5 DYNAMIC LOCATIONS
October 16 -28, 2018
Designed to exceed a passionate photographers wildest dreams, this multiple location safari not only takes you to some of the top wildlife reserves in Africa, but you will also have an exclusive up-close, on foot elephant encounter, intimate tribal experiences not offered with a regular village visit, private talks from several top researchers during mid-day breaks, luxury accommodations, charter flights, and off-road driving for the ultimate photographic freedom. Only Kenya can offer this life enriching, over the top, authentic African Safari Experience that will go far beyond the extraordinary photographs captured.
You will be hosted on this safari by professional African wildlife and tribal photographer, Piper Mackay. Specializing in Africa for 14 years, she has spent thousands of hours photographing in these reserves and building trusting relationships with the tribes. She has hand-picked a special multi-team of experienced professional guides, who understand the needs of photographers, have vast knowledge and experience in wildlife behavior, and strong network ties to conservation and research projects.
Each of the five locations offers something dynamic –
SOLIO GAME RESERVE: Tucked in the valley between the lofty slopes of Mount Kenya and the peaks of the Aberdare Mountains lies the private Solio Game Reserve, which is internationally recognized as the most successful private Rhino Breeding reserve in Kenya. Besides the world’s largest population of white rhinos and nearly one hundred black rhinos, sightings of up to 40 Rhinos at a time are not uncommon. The wildlife experience is exclusive, with 19,000 acres of conservancy surrounded by 45,000 acres of ranch. Although our focus will be on the Rhinos, the reserve is inhabited by buffalo, zebra giraffe, Oryx, antelope, lion, cheetah, and leopard.
SAMBURU: Filled with large, iconic umbrella acacia trees in a stunning, arid environment, among the rich, red African soil, Samburu Reserve evokes the traditional vision of “I Dream of Africa.” As the wind blows through the stunning doom palms, one instantly knows they are in a magical place. Roaming through this primal land and unique to this reserve are the mane-less lions, rare and exotic Gravy’s Zebras, red soil–stained red elephants, reticulated giraffes, Oryx and Somali ostrich. In the stillness of what seems like an empty land, one might hear the rustle of brush as a cheetah or leopard makes himself or herself known. In stark contrast to this dry, neutral landscape, wanders the vivid, semi-nomadic colorful Samburu tribe. We will spend a very special evening in the hills with the warriors, an experience you will talk about for years to come.
MAASAI MARA: Known as the wildlife mecca of the world and immortalized by countless wildlife films, the renowned Maasai Mara needs little introduction, because it is arguably the greatest wildlife reserve on the planet! The vast, open plains are home to large prides of lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, black Rhino, hippos, Maasai giraffes, common zebras, gnu, impala, Thompson’s and grant’s gazelles, topi, hartebeest, black-backed jackals, spotted hyenas and more. It is the best reserve for the big cats, where BBC filmed Big Cat Diaries and where they continue to film regularly. Our safari takes place during the very end of the great migration season, when the crowds have vanished, and the grasses have been eaten down, which makes spotting and photographing the big cats much easier. Depending on the rains earlier in the year and our luck, we may catch some of the last herds crossing the Mara River as they make their way back to Tanzania.
From the moment you touch down in the Mara, you will see the exotic Maasai warriors throughout the landscape; even serious wildlife photographers are instinctively tempted to reach for their camera. You will have more than a glimpse into this ancient and fascinating world, but also the opportunity to capture compelling images as powerful as your wildlife images. The Maassai tribe is a huge part of the experience of Africa, one you don’t want to miss.
ITUMBA EXCLUSIVE: Situated in the remote hills of West Tsavo lies Itumba, the very special place where the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust brings the young orphan elephants to be reintroduced to the wild. We will have exclusive access in Itumba, where you will have the rare opportunity to interact with these young elephants on multiple occasions; during their feedings in the morning and afternoon and out it the wild, where the young elephants intermix with the wild elephants, mud bath, and dust. You can lie down right in front of them and capture incredible images from a perspective that few photographers have. Not only is this an exceptional experience filled with unique photographic opportunities, but funds from our visit go back to the DSWT and KWS for their conservation efforts. At the end of our stay, you can choose the elephant you wish to foster (included in your visit).
