Kenya - Best of the Mara Migration Safari II 2018
Cheetah, Lion, Leopard, Serval
Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyata International Airport
Upon arrival in Nairobi, the largest city in East Africa, you will be met by an ORYX representative where after you will transfer to your overnight accommodation at the Ole Sereni. The hotel overlooks Nairobi National Park, and you might be treated to your first views of Plains Zebra or Maasai Giraffe strolling across the open savanna.
Dinner tonight will be the perfect opportunity for a more formal introduction to your tour leader and the rest of the group. Your tour leader will discuss with you in detail the itinerary for the next six days as well as answer any questions you may have.
Day 2: Nairobi flight to Maasai Mara National Reserve
After an early morning breakfast, we will transfer to Wilson Airport for a scenic flight into the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. We will touch down at the Musiara Airstrip from where we will enjoy a short transfer to our beautiful camp, located on the banks of the Mara River. After check-in and lunch, we will depart on our long awaited first game drive.
Our camp is specifically chosen for its superb location. Besides the natural beauty that surrounds it, this area also offers one of the highest concentration of wildlife activity found in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The local wildlife has grown very accustomed to the camp and the sounds it generates and will often wander close around camp, undeterred by the human element.
This truly is a wildlife paradise, and tonight we will likely we lulled to sleep by the sounds of Hippo in the river, and possibly even the grunts of lions and whoops of hyaenas out on the plains nearby.
Days 3 to 6: Maasai Mara
The Maasai Mara and the adjoining Loita plains form the northern-most (8,000 km²) portion of the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem, a 25,000 km² area usually encompassing the annual movements of the migratory wildebeest. The Mara is higher in altitude, cooler, has more hills, is more fertile and receives more rainfall (approximately 760mm per year), and is therefore lusher and greener than the expansive plains of the Serengeti further south.
The eco-system is home to the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the annual great Wildebeest migration. These grazers, together with Plains Zebra and Thompson’s gazelle traverse the eco-system through the year, and whilst there are resident animals in the Mara throughout, numbers swell to gigantic proportions during the drier season stretching from July/August to October/November. The Mara’s abundant herbivores make it a paradise for predators. The large carnivores include the big cats – Lion, Leopard and Cheetah are seen regularly and will provide us with truly magnificent photographic opportunities.
Around 1,5 million Wildebeest and two hundred thousand Plains Zebra migrate annually following the rains in search of better grazing. Crossing the Mara River is the greatest obstacle they must face, and includes steep banks and strong currents, but the biggest menace is, without a doubt, the many enormous Nile Crocodile that have been living in this river for decades
Although the enormous herds and large populations of charismatic predators are the undoubted stars of the Mara show, other wildlife including African Elephant, Giraffe, Topi, Thompson’s Gazelle, Defassa Waterbuck and Cape Buffalo, as well as various primates are all here too, providing one of the most holistic photographic experiences in Africa.
Also regularly seen are smaller carnivores such as Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox and the elegant Serval. Black Rhino are a little shy and hard to spot but are regularly seen at a distance.
One of the highlights of this expedition is without a doubt photographing the phenomenal Cheetah, and the Mara offers arguably the finest viewing of these felines in Africa. The undulating landscape, savanna woodlands and rich riparian habitats provide a theatrical setting for our photography, not to mention the soul-soothing sunsets.
As with the rest of Kenya, the birdlife is abundant, offering remarkable opportunities for bird photography. Common species include colourful starlings and rollers, and a rich assemblage of raptors, including large numbers of Ruppell’s Vulture and the hulking Lappet-faced Vulture. As the day heats up, vultures can be seen riding the hot air thermals that rise off the plains, utilizing their acute vision to search for a carcass on which to feast.
With abundant photographic subjects and situations, this will definitely be photo safari to remember!
Day 7: Maasai Mara to Nairobi and depart
Following our final morning activity in the Maasai Mara, we will return to camp for a delicious breakfast and freshen up before leaving this wildlife paradise on our scheduled flight for Nairobi. Following lunch at one of Nairobi’s great restaurants, we will head for Jomo Kenyata International Airport, from where we will flight to our final destinations.