Saruni Mara - Masai Mara, Kenya

Kenya Photo Camp - December 2017

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All inclusive from US$4,602 per person sharing
Single Room Supplement from US$700 per single person
A 7 nights / 8 days journey combining Kenya’s most exciting wildlife-rich wildernesses.

Join us on this very special safari, led by National Geographic Creative Photographer Sergio Pitamitz. This is a unique safari specially designed for those who wish to discover the secrets of photojournalism and wildlife photography. Sergio’s special gift is in storytelling and image management: you’ll be taught by the passion and experience of a true professional.

In Samburu, you will stay at the award-winning lodge Saruni Samburu and you’ll photograph not only from our open Land Rover, but also from inside a specially created hide* near a waterhole frequented by many species. You will also learn how to use camera traps placed along animal tracks and trails, monitored by the guides of the lodge in the weeks leading up to your arrival.

In the Masai Mara, you will stay at Saruni Mara and Saruni Wild, which are two of the very few lodges with access to the private reserves, Mara North Conservancy (MNC) and Lemek Conservancy. Bordering with the Masai Mara National Reserve, MNC is one of the most exciting places on earth for wildlife photography. You will also follow the famous wildebeest migration and Sergio will train you on how to photograph the predators that populate this fantastic conservancy, at their very best.

*The cleverly positioned hide is a photographers and naturalists paradise that was proposed by Sergio Pitamitz who worked with Saruni to actualise it. Dug into the sand that surrounds the lodge’s waterhole, the hide will allow you to gain a unique perspective of all types of wildlife from Kalama’s famous herd of elephants to terrapins cooling off in the afternoon heat.

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About Sergio Pitamitz
National Geographic Creative Photographer

Sergio Pitamitz’s work has taken him to every continent in over 70 countries around the world. In the last decade, he focused his work on the great African wildlife and to the conservation of the big cats. His photos have been awarded in many international contests like Nature’s Best, Oasis Photo Contest, National Wildlife and have appeared in hundreds of publications worldwide, among them Newsweek, Figaro Magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, Panorama Travel, Travel and Leisure, Geo Magazine, The New York Times, Africa Geographic, Terre Sauvage, BBC Wildlife and in various books published by the National Geographic Society. He is also a Swarovski Optik Nature Ambassador and Nikon School Master Photographer. www.pitamitz.com

The Saruni Lodges

  • Villa 5 revamped - honeymoon villa

Saruni Samburu
Saruni Samburu’s six luxury villas are open and spacious, heralding spectacular views over Kenya’s Northern Frontier District and Mount Kenya in the distance. The warm and welcoming hospitality makes for an intimate and exceptional experience. The lodge is revered for its innovative, eco-chic architecture and interesting design and décor, as well as its Italian-inspired cuisine. Guests can enjoy the vast panoramas from the dining and lounge area, the infinity pool and the Samburu Wellbeing Space. Saruni Samburu is the only lodge in Kalama Conservancy, which borders Samburu National Reserve, with 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness to explore and enjoy exclusively. You are guided from start to finish by Samburu warriors who are passionate about their land and their culture, learning first-hand about their fascinating customs and traditions and gaining ancient, local knowledge about the land and the animals – a truly authentic experience.

Activities and amenities: day and night game drives, photographic hide, bush meals, guided walks, birdwatching, Samburu Wellbeing Space treatments (payable extra), picnics, two swimming pools, helicopter excursions (payable extra), Samburu cultural visits (payable extra), Saruni Shop.

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Saruni Mara
Saruni Mara has one family villa, one private villa and five elegant cottages, and is the only small boutique lodge in the Mara, making it very intimate and exclusive. The beautifully decorated themed rooms have a luxurious and classic safari feel. The lodge is tucked away in a secluded valley in the private Mara North Conservancy, a prime and private game viewing area, which borders the Masai Mara National Reserve – the most renowned wildlife park in Africa. Enjoy the Italian-inspired cuisine and being immersed in nature from your private verandah, the Maasai Wellbeing Space and the open lounge and dining area. Maasai warriors will guide you throughout your stay, sharing their ancient wisdom and local knowledge of the area and the animals, their way of life and their secret corners of the most loved wildlife reserve in Kenya.

Activities and amenities: day and night game drives, bush meals, guided walks, birdwatching, Maasai Wellbeing Space treatments (payable extra), picnics, library, balloon safaris (payable extra), Saruni Shop.

  • Saruni Wild - Our Family tent

Saruni Wild
Saruni Wild is a tented camp elegantly and comfortably furnished with all the necessary luxuries of a wild yet classic safari. The camp is located in the heart of the Masai Mara plains, on the border between Lemek Conservancy and Mara North Conservancy. Surrounded by tens of thousands acres of pristine, untouched wilderness, the camp has the most classic Masai Mara setting. The wildlife thrive right next to its tents. Enjoy endless views, fire-lit meals under the vast African sky, guided game drives led by Maasai warriors.

