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69 Reviews

  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    An incredible holiday which has surpassed all other African safaris I've ever done

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    An amazing experience, as Paul said 6 safaris in 6 days. I have always wanted to see a lion cub but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see a lioness carrying a week-old cub in her mouth. Not satisfied with that, we were also lucky enough to see the River Pride on a morning when nobody else saw anything, when there were a number of adults, a couple of yearling males and 3 beautiful 3 month old cubs playing with each other. Having thought that was the highlight, we saw 4 different leopards before breakfast one day, 3 of which were from the same family on the same tree! The migration almost became secondary to the big cats but of course that was thrilling too when 80,000 wildebeest crossed the Talek river in front of our very eyes.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was his usual energetic self, getting us up early to be in position for the magnificent sunrises and then to see the animals at the best time of the day before it got too hot. Although I haven't got a DSLR I found Paul very helpful with hints and tips, probably because I understand my camera more now. When traveling with him in his Landcruiser he always seemed to have a 6th sense about where the animals would be and what they'd do next so it  was great to be with him on the morning of the 3 leopards

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go, you'll not regret it!Make sure you drink plenty of water as it can be hot and one can easily dehydrate without actually realising it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can't wait to go back, will have to start saving!
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    What can I say - this trip ticked all my boxes and more - being a returnee to both the Mara and Kicheche Mara camp (albeit in a new stunning location) I knew what to expect from one of Paul's photographic trips but this one surpassed my expectations!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing 3 leopards from the same family in a tree by the Talek river and more importantly - spending TIME with them - watching them and observing the interaction between them! Amazing - and I remembered to take some photos too!Have to also mention the lioness carrying a 12day old cub too - a special moment indeed - on the first afternoon no less - this set the bar high for the remainder of the trip! 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not sure I can anything that hasn't already been said before here - Paul is in his element when in the Mara! Long days do justice to what it had to throw at us, early starts get you that amazing light and late finishes get you your well earned sundowner and sunsets to die for! The guides have that special instinct to get you in the right place at the right time! Paul and his team make it all happen!  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of memory cards, enjoy the time spent waiting for what will happen, be prepared to put on a little extra weight from all the amazing meals that are provided - the bush breakfast is a great interlude when you get a moment to enjoy it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    For me the Mara is addictive - so be prepared to become an addict! I'm always sad when a holiday comes to an end but leaving the Mara/Kenya is especially hard to do - even more so when it has been one of those amazing trips! I always think what more is there left for me to see but the Mara just keeps on giving and that is why I go back again .... and again!  
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Two weeks ago, we spent the best safari week ever at Kicheche Mara Camp! We have been to Kicheche several times before and we just love it there.  The camp staff are all very welcoming and friendly, the food is excellent, the tents are big with en-suite facilities, and the camp itself (in its new location) is positioned in a real beauty spot. The safari vehicles are Toyota Landcruisers which are spacious and give us great all-round visibility. All the guides are true masters of the off-road tracks and have an amazing ability to spot animals, no matter how far away.  Their knowledge and responsible attitude towards the Mara and its wildlife have given us a truly wonderful experience, one that we’ll never forget!