Africa, what a place! I’ve been visited 17 times and last year I spent more days in Africa than I did in my apartment, and she never disappoints. If you are like me; you grew up watching Tarzan, loved the circus and the zoo, Marlin Perkins was a hero, Hatari was an incredible movie, and you dreamt of being in Africa. I can assure you that the real thing is even more amazing than you have imagined. I love this Kenya Safari! I’ve done this exact safari 4 times and can’t wait to share that with you! Once you experience a Kenya Safari, you will love it too! And of course, You Will Be Amazed!
I am so excited to be going back for a Kenya Safari in the “green” season. It is the most beautiful time of the year and the plains are a verdant green and not the browns of fall. We will visit the stunning Amboseli National Park, and if the “shy mountain” Kilimanjaro allows, we’ll see vast herds of elephants along with that iconic peak. From there we continue our safari and explore the fabulous Masai Mara National Park. We’ll be looking for the Big Five (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, and buffalo) and everything in between. And that is just the highlights!
Kenya Safari Highlights
12 Nights and 13 Days
Two Private Safari Vehicles
Small Group – 6 Clients MAX
Masai Mara, and Amboseli Parks
• Botswana is known for being the VERY best place in Africa for willdife photography and we’ll use only exclusive, private concessions that are free of crowds, allow off-road travel, and offer luxurious accommodations.
• Our concessions include “predator meccas” that offer unparalleled photo opportunities of lions, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs, as well as elephants, other classic game. We’ll also have close, intimate encounters with the most habituated meerkats in Africa, as well as the Kalahari bushmen they share their home with.
• While many photo tours avoid the best concessions to save on cost, we stay in the best camps to maximize our wildlife sightings. Many tours also avoid the best seasons, also to save on cost, whereas this tour is planned for the very best time of year for sightings.
• For all game drives on the tour, each participant will have an entire row to themselves for easy shooting from both sides of the vehicle and space to accommodate your gear – this is very rare for Botswana safaris.
• ALL flights are private charter flights for our group only, enabling us to bring more gear.
• Many Botswana photo tours are only 7 nights in duration, whereas our tour is 12 nights. This gives us enough time to experience the photo opportunities that each spectacular location has to offer.
• Although we have chosen locations based on wildlife viewing, these concessions also have some of the best accommodations in all of Africa. Our camps are small, elegant and luxurious.
• Travel as a small group and receive one-to-one instruction from professional wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas. Suzi has published over 100 magazine covers and feature stories and has vast experience photographing African wildlife (including 3 years living in a bushcamp).
Join us on an amazing Safari designed specifically for photographers in South Africa. We will be in a setting where your opportunity to photograph lions, leopards, elephants, rhino, and buffalo (Big 5) are amazingly accessible to our photographers. Giraffe, hippos, crocodiles, cheetah, and many other hoofed and clawed animals will be on show during this excursion. Our visit in May is during the Autumn season where we experience mild dry weather. There will be ample opportunities to capture the rich diversity of nature from our open top Safari vehicles to the back porch of your Rondavel. Our lodging is a unique private reserve with over 9,000 hectares or roughly 22,000 acres of vast African nature, about an hour drive west of Kruger National Park. The surreal camp is not fenced, which allows wildlife to roam and offers client’s unique possibilities to photograph from their deck. Whether you are an experienced or hobbyist photographer, this trip will afford you incredible opportunities to capture wildlife photographs of a lifetime. During this trip, Tom will be instructing you on both the technical and creative aspects of wildlife photography while at the resort and on Safari. He will spend time supporting you and your attempts to capture amazing pictures, regardless of subject and setting.
What is Included?
-In-Country round trip airfare Johannesburg to Hoedspruit
-Overnight Stay at Hotel D’Oreale Grande, in Johannesburg, welcome reception and breakfast.
-Transfer to Private Game Reserve
-7 Nights, 8 Days
-8 total game drives, plus a photo shoot at Blyde River Canon.
-Breakfast and Dinner Included, Lunch is on your own at restaurant on site.
-Lodging in a South African Rondavel (bungalow), including 2 natural spring pools, bar and restaurant.
-Dedicated Photography Instruction, including post processing and critique.
-No Single Supplement Charges!
-Non-Photography Spouses/Travelers welcome, $250 discount.
-All Game Drives designed and managed by Tripod Travelers, meaning only our photographers in the vehicle, only 6 photographers per safari!
-Flight to Johannesburg, South Africa
-Tips for Safari Drivers or Staff
-Travel Insurance or Medical Assistance Insurance
Our 14th KENYA PHOTOGRAPHY EXPEDITION is among the best locations to photograph wildlife in the world. If you’ve never visited this magical country, be prepared for incredible wildlife and cultural experiences. From the monkeys trying to get into your tent to the lion prides of the Mara, YOU WILL ENJOY! The photography opportunities are endless and your stories will be shared for many years to come.
We’ll fly between lodges, and this year we’ve also added two extra nights on safari (2 nights in Nairobi and 12 nights at the lodges) along with a private encounter at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage. Only 3-4 guests max per safari vehicle! Kenya will not get better than it is now—join us!
Can only two male lions take down an adult male giraffe?
