GUIDES: Shem Compion, Kyle de Nobrega and Jonathan Scott
Each year during the dry season tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebras mass at favoured crossing places along the Mara River in Kenya’s fabled Maasai Mara Game Reserve. A river crossing is one of nature’s great spectacles and a highlight of any safari. C4 has reserved a small, intimate and private camp in the heart of the action in perhaps the best time of year to see this phenomenon.
This is C4 Photo Safaris eleventh consecutive year leading photo safaris in the Masai Mara. We have always believed in leading from the front and so for our 2018 season Jonathan Scott will be joining us for this entire safari. You will be hosted by this legendary wildlife photographer and conservationist who has spent 40 years documenting the ecosystem and its spectacular big cats.
Jonathan and his wife Angela are the only couple to have both won the overall BBC wildlife photographer of the year award as individuals; they have written numerous books on the Mara and have produced many TV shows. The most well known being BBC’s Big Cat Diaries which was a worldwide success. Their latest book Sacred Nature: Life’s Eternal Dance (HPH) won the Gold Award for Photography in the IPPY Book Awards 2017.
Jonathan will be joining us to share his love of the Mara, inspire, educate and present talks on conservation and photography in what is essentially, his second home. You will have unprecedented opportunity to enjoy time with one of the Masai Mara’s most respected educators, learning from his experiences, sharing his company and being inspired by his passion and enthusiasm
Its simple really - we have built a camp in the middle of the wildlife action, booked it exclusively for 6 photographers, with the best camp operator in the business and then have experienced C4 guides and photographers personally guide you whilst on safari. Between the C4 guides they have multiple seasons in the Mara and have mapped their own special places and secret spots, which they will share with you while being driven around. Their intuition and anticipation of great images and their reading of animal behaviour means you will be in the right spot for the best images.
The Mara is a very large system and much of the conventional tourist traffic concentrates on a small section of the river. There is so much to see and photograph, and with your professional wildlife photographers as your guides, you will have the best positions for photography available. They will also take you to the far-flung corners of the Masai Mara, so you will not only get to experience the migration, but also the beauty, freedom and wilderness of one of Africa’s greatest ecosystems.
Each person will have their own seat with window and roof hatch, ensuring ample room to photograph from. Brackets, braces and clamps can be fixed onto the rails on the vehicles for tripod heads and flash brackets. Everything is designed to aid your photographic enjoyment.
Due to having a camp in the best location in the Mara, you will be staying in a classic east African style safari camp. This will be an exclusive, private camp for your own use. We will be the only people in camp for the whole safari. This specific safari has been designed to get away from the mass-market tourism that can ruin an experience of the Mara. This secluded camp sits on a quiet corner of the Mara River overlooking a large migration crossing. There have been numerous crossings here with only the camp visitors in attendance. Perfect for our intentions.
The camp is a permanent traditional “Large meru style”, walk-in canvas frame tents each with its own private en suite ablution facilities (flush toilets and hot bucket showers). Most of the tents overlook one of the main crossing points of the Mara River. Meals, prepared in traditional East African safari style by the camp chef, are taken in the large Mess Tent or under the stars. There will be a generator with battery bank to charge laptops and batteries. The central tent will be the area from which to download and edit photographs during the quiet hours of the day or after your day’s safari.
- The camp is inside the Masai Mara reserve with a view of the main crossing point
- You are within 5 minutes from the main crossing points and 10 minutes from the other crossing points. Most camps are at least 60 minutes from these central areas.
- The position of the camp is within the two main rivers- the Talek and Mara rivers, meaning easy and fast access to the most productive game viewing areas.
- You will be personally guided by professional wildlife photographers who know the Masai Mara eco system exceptionally well.
- No gate restrictions or racing for the gate during the best hours of light. (All gates close at 18h30, and as most camps are outside the reserve, vehicles must leave the reserve) we are inside the Mara, thus can stay till dark
- We will have 3 x Land Cruisers for our use. There will be 2 photographers per vehicle. Non-photographers can share the same bench as the photographer, or sit in the front seat. Each photographer will have a whole row as well as a roof hatch. 6 clients are the maximum we will accommodate.
