Kenya Great Migration and Flamingo Safari

This is the the very first photographic safari to combine a great migration photo safari with a flamingo photo safari. The exciting itinerary includes Shompole hide photography and Maasai cultural photography.

Scroll down to see a photographic portfolio from this safari.

A Signature Experience

The annual wildebeest migration of East Africa is one of the last remaining large mammal migrations in the world. This great migration photo safari takes you right to the heart of the action in the famed Masai Mara Game Reserve of Kenya.

Your camp on this Masai Mara migration photo safari has the best access to all the major river crossing points and to the vast plains where the wildebeest graze. This great migration photography safari has also 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), making this the ultimate great migration photo tour.

The 2nd leg of this safari is a flamingo photo safari and will see you flying over two of Africa’s most iconic rift valley lakes where the flamingos feed and breed. This Lake Natron photo safari and Lake Magadi photo safari will simply take your breath away! Using a helicopter and with 3 hours solid flying time, with the doors off, you will behold Pink Africa from the sky on this Kenya flamingo photo safari. What could be better than photographing the great migration and then going on a helicopter flamingo safari?

The 2nd leg of this safari includes Shompole hide photography and is one of the best locations for Kenya hide photography. You will also enjoy authentic and genuine Maasai cultural photography on this special safari.

There are no fewer than six exciting safari extensions you can do either before or after this safari to make it the ‘best private African photography safari‘. You can either stay in Kenya by adding this Northern Kenya photo safari but you can also add a Mountain Gorilla photo safari or a Chimpanzee great ape photo safari and Ruaha photographic safari in Tanzania.

Keep reading for a full itinerary and a portfolio of photographic possibilities.

‘Kenya Great Migration and Flamingo Safari’ details

This is a 8 night photo safari with night 1 spent in the leafy suburb of Karen. The following 4 nights are a Masai Mara migration photo safari. The last 3 nights are a flamingo photo safari with Shompole hide photography and Maasai cultural photography.

  • Kenya Great Migration and Flamingo Safari
  • The cost and dates of this safari will depend on whether you are traveling alone or in a group, and if you choose to do any of the safari extensions listed at the bottom of this page and can be customized to your unique tastes.
  • Complete the booking enquiry form

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

‘Kenya Great Migration and Flamingo Safari’ Itinerary

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.

great migration photo safari - wildebeest crossing

* 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.

Masai Mara Migration Photo Safari

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. This is the ultimate location for a great migration photo safari!

masai mara migration photo safari - leopard

An afternoon safari drive will get you taking photos immediately and with our own vehicle, you will have plenty of space for your camera gear. The area directly across from your camp on this great migration photography safari 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 on this great migration photography safari 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).

maasai mara migration photo safari

Great Migration Photography Safari

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, on this great migration photo safari 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 on this great migration photo tour.

great migration photo tour

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 over 20 years, I know how to unlock its secrets, how to avoid the masses and how to show you the very best of the reserve on this Masai Mara migration photo safari.

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. This is the ultimate great migration photo safari.

great migration photography safari - wildebeest river crossing

Morning: Relocate to the Rift Valley

A private charter plane will come and collect us and relocate us to the rift valley, for the next exciting ‘flamingo photo safari’ leg of this incredible safari. After photographing the great migration, it is time to turn our attention to the pink flamingoes and 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. Spectacular scenery awaits, 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.

shompole hide photography

Cool shade and the gurgling river offers a refreshing oasis in the wilderness. With only six 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 which include Shompole hide photography, Maasai cultural photography of of course a Kenya flamingo photo safari.

Afternoon: Warriors and Spears

Once you are settled into your new home and enjoyed a scrumptious lunch, you will head 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 Maasai cultural photography shoots on offer anywhere in East 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 in the dust and you will capture Maasai cultural photography images that are 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 and exceptional Maasai cultural photography, 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.

maasai cultural photo safari

maasai cultural photography

Morning: Maasai Boma

Your Maasai cultural photography continues as 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. 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 Maasai 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. This is the ultimate Maasai cultural photography experience!

maasai cultural photography - portrait of a Maasai

Afternoon: Take to the skies for a Flamingo Photo Safari

A chartered helicopter lands in your camp and takes you for a lake Magadi photo safari to the flamingoes. Lake Magadi is one of the flamingoes preferred feeding lakes and being full of salt patterns and algal blooms, it is also a 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. With unrestricted shooting views and angles, with the doors off, you will get incredible photos.

helicopter flamingo safari

More flamingo shooting in the morning and Shompole hide photography in the afternoon.

The following morning you will enjoy a Lake Natron photo safari and this exceptional lake 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 Flamingoes in the world making this the ultimate destination for a flamingo photo safari.

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.

lake natron photo safari

The afternoon will see you going underground to enjoy a Kenya hide photography experience. South Rift hide photography is an excellent way to see and photograph the wildlife because the area is very arid and as such waterholes attract a host of wild animals. Many years ago I discovered this Shompole hide photography secret when I built the first ever underground hide in Africa, which was really just a hole in the ground with a rudimentary roof. I then landed up sitting in the water for 270 hours and in a 16th month project, I built an entire photographic portfolio in this part of Kenya. This endeavour lead to a sell out National Geographic exhibition on the high streets of London and is the topic of my memoir titled, ‘Not Without My Binoculars’. I also photographed the cover image of my first coffee-table book, titled AWE, at a waterhole in this area. Having pioneeered Shompole hide photography, I look forward t sharing the experience with you.

shompole hide photography - lioness drinking

Last Shompole hide photography session and depart, or continue with extension

Your last morning will be spent enjoying more Shompole hide photography. 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.

shompole hide photography

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 flamingo masses! You will also have Shompole hide photography eye-level portraits!

