Big Cat Wildlife Photography Safari Workshops – 2014
Once again we have teamed up with our fantastic partners Safari Consultants and Kicheche camps to bring you our renowned Safari tours in the legendary Masai Mara. We are running two tours back to back due to high demand. If you are interested in improving your photography and seeing these fantastic animals for yourself, then you have come to the right place!
** FULLY BOOKED, SEPTEMBER PLACES AVAILABLE **
TOUR 1 – Mara Camp
Depart 14th February 2014
Return 21st February 2014
(1 night in Nairobi and 5 nights in camp)
TOUR 2 – Bush Camp
Depart 20th February 2014
Return 26th February 2014
(1 night in Nairobi and 5 nights in camp)
The Masai Mara really is the place to see the Big Cats in the wild; home to the BBC’s Big Cat Diary series, the opportunities to observe and photograph Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and so much more are amazing; drawing Richard here year after year.
Many photographers run tours to the Mara but Richard’s images speak for themselves as to his experience and skill working in Africa with Big Cats, alongside the award standard guides who were initially hand picked years ago and as much a part of the trip as the wildlife. Always putting his hard earned photographic and animal experience to work for you, alongside the amazing tracking skill of the guides, you will be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of all the Mara offers.
Richard will be on hand every step of the way to improve your technical and field craft skills whilst out in the plains, taking your photography to the next level all whilst having a blast. Whether you are a well seasoned snapper or total beginner you will be able to learn and grow, returning with images to be proud of as well as skills that you will carry with you on your next photographic endeavors.
THE CONSERVANCIES & RESERVE
Richard prefers to run not only the workshops but his own freelance African photography in the private conservancies that border the main Mara reserve when working in the area. But why? The main advantage is the much quieter environment where numbers of people are strictly limited. The crowds of 30+ vehicles that can be seen in the main reserve are never a risk in both the Mara North and Olare Orok conservancies in which we base our tours. The numbers of vehicles operating in the conservancies are very limited and the rules governing those working within are very well respected. The rules also allow the guides to make their own (very well informed) choices about a sighting, extending a trust to their tracking and animal welfare skills that pay dividends in terms of sightings and photo oppotunities. Those who are located in the main reserve are strictly prohibited from entering the conservancy which ensures a much more calm, natural environment in which we can work. When the need arises however, we are allowed to enter the main reserve when we like. Flexibility is a key part of our tours and this really does let us have our cake and eat it!
Kicheche Mara Camp: Mara North Conservancy (tour 1)
Kicheche Mara camp is located in an amazingly scenic, secluded pocket of the Mara North conservancy. Large comfortable tents allow for you to get the rest you need to be at your best during the day. The food is freshly prepared each night by the fully trained chefs and is delicious. Daniel, good friend and head guide at the camp alongside Joesph are fantastic and a real treat to be guided by. Well versed in Richard’s techniques and preferences as well as decent photographers in their own right, they are Richard’s go-to guides for Mara North. Always going the extra mile for us and making the absolute most of what the conservancy and the reserve have to offer.
Daniel and Joseph
Mara North conservancy is a large conservancy of over 74,000 acres. Mara North Conservancy is a not-for-profit company established in 2009. The conservancy is a partnership between eleven member camps and over 800 Masai landowners. The aim is to create a best practice, world-class conservancy with long-term commitments to the environment, wildlife, and local communities. It really does seem to be working and it is always a real pleasure to work within its borders with Richard returning every year since his first visit. The conservancy borders the main reserve and features the legendary Leopard’s Gorge from the BBC series big cat diary. Lions, Leopard, Cheetah and all the supporting cast are to be found here as well as offering easy access into the main reserves well know Marsh area. Daniel, Joseph and the rest of the guiding team live and breath Mara North for most of the year. With award standard tracking skills you will be amazed as to their abilities to put us in the right place, at the right time. Richard has worked with them many, many times, sometimes under very hard conditions and we always have a great time.
Head guide Daniel
Kicheche Bush Camp, Olare Orok Conservancy (tour 2)
The Olare Orok Conservancy covers an area of 21,386 acres directly adjoining the Maasai Mara National Reserve to the south and is an area of outstanding beauty and importance for wildlife. It encompasses the lower river valleys of the Olare Orok and Ntiakitiak rivers, together with the associated riverine woodland. The OOC also features the impressive Ntiakitiak Gorge and a beautiful escarpment of some 12 kms in length. Below the escarpment are extensive areas of acacia woodland, which are important habitats for a number of wildlife species.
