The annual wildebeest migration of East Africa is not only the biggest of its kind, but it is also one of the last remaining large mammal migrations in the world. On this exclusive safari you will be taken right to the heart of the action, to the very middle of the famed Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.
Your camp has the best access to all the major crossing points and to the vast plains where the wildebeest graze. The Kenya Great Migration and Flamingo Safari has been carefully timed to catch the migration coming into Kenya. It is a time when the predators are hungry and the crocodiles are waiting. It is also a time of year when there are fewer vehicles than at the height of the season (in August and September).
The 2nd leg of this safari will see you flying over two of Africa’s most iconic rift valley lakes where the flamingos feed and breed. Using a helicopter and with 2 hours solid flying time, with the doors off, you will behold pink Africa from the sky. What could be better than photographing the great migration and flamingos all in one safari?
There are no fewer than 6 exciting safari extensions offered on this safari including the ‘Tuskers of Tsavo’ and ‘Rhinos, Zebra, Giraffe Of Mount Kenya’. Stay in Kenya longer and design your own bespoke itinerary by combining these extensions and filling out the form at the end of this page.
Keep reading for a full itinerary and a portfolio of photographic possibilities.
This is a 7 night (8 day) photo safari with night 1 spent in the leafy suburb of Karen. The next 4 nights are spent in the heart of the famed Masai Mara Game Reserve. The last 2 nights are spent in an exclusively booked camp on the floor of the Great Rift Valley.
Costs will include all accommodation; meals; drinks (excluding premium brands); all transfers, all internal flights including meet and greet services; extra luggage; private safari drives and all excursions; conservation fees; community fees; photographic tuition and the guiding services of professional wildlife photographer Greg du Toit and two chartered helicopter flights for photography, totalling 2 hours of helicopter flying per person.
Not included in the cost are visas; purchases of a personal nature; staff gratuities; personal travel insurance; your international flights.
40% deposit confirms your booking.
Arrive and overnight in Karen
After being met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi you will be driven into the leafy suburbs of Karen where, just across the road from where Karen Blixen had her coffee farm, you will settle into your luxury boutique hotel. There is of course WiFi to let your loved ones know you have arrived safely.
Special note: To get from the airport to your hotel, we take the southern bypass, so we do not go into Nairobi city at all on this safari.
Arrive Masai Mara
Departing from Wilson Airport, which is a tiny airport outside of Nairobi, we take a 1 hour flight to the Masai Mara. This is a scheduled flight in a light aircraft and an extra freight seat has been booked to allow you extra baggage allowance.
Once we land, we have a short drive to our camp which is located in the heart of the reserve. In fact, the camp was one of the first to be located in the reserve and as such it enjoys the finest location of any camp in the Masai Mara. We very specifically chose this camp as it gives you access to all the river crossing points but also to the large central and southern plains, where the herds graze and migrate through.
An afternoon safari drive will get you taking photos immediately and with our own vehicle, and only 3 photographers, you will have an entire row to yourself with plenty of space to place your camera gear alongside you. The area directly across from your camp is very scenic with plenty of classic lone trees and plains filled with both predators and prey.
A campfire beckons you home and a scrumptious dinner awaits. The food is excellent and so is the accommodation which takes the form of luxury walk-in canvas tents. You have running hot water and flush loos, but best of all, you have privacy and wild Africa on your doorstep.
Not only is this one of Kenya’s finest traditional canvas camps, but it is also one of Africa’s wildest in terms of having wildlife in camp. You will hear lions roar and hippo will graze right alongside your tent, as will buffalo and even giraffe. Your tent faces the Talek River and is set in a riverine forest that is an oasis within the reserve.
Lala Salama (which means “good night” in Swahili).
Great Migration and Predator Photography
For the next 3 full days you will take in what has been dubbed “the greatest wildlife show on earth”. With access to the north, south, east and west, you will track down the great migration and fill your memory cards. Predators prowl and antelope bound across the plains. The Masai Mara is the undisputed wildlife mecca of Africa and in 3 full days you will fill your memory cards.
Each day starts with tea or coffee delivered to you in bed. We then depart camp in the dark. With a packed breakfast on-board we stay out as long as we need to and we explore the Masai Mara from top to bottom.
