Our Photographer Partners have embarked a recce trip to Maasai Mara in August 2018. Following an amazing week of wildlife safari to see the great migration in the Maasai Mara, our Photographer Partners, Fatim and Bob launched an initiative to organize a “big thrills, no frills” safari for wildlife photography friends. It is designed to be comfortable as well as affordable.
The choice was made to stay at “Talek Bush Camp” a recently opened camp that is comfortable, safe and clean. The camp has also received excellent ratings for its friendly staff, food and location (walking distance from the main entrance to the park).
2. About Maasai Mara
Maasai Mara National Reserve is an area of preserved savannah wilderness in southwestern Kenya, along the Tanzanian border. Its animals include lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and hippos. Wildebeest traverse its plains during their annual migration. The landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills, and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers. The area nearby is dotted with villages (enkangs) of Maasai people.
3. About Talek Bush Camp
Talek Bush Camp was set up in 2018 by two enthusiastic photographers and a Maasai landowner. It is not a high-end luxury camp, but it has all the necessities to safely sleep, eat and “charge your batteries” for all the natural wonders that you will be enjoying each day. Every tent has an attached toilet and bath. Even inside the fence of the camp, we saw many different birds, a huge family of mongoose and friendly baboons.
4. The tents
The camp has several large, permanent tents. Each tent has comfortable beds, sink, toilet and shower (with hot water). The beds have mosquito nets and there are power outlets to charge your batteries. All the tents are within the guarded and fenced off area of the camp so you can safely sleep at night and walk in the camp. The rates are based on double occupancy.
The main question people may have on their minds is regarding safety. We are very much convinced that despite the very close proximity of wild animals, it can be absolutely without risk if you follow the instructions of the Maasai guides. Elephants, water buffalo and hippos are the most dangerous animals in the park. For your safety, the guides will never allow you to leave the car if there is even the slightest risk.
6. Safety Tips
- Inside the park: we will be inside the vehicles and drive by very experienced drivers. You will be 100% safe inside the cars. NEVER leave the car unless it is in a spot chosen by the guide. Although wild animals will not attack you without reason, you do not want to take any risks
- Inside the Talek Bush Camp. The camp is surrounded by a fence and constantly guarded by Masai (who are not afraid of any wildlife!). During the day, you CAN leave the camp, for example to go birding. But it is advisable to always be with a Masai guide. At night, it is essential NEVER to leave the camp on foot.
- Inside the village: Fatim and I walked from the camp to the nearest village and the people were extremely friendly. However, it is advisable to always be accompanied by a local if you want to walk outside the camp.
- Kenya lies on the equator and the weather can therefore get quite hot during the day. However, evenings and nights can get quite chilly. Please bring warm clothes
8. How to get there?
Here are some suggestions on the flights to Nairobi
9. Food and Drinks
- Because of the fact that one of the three camp owners is an Egyptian Muslim, no pork or alcohol is served by the camp. If you would like an alcoholic beverage, you will have to bring it along or go to the nearby town to buy it.
- Every day we had breakfast in the park and had lunch and dinner in the camp. We can also opt to have packed lunch in the park if we decide to spend a maximum amount of time in the park.
10. What to do you expect to see?
- Animals: elephants, baboons, giraffes, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, zebras, wildebeests, buffalos and jackals on almost a daily basis. Hippos, rhinos and crocodiles not as frequent
- If you are very lucky, you will see a successful hunt/kill by one of the big cats.
- The night sky with stars and milky way on a few clear nights was absolutely amazing, if you wish, the camp can take you at night to a location for night photography
- By going in July/August we will have the highest chance of seeing the great migration (more than 1 million wildebeests and zebras crossing the Mara river AND we have a very good chance of seeing the big cats with their cubs
- Birds: during our one week stay, I believe I saw around 50 different bird species. Ranging from the tiny sunbird to the huge vultures and marabou
- People: the Kenyans are very friendly and on several occasions I was allowed to photograph them. However, the main reason you will probably be traveling to Kenya is to photograph the stunning wildlife.
11. What photography equipment to bring?
- If you have a zoom lens: the best lens to use is probably the 100-400mm. If you have a prime tele lens: 400, 500 or 600 will be perfect to shoot animals safely from a distance. HOWEVER: sometimes you will get so close to an animal (especially the cats and elephants) that you will need less than 400mm like a 70-200mm.
- Dust: when we drive on the unpaved roads in and around Maasai Mara, it gets quite dusty, so please remember to bring some kind of dust cover for your cameras and lenses. And a cleaning kit!
- Photographing people: we find the Kenyans extremely friendly. Some people will have no problem if you photograph them. Others will ask for a tip.
- This trip is not restricted to photographers only. We have many Smart-phonographers joining our photosafari trips just to be immerse themselves into the breadth and depth of our carefully curated trips.
12. What else to bring?
- If you have binoculars, it is recommended to bring them, especially if you are not a photographer
- Earplugs (if you are sensitive to animal noises at night)
- Warm clothes (it gets surprisingly chilly at night with temperatures dropping to below 20 degrees)
- Sunscreen (please remember that we are very close to the equator)
- Small gifts for children: if you plan to take photos of children, you can consider to give them coloring pencils or other small gifts instead of money
- Camouflaged clothes: not mandatory, but recommended
- Travel adaptor (electricity)
13. Other Services Provided
- Excellent vehicles for photographers. We allocate only 3 photographers per vehicle with 3 benches so that each photographer can shoot on both sides on the vehicle.
- Local Maasai drivers and guides
- Wifi in camp
- Birding guide books (Kenya and Tanzania birds)
- Bean bags
- Filtered water
- Coffee/tea in the camp
- Water bottles for use on safari
14. Kenya Visa Requirement
Malaysia and Singapore passport holders do not need to apply for a Kenyan Visa if they stay less than 30 days. However, this regulation may change.
Day 1- July 26, 2019: Day of arrival in Nairobi and transfer to camp
- Arrival Nairobi Airport
- Departure by car to Maasai Mara, Talek Bushcamp
- 19:00 PM Buffet dinner at camp
Days 2- 6 – July 27 to July 31, 2019: 5 full days of safari in Maasai Mara
- 05:45 AM Departure for safari
- 09:00 AM Packed breakfast in park
- 13:00 PM Lunch
- 15:00 PM Safari on a lookout for animals
- 18:00 PM Return to camp
- 19:00 PM Buffet dinner
Day 7 – August 1, 2019: Birding and visit to Maasai Mara village
- 07:00 AM Departure for birding
- 10:00 AM Breakfast
- Free time
- 13:00 PM Lunch
- 15:00 PM Departure for Maasai Mara village
- 18:00 PM return to camp
- 19:00 PM Buffet dinner
Day 8 – August 2, 2019 – Depart for home
- 09:00 AM Breakfast
- 13:00 PM Lunch
- Departure for Nairobi airport for return flights
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