A Trip With A Difference
AVAILABLE: 15–21 November 2021
A trip like no other...
Spend a week in the greater Maasai Mara, combining the joy of safari, an education in photography and a series of insightful and meaningful Positive Impact experiences.
In collaboration with Asilia Africa, we've created this trip to add a deeper dimension to a classic photographic safari. We’ll be based in the Naboisho Conservancy — bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve — which beautifully showcases how wildlife conservation and community empowerment can go hand in hand with tourism and, over the course of your trip, you’ll visit various world-leading initiatives to learn about this first-hand.
Giving Back to Nature..
As well as the Naboisho Conservancy fees and Asilia’s conservation fee, which goes towards preserving wildlife and supporting communities, we have also included a group donation of US$3,000 to the featured Positive Impact partners. This trip ensures each traveller’s participation truly gives back.
In order to offer you as much itinerary flexibility as possible, we have not included any flights to and from Naboisho or any transfers in Nairobi. Asilia can help you plan any travel and accommodation before and after the trip as you need. Plan to arrive at Naboisho for lunch or early afternoon to settle into your tents and meet your fellow Asilia Adventurers. After afternoon tea and armed with your camera, you will head out for your first game drive in an open-sided four-wheel drive vehicle before returning for a welcome dinner. Welcome to you home at Naboisho Camp!
Tuck into a hearty breakfast in camp before traversing the Mara to Lemek Conservancy to visit the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) headquarters. Your morning will be spent with real-life conservation heroes, learning about their anti-poaching units, mitigating human-wildlife conflict in villages and their research and collaring of the Greater Mara’s elephants. This is a humbling and fascinating insight into the challenging and never-ending work to conserve one of Africa’s iconic species.
After a camp-packed picnic lunch, the group will travel to the Ol Chorro Rhino Sanctuary, where you will have the rare treat of walking with their two resident white rhinos. Kept safe by rangers, you will gain an awareness of the challenges they face in protecting them and hear the concerns they have for the future of this precious species. On returning to camp, freshen up and then with an ice cold beverage in hand, the focus on rhinos continues with a talk from me on my black rhino research in Kenya! Before dinner, we'll take a closer look at camera traps so we can prepare them for deployment the following day.
Today the photographic safari begins in earnest. Set off early from camp to have the benefit of the glorious dawn light and throughout the morning, locations will be selected and marked for the camera traps, in the hopes of observing some exciting species caught unaware. Naboisho is known for its big cats in big numbers and is believed to have one of the highest lion densities in Africa, strong numbers of cheetah and is home to more than 220 recorded bird species — so there will be plenty to photograph.
After lunch back in camp, guests are free to use the camp classroom to start editing images or they can relax by the pool and catch forty-winks. The game drive in the afternoon will remain focused on photography, however, throughout the drive, you'll be using some of the information you would have learned the day before, at the Mara Elephant Project, to help you identify the elephants you meet on your safari.
Wake up to the dawn chorus before setting out for another day of adventures. The game drive in the morning will continue with a photographic aim before returning to camp for a quick lunch and then heading to The Maa Trust, a thriving nonprofit organisation working toward a harmonious balance between conservation and sustainable human development in the Masai Mara. The Trust employs 579 local Maasai women, who in 2019 earned US$34,000, allowing them financial independence. This afternoon, you will have the great pleasure to sit down with these ladies and learn the traditional craft of beading. While designing and threading your own beaded camera strap, you will learn about the meaning of the beads, hear the personal narratives of these incredible women and the other fantastic projects the Trust implements such as youth empowerment programs, vocational training, beekeeping and honey production, brick-making, Female Genital Mutilations (FGM) education, healthcare, water and sanitation.
If that wasn’t enough, you will return to Naboisho and the warmth of the campfire to meet a member of the Kenyan Wildlife Trust (KWT) to learn about their flagship project the Mara Predator Conservation Program (MPCP). Over snacks and drinks, gain an understanding of the challenges and successes of their conservation and community projects; including how to identify big cats, understanding the purposes of collaring lions, how they use the data as well as the success in engaging primary schools with Wildlife Clubs alongside Asilia’s own Twende Porini.
