HWP Safaris...: Masai Mara Safari

Picture of a serval cat hunting in the Masai Mara National Park, Kenya. Photo was taken just outside Governors Camp.
Serval Cat Hunting

Picture of a serval cat hunting in the Masai Mara National Park, Kenya. Photo was taken just outside Governors Camp.

Masai Mara, Kenya Safari - February, 2018. 

The "Bucket List" African Safari Adventure...Who's In? 

This trip is sold out. For information on our 2019 Masai Mara trip, please email greg@fitnwell.com. 

 

In February, 2018 Greg from Harvey Wildlife Photography is going to take a group of safari guests to Kenya. We are calling it the "Bucket List African Safari Adventure" because whether it be having breakfast with Rothschild giraffes at Giraffe Manor, watching elephants walk by your tent or floating 60 feet above the Mara river in a hot air balloon (hot air balloon rides are optional), all of these activities are truly "bucket list" events. 

Life is not measured Leopard

 

*We are no longer accepting deposits for this Africa trip.  

The safari dates are February 10-23, 2018. If you have any questions, or to secure your African reservation email greg@fitnwell.com 

Meet Blossom at Little Governors' Camp. You are very likely to see Blossom and or Possum (two huge elephant bulls) and several other ellies while at LIttle Governors' Camp. They have been wandering through the camp for the past thirty-plus years. I can't see them changing their ways any time soon. 

Our Objectives On This African Adventure: 

Experience African safaris from two camps in the Masai Mara which are located in two of the most densely populated wildlife areas in the Mara. All tents are luxurious, very spacious and have flush toilets and hot showers. Below is a sample of what a tent at Little Governors' Camp looks like. 

Little Governors' Camp Tent

 

Experience the culture. Learn a little about the Masai culture. Visit a school and a village. And learn a few swahili words. 

Massai Dancers

 

Shopping in Nairobi. We will be visiting several markets for your African souvenirs.  

-An open-air market for genuine hand-crafted African souvenirs. 

-A shop that offers amazing wood carvings. 

-Matbronze- A gallery that offers bronze African statues for sale. Whether you have $20 or $50,000 to spend, this gallery has an amazing selection of beautiful African Art for every budget. 

-Kazuri Beads -An organization that employs women (mostly single mothers) who make beautiful pottery and jewelry. 

Wildlife Education and Up-Close Wildlife Encounters- We will enjoy a private tour of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and will meet the orphaned ellies at a scheduled feeding time. 

David Sheldrick WIldlife Trust

 

Giraffe Manor and Giraffe Centre- 100 yards away from Giraffe Manor, the centre provides Rothschild giraffe education. We will walk over for a visit. 

Giving Back- When we visit an African school and village or enjoy a private tour of the elephant sanctuary we have the opportunity to financially help people/animals who truly need it. The simple price of admission (already included) in these instances helps them. If you want to donate more your money will be going directly to great causes. 

Kenyan Itinerary: 

Day 1- Check into Ololo Safari Lodge. Ololo Safari Lodge is located on 20 acres on the south edge of Nairobi National Park. Only half an hour after we leave the airport we will already be in Nairobi National Park on the way to the lodge. There we will recover from the international travel. For the early risers, the next morning we will have the opportunity to go on our first official game drive in the park. This will give us the chance to scrape the rust off our photography skills. Check out the Trip Advisor Reviews of Ololo Safari Lodge. 

Day 2- 11a.m.- Check into Giraffe Manor.  

Giraffe Manor Mansion

We will visit Matbronze. Matbronze is an impressive wildlife art gallery and store. After our vist we will enjoy lunch at their cafe on location. If time allows, we will visit Kazuri Beads (click on the link to find out more about Kazuri At 3pm we will visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and will enjoy a private tour of the sanctuary and get a chance to meet the orphaned baby ellies during their 3p.m. feeding. One of the elephant caretakers will educate us on the elephants, the history of the sanctuary and the story of each of the babies at the sanctuary. 

 

After our private tour of the elephant sanctuary we will return to the Giraffe Manor for dinner. 

Feeding a giraffe at Giraffe Manor

 

Day 3: Enjoy breakfast with the giraffes at Giraffe Manor then fly out to the Masai Mara on the 11:30 a.m. flight, arriving in the Mara at 12:10 p.m. Welcome to the Masai Mara and welcome to Little Governors' Camp. Check in, have lunch.  

Enjoy your first safari game drive from 3:30p.m to 6:30p.m. 

Day 3,4,5,6,7,8, Little Governors' Camp 

 

A hot air balloon flight is optional at an additional cost and another fantastic experience that Little Governors' has to offer. People come from miles away to go up in a hot air balloon and float over the Mara river. We just have to get up and take the short walk behind the kitchen as the balloon rides depart from our camp. 

Hot AIr Balloon Flight over the Mara River 

 

This video was taken through the screen of our tent while in camp. Who needs to go on safari when a herd of elephants are 20 feet from your tent. 