While our main goal is to track down the migration and monitor the river crossings, you will also be taken to the far-flung and remoter corners of the reserve, in search of predators and prey. Not only is the Masai Mara the wildlife mecca of Africa, it is also incredibly scenic. Having lead photographic safaris to the Mara for 20 consecutive years, I know how to unlock its secrets, how to avoid the masses and how to show you the very best of the reserve.
Our camp is located right in the middle of the reserve so we are usually back for lunch (unless river crossings are happening) and then out again in the afternoon. The river on which your camp is located is also excellent leopard habitat, and it lies within the heart of a leopard’s territory!
Every day ends with a campfire and dinner is always filled with plenty of banter, as everyone shares their day’s sightings. Being lulled asleep to snorting hippo and roaring lion, you wake only to do it all over again.
A private charter plane will come and collect us and relocate us to the rift valley, for the next exciting leg of this incredible and unique safari. After photographing the great migration, it is time to turn our attention to the pink flamingos.
A short half an hour charter flight with unlimited luggage allowance, will see you landing on the floor of Africa’s greatest geographical feature; the Great Rift Valley. It boasts spectacular scenery, with the western wall in this part of the valley being particularly high and clearly defined. Meandering its way along the dusty floor is the Ewaso Ngiro river, where your exclusive tented safari camp is situated on its banks.
Cool shade and the gurgling river offers a refreshing oasis in the wilderness. With only four walk-in tents, each set high on a wooden deck, your camp is intimate and has been booked on an exclusive basis for this safari. It is also positioned perfectly for our list of bespoke and exciting activities.
Afternoon: Warriors and Spears.
Once you are settled into your new home and enjoyed a scrumptious lunch, you will receive a master class on light from Greg, before heading out for the afternoon activity, which entails photographing the Maasai warriors as they herd their cattle across the floor of the rift valley.
This section of the rift valley is a truly wild piece of Africa. It is hot, dry and dusty, dotted with Acacias and with wall of the rift valley as an ever-present backdrop, you will enjoy what is one of the finest cultural photography shoots on offer anywhere in Africa.
The Maasai not only live in this wild rugged countryside but they subsist here, living among Africa’s wild beasts. The Maasai herdsman are therefore shepherds of biblical proportions and each day they have the huge responsibility of taking their family’s cattle out for grazing and water. Armed with only spears, they are responsible for their family’s wealth. Lions are on the prowl and the herdsman are on the watch.
With spectacular back lighting, you will photograph the herdsman on foot and with the dust, you will capture images full of mood and mystery. This fun activity will see you stretching your legs and your histogram. Walking on the dusty floor of this ancient land, you will feel truly alive and photographing back-lit scenes of Maasai herdsman and their cattle in clouds of dust, will invigorate you photographically.
After an afternoon of fun, a campfire on the banks of the river awaits. A scrumptious meal hosted by the camp owners will see you turn in for the night.
Morning: Maasai Boma
We head out to meet a traditional Maasai boma (village). We will spend the morning with the Maasai and you will be introduced to a real Maasai family or boma. In other words, this is not a village for tourists but a real living and working traditional Maasai family homestead. The most exciting and important time of day for the Maasai is early morning when the calves are fed and the cows are milked, before the warriors take the cattle to pasture.
This will be an authentic cultural experience and the Maasai we visit will not put on a show or a ‘sing and dance’ for us, or sell any curios. What they will do, is allow us into their world, to experience their everyday life. Special access to an ancient and authentic cultural experience awaits and you are welcome to take photographs.
Afternoon: Take to the skies
You will receive a lesson from Greg on composition as well as on aerial photography. Soon after that a chartered helicopter will land in your camp and take you for a flamingo flight over Lake Magadi.
Lake Magadi is one of the flamingo populations preferred feeding lakes and being full of salt patterns and algal blooms, it is also the most spectacular rift valley lake to photograph. There is also zebra, giraffe, elephant and other wildlife you will fly over, offering wonderful aerial photographic opportunities.
We have secured one of the best pilots in Kenya and one Greg has worked with many times before. Sitting on the left, with unrestricted shooting views and angles, and with the doors off, you will get incredible photos. Greg will be on hand to give you advice and to instruct the pilot via a headset, so as to make the absolute most of your ‘Out Of Africa’ experience.
The following morning you will fly over Lake Natron, which has been heralded by NASA as one of the most dynamic land-forms on the planet. It is the most alkaline lake in the world and also the largest breeding ground for Lesser Flamingos in the world.