- We will have the whole camp to ourselves.
- The camp is a permanent tent camp- tents have flush toilets and hot water showers.
- There is a battery bank and silent generator for charging batteries and laptops
- The camp has a studio tent with 2 iMacs for help in downloading your images as well as many plug points for charging your batteries.
- For each tour, we have organised a minibus that will take our cargo luggage from the Serena hotel to the Camp and back again upon return. This alleviates the weights restrictions in the below point.
- The entire weight limit for the internal flight is 15kg. This is strictly enforced by SafariLink.
- We have provided the transport for the cargo luggage for your cargo luggage. It is up to you to ensure you are within the limits for the internal flights. You will be liable for any excess weight.
- There are Bean bags in the camp. These are filled with beans. If you would like to bring your own bag to fill with rice or sand, we will provide rice.
- For those not arriving from South Africa, we will have separate airport transfers to meet you. For all arrival transfers there will be a sign “C4 Photo Safaris” typed on a name board that the driver will hold up.
- It is very important to get your yellow fever injection and certificate. It should be done lo later then 2 weeks before your trip. It is valid for 10 years, so if you have had one done, you should just remember to bring the certificate.
- On all our tours we may ask participants to rotate seats in the vehicles, taking it in turn to sit in the more popular seats in the front and the less popular ones in the rear. This requirement applies to everyone. If there is some reason why you can’t take your turn in the back of a vehicle (e.g. a bad back or travel sickness) please inform our office at the time of booking to see if we can accommodate you. We regret that anyone failing to inform us of such limitations before the tour will be expected to rotate seats in the same way as everyone else.
Radisson Blu Hotel Nairobi, Kenya.
Arrive in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi in the early afternoon. A 20-minute road transfer will take you to the Radisson Blu Hotel. You will spend the evening in the new and modern surroundings of the Radisson Blu Hotel. Our C4 photo safari guide will make contact with you at the hotel to arrange dinner for the photography group and discuss the logistics of the following morning.
Day 2 - 8
Rekero Camp, Kenya.
We depart for the Masai Mara at 10am on a scheduled flight and we touchdown at Ol-Kiombo Airstrip after a short 1-hour flight. From there we are transferred by road to our base camp situated in the actual Mara itself. You will be staying in a classic East African style safari camp consisting of canvas tents, staffed by local Maasai. You will have en-suite bathrooms with flush loos, flowing water and hot showers. That afternoon we will enter the reserve for the first time and sample one of Africa’s greatest ecosystems.
For these five full days, we will focus on showing you the best of the Masai Mara and this will include tracking the migration and getting to the heart of the action. You will be taken out each morning in first light. We will have Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles with roof top hatches and large windows from which to photograph. Each client will have their own row in the vehicle with open windows and hatch, ensuring that everyone has ample room to photograph from. Brackets, braces and clamps can be fixed onto the rails on the vehicles for tripod heads and flash brackets. Everything is designed to aid your photographic enjoyment.
Depending on how and where the migration is moving, we might spend whole days in the reserve taking a picnic lunch along with us. We will find the best crossing points on the Mara River and spend pleasant hours watching the wildebeest mass on the banks with hungry crocs waiting below. If we are patient enough and fortune favours us, we will witness a wildebeest crossing, arguably the most spectacular wildlife event on the planet. Beside the actual visual spectacle, the noise of the crossing is something that will never be forgotten. Besides tracking and following the migration, we will search for as many predators as possible,including cheetah, as the great plains are home to these majestic cats. You will also enjoy unfamiliar sights of general game such as Topi standing aloft termite mounds and tiny shy dik dik’s going about their daily routine. The Mara also houses some of the largest buffalo bulls on the continent and a huge density of raptors. A special for birders, amongst others, is the large and relatively common Rupell’s griffon.
