Join Gustav W. Verderber, a professional nature photographer and environmental interpreter, and Eco-resorts, an East African eco-adventure tour operator, on the photographic wildlife safari of a lifetime. Learn the field techniques of professional wildlife photography and produce gallery-quality photographs of African wildlife as you travel to one of the most remarkable places on Earth.
The elephant sanctuary of the Amboseli National Park, the shady glades surrounding the blue waters of Lake Naivasha and the rolling plains of the Masai Mara. This safari offers a variety of different landscapes, animals, and birds for you to photograph.
Designed to suit the ambitious beginning nature photographer, this photography safari will enhance your skills and introduce you to the techniques of professional wildlife photography while it puts you in the right place at the right time to photograph African wildlife.
Gustav is a professional free-lance nature photojournalist with credits that include the cover of Natural History, The Audubon Society Calendar, scientific journals, and whose exhibits have won him international recognition. He is also a zoologist who teaches photography, biology, and environmental science at various New England colleges. He brings with him a wealth of information about the animals you'll find in the Masai Mara. Aided by your local, expert guides, you will receive a true introduction into the wonders of the African wilderness while honing your photography techniques for the future.
Your African photo safari actually begins well before you board your plane to Africa. Gustav will outline a course of instruction that starts with photo projects you will be asked to complete before your departure. This will enable Gustav to gauge your expertise and to focus his instruction on your personal strengths and abilities without wasting time on skills you already posses so that you receive the best possible instruction while on the safari itself.With game drives and game walks in the cooler mornings and evenings, your afternoons will be spent with photography technique lectures and training, as well as catching up on the odd bit of sleep! Don't forget to spend time with your driver/guides learning about Kenya's tribal cultures as well as the animals, birds and plants!
Day One Arrive into the Nairobi International Airport where you are met and transferred to your Nairobi Hotel. Meet Gustav, your instructor and the other participants before enjoying dinner and overnight in Nairobi.
Day Two You are collected from Nairobi and drives via Namanga (a beautiful hilly drive) to the Amboseli National Park at the foot of Kilimanjaro. Lunch at the Amboseli Serena, followed by a photography lecture at the Lodge before an afternoon game drive, dinner and overnight at the Serena Lodge.
Amboseli is a fairly small National Park of 392 square kilometers, originally opened in 1948. It is however, amazingly rich in both flora and fauna. Amboseli is a designated International Bio-sphere reserve and is the home of a large number of world famous researchers, especially with regard to elephants. Amboseli, meaning "Salty Dust" in the Masai, language is an important rangeland in the Masai culture. The area surrounding the park is made up of Masai ranch areas, which offer a wide variety of game viewing and walking safari options, not found within the park itself.
The 'salty dust' is volcanic ash from Mount Kilimanjaro eruptions a millennium ago. The dry, arid plains covered by this dust form heat wave mirages in the dry season. Endless herds of animals seem to waver in the distance, interrupted only by the real herds of zebra and wildebeest hovering in front. This arid landscape belies the reality, as Amboseli has an endless water supply from the ice caps of Kilimanjaro. This water forms two clear water springs in the middle of the park that provide a permanent water supply, even in drought.
Amboseli is probably most famous for its photographs of elephant with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. The mountain is situated on the boundary of the park and Amboseli is certainly one of the finest locations for mountain spotting with Mount Meru also clearly visible.
The elephants themselves are of course a major attraction in Amboseli. The bull elephant here have some of the largest tusks in Kenya. Cynthia Moss and her assistants have followed and studied these elephants for over 20 years, providing some of the most detailed knowledge of these magnificent animals available. The elephants are generally found in larger herds than most other areas and are quite habituated to people, allowing excellent photography, even for amateurs!
Most of the cat species, including leopard, lion, cheetah and caracal may be easily seen in Amboseli, as are the plains antelope and migrating wildebeest.