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wow, where to start! We have been truly blessed with all the events we witnessed. Here are our highlights: We have spent a day with a cheetah mum with her 6 almost grown up cubs, we have seen thousands upon thousands of wildebeest cross the Talek river, we have encountered 3 leopards of the same family at the same time, we have witnessed lionesses carrying their tiny cubs to a new den, we have followed 4 male lions patrolling their territory and whilst doing so crossing a river, we have seen an elephant family slide down a steep river bank to cross to the other side, we've seen amazing sunsets, and if all that wasn't enough we have seen a cheetah mum carrying her tiny 2-3 day old cubs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This is our 5th trip with Paul to the Masai Mara. He may not be everyone's cup of tea but we like him. He is a great teacher and not shy to tell you when you are 'mincing', he can tell you a filthy joke or two, and 9 times out of 10 his decisions have been the right ones. This man never stops! He has such an enormous amount of energy, and his huge enthusiasm and love for the Masai Mara and its inhabitants are extremely contagious.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go with the flow and you'll love it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes, a huge Thank You to everyone at Kicheche. They are a truly amazing bunch of people. Nowhere else and no-one else makes our hearts fill with such sadness and sorrow each time the day of departure looms, wishing we could turn back time, wishing we could stay at Kicheche longer. But we will be back, we will return.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    If you are, or want to be, a keen photographer and are willing to put in long hours and laugh at yourself you will be rewarded with one of the best, if not THE best holiday, of your life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick as these were in abundance on our trip ... Lion carrying her cubs, crossing a river at the same time as four male lions and the early start of migration to name a few.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I've never paid so much to be insulted so frequently! But, if you can take the rough with the smooth you will be amply rewarded with photographic opportunies that would be difficult to surpass. Paul's teaching methods are tactless, brutal and uncompromising but highly effective. His method helps you get the most out of the opportunities that arise during the week. You will learn quickly and are unlikely to make repeated mistakes, which is a bonus when you see once in a lifetime events that you will want to capture on film. Paul is a consummate story- and joke- (mostly of the explicit and un-pc variety) teller. We haven't laughed so much and no offence is intended.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As others have said, there are some long days so go prepared with plenty of layers (including a fleece or two) for cold mornings and something to cover up in the midday sun. The laundry facilities are very efficient so you can pack light. I took a sarong, which was great as an extra layer & for sun protection but it came into its own as an instant dark room to help view the LCD screen on the back of the camera and to wrap round the lens when driving in dusty conditions. Take some sweets for the long days out on safari, preferably without wrappers e.g. wine gums, as the wildlife quite rightly takes priority over having breakfast or lunch at set times out in the bush. Kitcheche Mara camp was fantastic. The food was delicious and plentiful. Service was excellent and the tent was luxurious with great views. It goes without saying the guides were great and very knowledgable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I started the trip as a novice dSLR user with a borrowed camera body and a couple of lenses. By the end of the trip I had learnt so much that I have come home with some amazing photos and a desire to learn more and invest in better equipment for my next holiday! This isn't a beginner's course in photography. If you get to know your camera before you come, knowing the key settings and how to change them on autopilot, you will make the most of the trip. For money - we didn't need much. Our advice is get a small amount of Kenyan schillings at the airport. Two coffees and a bottle of water was less than 500KS. For the final meal in Nairobi, we had the option of paying in KS or US$. We found the exchange rate was not favourable to pay in US$ so take a credit card if you prefer. Our meal for two came to the equivalent of £26 on the credit card (~$41) but we were asked for $50 had we paid in $.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    As a virgin safari traveller and photographic 'techno-peasant' I was blown away by the amazing sights of the week. Beats a day out in Barry Island any day! It was a pleasure and an honour to meet all involved; fellow travellers, Masai guides and camp staff, Bruce , Donna and Paul. I cannot fault the dedicated care and attention we had from all staff involved. It was so magical I can barely believe it actually happened. I feel that I have left a substantial part of myself in Kenya:

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a family of leopards including a cub feeding on a freshly caught Topi in a low lying tree with hopeful Hyenas inches below.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A unique specimen! He surely needs intensive therapy but I am in awe of the man. His enthusiasm is palpable to the degree where on occasions I thought he might spontaneously explode! He clearly wants to get the best shots for his guests and will attempt to overcome any odds to get results. He has a striking committment to the local community and behaves responsibly to the wildlife which sets an example to others.  A great raconteur, as well as a fantastic photogapher, who made the holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a thick skin, camoflague camera gear (as good as you can get), plenty of enthusiasm and some good dirty jokes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I recommend 3 heaped tablespoonfuls of kachumbari for breakfast each day (it set me up perfectly for an action packed day on the Mara).
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Trip in June 2011. Well exceeded my expectations and worth every hour of overtime done to pay for it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are so many.......family of 7 cheetahs, family of 4 leopards, lioness carrying cubs, cheetah carrying cubs,early wildebeest crossing the Talek, breakfast with the hippos and sundowners under the stars. Kicheche Mara camp was exceptional,Bruce, Donna and the boys were fantastic hosts.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Has to be experienced to be believed.Psychotic enthusiasm. Shouts a lot but only because he wants you to do well and get the most out of the trip. Detailed knowledge of the Mara and animal behaviour makes for the best possible opportunities for photographs. Encyclopaedic knowledge of foul jokes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't go if you can't get up in the morning or want to whinge about travel arrangements in a 3rd world country. Take a hat and suncream for long days outside. If you couldn't cope with being called all the names under the sun when Paul gets excited about something then don't bother going. It is meant well and if you can't see this then forget it. Beg steal or borrow all the camera gear you can.I recommend lensesforhire.co.uk if you wish to try a big lens but don't have the funds to buy one. I got a canon 300mm 2.8 with a 1.4 converter as i am a bit puny for a 500mm and was very happy with it. I also took my own 70-300mm zoom and a wide angle with polariser. I borrowed another camera body to avoid faffing with lens changes and it was worth it. Tripods NOT needed. Beanbags supplied. Lots of chewy sweeties help to bribe the big man.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having paid a premium for this trip i thought there was to be a max.12 in the group but there were 16. This may well be my mistake, in which case apologies, but i thought it significantly limited more intense tuition with Paul. The group were all lovely and got on very well which made the trip even more enjoyable.
  • Reviewed June 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Another great photographic safari.  This was supposedly the "low" season - there is no low season in the Mara.  The sightings, photographic opportunities and general experience are as good as the peak season. Everyone involved as always puts everything into making the trip a success.  If you haven't been on one of these trips you are missing out.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    At this time of year (June) the scenery is fantastic with long golden grasslands combined with fresh green short grass.  On this trip we saw an abundance of Leopards and seeing 3 together in the same tree was amazing.  However probably the most awe inspiring was the storm clouds that amassed on our last evening.  They were like something from an apocalyptic movie with black storm clouds on one side and clear skies on the other (and we avoided most of the massive downpour that followed).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As always inspirational,  demanding and does everything to make the trip and your photography a success

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it asap
  • Reviewed June 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Absolutely great trip!!  A wonderful safari and so much more - learning what it means to take photographs not just pictures.  Thanks to Paul.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was a great - sharing his passion for the Mara and photography!
  • Reviewed January 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Easily the best wildlife safari I have been on. The photo opportunities available on the long days are worth every minute and every penny.The camp was comfortable and the food produced by a temporary set up was simply amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a cheetah lounging around on a small mound at dusk and hoping she would stay for sunset. The driver was very accommodating in moving the Land Cruiser back and forth until we were in the perfect position for a silhouette. Then we waited … and the cheetah delivered.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul is an excellent wildlife photographer; passionate about the wildlife and passionate that you get the best photos you can.However, you need to be proactive in asking for advice. For example, after photographing a cheetah a sunset Paul made the comment, “I hope you were underexposing for that”. This tip would have been nice before the event and also assumes you know why you need to do this and how to do this. Paul is of course willing to help but you can sense his frustration that you may have missed the opportunity!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I feel that you need a certain level of knowledge about your camera and photography to get the most out of the long days and excellent opportunities afforded by this trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having been on a few "photography" holidays, I believe most fall into two types.The first is to learn about photography - the technical aspects of shutter speed, aperture and ISO; the different perspectives offered by wide angle, medium and telephoto lenses; how to process RAW files using Lightroom etc. The trip then allows time to practise these new found skills.The second is the opportunity to take photographs – get up early because the wildlife is active at dawn; stay up late because the wildlife is active at dusk; lunch at 3pm because you were waiting for a cheetah to hunt. These types of trips assume a certain amount of photographic skill and concentrate on getting you to the right place at the right time. Then it’s up to you.