Our time in the Masai Mara will not just be about the wildlife though. We will take you to seldom-visited parts of the ecosystem and indeed right up to the southern boundary where the Masai Mara and Serengeti adjoin. Here, there is little human traffic, and we will enjoy the peace and quiet of the great plains as well as some private game viewing. This element of our safari is unique as most safari operators concentrate all their efforts on the river but we feel that by combining superb game viewing with a wilderness experience, we will offer our guests the very best of the Masai Mara.
The evenings will be spent sitting around the campfire and dining on excellent camp cuisine. As the coals die down, the warm camp beds beckon and everyone retires to bed. The aim of this photo safari is to help you take amazing photographs and improve your own photography, no matter what level of photographer you are. The C4 photo guides will help you and during the safari will also present a series of photo critiques, lightroom and other slide show sessions in the evenings. These are always immensly popular and helps our clients gain some insight into the skill levels and experience of our guides- who easily impart their knowlodge to you.
Should you have any other specific requirements, you are welcome to ask for your guides expert advice.
After a last morning game drive, we return to camp for a hearty brunch before departing to the airstrip at 12h00 where we return to Nairobi. A transfer back to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport/your hotel concludes the safari. Most of the international flights depart in the early evening and this fits with most connections.This is unfortunately the end of the tour and another special package from C4 Photo Safaris.
C4 Photo Safaris look forward to hosting you in the Mara for the greatest wildlife show on the planet.
Raddison Blu Hotel
A convenient base for your safari or business trip in Kenya, the new Radisson Blu Hotel Nairobi, Upper Hill stands in the heart of the fast-growing business district. The hotel is just a 20-minute drive from both the airport and Nairobi National Park, a well-known wildlife preserve with herds of zebras, wildebeests and giraffes.
The camp is in perfect harmony with the environment and whilst it is heavy on personal comfort it leaves a light footprint. This Gold Eco-Rated camp is dismantled every year and removed for two months to allow the fauna and flora to regenerate.
This traditional East African camp evokes the romance of safaris from a bygone era. The elegant tents form a tranquil oasis perched strategically above the mighty Talek River. The sweeping views from camp take in the surrounding plains, which support some of the greatest concentrations and diversity of wildlife in Africa.
Rekero is an intimate, comfortable and relaxed riverside safari camp where you are enfolded by the surrounding African wilderness. Hippos grunt in the pools below, the smell of wild sage drifts through the air and herds of wildebeest often can be seen crossing the Talek River from the main deck. This blissful location means that fantastic game viewing can continue, even when relaxing in camp. The friendly and highly skilled camp crew have worked together for many years; together with our internationally recognised guiding team, they create a truly insightful safari experience every time.
Arrive in Kenya's capital of Nairobi in the early afternoon.
A 45-minute road transfer will take you to the African elegance of the Serena hotel.
We depart for the Masai Mara at 10am on a scheduled flight
Touchdown at Ol-Kiombo Airstrip after a short 1-hour flight.
From there we are transferred by road to our base camp situated in the actual Mara itself.
Day 3 - 7
Out in the Mara each morning at first light
Depart to be at the airstrip at 12h00 where we return to Nairobi.
A transfer back to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport concludes the safari. Most of the international flights depart in the early evening and this fits with most connections.
$11 500.00 per person sharing
$13 800.00 per single supplement
30% deposit confirms your booking
Maximum of 6 clients, there will be 3 vehicles with 2 clients per vehicle. There will be three C4 Guides that will rotate between the three vehicles.
The above costs include
- Meet and pick up from JKIA Airport and transported to Hotel.
- All Internal flights to and from the Masai Mara.
- All road transfers between destinations and airports.
- Entrance and accommodation (2 persons per tent) to the reserve.
- All park fees.
- All meals, drinks and alcoholic drinks.
- Personally guided drives by professional wildlife photographers.
- Game activities.
- The services two of our guides.
- 1 night at Serena Hotel with full board.
- Exclusive use of three vehicles.
- Baggage drop off and pick up from Mara.
Costs not included
- Gratuities to staff and guides.
- Extra activities not included- ie hot air balloons.
- Personal expenses.
- Travel insurance.
- Travel visas.
Costs and booking
To book this safari, please e-mail us or book online on C4 Images and Safaris