiker
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Feb 22, 2012 08:27 as a reply to  @ mmackwan's post |  #13

Hi mmackwan,

In Oct 2010 my wife and I went to Kenya with AYLIS for a little over two weeks. Although we travelled more, I like your second itinerary quite a bit. We saw some fantastic wildlife and diversity in Amboseli and Samburu. But you will see everything in Lake Nakuru and Maasi Mari (we didn't go to Lake Naivasha).

With AYLIS you will be gettting a completely private safari for the price of a semi-private/group rate at other companies. The driver/guide Kamara is truly outstanding and worth double the price.

I would go with Sep over Feb too. The wildebeest heards will likely be in Kenya and you have a good chance to see a crossing of the Mara River.

You can post/PM me if you have any questions.

good luck!
Ross




  
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mmackwan
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Feb 22, 2012 16:40 |  #14

Thanks Ross after reading the reviews of AYLIS we didn't even bother looking for any other quotes as we are happy with them, still changing a little bit here and there but will keep everyone posted of the final itinerary


1D MK IV,7D Grip, 24-105mm f4, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, 500mm f4 IS II, canon 580 & 430 EXII

  
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Limey408
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Feb 27, 2012 18:57 |  #15

My wife and I did the Nakuru/Naivasha/Mara route last September. I'd absolutely recommend it. Also - do the balloon trip if at all possible - it's outstanding. We went with "Adventures Aloft" for a close to two hour dawn flight with a champagne breakfast to follow. You get a whole different perspective on the Mara from the air, especially during the Wildebeest migration - the herd size can't be appreciated so much from the ground. We did catch a river crossing - one of the highlights of the whole trip.
We tacked on Amboselli at the end of our trip and got there by flying (Cessna Caravan from a Mara airstrip to Nairobi and then on to Amboselli). Definitely preferable to hours in a bumping Land Cruiser.
Take a bean bag to rest the long lens on, and ask the driver to kill the engine whenever he stops. Cuts down the vibration!
Have a blast - we did and want to go back as soon as we can afford it!
http://grahamskenyatri​p2011.shutterfly.com/ (external link)




  
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Planning a Kenya Safari Trip
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