For those of you not ready to go home, there are no fewer than six exciting safari extensions you can do either before or after this safari. You can either stay in Kenya by adding this Northern Kenya photo safari but you can also add a Mountain Gorilla photo safari or a Chimpanzee great ape photo safari and Ruaha photographic safari in Tanzania.

See a portfolio from this ‘Kenya Great Migration and Flamingo Safari’ below and click on any image to enlarge.

Your photographic possibilities on this workshop

Why the ‘Kenya Great Migration and Flamingo Safari’ is the safari for you…

– 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 great migration photo 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 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 and not in a conservancy on the periphery. Not only does this give you access to all the river crossing points on this great migration photo safari, but it also allows you to head north, south, east and west.

– Your camp on this Masai Mara migration photo safari 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 on this great migration photo safari is open-sided. 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 photo safari, the 2nd leg of your safari, you have a minimum of 3 hours of flying time and with the doors off! You will be seated on the left with unobstructed views below for this helicopter flamingo safari. You will fly over two of the very best lakes in Kenya for flamingoes as you do a Lake Magadi photo safari and a Lake Natron photo safari. 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. Shompole hide photography and Maasai cultural photography awaits!

– 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 a helicopter flamingo safari, photographing Maasai cattle herders on foot and photographing an authentic Maasai village making this the ultimate Maasai cultural photography experience.

– Some safaris offer you a Maasai cultural photography experience in the Masai Mara but this is not one of them! It is 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, rivers, mountains,  grasslands, savannahs, and forests – this area has it all. But to see it all you need  helicopter and with the doors off, you will enjoy a fine aerial photography experience on this ‘helicopter flamingo safari’.

– 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 go on a Lake Natron photo safari, 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 so that you can capture its immense glory.

– 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 on this Kenya flamingo photo safari.

– This safari experience is so diverse that is caters for everyone, not just photographers, so non-photographing partners will love it.

– The Shompole hide photography experience gives you the opportunity to help conserve Africa’s wildlife and people. A portion of the fee is paid directly to the community in the form of conservancy fees. By signing up and joining this Kenya hide photography safari, you are helping strengthen the community in the south rift of Kenya, and supporting them in their belief that tourism is the only long term sustainable solution.

– This is a private safari and offers you a glimpse of real Africa, which larger more commercial great migration photo tours cannot do.

– 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.

* Still got questions? See the FAQ I wrote about African photographic safaris.

Masai Mara & Kenya Rift Valley extensions

Maximise your time in Africa by extending your adventure with these exciting extensions, each designed to offer you the best of the region...

Guest Testimonials

'I thoroughly enjoyed this trip, we set out to do something off the track and you delivered in spades. Amboseli was magical, especially the time we spent with Tim the tusker! The South Rift was special on so many fronts, as a geologist, as a photographer and as a human being - seeing the work that Samantha, Guy and others are doing to help protect a working model of human-wildlife coexistence, to help preserve a way of life while helping to guide it into the future and to educate the residents of the valley and those around the world interested in this magical corner of Africa was something I will never forget, and of course finishing up with a photographic feast in the Mara was the cherry on the cake. I think this some of my best work to date and I attribute this to your tutelage, your inspiration and your willingness to share your view of Africa with me, thanks my friend.'

Randall Bacon (USA)
'This safari; my first; was simply put, both amazing and breathtaking and overwhelming! I was going for only one word so going to stop before I use all the emphatic English words I know 😉 Doing such a voyage with Greg insured that I got the most of the journey, more than once he rescued me from a camera that did not want to cooperate, or was it my clumsiness in an exciting moment 😉 But, more importantly, I believe I have a better grasp of the photographic process as a whole, a better understanding of what is entailed in taking a photograph. Coming home, I feel a renewed excitement for the still's medium!'

Nancy and Pierre Nadeau (Canada)
'Thanks so much for the amazing trip to Shompole and the Masai Mara. The photographic opportunities are just too many to capture. Add the big five in 24 hours, with the accompanying wonderful birdlife and beautiful landscapes, all filled with light and sounds. We appreciate you sharing these very special places and your knowledge with us, particularly your photography advise as it has allowed us to start to capture the wildlife in a way that begins to do their wild beauty, life and land some justice.'

Gavin and Jayne Erasmus (Hong Kong)
'Dear Greg, We wanted to thank you once again for guiding us in Kenya and sharing that special part of Africa with us. We loved our time at Shompole, I think our favourite pictures will be of the local people. Being in the midst of the migration was also very special. Hope to meet up again before too long. Kind regards, Maggie and Peter.' (See a portfolio of 'Life in Kenya's Southern Rift Valley' by Peter here & Maggie here)

Maggie Manson and Peter Farmer (UK)