For this Maasai Mara safari your small team will enjoy using a specially modified photographer’s vehicle and an off-road driving permit – only available to those who drive off-road responsibly and have a proven track record in this regard. This off-road permit, issued by the authorities on a trip-by-trip basis, means that the possibility of obtaining unique pictures is significantly higher.
Your basecamp – Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp – is in a Maasai village, offering a unique and authentic insight into the traditional lives of these pastoralists. This unique safari offers genuine empowerment for local people and helps conserve the greater Serengeti/Maasai Mara ecosystem. There are no fences between the park and the community land, and wildlife roams throughout the area.
Length: 9 days / 8 nights
Group Size: 4
Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
12 - 20 August 2023 (FULL)
Open for bookings for 25 Oct - 2 Nov 2024 (1 SPACE LEFT)
Guided game drives by an experienced Maasai guide and award-winning photographer in a specially modified photo vehicle, permit to go off-road, accommodation in a Maasai village
Maasai Mara is renowned for the large numbers of resident big cats, and the Great Wildebeest Migration. In 2023 we offer two departure dates – late June and mid-August. During late June, the wildebeest herds will be concentrated in western Serengeti (Tanzania). These “shoulder” months are the best time to see, follow and photograph the big cats in the Maasai Mara without the crowds of tourists that follow the migration. During August, the herds are massing in the northern Serengeti and looking to cross into the Maasai Mara. Dramatic Mara River crossings are not guaranteed, but your guide will be on the lookout for tell-tale signs.
Whether you see the big migrating herds or not there is plenty of resident wildlife and your day will be packed with epic encounters. Your guides will ensure that you get up close and personal with Mara’s amazing wildlife, and find those unique angles and light conditions that make the difference between good photos and truly amazing photos.
Ivan Glaser (2019 guest) had this to say: “My recent Africa Geographic trip to Maasai Mara way exceeded my wildest expectations. I absolutely loved it. Arnfinn, with his extremely helpful wildlife photography tips and advice and John, with his unbelievable knowledge of animals, their behaviour and habitat, as well as his remarkable off-road driving skills, are the perfect team to provide both photographers and non-photographers with the ultimate Masai experience. The effort they both made to ensure the week was a success was second to none. On top of all that, the Africa Geographic team provided a seamless travel experience which always just adds to the overall experience. I can’t wait to go back.” He even published a photo gallery with us about his safari
Don Goldman (2019 guest) had this to say: “We have travelled from the US to Africa for safaris 6 times prior to this trip. We have stayed at many camps rated in the top ten on the continent. None, and I mean none, have offered a safari experience equal to Oltepesi Camp. John and Arnfinn were with us, advising on photography for about 13 hours a day. That’s not a typo. It’s 13. Out at 6 am we were in unbelievable positions every day for sunrise and finished the day in perfect position for sunset. The perfect positions continued throughout every day. Multiple kills were seen. Classics such as a lion in a tree, a lioness carrying her baby, a leopard in a tree with a kill and, of course, the huge herds. The difference is you are with the owner. John allows you to share his family's home. He and his family live right next door. The Maasai lifestyle is truly part of the experience, not just a uniform worn by the staff. John helped me enjoy much more than the animals. We discussed his culture, traditions, family, and his hopes for the future. In summary, this trip was extraordinary. Perfect. I can’t recommend it enough.”
Here is another travel diary, this time from Africa Geographic safari client Ruzdi Ekenheim – an extremely experienced traveller.
Finally, our CEO had this to say about his time spent with the Oltepesi team and several AG guests.
2023 – International Rates
24 June – 02 July 2023
Per person sharing
Per solo traveller
12 – 20 August 2023
Per person sharing
Per solo traveller
Meet and greet in Nairobi. Transfer to hotel in Nairobi on day 1. Overnight in Nairobi on a bed and breakfast basis at Tamarind Tree Hotel. Transfer to Wilson airport. Return flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport to Mara Olkiombo Airstrip, extra baggage allowance (30 kg per person checked-in baggage and hand luggage), return transfers between the camp and Mara Olkiombo Airstrip, accommodation in shared safari tents as described, all meals and drinks starting with lunch on arrival day, and ending with lunch on departure day. All game drives by guide John Siololo, personal photography and instruction from award-winning wildlife photographer Arnfinn Johansen, all entry into and transport in the Mara, daily use of specially modified safari vehicle for low angle wildlife photography, special off-road permit for the Maasai Mara National Reserve, 24/7 office support.
Flights to Nairobi, travel insurance and cancellation insurance, tips and gratuities (recommended 10 USD per guest/day to the Maasai guide and 5 USD per guest/day to the camp staff). any costs of a personal nature and other costs not specified as included, visas (should your country require one), excess baggage charges.
On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport you will be met by an Africa Geographic representative and transferred to Tamarind Tree Hotel Hotel in Nairobi. Should you wish to explore any of Nairobi’s popular attractions or dining venues, contact us and we will gladly arrange a programme that is tailored to your needs.
Overnight at Tamarind Tree Hotel.
Shortly after breakfast you will be collected and transferred to Wilson Airport (Nairobi’s domestic airport). From here it is a one-hour flight to Mara Olkiombo Airstrip in the middle of the Maasai Mara where your professional photographer guide Arnfinn Johansen will meet you. Your adventure starts as soon as you land, so have your camera ready because you will encounter plenty of wildlife during the drive to camp in a community area near the park boundary. Lunch will be served on arrival in Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp, followed by your first outing in the custom-built game drive vehicle that will take you to all corners of this vast wilderness during the coming week. Dinner that night will be in camp, under a million stars.
Your days will be spent exploring Maasai Mara's vast open plains and forested river banks, with the help of a highly skilled and experienced Maasai guide and driver - John Siololo. Award-winning photographer Arnfinn Johansen will be on hand to provide photographic tips and assistance, and there will be ample time to learn from his vast experience. To take advantage of the light and the best possible photo opportunities, each day starts before sunrise and ends after sunset. With over 100 mammal species and 570 bird species, the photo opportunities are endless, and having an off-road license means you will get close to animals. The adapted game drive vehicle gives you the opportunity to shoot from a low angle – at eye level with the animals. Your group will have packed breakfast and lunch, which will be enjoyed out on the savannah, in spectacular settings. Back at the camp in the evenings you will enjoy cold drinks at the campfire while discussing that day’s photographic adventures, before a wholesome dinner in the dining tent.
Your group will again start the day early, as you search for your last special encounters in the best morning light. After another amazing morning you will return to camp for lunch, followed by a leisurely game drive transfer to airstrip in the park, for your afternoon flight back to Nairobi. On arrival an Africa Geographic representative will meet you at Wilson airport and transfer you to JKIA for your outbound flight. Should you wish to stay in NBO that night, please let us know and we will arrange alternative transfer arrangements.
We live here, in Africa, and have been doing this since 1991. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late or a few kilometers off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity?
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