- A seven-night/eight-day Tour to three of Kenya's best-known wildlife parks
- Optional two-night extension to maximise your time
- Only three participants in each 4WD Landcruiser safari vehicle, with assured window seat
- Likely excellent sightings and images of the big cat trinity - the lion, the leopard and the cheetah
- Impressive photo opportunities of the rest of the Big Five - the elephant, the rhino and the buffalo
- Splendid photography conditions, with the verdant environs of May, and dramatic light
- Photography of Africa's endemic animals and infinite room for landscape photography
- Extensive photography learning and fascinating natural history insights
How is it?
A primordial picture — plains, prey and predators teaming up to spawn the most spectacular wilderness site on the planet.
What you will see and photograph
A plethora of wildlife. On a colourful platter.
About your Skipper
An uncompromising reverence for nature and an unfailing eye for unique perspectives underline Sachin's journey as an ace naturalist and eminent wildlife photographer with over a decade's experience in excellence.
In the annals of contemporary wildlife photography, Santosh Saligram is a name of national repute. Particularly passionate about tigers, Santosh's style involves narrating a story in partnership with striking, evocative images designed to touch a chord with the viewer.
Since participants of this Tour travel from various destinations in India and abroad, the Tour commences at Nairobi on 20 May 2018 at around 7:00 a.m. You may either take a flight that reaches Nairobi before that time the same morning, or fly in the previous day and stay overnight in Nairobi (in which case, the cost of accommodation will be additional). Please also note that flight costs are not included in the Tour fee.
AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Our fleet of safari vehicles carrying Skipper Sachin Rai and the park guides will pick participants who have landed in the morning from the Nairobi Airport, and participants who have arrived a day earlier from their hotels, at around 7:00 a.m. Once everybody is on board, we undertake a four-hour drive to Amboseli National Park. A mutual introduction session and a brief by Sachin to set basic expectations for the Tour will be followed by lunch.
After lunch will ensue our first safari of the Tour - recipe for a memorable moment for any first-time Africa visitor and something that, even after all these visits, gets Sachin's adrenaline pumping. Driving through the park will acquaint you with the African landscape and give you but a glimpse of the exciting time ahead.
An entire memorable day will be spent out in the picturesque expanses of Amboseli, where views of elephants with the magnificent Kilimanjaro in the backdrop have been specially designed by nature to enthrall. Apart from the pachyderms, we are likely to photograph ostriches, hyaenas, lions, cheetahs and a whole lot of attractive wildlife including the kudu.
In the evening, Sachin will deliver a ChaayaaChitra session before a satiating supper and shuteye call a closure to the eventful day.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, we depart for Nakuru. Arriving just before lunch, we embrace our home for the next two days overlooking the beautiful Lake Nakuru. Following a scrumptious lunch, we embark on the afternoon safari, seeking the chief spectacle of the flamingo congregation and over 400 other species of birds found here.
In the evening we enjoy a tribal dance and celebration before an appetizing supper, and retire for the day.
Setting off after breakfast, we spend as much time in the park as we can in order to sight the plentiful wildlife of Nakuru. The early morning drive will be followed by lunch and an evening safari.
This being an excellent location to see the elusive leopard, we take our chances to spot the spotted beauty of Nakuru. Efforts will also be made to photograph white rhinos and black rhinos.
Between the rides, we meet at the picturesque Baboon Hill overlooking the lake and its flamingo formations, and discuss various topics of nature photography and the natural history of Africa. Meanwhile, here, ultra wide-angle perspectives of baboons, a fixture atop the hill, are a distinct prospect.
For participants who want to relax and take the afternoon easy, the beautiful lodge with plenty of trees and a great restaurant is a fabulous place to rest.
A rivetting session of ChitraTantra by Sachin before dinner will be a fitting, erudite way of ending the enriching day.
MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE
After breakfast, a pleasant drive across the dramatic Great Rift Valley brings you through the Narok Township, a major Maasai administrative centre, to Kenya's most precious wildlife sanctuary, Masai Mara Game Reserve.
Masai Mara is home to the colorful Maasai tribe, who may be seen around the borders of the park, with Morans ('warriors') loping across the plains, young boys herding goats, or elders grouped under a tree discussing the matters of the day.
Wildlife viewing is never dull in the Mara, and patience is often rewarded with unique sightings. By now hopefully the group will have been acquainted with the African bush, so we seek to make the most of the bounty on offer.
Staying inside the park will ensure a great experience and early access to photography hotspots, so we may catch a lion pride gearing up for a hunt or a solitary leopard retrieving its kill from the high branches of an Acacia tree merely a few hundred metres from the camp.
Every morning while at Masai Mara, we start our day after an early breakfast at 6:30 and venture into the bush. For participants who are agreeable to spending the entire day in the field, packed lunch boxes will be provided to keep us going the whole day, thereby maximizing wildlife viewing and photography opportunities.
An occasional afternoon shower may be encountered but this will in no way mean a dampener, for the animals continue to be seen and what's more, it will open up the prospect of making evocative images of wildlife in the rain. And when the clouds have passed, the light that illuminates the scene can serve to illustrate the meaning of the word 'ethereal' better than any lexicon in the world.
Meeting at specific points in the savannah, we learn and discuss various topics on photography and natural history of Africa and the Mara in general. These two days are tipped to be the highlight of the Tour with plenty of wildlife on show.
In the evenings a session of CharchaaLoka or simply a question-answer interaction will afford a wealth of learning on a diverse array of photography and natural history topics.
Maasai Village Optional Tour
While at Masai Mara, based on the group's inclination, the Skipper will plan a visit to a local Maasai Village for a few hours in the day to learn and understand the Maasai culture, their way of life and their interesting community living. This optional Tour costs an additional USD 30 per person.