AMBOSELI PRIVATE RESERVE: Imagine photographing stunning images of the large herds of elephants, zebras, and giraffe as they roam through the dusty plains of Amboseli, with Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. You will have full access to the national park and access to the private conservancy, where you will enjoy exclusivity and the freedom of off-road driving. You can drive across the vast dusty plains, next to the herds of elephants, for exceptional and rare photographic opportunities. Of course, you will also track down predators, visit the swamps with a wide variety of African birds, and take advantage of the spectacular fine art landscape known for the dust devils that dance across the Savanna. During your stay at Tortillas Camp, Cynthia Moss or one of her team members will give a private talk about the Elephant Research in Amboseli for the past three decades.
This signature safari is not only an extraordinary opportunity to photograph Africa’s most phenomenal wildlife, including the big 5, with outstanding local drivers/guides, who understand the needs of photographers, but it also offers unique experiences not offered in other safaris. I am passionate and serious about high-quality images and will push hard to spend most of our time in the field, but I also believe in an amazing African experience. Piper Mackay will give informal instruction throughout the safari, especially on dramatic lighting situations, to help you capture stunning images that go beyond the traditional wildlife photographs. You will have the experience of a lifetime and come home with an amazing, diverse portfolio of exceptional images from just one safari.
For a more personal experience and better group dynamics, this Signature Safari is limited to only 8 Participants.
- 5 dynamic locations to maximize every photographic opportunity in one of the world’s greatest wildlife destinations
- 3 charter flights
- Luxurious accommodations in small, private tented camps
- Off-road driving in a private concession for ultimate photographic freedom
- Intimate on foot elephant encounter
- Visit two of Kenya’s most decadent and iconic tribes
- Visits from 2 of the top wildlife research teams in Kenya
- Small group of only 8 participants, giving you more flexibility, freedom, and better group dynamics.
- 9-passenger 4×4 Land Cruisers with only 3 people per vehicle. Every person will have their own row with 2 window seats available for the best viewing and photographic opportunities.
- The opportunity to create an amazing, diverse portfolio of exceptional images from just one safari.
Day 1 October 16, 2018
Upon your arrival at the international airport in Nairobi, Kenya, you are met by a member of our ground team and transferred by private vehicle to the Ole Sereni Hotel. This is the perfect place to unwind after your long journey. You may enjoy a sundowner on the beautiful deck overlooking Nairobi National Park filled with wildlife, take a swim, or relax in the spa. After a good night’s sleep and a scrumptious breakfast, you will be ready to depart on an extraordinary safari.
Accommodations: Ole Sereni
Day 2 October 17, 2018
Today, you will awaken in a magical new world with the aroma of Kenyan coffee brewing. We will meet at breakfast for a briefing before hopping in our private Land Cruisers and heading to the Solio Game Reserve. We will arrive at our luxury-tented camp, nestled between Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains, in plenty of time for lunch and to settle in before we head out on our first game drive.
Solio ranch was chosen for its large population of Rhinos due to its tremendous conservation efforts. It is normal to see a crash (big group) of white Rhinos, and although the Black Rhino are solitary and territorial, with a population of 100 among 19,000 acres, we have a great chance of seeing this endangered species.
Accommodations: luxury tents, Rhino Watch Lodge
Day 3 & 4 October 18 &19
We will spend the morning in the beautiful reserve before continuing to Samburu (approx. 3 hrs.), arriving at our luxurious tented camp, a unique blend of rustic elegance along the Ewaso Nyiro River lined exotic doum palms, in time for a late lunch. The friendly, traditional Samburu tribe staff will greet us and give us a full briefing about the camp and area. As the camp name implies, the elephants stroll through camp between the luxury tents. During mid-day, relax in the private plunge pool on the deck of your tent with a cold drink and let the wildlife come to you. In the early afternoon, we will head out to explore this spectacular reserve.
You will spend the next two days on safari, driving through this stunning African landscape, seeking what is unique to this reserve, Gravy’s zebras, reticulated giraffes, gerenuk, Oryx, common waterbuck, kudu, the mane-less lions, and the “red” elephants. The elephants exhibit a special red color from rolling in the mud of the river and dusting themselves with the rich, red soil, making for extraordinary images in golden light. The leopard sightings have also been incredible here for the past few years.