Kicheche Bush camp is an amazing, luxury tented camp that, like Mara camp offers the perfect balance of comfort with a true African experience. Large, fully sealed tents with toilets and a piping hot shower available at the end of our afternoon drive, they are the perfect place to get the rest you need each night to be at your best for the next day. Fresh meals are prepared daily and really offer fantastic dining. Richard is renowned for thinking with his stomach and you can be sure if he is staying at a camp, the food will be excellent!
VEHICLES & ROUTINE
You will be shooting in the ‘Richard style’, that is stress free but focused (pun intended!) and with the maximum flexibility. Wildlife photography is all about being adaptable and Richard has ensured maximum flexibility throughout the trip, both in terms of photography and schedule. Limiting each large Land Cruiser to 4 people means there is plenty of room for bags/gear as well as enabling easy manoeuvring for all occupants at once. The reason for this is that there is then no need for turn taking on each side of the vehicle and everyone can shoot at the same time, regardless of where the wildlife is. Room to work is essential and you have it. Many trips try to maximise client numbers by filling the vehicles to capacity. Not only can this get uncomfortable but it means you will miss shots so is a definite no for our workshops.
The Land cruisers are heavily modified and allow high, out of the roof shots as well as (and as Richard prefers) low down eye level shots. We remove the unused seats so you can stand, crawl, sit; get to any angle you desire. This is hugely important and a key concept to the days activities. The Kicheche camps are very, very helpful to all the oddball requests a pro wildlife photographer has and is one of the reasons Richard chooses them time and time again.
Richard will be squeezed up in the front out of your way and alongside your guide, on hand to instruct and teach at all times as well as directing the driver for the best angles to get you the shots. We have a maximum of 8 guests per trip (two vehicles) and Richard will alternate each drive between them.
Richard and Kicheche Bush’s Patrick hard at work
Back at camp, Richard will be on hand for any workflow tuition you may require. Some are keen to process on the trip and others not so this will be completely optional with as much or as little mentoring as you like in this regard. Constructive picture critiques and drive debriefings are also there for those that want to take advantage of Richard back at camp. We also understand many like to simply switch off and unwind at the end of the day, if that is the case Richard will be available via email/Skype after the trip to answer any questions you have once you start editing and processing your pictures back at home.
Charging is taken care of with many UK plug sockets in the mess area so all your gear can charge quickly each day if needed. Your gear is totally safe to be left on charge overnight so you won’t have to sit idle at the end of an evening waiting for you battery to fill up.
Photography gear can be heavy, and as such we include an extra weight allowance for the internal flight into the Mara. Normally your TOTAL weight is capped at 15kg. However, we insure you get a guaranteed 22kg (per person) which can help take the stress out of packing heavy lenses. You will receive full pre-trip briefings well ahead of departure advising you on recommended gear and equipment. Richard can answer any questions via email/phone to answer any questions you have prior to departure regarding any aspect of the trip.
If you would like a first person perspective of life on our trips, check out Richard’s Africa Live blogs which he makes on each trip….
For a taste of a drive, check out the time-lapse video from a drive with Myself, Jen and Daniel..
A dedicated nature lover, with a proven ability for snapping the UK’s own amazing variety of wildlife as well as traveling around the world to photograph some of the more exotic species. Richard’s zeal and talent for getting close to wildlife is a good compliment to the technical skills he has developed; both out in the field with the camera and during his years animating in the digital post production industry. Multi award winning in both wildlife photography and visual effects, published in national papers, magazines and books around the world alongside TV and radio appearances, including BBC South East and Radio 5 Live. He takes great pride in helping teach and inspire others as they take up photography in what is now most certainly the digital age. In a world where everyone is an ‘expert’ on the web forums, he much prefers to let his images do most of the talking with regards to his experience and abilities.
Very conscious of his subject’s well being and always acting with respect and awe when dealing with species both large and small, he is a vocal champion of photographic and stalking technique above gear lust. Enjoying the moment and taking the rough with the smooth (all with a smile on his face) has ensured a consistent stream of quality work that adds to his portfolio each year.
Check out the about section of the web site to find out more about Richard.
Hopefully this brochure has peaked your appetite for adventure. If you are considering booking here are some bullet points to outline the frequently asked questions. Please get in touch if you have any further questions.
All bookings are made through the excellent, ATOL bonded UK tour operator Safari Consultants. We have been using them for all our African tours over the recent years and they are fantastic. Ensuring you are financially protected and that all the logistics go smoothly. They are also able to help you arrange any pre/post workshop travel around Africa should you require.