To put what you have learnt into practice, this morning you will set out early to meet the Lion Ambassadors
of the Mara. With approximately 500 lions concentrated in a relatively small area covering 2,572 km2 of protected lands, the Mara has high human and livestock densities residing in the surrounding unprotected community lands. A central challenge is ensuring coexistence between lions and people while implementing impactful conservation strategies at a meaningful scale. MPCP chose a brigade of 10 lion ambassadors to provide a crucial link to the communities and ensure human-lion conflict and the resulting retaliatory killings and persecution of lions is halted in its tracks. This morning you will join an ambassador on their daily patrol, walking for approximately 3 hours you will learn first-hand what it’s like to be on the frontline of conservation and understand their personal motivations for living and breathing such a sensitive and dangerous job.
After an exhilarating morning, no one will blame you for that extra beer at lunch and a snooze on your daybed but of course, you are also welcome to spend time in the classroom editing images and preparing your memory cards for the next activity. Leaving later in the afternoon will ensure you have plenty of time to capture the long shadows and the cats coming out to play, using your newly honed lion identification skills. After a classic Mara sundowner under a flat-topped acacia, the torches will come out and, with eyes peeled for nocturnal animals, your night drive will begin, before a late dinner back at camp.
After a full itinerary, the last day is an easy one, allowing the group to head out on a fun game drive, putting into practice everything you’ve learned over the last five days, as well as collecting the camera traps deployed earlier in the week. Following lunch back at camp, there will be a final editing session including looking through what the traps have captured and no doubt having a laugh or two! Returning from the final game drive, a farewell BBQ will be enjoyed by the candlelit pool with a chance to share stories, the best shots of the week and look up at a sky full of stars.
A relaxed morning and breakfast at camp before you say your goodbyes to the camp team and fellow adventurers. We'll wave you off as you head ,and head off to your next adventure.
This trip is designed for photographers of all abilities, whether you’re just starting out or are an avid wildlife photographer. We'll be on hand to help at all times, and you’ll receive the education and learning experience suited for your level. Whether that’s getting to grip with manual on your DSLR, or practising more advanced photography techniques, we'll mould the photography portion of the trip to your needs. The same applies to the post-production and/or editing sessions as we will also host one-to-ones tailored to your level, regardless of your experience. In terms of equipment, you will need a DSLR and half-decent long lens — 300 mm and above is perfect. Alongside that, some wider-angle lenses such as the 70-200 mm and 24-70 mm. If you don’t already own the kit, not to worry; there are plenty of reputable lens shops that rent out photography equipment for just such occasion and we're happy to recommend a local outfitter in your country of residence.
Leading the Workshop...
Lara Jackson (me!)
I am a conservation biologist and have been fortunate to visit much of the world through my research. Although I specialise in black rhino feeding ecology, I have also studied mouse lemurs in Madagascar and dolphins off the coast of Zanzibar. I am extremely passionate about preserving our world and am determined to ensure that there is a future for all species. I strongly believe that raising awareness and working closely with the local communities is the key to successful conservation efforts.
George is a UK-based wildlife photographer and photographic guide, spending most of his time in East Africa and beyond. His work has taken him from the rainforests of the Congo Basin, through to the northern climes of Canada photographing polar bears on foot. Following a brief stint as a creative in advertising, he has won a number of wildlife photography awards, as well as being widely published both nationally and internationally.
See some of his work here!
Tour leaders George Benjamin and Lara Jackson and all planned excursions, night drives, US$3,000 group donation split between MEP, The Maa Trust and MPCP and US$120 donation to Ol Chorro Rhino Sanctuary, full board accommodation at Naboisho from lunch on day one to breakfast on day seven, all house drinks (except premium wines and champagne), transfers to/from Mara Ol Seki airstrip and Naboisho, in-camp laundry service, conservancy bed-night fee, Asilia conservation fee, and Emergency Support Cover.
Asilia can happily assist and book your domestic flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport to Naboisho (domestic hub), as well as transfers to/from Nairobi Wilson airport and JKIA International airport.
Malaria tablets: please consult your doctor/local pharmacy
Yellow Fever inoculation: if travelling from a Yellow Fever country, please ensure you’re carrying the correct certification
What's Not Included
International flights, Kenya tourist visa ($50), Domestic flights and Gratuities/tips.
I'm in! How do I book?
We're so excited to to share the magic of Naboisho with you, and to shine a light on the incredible conservation projects that are making a difference to both the wildlife and members of local communities in the Mara.
Please fill out the enquiry form below and Asilia will be in touch to assist with your booking, as well as answer any questions that you might have.