Photographic Safari Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures
Destinations:
Kenya
Programmes:
Wildlife
Trip Code:
WYX
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
7 Days Land only
Min age: 18

Trip Overview

For many who have not travelled to Africa, their impressions are often of acacia dotted plains, hundreds of different bird species and herds of migrating wildebeest and zebra pursued relentlessly by their predators. This safari embodies all of those fantastic images and does it in superb style, a classic safari in a classic destination. When you only have a relatively short time in Kenya it is essential to maximize it in the conservancies and not waste time travelling all over the country. Exodus' awarding winning resident photographer Paul Goldstein has his own brand of safari. His mantra is simple, do the time at the coal face and the rewards will follow, so be prepared for early starts, long days and plenty of advice and enthusiasm. Any wilderness fan or photographer will be particularly attracted by this safari.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights tented camp
  • Travel is by internal flights; open-topped and open-sided 4-wheel-drive vehicles in the Mara
  • Photographic coaching from Paul Goldstein

Trip Highlights

  • Special Photographic Safari guided by Paul Goldstein
  • Comfortable safari at intimate tented camp with walk in tents and en suite facilities
  • Prolific wildlife of the Masai Mara including lion, elephant, hippo, and giraffe
  • Game drives geared towards ensuring good quality and frequent photographic opportunities

Is This Trip for You?

Small group fly-in safaris, transfer to open topped and open sided 4-wheel-drive vehicles in the Mara. In the Mara all safaris will stay at Kicheche Camps, tented camps located in fantastic wildlife conservancies. For animal lovers, photographers and bird lovers there are many chances of seeing countless game and bird species as well as rare and endangered creatures.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

Paul, as many of you know, is a pretty decent photographer and a good teacher. If you are over-sensitive, shrewish or have an egg-shell personality you are probably best to avoid this safari. He has guided and photographed all over the world, has won a decent armoury of awards and although fairly old fashioned is finally getting over his digital hang-ups (with counselling and medication). However his most important attribute is his palpable love of the wilderness, Spitsbergen, Antarctica and India are his great loves but his abiding passion is for the Mara. He is not going to get bogged down in intricate details, nor is he going to spend hours round the fire boring the pants off you talking about photoshop, masking or cloning (or other cheating terms) - however, he is massively keen for you to get the best pictures possible. So are his guides and this is priceless; even if you feel exhausted after yet another long day, he will be champing at the bit at five the next morning to get you into that perfect position to compose another shot for your wall. He always says 'if I can get you half a dozen blinding images for your house I will have done my job' - but believe it, that is only half the story. African bush tales, a seemingly limitless supply of frequently un-PC jokes and an almost religious territorial nature over the Mara make him quite a travelling companion. You have been well and truly warned.

Adult min age:
18
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
12

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Nairobi; morning flight to Masai Mara.

    After clearing customs and immigration at the airport, a shuttle bus will transfer to Wilson Airport on the Western side of the city. Land only passengers will join us here. This is normally during rush hour so expect some traffic. Wilson is a nice airport and there should be time for some refreshments before boarding the 45 minute flight to the Mara. Here we will be picked up by custom built four- wheel drives and transferred to the camp. After being shown to our spacious walk-in, luxurious tents, we take an afternoon game drive with sundowners. This is the first of many game drives in this prolific area.

    Accommodation: Kicheche Tented Camp
    Luxury Tented Camp

    Meals included:
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Days 2-7

    Sharpen your photography skills on the vast plains of the Masai Mara.

    Game drives start right from the camp, as it is not uncommon to have wildlife wandering through at some stages of the day. Drives are very much a moveable feast. Some days, the drives will be long, (13 hours or so although not driving all the time) whilst others are much shorter, depending on the movement of the game and tips from the bush telegraph. Paul and his team will try to make good calls when it comes to viewing but they cannot always get it right. They will however be trying their hardest to ensure that photographic opportunities are frequent, but will not be dashing around ticking off species like other mainstream safari companies. Early, very early, starts are the order of the day, though we normally find some shade for lunch in a beautiful spot and to relax a bit. Unless, that is, we come across a migration crossing or hunting cheetah! These drives are not endurance tests but a full day out on the plains can be quite tiring. They also will involve patience, as a hungry cheetah will often wait many hours before making her move.
    Meal times are a delight under the stars in the evening or in the mess tent in bad weather. During time off you can relax in your tents however, it is the game and scenery that make this area so incredible: huge prides of predators feasting on an abundance of plains game. The camp often has a pride of lion's close-by and their call accompanied by the cackle of the hyena is an occasional nigh time companion. The property is very relaxing for those hours in the middle of the day (when you are there) and the haute cuisine and hot showers are a big bonus, but these luxurious trappings sometimes belie the fact that the camp is right in the heart of the most prolific savannah on earth and this should be respected.
    Accommodation: Kicheche Tented Camp
    Luxury Tented Camp

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Morning game drive; afternoon flight to Nairobi; depart Nairobi.

    Final game drive followed by brunch then late afternoon flight back to Nairobi.  There will be time for some shopping and there will be dinner in a very nice Nairobi restaurant before heading to the airport.

Accommodation

Luxury Tented Camp

You will either spend 6 nights in Kicheche Bush Camp, 7 nights in Kicheche Bush Camp, 8 nights in Kicheche Bush Camp, or 5 nights in Kicheche Bush Camp and 2 nights in Kicheche Mara Camp (depending on your departure date), all luxury tented camps.

