Exclusive 8-Day Photo Tour to Kenya’s Masai Mara (February 3-10 and 11-18, 2023)
UPDATE: this trip is now fully booked
Would you like to photograph wildlife in a phenomenal place and learn more about it? Together with photographer Simone Janssen I am organizing a guided photo trip to the Masaai Mara in collaboration with WOW Safaris from Kenya: 6 full days of shooting in one of the most fantastic places on earth. We have planned two trip dates: from Friday February 3 – 10th, and from Saturday February 11-18
The Masai Mara
The landscape of the Masai Mara is how many people imagine Africa to be: vast savannah plains with the occasional tree, usually an acacia. This iconic reserve, located in the south west of the country, is set at an altitude of 1500 to 2100 meters. It is intersected by two major rivers, the Talek and the Mara. It is part of the Serengeti eco-system, which being 30,000 square kilometers in size is one of the largest nature reserves in Africa.
The three big cats (lion, leopard and cheetah) are present and everyone’s favourite but of course many other animals can be found: elephants, giraffes, many bird species, other predators such as hyenas and jackals, various types of antelopes and gazelles and even black rhino.
November to February is less busy than the high season and therefore ideal for photography. The typical, sloping landscape (with more dense vegetation near the rivers) in the Mara offers great opportunities to take sunset and silhouette shots.
On this trip two very experienced guides will take us on the journey of a lifetime: a safari! The focus is the game drives in our semi-open Landcruisers but optional guided bush walks, a visit to a local Masai village or even a hot air balloon ride can also be part of your experience. This is the perfect opportunity for exciting encounters and great photography!
Everyone is welcome
This trip is for anyone who loves nature, enjoys taking pictures and has the patience to observe quietly and wait for that one great moment! Altough it is a photo tour, you really don’t have to be a professional photographer or a very experienced Africa traveller.
We simply want you to fully enjoy all that Africa has to offer. And we want to give you plenty of opportunities to take great photos, at any level. Photographing wildlife sometimes requires some different skills than what you may be used to, but we can definitely help you with that.
There is only room for 6 people per trip, so don’t wait too long – this is really a great offer for a super cool and exclusive safari!
a reel with some of my favourite Mara images
The first night you’ll sleep in a hotel near the airport of the capital Nairobi. Early next morning we’ll meet our guides and start with the 4 to 5 hour drive to the Masai Mara where we should arrive around lunchtime.
We stay in a wonderful camp on the outskirts of the Mara: Zebra Plains Mara Camp. The accommodation consists of luxury tents on a platform, each with their own ensuite bathroom. You have your own shower, toilet and sink. The tents have WiFi and are equipped with comfortable beds with a mosquito net.
Sleeping in a tent may sound a bit adventurous, but the animals absolutely respect it. And it’s great to listen in your bed at night to the sound of the cicadas and a hyena in the distance!
The camp also has lounge areas, a fire pit, a bar and even a spa. It is run by local Masai and the food is delicious. Of course, not everything is possible in terms of dietery requirements so far away from an urban environment, but vegetarian or lactose-free food is no problem. And the beer is always cold!
Our safari vehicles
We go out on a drive twice a day in the reserve: early morning and in the afternoon. We use semi-open 4×4 safari Landcruisers: the perfect way to see animals and take pictures!
Six people normally fit in such a vehicle, but because we want to give you the best opportunity to take beautiful pictures, we will never be in the car with more than four people (including us, who will sit in the front seat next to our guide – in the back there’s three rows of seats, so a full row available to every guest). This way, everyone has enough space for their camera equipment and you can easily shoot from both sides of the car. In addition, the roof can also be opened, so you can also photograph from a higher vantage point (ideal when the grass is a bit higher).
Your guides and tour hosts
Two experienced guides will accompany you from WOW Safaris who will drive the cars, manage the communication via radio and telephone (with which we are in contact with other cars in the area) and who have the final responsibility. Our guides are used to working with (professional) photographers or film crews, which means that they know how to ideally position our vehicle at sightings and how you can play with the light as a photographer or videographer. And of course, they are know everything about animal behaviour and their movements.
In addition, we will accompany you as a photographer. That means we can teach you a lot about wildlife photography. Think of the right camera settings (which are very different for wildlife than, for example, portrait photography or weddings), how you can make optimal use of the light, and how you can create creative wildlife images with special techniques. We do this during the drives, but also in camp where we can help you with tips for selecting or post-processing your photos in Lightroom.