"I have been on many safaris around the world. There is something a little more special about Little Governors' Camp in the Masai Mara. Staying at a property that has no fences, where the animals wander through the camp day and night. That to me is a true 24/7 safari experience. You are perfectly safe in your tent at night as the guards watch over each of the tents all night long. Meanwhile you go to sleep to the sound of hippos in the river and marsh. You are likely to hear hyenas laughing and lions roaring in the distance. It makes for a very sound sleep. Between the sounds of the bush and the hot water bottles in my bed each evening, I have my best sleeps while in the Masai Mara."

-Greg Harvey 

Day 8,9,10,11,12- Mara Explorer:

Mara Explorer Tent

Your morning safari goes from 6:15/6:30a.m. to 11:30a.m./noon (if you pack a picnic breakfast. If not it is breakfast back at the lodge for 9a.m., then a second safari drive from 10a.m to 11:30a.m./noon). Lunch is at 1p.m. 

Mara Explorer Tent Bed and tub

 

While at Mara Explorer we will be visiting a village and a girls and boys school. The school is called Loigero primary school. For those who are interested we will be donating much needed clothing, blankets, school and basic living supplies to this school. Our goal is to donate 1000 pounds of supplies between the 20 of us. 

This bed looks inviting. A siesta from 2-3p.m. hits the spot. Mara Explorer Tent 

But so does a bath overlooking the Talek river. Decisions, decisions.

Mara Explorer Bathtub 

Game drive from 3:30-6:30p.m. 

 

While on safari wild animals see the landcruisers as part of their environment. In this video a cheetah cub sees his reflection in the door and is curious about his new "friend". 

Day 12- Morning game drive. Meet up at the airstrip where our luggage will be waiting for us. Fly back out to Nairobi on the 11a.m. Flight to Wilson Airport. Our driver will meet us at the airport and will bring our bags that we left behind in Nairobi. We'll start with lunch then will visit a wood sculpturing gallery and store and an open air market. Some last minute souvenir shopping, supper and back to the Nairobi International Airport. 

International Flights Back Home. 

-End of Safari- 

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Details, Details, Details... 

Safari vehicles are four people to a vehicle, each with a window seat. It is important that like-minded people are together in each vehicle. ie birders with birders and big cat enthusiasts with big cat enthusiasts etc. 

For fewer people in a vehicle an extra daily charge will be available for exclusive vehicle use. 

Exclusive Vehicle Use is recommended for those who are more serious photographers or anyone who is interested in game drives with fewer than four people in a vehicle. Fewer people in a vehicle also means a bench seat per person so people can view/photograph from both sides of the vehice. It is also handy for people who want to stay longer at certain sightings.  

Shopping/Packing Strategy- You are only allowed a total of 33 pounds each person on the plane out to the Masai Mara from the Wilson Airport. You are allowed to have two 50 pound bags plus a carry-on and a personal item on the international flights. Bring a second lightly packed suitcase. On the way back you can fill it with souvenirs to bring back and fill your main suitcase with clothes. While we are in the Mara you can leave your souvenir suitcase and anything else that you won't need on safari at the hotel, then pick it up after your safari is over. I leave a clean set of traveling clothes in the hotel in Nairobi so I don't have to pack them to the Mara. Why pack to the Mara your traveling clothes that you won't need on safari? 

Safari Cost- The cost of this five star trip is $7,800.00 U.S. per person based on double ocupancy including all economy flights. (We can book comfort plus or business class for an extra cost. The 7800 US is based on an included international flight worth $1300 US and internal flights to the Masai Mara. If the cost of the flights are increased, the safari cost will have to be inreased). The cost may change slightly depending upon logistics due to flights. In 2018 if the flight path changes and we have to stay overnight an extra night somewhere, costs will increase by one hotel stay and meals. Flights may be paid via points. The important thing is that we are all on the same flights to Nairobi. We do accept major credit cards via pay pal, but will have to charge the pay pal rate of 4% for any pay pal transactions.  

Below is an aerial view of the Mara River. 

Mara River

 

Included In Safari Cost- laundry, all meals while on safari. All game drives and sundowners. 

Not included: Gratuities, alcohol, pop (outside sundowners), personal purchases, $50 US for Kenya Visa (must be paid in cash upon arrival at Nairobi airport), $40 for those interested in visiting the village. Meals not included are lunch and dinner in Nairobi before flying home on our last day. An optional hot air balloon ride is not included in safari price. If it interests you it should be booked at time of reservation. The flights often book up months in advance. 

Who is this trip for?? I love kids, but please note that this trip is intended for people 25 years old and older. Special consideration may be made for someone 18-24, but this trip is not for minors. 

Photography Workshop: If there is interest, I would be happy to host photography workshops spanning over a couple of weekends leading up to the big trip. Our time at camp is limited so it will be easier for you to learn the basics of what you will need to know in advance. SImple image trouble shooting at camp based on your previous photography course knowledge will be easier and more enjoyable than holding a photography workshop while on holidays.  

Workshop time might also give you ideas regarding photography odds and ends that you can pick up that will help you take better images.