Activities and amenities: day and night game drives, bush meals, guided walks, birdwatching, Maasai Wellbeing Space treatments (payable extra), picnics, library, balloon safaris (payable extra), Saruni Shop.

Sample Itinerary

  • Villa 5 revamped - honeymoon villa

2nd December – Saruni Samburu

  • Arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where a Saruni vehicle will transfer you to Wilson Airport to catch your flight to Samburu in the morning* arriving an hour later, where your Saruni Samburu guide will meet you and transfer you to the lodge, or take you on a game drive.
  • Late morning, set up of camera traps to capture on photo the resident leopard at Saruni Samburu lodge.
  • Afternoon game drive and hide photography in Kalama Conservancy exploring over 200,000 acres of pristine wilderness in total privacy and sundowners with a breathtaking view.

3rd December – Saruni Samburu

  • Early morning game drive and photography in the Samburu National Reserve to seek out the ‘Samburu Special Five’: the Reticulated giraffe, the Grevy zebra, the Beisa oryx, the Somali ostrich and the gerenuk, all rare species that occur only in this part of the country, and look for its well known larger wildlife including elephants, lion and leopard.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch followed with a late afternoon game drive and hide photography into the evening.
  • Head back to the lodge for rest and relaxation. Enjoy a complimentary half hour massage at the Samburu Wellbeing Space before a well-earned dinner.
  • Hide interior with view and bitings

4th December – Saruni Samburu

  • Continue to explore the wonders of Samburu with a morning game drive and hide photography. After lunch, possibly head out on a nature walk discovering animals, plants and the caves in the local area with rock paintings, accompanied by an experienced Samburu tracker.
  • Evening game drive and hide photography in Kalama Conservancy, the private wildlife conservancy in which Saruni Samburu is located, ending with a bush dinner under the stars in the middle of the wilderness, and a night drive back to the lodge.
  • The Samburu warriors dancing, candles and fire under the vast African skies, make this a truly magical experience, and one of the highlights of your stay.

5th December – Saruni Wild

  • Depart Samburu on your flight in the morning* and arrive in the Masai Mara an hour and a half later.
  • Game drive and plains photography followed with a picnic lunch to enjoy under an acacia tree or by the river next to a pod of hippos, or head to Saruni Wild for some rest and relaxation.
  • Exclusive game drive and plains photography later in the afternoon in both Lemek conservancy and Mara North Conservancy (MNC) – over 30,000 acres of plentiful, protected land bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve. Enjoy a completely different and less-explored corner of the Mara ecosystem in total privacy, brimming with wildlife.
  • Saruni Wild - Another luxury tent

6th December – Saruni Wild

  • Early morning game drive and plains photography to seek out the big cats and other predators of the Mara.
  • A full day in the Masai Mara National Reserve, driving to the Mara river, to watch the herds of wildebeest and zebra and many other species gathering waiting to cross and then hopefully crossing in front of your eyes. This is one of the greatest natural shows on earth!
  • Return to the camp for lunch surrounded by teeming wildlife in a classic Maasai Mara setting. In the afternoon, a game drive will take you to a special area where the largest ‘tower’ of giraffe can be seen, followed by dinner back at Saruni Wild and an optional night game drive.

7th December – Saruni Mara

  • Game drive and photography up to the top of Kilileoni, the highest mountain in the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem – led by your skillful and knowledgeable Maasai guides.
  • In the afternoon you will discover more of Mara North and its surrounding conservancies and experience first-hand what makes the Mara one of the most exciting wildernesses in the world.
  • Weather permitting, experience a bush dinner in the middle of nature under the vast African sky, with Maasai warriors singing and dancing around the fire.

8th December – Saruni Mara

  • Luxurious and elegant safari accommodation in the Masai Mara
  • Venture through the plains of Mara North Conservancy in pursuit of the more rare and elusive species. Another wildlife-abundant game drive and photography with a leisurely bush breakfast completes another exciting morning.
  • Head back into Mara North for a late afternoon game drive with photography overlooking the immense plains surrounding you before heading back to the lodge or camp for a hearty dinner.

9th December – Nairobi Departure

  • Visit the rhino sanctuary on the way to the airstrip and once again admire the hippos and the crocodiles of the Mara River.
  • The flight back to Nairobi leaves the Mara at 11:00 AM and arrives in Nairobi at 12:20 PM.
  • Transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with Saruni driver and vehicle. Depending on the time of your international flight, stop at the Talisman or Carnivore restaurant for dinner.
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Note: The Saruni Tours team can modify and tailor this itinerary to suit your personal preference. Baggage allowance on internal flights is 15kg per person, preferably in small, soft bags without wheels. Seats on the schedule flights are subject to availability at confirmation. Rates with children or single occupancy are available upon request. *Flight times and durations may vary depending on airline and routing, and are subject to change.

Certificate of Excellence ATTA Pack for a Purpose Mara North Conservancy Masai Mara Conservancies