We will also spend an incredible evening on the top of the hills, with the warriors of the Samburu Tribe. Originally part of the Maasai tribe when they first came down the Nile River, the Samburu split off when the Maasai continued their journey south to Tanzania. The name Samburu name means the butterfly people; they not only flew off from their original tribe, but they became more colorful in their traditional dress. This will be a very special evening, where you will not only create extraordinary images, but have a unique experience that few others will have.
Accommodations: luxury tents, Elephant Bedroom Camp
Day 5-8 October 20-23
This morning, we will have one last early morning game drive before we board our charter flight to the renowned Maasai Mara. We will land on a private airstrip in the heart of the crown jewel of Kenya, only five minutes from our camp. Our eco-friendly camp lies between multiple overlapping predator territories and is positioned to blend unobtrusively into the surrounding vegetation, with an authentic safari feel of a time when Hemmingway would have been a guest.
This safari has been perfectly timed at the tail end of the migration season, when the hordes of tourists have vanished, but we may still have a possibility of some late crossings. Over the next 4 days, we will photograph an abundance of wildlife with a focus on the big cats and predators the Mara has become famous for.
During mid-day, when the light is hash and the animals are quiet, we will gather in a special photographers’ tent for presentations and to share information. Participants always comment on how much they love the camaraderie among other talented photographers. Learning from each other and the leader is a huge added value, as everyone brings different perspectives, knowledge, and skills. We will also have a special visit from Elaine, the head researcher from the Meru Cheetah project, and from the Cheetah forever team.
This part of our safari also takes place in the heart of Maasai land. Icons of Kenya, the Maasia warriors, once dominated the plains of East Africa. During our stay, we will visit a Maasai Bomo at sunrise. Soft hues of light will gradually filter over the traditional huts, as the village comes to life, a surreal experience. You will have quality time in the village to join the morning activities, such as milking cattle and goats, fire-starting, herding, making coffee, and socializing amongst them, to learn about their ancient ways and recent modernization.
In the evening, we will sit around the campfire under the starry African sky and look back on our amazing day in awe. After dinner, you will be safely escorted back to your tent with a Maasai warrior. There is no better way to experience Africa than by spending a few nights under canvas, camping in the heart of the wild, listening to the sounds of lions roaring, zebras barking, and hyenas calling as you gently fall asleep.
Accommodation: Mara Bush Camp
Day 9-10 October 24-25
This morning, we will fly by private charter to Ithumba, in East Tsavo. This is where the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust brings the young orphan elephants from Nairobi, when it is time to start reintroducing them to the wild. Over the next two days, you will have one of the most intimate elephant experiences in the world. We will join the keepers in the field each day, where the young elephants intermix with the wild elephants and in their stockades for their morning and evening feeding. Each day, a water truck fills the drinking pool and mud bath area. The wild elephants come in first, and soon, the young orphans join them. On foot, right amongst them, you can interact with the young orphans, stand next to the wild elephants, and photograph them at their waterhole, while mudding, dusting, and communicating with each other. More than the incredible photographic opportunities is an amazing intimate experience with these gentle giants, rarely offered in an itinerary.
We have booked the boutique luxury camp and the small classic rustic luxury safari camp, so this experience is exclusive to our group. The new camp was built up into the hill, designed perfectly to blend into the environment, and views that stretch for miles. On a clear day, you may even see Mount Kilimanjaro. It is decorated in traditional luxurious African décor, boasting grand views, multiple decks, and a beautiful swimming pool. The original, rustic charming safari camp has a two story, open hut style lounge with a small roof terrace, where you can relax in one of the many daybeds or hammocks and enjoy the endless views across the African Savanna. You may spot Dik Dik, Lesser Kudus, warthogs, and other little game and birds, which come to the small waterhole! Each camp has 4 large canvas luxury tents with en-suite bathrooms. You will feel like you are the only one in Africa.
Accommodation: Itumba Hill and Itumba camp
Day 11-12 October 26-27
After our early morning visit with the elephants and a scrumptious breakfast, we will head to Amboseli and the private Kitirua Conservancy on the western part of the Amboseli eco system, the greatest density of elephants per square mile in Africa and some of the biggest tuskers in Kenya. We will have almost exclusive use of the 30,000-acre area, adjacent to Amboseli National Park, where the quality of the viewing and photography will be exceptional. In this private conservancy, we can drive off the roads, across the vast dry-lake beds, and right next to herds of elephants. We can also photograph from outside the vehicles for a unique prospective. Our safari vehicles will be well-stocked with cold drinks and snacks to allow for a delayed return, as we will have no gate times to adhere to.