I myself (Evert) did an overland trip of seven months from the UK to Cape Stap almost twenty years ago with my wife Dieuwke. After that we returned many times to Africa. I learned a lot from various, very experienced wildlife photographers. I have photographed in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, India and especially Kenya. The big cats are definitely my favorite, but I also find the small animals and landscapes interesting. In the Netherlands I have been a professional photographer for weddings and business assignments for many years. I am also a photography teacher at the Gooische Fotoschool. You can find my current wildlife work on Instagram ( @thewildsite)
Simone Janssen has worked as a (camping) tour guide in Southern Africa from 2004 to 2007. During that period she did a full-time one month course at Eco Training to learn more about the bush: its animals, trees, tracks and everything else that is part of the great African circle of life. In addition, Simone has worked as a trainer and coach. In the Netherlands, Simone is a very experienced professional photographer, especially for weddings, but as soon as she has the opportunity, she will travel to Africa again! Her work can be found on Instagram: @simone_afrika
It is recommended that you bring a camera that you are familiar with. If you have a second camera, be sure to take it with you as a backup or to quickly change to another lens. We recommend a wide-angle lens to take landscape photos and a telephoto (zoom) lens to bring animals closer. Think of a lens that can go up to 400, 500 or even 600 mm. Bean bags to support your lens are provided in the cars. An extender is certainly useful, although you will probably want to remove it in the evening to make your lens a bit brighter. Renting equipment is also an option! If you are not sure about your gear, please contact us. Finally, don’t forget your phone as an option to take photos or videos up close.
We offer this photo tour with an overnight stay in Nairobi (most flights from the Netherlands or other places arrive late at night), transfer from the airport to the hotel and transfer forth and back to the Masai Mara. If you want to extend your holiday with a visit to one of the other reserves in Kenya, a stay on the coast, or if you want to fly on to Southern Africa, that is of course possible. We have contacts in both Kenya and Southern Africa who can help you with this, but of course you can also make further arrangements yourself.
What does a safari day look like?
- early wake up call around 5am, some coffee or tea and departure just before sunrise: off we go!
- during the morning game drive we stop at a safe place for a bush breakfast, with coffee and tea and the opportunity to stretch our legs
- after returning to camp (usually late in the morning), some time to rest and then an extensive lunch
- free time to sleep, read, take a shower or take a look at your images from the morning
- in the afternoon the second game drive, with possibly a sun downer (drink at sunset) on the way
- and finally dinner, and sharing the best stories of the day at the campfire
Why is this specifically a photo tour?
- we have plenty of space in the cars, nobody has to sit in the middle
- the local guides also photograph or film hemselves and can therefore help us find the right angle or the best light – and of course they are very knowledgeable about the animals and their behavior
- as wildlife photographers we can help you take the best photo (and also tell you something about most animals)
- there is no rush to find the next animal and check off a list; we take pictures as long as we want and no one asks ‘are you ready yet?’ – you’re with like-minded people!
- back at camp there is plenty of time to view and edit photos, learn from each other and talk about photography for hours!
The practical stuff
Friday 3rd to 10th of February 2023
Saturday 11th to Saturday 18th of February 2023
Cost: USD 1950 per person (single supplement 400 USD)
The total costs are based on a double tent, with a 20% deposit at the time of booking. Would you rather not share a tent? That is of course also possible. A single supplement for your private tent is USD 400 extra. The payment and price is in US dollars because you book directly with WOW safaris which is located in Kenya.
Day 1: arrival in Nairobi at Four Points Sheraton hotel, first meeting
Day 2: meet and greet with our guides and early transfer by road from Nairobi to Zebra Plains Mara Camp; lunch and afternoon game drive
Day 3: overnight Zebra Plains, two game drives
Day 4: overnight Zebra Plains, two game drives
Day 5: overnight Zebra Plains, two game drives
Day 6: overnight Zebra Plains, two game drives
Day 7: overnight Zebra Plains, two game drives
Day 8: morning game drive, then transfer to Nairobi, arrival late afternoon
What is included?
- transfer on day 1 from the airport to the hotel
- 1 night in Nairobi Four Points Sheraton hotel
- transfer to and from the Masai Mara (about 275 km one way) with our own cars
- 6 nights accommodation at Zebra Plains Mara Camp
- all game drives with our own private cars (max 4 people per car) and each with a qualified guide and photographer
- entrance fee Masai Mara (conservation levy)
- all meals (except lunch and dinner on day 1 (air travel) and dinner on day 8)
- coffee, tea and water
What’s not included?
- your flight to and from Kenya
- visa costs (currently $51, available online from the official website of the Kenyan government)
- any travel vaccinations and personal travel insurance
- soft drinks and alcoholic drinks
- tip and souvenirs
A safari is a special trip and we offer you the opportunity to go on an exclusive photo trip in Kenya. You certainly won’t be disappointed. Don’t hesitate too long, places are filling up quickly.
You book directly with WOW Safaris. The first deposit must be received within six weeks of booking to secure your seat. The remaining part must be paid 90 days before the start. You are expected to arrange your own travel and cancellation insurance. The trip will take place with a minimum of five participants.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the general form, DM/PM on Insta/Facebook or Whatsapp me on +31 (6) 24528768
“In January 2019 we went on a photo trip to the Masai Mara with Evert and it was great. Everything was very well arranged, we stayed in a safari camp where you really feel like you are Out of Africa. It was the perfect base to see different parts of the Mara. We were able to photograph a lot of wildlife, the highlight being the leopard mother with cub. Evert is not only a photographer and photography teacher, so he can always give many tips, he is also a very experienced traveler. So if something doesn’t go quite according to plan, he knows how to solve it without us really noticing. It was a great trip and comes highly recommended!” Ellen & Marco