Kicheche has en suite tents with solar electricity, running water, hot showers with superb meals taken al fresco. There is also a dining tent in case of rain and laundry facilities.

Single supplement available.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £730.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

At Kicheche the food is superb, very tasty and with plenty of choice. Breakfasts will be taken out in the bush and so will lunch on full day drives in the Mara. Kicheche has an excellent reputation for its cuisine.
Typical meals
In the Mara hot drinks are brought to the tents each morning.
Freshly baked biscuits and a breakfast consisting of fruit, cakes, bacon, sausage, egg, juice and coffee/tea is taken out on the plains.
On return there is a large but healthy brunch (if not doing a full day's drive).
Tea and cakes are taken mid afternoon before the game drive.
A three-course dinner is taken (weather permitting) by candlelight under the African sky.
Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Transportation

We use light aircraft to fly to the Mara (with a 15kg weight restriction) and 4WD vehicles in the Reserve, specifically designed for photographers. All vehicles will have beanbags; monopods and tripods are NOT required.
Travelling conditions
We fly to the Mara; it makes the safari quite expensive but saves hours and hours of driving. Please note that the roads in the Mara are quite poor, especially after rain. It is not unusual on safari for you to have to push your way out of trouble on the odd occasion.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Kenya straddles the equator so showers can happen at any time of year, however the wettest period is April and May. Due to the altitude of the Masai Mara (1550m) the nighttime temperature is beautiful, cool yet not cold, although mornings can be quite chilly. Daytime temperatures can get as high as 30 degrees but with low humidity. There can be some light rains at the end of the year, but if anything this is a good thing as it cuts down the dust and brings out the colours. In the wet the roads can become difficult.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 10 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary. Flights from London We normally use the scheduled services of Kenya Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Nairobi

Clients who have booked their own flights and are not on the group flights, will have to meet the group on day 1 (day 2 ex London itinerary) at Wilson airport to join the internal flight to the Mara.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Nairobi
Location end:
Nairobi

What to Take

Essential Equipment

In addition to your 'normal' daily clothes, you will need the following:
Torch
Sunhat
Sun cream
Soft holdhall
Daypack or soft bag (please no suitcases)
Camera
Telephoto lens (preferable)
Plenty of  memory cards
Lightweight walking shoes
Sandals (no socks with these please)
Fleece for early mornings
Very light wet weather top
Binoculars

Photography
Technically the vehicles are designed for photographers, they are all open roofed and open sided with camera platforms. Bean bags are supplied, tripods are not recommended, and if you do not have an IS or VR lens you might want to get them. You should be looking at minimum 400mm zoom/telephoto capability. Polariser warm ups are good for landscapes and hard drives/memory sticks essential.

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 15kg.

Please note:  In a move praised by conservation groups and health organisations, Kenya has taken the lead in banning the use of plastic carrier bags and certain other plastic bags. Included in the ban are the following items that travellers might carry:
▪ Duty free carrier bags
▪ General shopping bags
▪ Bin liners (sometimes used to protect luggage during rain)
▪ Dry cleaning bags (commonly wrapped around clothing)
Travellers arriving into Kenya via airports, sea ports or land borders will be required to leave any bags deemed to be on the banned list at the point of entry. Travellers will not be fined so long as they surrender any prohibited bags.

Practical Information

Passport

Kenya

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Kenya

Most nationalities do now require a visa for Kenya, including Britons, most EU nationals, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Canadians.  At present single entry and transit visas are available online (see below) and soon all visas will have to be obtained online. Alternatively visas are available in advance or on arrival. The Kenyan government are planning for all visas to be obtained online and may stop delivering visas on arrival on short notice. For the latest information please contact your local Kenyan High Commission or Consulate.  
For information about the online application process please visit http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html.
The cost of the visa is US$50 for a single entry visa and US$100 for an East Africa visa (valid to travel in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda – if the website still says coming soon please check with the Kenyan High Commission) (https://immigration.ecitizen.go.ke/index.php?id=7)
You will need to first register to the ecitizens website (including needing a photo 500px x 500px) before you can start applying.
For the application process itself you will need details of the accommodation used (which we will send you) and itinerary as well as a photo 5.5cm x 5.5cm and a scanned or photographed copy of your passport’s bio/photo page.
If after visiting Kenya you will also travel to Uganda and Rwanda, you may apply for East African Visa that will cover all three countries. This  visa is currently available upon arrival in Nairobi. Please contact the Kenyan High Commission to obtain more information about the combined visa from Kenya.

For assistance with obtaining visas please call Travcour on 020 8543 1846 or visit their website: http://www.travcour.com/page/tour-packs/exodus.php

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Kenya

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Kenya's Timezone:
Africa/Nairobi EAT (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Kenya's Electricity:

240 Volts. Plug types G; establishments take the same plugs as the UK.

Money

Kenya's Currency

The national currency of Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (September 2017) of approximately 136 to the GBP, 103 to the USD, 85 to the CAD, 123 to the EUR, 83 to the AUD and 75 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATM machines are available at Nairobi airport. Credit Cards are accepted at Kicheche.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend that you take most of your money in US dollars. We also recommend you obtain some Kenyan Shillings on arrival at Nairobi airport to pay for small items such as coffee and refreshments at Wilson Airport.

Should conditions dictate an extra visit into the Reserve please allow $80 USD.

Drinks (including alcohol (house spirits, wine and beer)) are included in the Mara.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. We recommend about US$100 on tips for your driver(s)/guide(s) and the camp staff and manager.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.