Wildlife Photo Tour to the Masai Mara – Three Destinations in Kenya Part Two
In February 2019, Chuck and Nancy Bell began their exciting tour of Kenya which would take them to 3 iconic destinations and places that would leave them with a bevy of memorable experiences and inspiring images.
Filled with images captured by both Chuck and Nancy, these avid photographers are sure to sweep you up to live their journey with them!
Click here for the first instalment of Chuck and Nancy’s safari; Giraffe Manor & Meru National Park – Three Destinations In Kenya Part One
Life of Predators Photo Tour
The next morning, we flew with our group from Wilson Airport to the Masai Mara, passing over the edge of the Great East African Rift Valley.
We spent the next several nights at Alex Walker’s Serian Nkorombo mobile camp.
Our tent overlooked the Mara River, and we enjoyed the snorting of hippos at night.
Meals were served in a dining tent, which also served for our photo workshops.
The Masai staff served tea, coffee and delicacies every afternoon before we went back out on safari.
In the evening, we gathered around a campfire for drinks before dinner.
Dinning room / editing room
Tea & coffee station with Jon
Relaxing by the campfire
We went out before dawn each day to take advantage of the light.
We photographed from open vehicles on the Masai Mara plains. Our Photo Tour Leader Penny is on the right.
We always broke for a field breakfast around 9:30 am when the light became harsh for photography.
ORYX Photo Tours billed this safaris as a “Life of Predators” photo safari. It did not disappoint. First and foremost are the Lions, which abound in the Masai Mara.
Most exciting was when we came upon two males, possibly brothers, fighting over a female in heat. It was a vicious and very fast fight.
The loser slunk away.
The victor turned and strode over to claim his prize.
Then he hung around for some portraits!
A photographer’s dream on safari is to find some accessible Lion cubs. We looked long and hard and finally found some. We had a few minutes to photograph quickly.
Cheetah are also very much on our photographic wish list, and the Mara did not disappoint.
The Cheetah is classified as Vulnerable, with only about 7000 individuals left in the wild.
It is heartening to see these lively cubs as each cub is critically important to the survival of the species. One hopes that these cubs manage to survive.
No less exciting was when a smaller cat, a Serval, approached our vehicles. Our shutters started tripping wildly.
We were there in one of East Africa’s rainy seasons, and we were presented with some dramatic skies.
The green grass from the rains gave a nice background to a large den of the Spotted Hyena, where we spent most of one morning photographing.
The den had at least two young cubs, which are dark until they get a bit older. They were wonderful to photograph.
Females move their cubs around by carrying them by the scruff of their neck.
Like any good mother, they tried to keep them clean.
There were also some older cubs in the pack.
We found a pack of Black-backed Jackal to photograph. They engaged in some mock fighting, giving us nice photo opportunities.
While the focus of this photo safari was predators, we also got some wonderful images of prey, like these Burchell’s Zebra, which were on the Masai Mara plains by the hundreds.
The Mara is home to an unusual ungulate, the Topi, a subspecies of the Common Tsessebe. It lives primarily in grassland habitats ranging treeless plains to savannas and is classified as “Vulnerable” due to population declines.
Similar to the Topi is the Hartebeest, also know as the Kongoni. The Subspecies in Kenya is the Coke’s Hartebeest. Its population is stable, but some of the other 7 subspecies are extinct in the wild.
While we were photographing, a few males started sparring with one another.
The Common Eland is one of the largest antelopes. It is found in grasslands and plains through much of east and southern Africa.
Three smaller antelope on the Masai Mara plain: Impala
The Mara River has a good population of Hippopotamus. Since Hippos generally come out of the water only at night, when they graze, it was great to find one in shallow water of the river.
Even better was to find one still out in the bush where it had been grazing during the night.
Out on safari, we stopped whenever we saw a good photo opportunity. This included for some of the spectacular birds one finds in the African bush, like this Secretarybird.
The endangered Southern Ground Hornbill
On our last morning we had a lovely breakfast out by the river. Then, we headed to the bush airstrip for our flight back to Nairobi and then home.
Thank you for following Chuck and Nancy’s epic safari; Three Destinations in Kenya. We hope you enjoyed it and that it brought some inspiring African scenes to you.
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Stay passionate and inspired!