Not only will we stay in the private reserve, but we will also have full access to Amboseli National Park, a varied habitat with large marshlands and vast open plains that lies at the bottom of Mount Kilimanjaro. Although one of our aims will be to capture herds of elephants or giraffes with this majestic backdrop, we will take advantage of all the superb photographic opportunities, lions, antelope, cape buffalo, zebra, hippos, elephants with their calves, and the prolific bird life in this picturesque landscape.
During our stay, we will have an exclusive visit from Cynthia Moss or her team, discussing their research in Amboseli over the past 3 decades.
Named after the flat-topped umbrella acacia trees, our Luxury African styled tented camp was exquisitely built with natural materials, complete with thatched roofs, and has one of the finest views of Africa’s highest mountain. The cuisine is delicious, with an Italian flare, and fresh vegetables are grown in an organic garden on the grounds of the camp.
Day 13 October 28
We will have one last morning game drive, followed by a hardy breakfast, before boarding our flight back to Nairobi. Our ground team will transport you to the Ole Sereni, which sits along Nairobi National Park, and you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon around the pool and have lunch/dinner overlooking the park. Dayrooms have been provided, so you may rest and clean up before your flight back home later in the evening.
The price of this unique Signature safari experience is $12,950 – $13,495. Depending on your choice of camps at Itumba.
Single supplement is $1,895.00 ” if available”. Single accommodations are limited.
Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then a single supplement will be charged. If we are unable to match a solo guest with another guest of the same gender, then the single supplement will be charged, but generally at a reduced rate.
***This cost of this safari is based on a minimum of 6 participants. If there are less than 6 participants a small supplement fee of $795.00 will apply.
A USD $3,500.00/4,000 Non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration to secure your spot. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover your deposit. Many travel insurance companies will allow you to purchase insurance to cover your deposit and then increase the amount as you make payments.
- USD $3,500.00/3,995.00 non-refundable deposit to confirm your place on this safari
- 2nd payment of USD $3,000.00 (plus single supplement if applicable) is due February 30, 2018
- Final payment/Balance is due July 23, 2018
- We highly recommend trip and cancellation insurance
- 12 nights accommodations on shared basis
- Dayrooms on October 28, 2018
- 3 in-country flights
- Guaranteed row and window seat in private 4X4 land cruisers
- All meals from breakfast on October 3 through lunch on October 14, as noted on on the itinerary –B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
- Village visit with the Maasai and Samburu tribes.
- All National Parks fees, Game Reserces entrance fees, and taxes
- Elephant adoption at Itumba
- Talks from researchers in the Mara and at Amboseli
- Airport transfers on arrival date and departure date
- Bottled drinking water 2 in transport vehicles and at the lunch and dinner meals
- Beverages at Itumba
- Evacuation insurance to a Nairobi hospital – cost of hospitalization payable direct
- International flights
- Travel and Medical insurance
- Personal purchases (including shopping, spirits, laundry, internet fees, phone calls, etc)
- Accommodations before or after the tour
- Transportation before the arrival or departure date of the itinerary
Itumba Camps and pricing–
Pricing below is for the signature Safari, based on choice of camp at Itumba
Itumba Luxury Camp– 1 tent available for a man willing to share accomodations
The Itumba luxury camp was built into the hills, two years ago, boasting grand views, multiple decks, luxurious African décor, and an infinity edge pool. Each luxury tent has a private deck with 180-degree views of the vistas. All our meals will be taken together at this camp. The guest in the lower rustic camp will be driven up the hill to the luxury camp.
Safari price $13,495.00
Itumba Camp – tents available – single accommodations only
This is the original Itumba camp. The tents are traditional canvas safari tents. There is a two story lounge with a traditional thatched roof lounge. This property would be considered up market. The guest at this camp will be driven up to the Luxury camp for their meals.
Safari price $12,950
If you are excited to come on this signature safari of a life time, now is the time to grab one of only 8 spots. We must receive both your esign registration form and your deposit/s to confirm your spot;
1. Click this link to access the e-registration form. At the end of the form you will be asked to confirm your email address, which will complete the registration. A copy of your registration will be emailed to you and to Piper Mackay Photo Safaris.
2. Use the drop down menu and to choose your camp for Itumba and the button to make your deposit. You do not need to have a Paypal account to use this payment service