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Kenya – Masai Mara Predators Photo Tour with Penny Robartes

Whether booked as a private photo safari, or run as a group photo tour, my Kenya – Life of Predators Photo Tour has always given my guests a wonderful wildlife photography and experiential adventure.

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While the name insinuates that the photo tour is about the predators of the Mara, our photographic exploration in the Mara too, encapsulates the myriad of iconic African wildlife that make this ecosystem as extraordinary as it is. These wildlife species include the fastest Antelope in East Africa; the Topi, the world’s largest land mammals; the African Elephant, the rotund and striped Plains Zebra, the hefty Buffalo, beautifully patterned Maasai Giraffe, just to name a few.

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Birdlife is abundant too due to the diverse biomes and should a beautiful scene come to play, we will take advantage of Nature’s offering.

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Our journey takes place in the Mara North Conservancy; a private conservancy that is home to a handful of lodges and camps. It is only explored and experienced by guests that stay at these camps and lodges. No self-driving is allowed, and off-road driving is one of the winning components of my photo tour taking place in one of the Mara’s conservancies.

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At the crack of dawn on Day 1, my guests and I met at our hotel lobby where we would be transferred to Wilson Airport for our flight to the Mara North Airstrip. Landing at 07:30, we were welcomed to good light and wondrous scenes before our eyes. Grassland plains stretching as far as the eye can see, Balanites trees dotting the landscape here and there with thick forest thickets climbed together in certain place. And then, of course, is the view of a section of the Mara River.

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Our first photographic encounter was of a Lioness, one member of the famed Syrian Pride, feeding on a Hippo carcass that they had killed a few days prior. Quite the welcome scene! The rest of the pride members and the territorial males had gone to sleep off their engorged bellies under Croton thickets nearby. From here we went to the banks of the Mara River for breakfast and coffee while a large Hippo pod entertained us with their antics.

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Whilst February is becoming more popular with wildlife photographers and safari-goers alike, it is still relatively quiet and you can easily go a whole day of not seeing another vehicle at a wildlife sighting. Cat sightings are regulated with only 6 vehicles allowed to view at a time, which minimises the impact of our presence on the wildlife. That being said, during my guests and my photo tour, we had most Lion sightings to ourselves, or at least during the most active/lighting times. We were treated well! 

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February falls under the short-rainfall season in Kenya, and while this technically means that once every few days a storm may roll is a dump one rain on the area and move off as quickly, this year was not to be! Since November 2023, the rains had been falling nearly daily, and a lot of it. This resulted in the grassland plains being made up of muddy roads and very long grass. While the length of the grass made it tricky photographically, it was a challenged we accepted and used to our advantage. 

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Early one morning, with dew still clinging to the grass and its seeds, we found the Off-beat Lion pride laying close to a Warthog burrow. 2 females laying down right next to the opening of the burrow, with another female laying a way off into the grass. As the sun rose, I worked with our guides (3 guests per vehicle, so 2 vehicles in total) to position my guests where the early light would catch the water drops on the grass by the Lioness. It was a magical scene, and one that we wouldn’t have had if not for the rain the night before.

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A thick mist then descended, and oh my, was it magical! Animals appearing out of nowhere as we left the Lionesses to their slumber, made the grassland plains take on a dreamy, surreal quality that is not often scene nor photographed.

With the abundance of rain having fallen, and was still falling, for months, the long grass meant that Cheetah sightings were very rare as they had moved off to areas outside of the Mara North Conservancy where short grass was more prevalent. A lot of plains game prefer habituating short grass as they can see predators from further away. This contributes as well as to why the Syrian Lion pride target Hippos during this season; they are a constant source of food and leave their section of the river to graze on grass every evening and into the night. A very large and dangerous prey, but if the Lion pride all come together with their territorial males assisting, they are able to bring down a Hippo to feast upon.

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The Life of Predators Photo Tour offers avid wildlife photographers an array of wildlife subjects to photograph under a variety of scenes and settings. If predators grab your attention, as well as iconic African wildlife, then this is the photo tour for you!

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Life Of Predators Photo Tour 2025

Guests: 6 guests only. No single supplement fee for solo travellers

Dates: 3 – 9 February 2024

Vehicle: 2 Safari vehicles = 1 guest per row

Your Expert Photo Tour Leader: Penny Robartes.

Penny has been leading photo tours to the Mara for 11 years, and to the Mara North for 8 of those years.

Joins perfectly with: Black Leopard Photo Tour I 2025 

If you are interested in joining me on a photo tour where I can guarantee that your photography and wildlife experience will be focused on, then do get in touch!

For a private photo tour to Kenya or anywhere in the world (Yes! Anywhere your heart desires), please get in touch with us at [email protected].

To join Penny on a scheduled, small group photo tour to Kenya and beyond, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

“Go where you feel most alive”

Penny Robartes

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Penny Robartes is one of ORYX’s Senior Photo Tour Leaders, and has been expertly leading photographers of all levels to Kenya for over a decade. Her expertise in photography, her knowledge of and passion for wildlife and the areas travelled to, combined with the highly-regarded working relationship and camaraderie with local guides used ensures that her guests get the most rewarding and holistic wildlife photographic safari experience.

Penny Robartes is a dedicated Private and Scheduled worldwide Photo Tour Leader for ORYX Photo Tours.

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