TRIP 1: £3140.00 per person (£450 deposit)
TRIP 2: £3525.00 per person. (£450 deposit)
* All flights (assuming travel from the UK, please contact for non UK options) *
* All game viewing activities (including all park and conservation fees) *
* All meals and drinks in camp and breakfast in the Fairview hotel *
* All accommodation fees *
* Increased baggage allowance from 15kg to 22kg *
* The above cost is based on two people sharing a tent (twin beds or double bed are at your choice) *
Single accommodation available upon request with a supplemental cost. We can also arrange sharing between separate traveler’s if requested and the space is available, so let us know if that is the case.
What the above cost DOES NOT INCLUDE..
* Kenyan Visa fees (currently $50 US per person) *
* Travel insurance *
* Gratuities/tips *
* Optional additional tour excursions (balloon safaris etc..) *
* Food in Nairobi with the exception of Breakfast at the Fairview which is included. *
As mentioned Richard set his workshops up with maximum flexibility in mind. If you have any requirements or are traveling from outside the UK, please get in touch and we can always work out a plan for you wherever you are traveling from. If you are interested in joining us, please use the contact form below and let us know! We will need your name and contact details (email, phone and location) for starters.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Safari Consultants directly on +44 (0)1787-888-590. You are under no obligation by registering your interest and your details will not be shared or used for anything outside the scope of these trips. Please note that places are strictly limited and that your place is not guaranteed until your deposit has been paid.
As mentioned, all transactions are handled directly with ATOL bonded Safari Consultants for your financial protection and peace of mind.
Once your place is confirmed you will receive additional information about camera gear and all other information relevant to the trip. You will also have priority contact details for both Richard and Safari Consultants, who will be on hand to answer any questions you have prior to leaving.
Please get in touch for more details or to book
THE SMALL PRINT (ENLARGED!)
Whilst some like to gloss over the following, we feel it is important to note that this trip is a genuine safari experience, therefore..
All stages of this trip are well planned and run by very experienced people. However, it is called wildlife for a reason. Although it is extremely unlikely to return from a drive in the Mara empty handed, we are ultimately only able to show you the wildlife in Mara as it is, wild. So please be aware that we cannot 100% guarantee a sighting of a particular species. Please be assured however our guides live and breath the Mara every day and are superb trackers of award standard. As well, Richard’s photographic experience in the Mara speaks for itself through his images, not just his words. The Mara is one of the best spots to see these animals in the wild but you must be prepared for some periods of waiting and that some drives will be better than others. Richard and the team will be doing everything possible to make this a trip to remember but we feel it is only fair to let you know that this is wildlife; a trip to the zoo it isn’t!
Likewise, the weather is beyond our control but we will be prepared to go out in all conditions, come rain or shine. This can however, have knock on effects for special excursions like the early morning balloon rides (if you decided to book one). We will always press ahead regardless of the weather as long as it is safe. People who can put things into perspective and enjoy whatever nature has in store will get the most from this trip, even those who wish to come without cameras and simply observe the wildlife.
This trip is suitable for ages 8 and over, providing appropriate behaviour in the vehicles and around the camp is maintained. Should an individual behave inappropriately, Richard and/or Kicheche reserve the right to restrict that person’s safari activities without refund. This is to ensure a fair and enjoyable trip for all guests. We have never had to do this though and hope we never will!
There is very little walking or physical exertion required. However, please note that the ride can be bumpy when driving from location to location. If this may be a cause for concern, please get in touch for further information. All correspondence is held in the strictest confidence and the camp is very accommodating to all needs so something can always be worked out as long as we know in advance.
The price stated includes the current fuel surcharges being levied by the relevant airlines. We will not surcharge this price unless further fuel surcharges exceed 2% of the total cost of this itinerary, in which case you will only be surcharged the amount which is over and above the 2% surcharge.
Exchange rates: Please note that the exchange rates between the SA Rand and/or US$ dollar and UK£ pound are currently extremely volatile, with the recent trend being a huge devaluation of ourUK£ pound. As many costs relating to your holiday are paid in either of these currencies, the price of your holiday is closely linked with these exchange rates. For this quotation, we have used the current exchange rates, however, we will need to reconfirm the holiday price with you at the time of booking.
Please see section 8 of Safari Consultant’s terms and conditions for further details of the pricing policy.
It is a requirement that UK flights are arranged through Safari Consultants.
If you have any further questions please simply get in touch and we will be happy to answer all your queries.