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NatureScapes Photography Workshop - The Great Migration in Kenya, Africa with Piper Mackay - August 2013
The Great Migration
Kenya, Africa

This is an African photographic safari that is especially timed for the annual wildebeest migration, known as the greatest wildlife show on earth. This safari is all about the photography with a focus on the migration crossing the Mara River. We will be staying at two different locations in the Mara as well as at a private reserve where we can drive off road and at night. Piper has spent the past 8 years going to the Mara during the migration and she knows the traditional crossing points as well as where the predator’s territories are! You will feel like you have stepped into wildlife documentary film and you will be overwhelmed by the plethora of exotic wildlife.


Day 1, August 10

Depart on your wildlife adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2, August 11

Arrive Nairobi, Kenya and transfer to your comfortable hotel.

Day 3, August 12

Today you will awake to the exotic birdcalls in a magical new world with the aroma of Kenyan coffee brewing. We will meet at breakfast for a safari briefing driving to the local airport for our flight to the Maasai Mara. We will arrive at camp with enough time to settle in before lunch with a little time to relax before we head out on our first game drive.

The camp is positioned to blend unobtrusively into the surrounding vegetation and has an authentic safari feel of days gone by. There is no better way to experience Africa than by spending a few nights under canvas and there is no better way to photograph than by camping in the heart of the migration! Sitting close to the camp fire at night, you will enjoy the starry African night and once safely escorted to your tent by your Masai watchman, you will be lulled asleep to the sound of grazing Hippo and roaring lion.

Day 4–6, August 13–15

Rise early today. As the cool, fresh air fills your lungs you’ll feel invigorated and rejuvenated, ready for a great day on safari. Roll down the windows or stand up through the customized roof hatch and enjoy this unhindered 360 views, and the possibilities for what lies ahead.

We will spend the next 3 full days in and around the Talak area of the Mara. This is one of the richest predator areas of the Mara and will be our focus for these three days. However, this is one of the most lush reserves in Africa and we will probably see Elephants, Hippos, Masai giraffe, common zebra, gnu, impala, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles, Topi, Hartebeest, Black-backed jackal, spotted hyena and more during these three days. We will also be in radio connection with colleagues and guides to keep a watch out for a build up of the migration and a possible crossing. We are close enough to the river that if we get word, we will race off for a large crossing.

Day 7, August 16

We will have a morning game drive and breakfast and then game drive our way to our next camp located along the Mara River. This camp is also positioned to blend unobtrusively into the surrounding vegetation with a view of the Mara river.

We will settle in and have some time to relax before our afternoon game drive. We will stay on constant alert for a possible river crossing and be prepared to go at a moments notice!

Day 8 & 9, August 17 & 18

Our location here is positioned so we can get across to the other side of the Mara River quickly, where we may have a chance at a large herd crossing straight at us. Getting a crossing takes time and patients, many times waiting along the edge of the river for hours or a full day. I actually enjoy sitting along the river with many others in anticipation of witnessing one of the greatest events on this planet! It is a great time to discuss photography and view images. Our guides are experts and if there is not a large build up we will not wait, but game drive near the crossing locations and keep in contact with any action near the crossing points.

Day 10, August 19

We will have a morning game drive with one last chance of a massive crossing. We then make our way across the Mara to a private conservation area. We will have time to settle into our cottages that overlook our own private waterhole. In this area we will be able to drive off road and go out for night game drives.

Day 11, August 20

Full day in the Naboisho Conservancy.

Day 12, August 21

We have one last morning game drive before heading to the airstrip to catch our charted plane back to Nairobi. We will then be transferred to day rooms until it is time for your departure. You will be transferred to the airport for you departure home.

Day 13, August 22

Arrive home.

Safari Highlights

We have private 9 passenger 4X4 Land Cruisers with only 3 people per vehicle. Every person will have their own row with 2 window seats available for the best viewing and photographic opportunities.

  • Luxury accommodations in a small private tented camps
  • Experiencing the greatest migration on Earth.
  • Safari is limited to 8 participants, plus Piper
  • This safari focuses on getting incredible images, we will push hard spending most of our time in the field and not back at camp having a nice meal, this is all about wildlife photography.
  • Staying at multiple locations in the Mara and Mara to increase the chance at witnessing a massive crossing
  • Staying in a private reserve where we can go off road and do night game drives.

Is this trip for you?

We welcome photographers of ALL levels who are serious about wildlife and nature photography. This safari is focused on producing quality images and is timed during the great migration. Capturing high quality images requires patience, which means we may have to stay with a subject some times for an hour or more. If your objective is to have the highest quantity of images rushing to every subject as though you are on a race to be the first one to fill up your memory cards and check off a list, then this is not the right safari for you. During this safari we will see a vast variety of exotic wildlife, however some special subjects may require spending some time watching their behavior and waiting for those special moments. This is when patience pays off and rewards you with extraordinary photographs. We will spend most of our time and effort in the field unless it is quiet and the light is just too harsh and we return our camp/lodge for the mid-day break. This also means there will be many mornings and some lunches that will be box meals in the field rather than at the lodge.

This is not a formal workshop so there will not be any formal lectures, slide shows, or formal instruction but Piper will be available to help you throughout the safari. She is very passionate about Africa and photography and loves to share her knowledge and experiences. She is available to you for any questions while in the field on such topics as composition, camera settings, pan blurs, or any photography related questions including marketing, branding, and creating a niche. When we have an afternoon break she will be happy to review your images or portfolios. If there is time, she also likes to share some of her artistic post processing that she does using NIK software. This is largely why the group sizes are kept small, so that she can assist you when you need help and spend quality time with you in an amazing location.

The Cost

The cost of this safari is $8,995 per person. The price is based on double occupancy; single room supplement is $1,000 if available. Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then a single supplement will be charged (up to, but not exceeding the full sharing cost). If we are unable to match a solo guest with another guest of the same gender, then the single supplement will be charged.


  • In-country flights
  • First class accommodations
  • Guaranteed row and window seat in private 4X4 Land cruisers
  • All National Parks and Game Reserves entrance fees
  • All meals
  • Membership to the Flying Doctors Service while on Safari

Does Not Include:

  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal purchases (including curious, spirit liquors, telephone calls, internet, laundry, etc.)
  • Gratuities
  • Optional extra activities (balloon rides, walking safaris, etc.)
  • Pre- and post-safari tours
  • Meals or accommodation before or after the safari (except as noted in the detailed itinerary)
  • International flights to and from the African Continent

If you would like to register for this workshop, please fill out the registration form. A non-refundable deposit (listed above) is required to reserve your spot. Please refer to our workshop information section for our cancellation and refund policies.

Workshop Information
  • Dates: Aug. 10-22, 2013 (6 openings)
  • Cost: $8,995
  • Deposit: $1,500
  • Participants: 8

Piper Mackay

Piper Mackay is a freelance cultural documentary and wildlife photographer. Her work is heavily concentrated on the African continent, a land she fell in love with when she first touched foot on its rich red soil. Her passion for the natural world has grown into a lifelong commitment to inspire others to explore, respect and preserve the beauty of our fragile planet.

Her work is licensed through Getty Images. Continue reading »