Male lions average over 400 lbs. Giraffes, over six times that much, with well over a ton of power behind their kicks. Just their height alone is intimidating. However, in April 2016, I saw two male lions take down an adult male giraffe in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. So, the answer is yes, with a caveat I’ll mention a bit later.
Life in the African bush is hard for prey animals and apex predators (those at the top of the food chain) alike. Ungulates (hooved animals) such as zebras, gazelles and wildebeest are constantly wary and keeping watch to ensure they don’t fall victim as food for one of the countless predators that share their territory. Predators fight among themselves over that same territory. Lions will fight to take control of existing prides. They will also fight to drive off other predators, like cheetahs, sharing the same space. Very often these battles have grim results for the victims.
During my recent trip to Ndutu in northern Tanzania (eastern Africa) we saw many cheetah families living in the Makao plains. Among them were two bachelor brothers that we had hoped to encounter during our journeys. With a top speed approaching 70 miles per hour, cheetahs are the fastest land animals in the world. They can maintain this speed for approximately 500 yards. As a singular animal a cheetah is capable of chasing down and capturing smaller prey, a favorite being a Thomson’s gazelle. Adult male cheetahs often form coalitions with siblings. When teamed up they are capable of bringing down much larger prey, like wildebeest. We wanted to see this two-male coalition in action.
On January 31, during our morning game drive we happened upon a lone cheetah that had climbed onto a fallen tree. It started calling and before we identified the gender we suspected a female calling for her young. As we looked more closely we realized it was a male and that it was injured. His mouth was wounded and his elbows rubbed raw. This was one of the brothers, only his sibling was nowhere in sight. Our best guess was that the two cheetahs had been victims of a lion attack during the night. Either the second male had been killed or severely injured, or he escaped and ran in another direction.
Injured cheetah searching for his brother.
A closer look at his mouth injury.
The wounded cheetah wandered from tree to tree, sniffing for signs of his brother and then sending a stream of his own urine toward the tree. Like all cats, cheetahs have a keen sense of smell and can identify an individual by its unique scent. During this time he called continuously with a forlorn cry, presumably with the hope of vocally contacting his sibling. Occasionally he would leap onto a fallen tree to search and call from a higher vantage point. Allowing enough distance to avoid interference we followed the lone male for over an hour. During that time his pace was constant, his conviction never faltered. Continue reading →
Serengeti—it’s one of the most famous names in the world, an icon of wild places.
The Serengeti ecosystem, almost 10,000 square miles in area, includes Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and adjacent reserves such as Loliondo, Maswa, Ikorongo, Grumeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara. It is one of the few large, protected ecosystems left on earth. Each year, more than two million animals—wildebeest, zebras and other herbivores—migrate from the eastern plains through central Serengeti and northward to Masai Mara and back, in a search for water and fresh grasses. It is the largest land mammal migration on earth.
I’ve been traveling to the Serengeti ecosystem annually for 30 years, leading photo tours, and working on book and magazine assignments. I always assumed that national park and World Heritage Site designations would protect this ecosystem. I was wrong.
In May 2010 I learned from Masai friends that the Tanzanian government planned a major commercial highway that would cut across the northern part of the park like a knife wound. Hundreds of trucks would speed daily from Lake Victoria in the west to the Indian Ocean coast. In addition to cutting off the migration route, the highway would become an avenue for poachers.
Within days of my discovery, I contacted a handful of other frequent Serengeti travelers and we started a Facebook page, Stop the Serengeti Highway. Word spread, and today that page has more than 60,000 followers worldwide. In addition, ecotourism consultant Dave Blanton and I started a tax-deductible non-profit called Serengeti Watch to rally support to save Serengeti and to inform select news media around the globe about the threat. Click the link to join and/or make a donation.
In December 2010, Richard Engel of NBC News traveled to Serengeti. He uncovered the culprit funding the highway: China. Engel asserted that China was after coltan, an important mineral in cell phones, and certain rare-earth minerals.
The situation has grown more complex because of oil in Uganda and South Sudan. Plans are now being discussed by the Tanzanian government for a “transportation corridor” that might include a railroad as well as a highway. Either would mark the end of the migration and the total unravelling of the Serengeti ecosystem.
Serengeti Watch has proposed an alternate southern route, one that bypasses Serengeti entirely. Parts of this road already exist and are being upgraded for major transport. The Tanzanian government has ignored funding offers for a southern route, and to date the Serengeti Highway remains a threat.
Building local support is vital. Through donations, Serengeti Watch has made educational grants locally to raise awareness about the importance of preserving Serengeti. The overall aim is to fund projects in media and education that encourage young Tanzanians to become involved in conservation. Through photography, journalism, video and social media, Serengeti Watch will give local people the ability to communicate the importance of protecting their reserves and parks.
This may be the best way to protect Serengeti for the future.
Boyd Norton is the author/photographer of 16 books. His most recent, Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning, has received accolades from primatologist and researcher Jane Goodall and Richard Engel of NBC News, among others. For more than 45 years Boyd has used his photography and writing to save and protect wilderness and wildlife worldwide, testifying at numerous congressional hearings. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. He is a Fellow of NANPA, a former NANPA board member, charter Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and founder and Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers. His next photo safari to Serengeti will be in February, 2015. www.boydnorton.com; www.wildernessphotography.com. See a recent legal development: http://newsle.com/article/0/162431923/