Day Three Early morning game drive, breakfast at lodge, morning game drive, lunch and afternoon game drive. Photography lectures with your instructor. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day Four Breakfast at the lodge, drive through Rift Valley to Lake Naivasha. Enjoy a late lunch at the Country Club and then an afternoon boat trip to Crescent Island in the Lake to try your hand at water shots. Dinner and overnight at the Club.
The Rift Valley is one of the wonders of the world, stretching from the Middle East, down through Africa, reaching as far as Mozambique. The staggering view, as you approach from Nairobi, Kenya is quite unbelievable. The ground suddenly disappears from under you to show the huge expanse of the great rift, stretching for thousands of miles in either direction. Whilst this stunning introduction to the Rift valley is amazing in itself, actually descending and exploring the Lakes area of the Rift in Kenya is a "not to be missed" opportunity.
The first lake approached is the beautiful, deep-green Naivasha. Whilst not a National Park or Reserve itself, the Lake Naivasha Basin holds two small National Parks, both of which are well worth a visit. Naivasha of course is well worth a visit despite not being a National Park! Excellent bird watching, a large population of hippo, good fishing and a wide range of superb hotels, camps, and lodges make Lake Naivasha a favored spot for weekend breaks.
The first Park in the area, the Mount Longonot National Park is based around a young volcano, which rises up to 2,776 meters. Created amongst the massive eruptions that formed the Rift itself, Longonot has beautiful V-shaped valleys and ridges covered in forest, which are a haven for a variety of birds and animals. With hiking, rock climbing, and biking joining the more normal game viewing activities, this park is perfect for the more active visitor.
The second park is the Hell's Gate National Park. Famous for its natural hot geysers, eagle, and vulture breeding grounds, obsidian deposits and extinct volcanoes, it is possible to walk, game drive, camp, cycle, and rock climb within the park. Beautiful rock gorges and natural steam vents add to the beauty of this tiny, 68square km. Park. Game to view includes hyrax, buffalo, giraffe, eland, hartebeest, lion, and leopard. As with all of the Rift Valley Parks, Hell's Gate is also an ornithologist's dream. The cliffs of Hell's Gate are the breeding grounds for vultures, Verreaux Eagles, Auger Buzzards, and thousands of swifts.
Day Five Breakfast at the club, drive to the Masai Mara in time for a late lunch. Afternoon lecture and then a game drive, dinner and overnight at the Mara Simba Lodge.
Located to the south of Nairobi, and bordering Tanzania, the Masai Mara forms part of the huge Serengeti eco-system. The Mara spreads over 1510 square kilometers of rolling plains, sudden rocky outcrops, and green winding rivers.
Not only is the Mara blessed with this stunning landscape, but also its animal diversity is one of the greatest in Africa. Surrounded by the grazing lands of the Maasai people, the Mara is a sanctuary for all of the "Big Five" animals: lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard. The sweet grasses and abundant water ensure a full compliment of plains game such as the Impala and Thompsons gazelle. The deep river pools provide homes for hippo and crocodiles.
Each year, generally in August/September, the Mara is host to the spectacular Wildebeest Migration, one of the natural wonders of the world! Literally millions of these awkwardly shaped ungulates move across the open plains in an endless stream stretching from horizon to horizon. The movement of this vast herd is fascinating in itself, but it is seldom that a day goes by without the added bonus of watching the predators that follow the herd. Lion, leopard, cheetah and, wild dogs rely on the herd for food. Spotting one of these magnificent predators is more or less guaranteed at this time.
The breath-taking beauty of the Maasai Mara and its astonishing diversity of wildlife combine to ensure that the Mara is one of the most popular stops on a Kenyan safari.
Day Six Early morning game drive, breakfast, morning game drive, lunch or picnic, afternoon lecture, followed by a game drive, dinner and overnight at the lodge. Day Seven Breakfast at the lodge, and then drive back to Nairobi for your international flight.
Includes: All transfers, accommodation, meals, water in vehicle, private vehicle and expert driver/guide, park fees and local taxes and photography instruction.
Excludes: International airfares, visas, drinks, personal purchases and tips.