The camp will play host to all of the regular Pangolin Photo Guides hosting a series of 7-day safaris. This year Guts will be joined by Grant and Helena Atkinson, Nelis Wolmarans, Janine Krayer, Charl and Sabine Stols as well as our Mara specialist Andreas Knausenberger.
Along with the vehicles we will have access to a helicopter for aerial photography sessions as well as chartering a hot air balloon flight down the Mara River at dawn. Both of these activities are included in the price!
23rd August – 30th August – Grant and Helena Atkinson and Nelis Wolmarans
29th August – 5th September – Grant and Helena Atkinson and Nelis Wolmarans
4th September – 11th September – Guts Swanepoel, Janine Krayer and Andreas Knausenberger
10th September – 17th September – Guts Swanepoel, Janine Krayer and Andreas Knausenberger
16th September – 23rd September – Charl and Sabine Stols and Andreas Knausenberger
Having arrived and been met at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport we will meet up as a group at the Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi where you will enjoy a dinner together hosted by a Pangolin team member. This will give you an opportunity to meet the other members of this fantastic photo safari. The Ole Serena hotel is very comfortable and is a short distance from Wilson airport where we will board our internal charter flight to the Mara in the morning. As photographers, we know the importance of having extra luggage allowances on small planes so we have booked extra seats to allow for extra gear per person above the standard 15kg allowance.
Day 2 – 7
Our base in the Masai Mara (which means literally the place of the Masai) is the fantastic Mara Bush Camp. This tented camp has been chosen for its old world charm, spacious en-suite tents, great food as well as its location right in the middle of the conservancy and close to several river crossing sites where the wildebeest and zebra converge to attempt to cross the crocodile infested waters. The location also is home to plenty of big cats made famous by the brilliant Big Cat Diaries. Animals such as the Marsh Pride of Lions, Bahati the leopard and Malaika the cheetah all call this area home making for spectacular sightings and awesome photography…if its good enough for the BBC then it’s certainly good enough for us!
Each set of dates (5 in total) will be hosted by three Pangolin Photo Guides using three specially adapted long wheelbase Land Cruisers with plenty of beanbags. This means that each vehicle will have a photo guide onboard on every drive. The guides will then rotate through the vehicles each day so you get to spend time photographing with each of them.
We will spend nearly all our time during the day out in the Mara looking for photo opportunities and find a shady acacia under which to take lunch and enjoy being out in the vast expanse of this unique ecosystem.
On one of the days, we have arranged for an excellent and highly accomplished pilot to bring his helicopter to the camp to allow us to get some aerial shots of the vast numbers of animals. Having a helicopter will be hugely productive photographically speaking as we will be able to position ourselves accurately for the shots we want as we will not be subject to strong winds blowing us away from what we want to photograph. We will limit the number of photographers, per one hour flight, to just two plus one of the Pangolin Photo Guide who again will be on hand to offer advice on settings and composition. The one-hour helicopter flight is included in the package.
That said a hot air balloon flight along the Mara River at dawn is one of the most serene, exhilarating and memorable experiences one can have during the migration so the group will be doing just that one one of the mornings. The flight takes about one hour and lands rather conveniently right next to a magical picnic spot where you will have a hearty champagne brunch cooked for you on the balloon burners! The landing area is in the famous Mara Triangle home to that iconic male lion Scar and we will go in search of him that morning in the vehicles which will join up with us after brunch.
During our time at Mara Bush Camp, we will be doing some group editing sessions in the media tent set up specifically for our photographers and the Pangolin Guides will be available for advice on post production and editing techniques. There is a good electricity supply at the camp for recharging batteries and laptops (which we suggest you bring along with your editing suite of choice). There is also limited wi-fi available.
The evenings will be spent together around the fire chatting about the day’s sightings and discussing the plan and objectives of the following day before retiring to bed in your beautifully appointed tent to sleep the night away to the nocturnal sounds of The Mara.
On the final day, we have one last opportunity to explore the surrounding areas before we head back to Wilson Airport on the mid-morning flight. For those connecting to Johannesburg and Dubai you will head straight for your flight. For those heading back to or via Europe your flights leave a little later and we will arrange a room at a local hotel for you to relax and enjoy your last few hours in Kenya.
Location : Masai Mara Conservancy in Kenya