Ntaba African Safaris kicked off 2022 with a photography safari to Kenya.
The wheels of tourism in East Africa are rapidly picking up pace. European and North American visitors count for the majority of travelers to the region and they are eagerly taking advantage of tempting package deals, smaller crowds, and reassuring safety protocols set in place.
Ntaba African Safaris collaborates with some of Kenya’s most sought-after providers and has kicked off the 2022 travel season with a photography safari to Kenya. Led by renowned photographer, R. David Marks, our guests were coached in the nuances of wildlife photography. Since January-February is birthing season, there was an abundance of young animals, as well as plentiful sightings of the Big 5.
Arriving in Nairobi, we spent our first night at the Tamarind Tree Hotel, convenient to both the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Regional Airport. There are several sightseeing options in and around Nairobi, including the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, Elephant Sanctuary, and the Nairobi National Park.
Ellies in Amboseli
If pachyderms are your passion, then Amboseli National Park is the place to be. A short 30-minute flight from Nairobi takes you to this gem of a park nestled in the Great Rift Valley at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Runoff from the world’s tallest free-standing mountain and Africa’s tallest peak, ensures an abundant supply of water to the marshes throughout the park.
Pink clouds of flamingos on the water enjoy a relatively crocodile-free life, since the minerals in the water are not conducive to crocs. Hippos wade happily in the muddy marshes. Large herds of elephants can be seen in and around the wetlands, taking advantage of the soothing mud to protect against insects, cooling themselves in the heat of the day. The largest herd we spotted, made up of several family sub-groups, was 97 strong and made for a jaw-dropping parade across the plains. Home to about 40 species of birds, Amboseli is a birders paradise. Herds of antelope, zebra, giraffe, and warthog are a photographer’s delight!
Kenya is known for being home to some of the world’s remaining ‘Super Tuskers’. This class of elephants have tusks weighing in excess of 100 pounds each! Under the watchful eye of a Ranger, you may catch a glimpse of these incredible giants who are fiercely protected against poachers. Not far from our accommodations in a private wildlife conservancy, is a museum dedicated to these mammoth treasures of Kenya.
Four nights at Satoa Elerai Camp allowed our guests time to enjoy multiple game drives, a walking safari, and absorb some of the wildlife knowledge of our amazing guide, Isaiah. Each luxury tent faced Mt. Kilimanjaro, making for stunning views. Our final evening included a campfire (affectionately known as ‘Bush TV’) and cocktails in the bush.
Mt. Kilimanjaro shone in all her glory that evening, and we were fortunate to see the summit for 2 out of our 4 days in Amboseli. Average visibility of the peak is only 25%! The watering hole at Satoa Elerai Camp attracted a wonderful array of wildlife around. At night, Maasai guards kept guests under their watchful eye.
Big Cat Country Delivers – Big Time!
A short 30-minute flight from Amboseli Airport took us to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve where we spent 5 nights at the magnificent Sentinel Mara Camp, located on the Mara River. This area, under conservation in the Greater Maasai Mara ecosystem, amounts to almost 580 sq. miles and sees millions of wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara Game Reserve as part of the Great Migration, one of natures most spectacular sites.
The Musiara Marsh area, renowned for its outstanding game viewing, is where both the BBC “Big Cat Diaries” and Disney’s “African Cats” were filmed. Our guests were treated to sightings that were out of this world! To view the mating ritual of lions (more of a marathon as it can last up to 5 days) was such a privilege, and countless encounters with cheetahs, leopards, and lions left us speechless!
Nature, in all it’s raw reality, can seem harsh, but understanding the cycle of life, the balance of ecosystems, and the synergistic relationships between species helps bring perspective. Our incredible guide, Jonathan, displayed an instinct and knowledge of animal behavior second to none. His experience working with photographers shone through as he positioned us in the best viewing vantage points possible.
From the moment we arrived at Sentinel Mara Camp, we were greeted by name. The staff went out of their way to make our stay memorable and comfortable, and our accommodations luxurious and 5-star food exceptional. One of just a handful of Eco-camps in the country, Sentinel Mara is proud of its high guest appeal and low environmental impact. Located on the banks of the Mara River in the heart of Big Cat country, the camp is ideally situated for a rich variety of sightings. Guests soon become accustomed to the chorus of hippos and the bickering of baboons echoing in the distance. We arrived as guests at Sentinel Mara, but we left as friends.
Photo credit: Aaron JW Miller
If a trip to Africa is on your ‘dream list’, contact us and we will take you on a trip of a lifetime! We have scheduled safaris or we can customize a trip to suit your budget, interests, or time constraints.
It’s time to start traveling again. Let Ntaba African Safaris take you to Africa!