Balloon Safari Optional Tour
A ride in a hot-air balloon over the endless expanses of the savannah is an ultimate safari experience. We leave the lodge before dawn, when the sky is clear, the air brisk and the conditions perfect. As the sun rises over the Mara plains, our balloon lifts off - a bright splash of colour rising gracefully into the infinite blue. A stunning panorama unfolds below us and the balloon basket becomes our lookout post for a bird's-eye view of the Mara's magnificence. We float silently just a few hundred feet above large herds of wild animals. Upon landing, we celebrate the flight with a glass of champagne, after which the retrieval safari cruisers take us back to our driver. This optional ride costs an additional USD 450 per person.
After a scrumptious breakfast, we drive out making sure we arrive by lunchtime at an Indian restaurant in Nairobi. After lunch, we are transferred to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for our home-bound flights.
The Tour ends but your love affair with African wildlife has just begun.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION AT MASAI MARA
Participants who feel the need to stretch their Tour are welcome to stay back on the nights of 27 and 28 May 2018, checking out on 29 May, to experience two more full days at the Mara at their own pace. The schedule for the two days will remain the same while we venture to deeper areas of the Mara on the full-day game drives, maximizing our chances of bringing back stunning photographs. This extension will be charged additionally. Please express your interest in the extension while booking the Tour to know more.
With the extension having come to an end, following an early breakfast, we drive out making sure we arrive by lunchtime at an Indian restaurant in Nairobi. After lunch, we are transferred to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for our home-bound flights.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who should participate in this Tour? This Tour is open to everybody of a minimum age of 18 (unless accompanied by a guardian), and anybody enthusiastic about wildlife and/or photography will enjoy it. Apart from interest, fitness, a valid passport and yellow-fever and polio vaccination cards, there are no other requirements.
- I am a newbie in wildlife photography. Am I eligible? Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced wildlife photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold's eminent Skippers. If you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! However, in order to make the most of the Tour photographically, we recommend that you be familiar with at least the basics of DSLR photography. If you're not, please consider joining an Art and Science of Photography Workshop before the Tour.
- Is vaccination against yellow fever and polio mandatory? Yes; the vaccination is mandatory in many countries including India. Once you sign up we'll be happy to advise you on how to get one.
- What about the visa? You'll need a Kenyan visa, which is applied for and issued online. More information will be shared, and assistance provided, when you sign up.
- Is an earlier vaccination card valid? Yellow fever vaccination is valid for a period of 10 years from the date of administration, but polio vaccination is valid for only a year. Please check your vaccination card to verify validity. Please note that the vaccination must be valid as on the date of your return to your country after the Tour.
- How many participants will share a safari vehicle on this Tour? Our Photography Tour is designed to offer participants an excellent balance between photography convenience and economy. We'll be using four-wheel-driven safari vehicles which have large windows and a thatched roof that opens up to give a 360-degree panoramic view for convenient wildlife-viewing and photography. Each vehicle will be shared by only four participants, or three participants and the Skipper, to ensure everybody has ample space to move around and shoot comfortably.
- How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours? Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven't even experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge sharing. Besides, most of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps in making your experience focused.
- How sure are you about photographing wildlife? Considering the meticulous attention to timing we pay while scheduling Tours and the local expertise we leverage, we believe that it would be extremely unfortunate if our sightings and photography were unsatisfactory. Also, the exhaustive itinerary should offer ample opportunities for a productive time. However, since we will be in an uncontrolled environment, we stop just short of claiming that sightings are guaranteed.
- What equipment do you suggest on this Tour? A wide-angle or normal zoom is a staple for landscape and general photography. For birds and mammals, a focal length of at least 300mm is usually necessary. An additional 100mm often proves very effective especially for birds. However, if you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. What's more, you enjoy a 10% discount on any equipment you hire for the Tour. Click here to see what we offer.
* 5% GST Extra
† Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
†† Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation
- All road transfers within Kenya as per the Tour itinerary
- All safaris and reserve entry fees
- 7 nights' accommodation on twin-sharing basis in comfortable lodges at all destinations on the Tour
- All meals while on the Tour
- Services of a driver-cum-naturalist
- Services of Photography Skipper
- All travel expenses between your home and Nairobi Airport
- Any kind of personal expenses, optional tours or extra meals ordered
- Insurance, laundry and phone calls
- Any kind of drinks (alcoholic, mineral, aerated)
- Visa expenses
- Yellow fever and polio vaccination charges
- Optional balloon ride - USD 450 per person
- Optional tour to a Maasai village - USD 30 per person
- All applicable taxes
- Anything that is not included in the inclusions list
- 15% booking amount (non-refundable)
- 50% before 1 February 2018
- 75% before 22 February 2018
- 100% before 23 March 2018
- Payments may be made in equal monthly installments so long as the above schedule is adhered to. Please talk to us for more details.
- 15% on or before 6 February 2018
- 50% between 7 February and 7 March 2018
- 75% between 8 March and 8 April 2018
- 100% on or after 9 April 2018
Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.
Terms and Conditions
- Participants who have a medical history of blood pressure, heart-related problems or asthma are advised to seek medical advice before enrolling for this Tour.
- Fitness to complete the Tour is the only criterion for participation.
- Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. shall not be responsible for injuries, damages, or losses caused to any traveller in connection with terrorist activities, social or labour unrest, mechanical or construction failures or difficulties, diseases, local laws, climatic conditions, abnormal conditions or developments, or any other actions, omissions, or conditions outside the travel partner's control.
- All clients travelling with Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. must complete and sign a reservation form and the " Release of Liability, Assumption of Risk & Arbitration Agreement" form.