Big Cats of the Massai Mara
March 2014 - Guests Photos
This is a very popular trip and a true introduction to Africa. Staying at Kicheche Mara Camp, a classic luxury tented camp hidden in a beautiful acacia valley, guests are treated to fantastic hospitality and superb photo opportunities. Located in a prime wildlife area, in a private conservancy, game viewing starts frequently in the camp itself. Being a private conservancy gives unique opportunities to photograph the animals without the hindrance of lots of other competing vehicles and photographers which are so often found in other areas.
These are just a few of the photos guests took on my 2014 trip. Each are grouped by guest who has written a brief note about themselves and their experiences. Some have included contact details in case you wish to contact them to buy what are true masterpieces. Take a while to browse and enjoy their work. Select an individual photographer to view their galleries. Clicking on a thumbnail will display their picture in great detail.
This is a superb collection of photos. If you enjoy a particular photographers work and they have left their contact details please tell them!
|Big Cats of the Massai Mara Tour Page|
|Guests feedback on this workshop|
|Enquire / book a place on this tour|
||Other Foreign Workshops / Tours Page||Other years galleries for this trip|
I do take a few photographs which do not have some form of wildlife in them, but not many. I take a lot of insect shots and some are as small as 2mm, weighing-in at a fraction of a gram, but on this trip I did not make a great deal of use of my macro lens - I was captivated by the majesty of the lion and the sheer size and power of the elephant. It is quite different seeing them in the wild and in their own environment when we are caged and they roam free.
I have rarely taken a holiday in the same place twice, because there is always something else that I have wanted to see or do. That is not how I felt after my trip to Kicheche Mara Camp. I do want to return and I do want again to experience the hospitality and the opportunities presented on a workshop arranged by Bob.
Crucial to these opportunities were the guide/drivers that Bob selected. They knew what we wanted to achieve and set about making certain that we would leave with our ambitions fulfilled. We were left in no doubt about their skill and knowledge, but what was uncanny was when an animal started to move and our driver said ‘hold tight’ then drove in a great arc and waited. Sure enough within a very short time the lion, cheetah or leopard turned up right on cue!
The prospect of a few days in Kenya was a long held dream which I never expected to come true, it took 4 or 5 days of complete amazement and disbelief to believe I was actually there. Bob, the perfect host ensured everything ran smoothly; from the pre-travel arrangements to the goodbyes at Heathrow 10 days later. The staff at Kicheche Mara Camp were professional but very friendly & approachable, the guides/drivers were just amazing and incredibly knowledgeable: they seemed to know which animals we wanted to see, where to find them and where to position the vehicles so that we were able to achieve great images.
Friends have asked me whether I photographed the big cats, the elephants or giraffes. My answer is yes and so much more: we saw a pair of cheetah brothers on our very first morning on the way into camp from the airport and were able to follow them at various times during the trip. We met the local pride of lions many times; in rain & in sunshine and at both sunrise & sunset and all times in between. But my favourite cat was the mother leopard with her two cubs, just 5 mins from camp. She was so beautiful and graceful and yet there was no doubt about her maternal instincts to protect her cubs or her innate strength and power.
One of the highlights of the trip was taking breakfast on the banks of the Mara River watching the hippos wallow in the water below us, another was seeing a baby giraffe being born just as the light disappeared and knowing there were two hyenas nearby – it took two days to confirm it had survived and then there were the sunsets – a fantastic sight to end the day.
Probably the 100 dollar question – would I go back? Unequivocally, Yes I would go tomorrow if given the opportunity! Thank you Bob for providing a trip of a lifetime.
Spending two remarkable weeks in Kenya with Bob was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It far out passed my expectations. Accommodation and food on par with the finest hotels. What also made it special was the expert knowledgeable guiding and photo tuition given by Bob and the guides the abundance of wildlife was amazing. I strongly recommend this trip to anyone interested in wildlife photography.
This was a holiday of a lifetime; an absolutely breath-taking experience and a wonderful opportunity to take better nature photographs in a perfect environment and a superb opportunity to meet and make new friends, especially our group leader and workshop tutor, Bob Brind-Surch. From the moment we touched down on the airstrip in the light aircraft our adventure began. We were met by Bob and our drivers, George and Benje who drove us to the most impressive Kicheche Mara Camp where we were greeted warmly by the staff.
We woke early every morning with a cuppa and some biscuits and were out in the vehicles before dawn, watching the dramas of the early morning unfold in front of our eyes. Breakfast was taken in the bush after which we continued observing the wildlife and taking photographs under the expert guidance of Bob. In our group we had photographers of differing experience and all were helped as and when, at their own level. Nobody felt foolish to ask maybe the simplest of questions.
Our driver was George (a Massai Mara guide) who was staggeringly expert on the wildlife and fauna of the area. He could answer every question in perfect English. He could see things none of us could see including birds sitting on far away trees and be able to identify them!
We returned to the camp for lunch and then had a few hours off relaxing/sleeping or downloading our images before starting out again at 4pm. At sunset we had ‘sundowner’ which was a wonderful opportunity to have a drink and watch the magnificent sunset. We then returned to the camp for a shower, dinner and bed, before the next amazing day of adventures started!
You could not fail to enjoy this trip and take wonderful images! The light was perfect, the subject matter was in abundance, the guides imparted their knowledge and with Bob’s expertise helped and guided us to take the best shots possible! Thank you!
My background is entomology and nature conservation and I have been in to wildlife photography since my late teens - so an awful long time, but I have never been to Africa before. What attracted me to this trip was that it was based in one place, actually out in the bush, and was specifically aimed at photographers. So I anticipated like minded individuals who wouldn't want to be rushing on to the next lion all the time. In the event, it surpassed all my expectations! There was so much to point a camera at - not just the charismatic mega fauna - although there was plenty of that - but things like Hyraxes, Mongoose, Oxpeckers, Kingfishers ... and more and different Kingfishers. I think what made it such an exceptional trip was our guides/drivers. It is not only that they know the place intimately and therefore where to find stuff, but they were able to anticipate what animals were likely to do and put you in the right place AND at the same time, they appreciated the needs of the photographer, taking account the light and the background. The hospitality and standards of catering provided by the camp were also quite exceptional and made for a very pleasant stay.
I would heartily recommend this trip to any wildlife photographer. Would I go again - certainly! What would I do different another time - not too much. I took two camera bodies and my main lenses where a 17-85mm and a 300mm plus a 1.4x converter. I took about twice as many shots using the 300mm, but sometimes it was a bit much - we were just too close. So, if I was going again, I would take a lens in the 200mm range (maybe a 70-200mm zoom). But I probably wouldn't take my 100mm macro. I barely used it. There were butterflies and occasional dragonflies about, but hardly any other insects (because this is the end of the dry season - although, this year, it had not been particularly dry). The only mosquito I saw the whole time was in the departure building at Wilson Airfield in Nairobi!
So thanks, Bob, for organising such a fantastic trip and I look forward to doing another one someday.