From the air, Lake Natron’s many shapes and forms take on an otherworldly dimension and your images will be truly inspiring. To entice you, see Google’s collection of Lake Natron Images here. There is also an incredible river delta you will get to shoot, with glorious patterns, shapes and colours.
Once back in camp you will have breakfast and after packing up, a 30 minute charter flight will take you back to Nairobi for your onward travels home, with transfers already prearranged.
Arriving back home and processing your photographs, you will realise that you got to photograph two of Africa’s most amazing spectacles, both on the same safari. The great wildebeest migration and masses of flamingos!
For those of you not ready to go home, read more about how you can extend your Kenya safari here.
– Africa is famous for many things but two of the absolute icons of the content are the annual wildebeest migration and the masses of flamingoes. This safari combines both and is the first photographic safari to do so.
– This safari has been timed to catch the migration as it arrives in the Masai Mara. Not only are predators and crocodiles hungry at this time, but there are 10x fewer vehicles than during the high season which runs in August and Sep.
– Your camp in the Masai Mara is slap bang in the middle of the reserve, not only giving you access to all the river crossing points, but allowing you to head north, south, east and west.
– Your camp in the Masai Mara is also one of the finest in Kenya with excellent cuisine and a beautiful setting on the Talek River. It is one of the only camps in the reserve where you can see a river crossing right in front of camp.
– The vehicle you will be shooting from is open and not only this, but you have an entire row to yourself. You can shoot out the left and the right, and there is plenty of space to have your cameras next to you.
– For the flamingo photography, on the 2nd leg of your safari, you have 2 hours of flying time and with the doors off! You will be seated don the left with unobstructed views below. You will fly over two of the very best lakes in the world for flamingoes. The pink masses, salt patterns and associated rift valley scenery will leave you breathless and with full memory cards.
– On this safari we avoid going into Nairobi, using the southern bypass and staying out of town.
– The 2nd leg of this safari plays out in the south rift valley of Kenya. If you look on a map it is between the Masai Mara and Amboseli (right on the border of Kenya and Tanzania), but this is not a destination on the regular safari circuit. Therefore, if you are looking for something different, special and unique, and if you wanting to get off the beaten track, then this is definitely the safari for you.
– Most safaris offer you a mix of safari drives only, but this safari is very different in that there are a number of very special activities that have been specially prearranged. These include flying over rift valley lakes by helicopter, photographing Maasai cattle herders on foot and photographing an authentic Maasai village.
– Some safaris offer you a cultural experience in the Masai Mara but this is not one of them. It its impossible to have an authentic cultural experience in the Masai Mara, so we are doing our cultural photography in a place where it is genuine and authentic.
– The south rift valley of Kenya is possibly the most diverse geographic location on the African continent. From soda lakes, to freshwater wetlands, to rivers, to mountains, to grasslands, to savannahs, to forests – this area has it all. With 2 hours of pure aerial photography from a helicopter with the doors off, you will enjoy the finest aerial photography on offer anywhere in Africa and you will fill your memory cards.
– Not only will you photograph flamingoes from the air but zebra, giraffe and elephant too!
– Africa is famous for its rift valley lakes but very few people get to visit Lake Natron, due to its remote and isolated location. It is the largest breeding ground in the world for Lesser Flamingoes and they breed there because no one else goes there. On this safari you take in the incredible sight of Lake Natron and its associated spectacular rift valley scenery. The lake is the most dynamic landform on the planet and you will photograph it from a helicopter!
– Photographing flamingoes from the shore simply does not work. The closer you move to the birds, the further they move away. This is why we have chartered in a helicopter especially for you.
– This safari is so diverse that is caters for everyone, not just photographers, so non photographers you are very welcome.
– This safari gives you the opportunity to help conserve Africa’s wildlife and people. A portion of the fee for this safari is paid directly to the community in the form of conservancy fees. By signing up and joining this safari, you are helping strengthen the community and supporting them in their belief that tourism is the only long term sustainable solution.
– As a custom designed Greg du Toit Signature experience, this safari offers an intimate and authentic safari experience which larger tours cannot.
– All levels of photographers are welcome.
– We book extra luggage and we charter our own plane and helicopters for this safari.
– There are no fewer than 6 different ways of extending your safari to make this the ultimate African safari of a lifetime. Read all about the extensions on the link below. Any one or combination of these extensions can be booked to create your own bespoke itinerary.