Big Cats Of The Masai Mara African Big Cat Photo Safari

FEB 2018

Back by popular demand we are proud to announce our next Big Cats Of The Mara photography workshop!

The Masai Mara really is the place to see the Big Cats in the wild; home to the BBC’s Big Cat Diary series. The opportunities to observe and photograph Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and so much more are amazing, drawing Richard here year after year.

Fancy improving your photography and working out in the field alongside Richard with wild cats?

Read on to find out more…


Leopard black and white photograph taken in the Masai Mara
Cheetah image, taken on a wildlife photography workshop run in the Masai Mara, Kenya, Africa.
Lion portrait with story sky behind.

Many photographers run tours to the Mara but Richard’s images speak for themselves as to his experience and skill working in Africa with Big Cats. Richard works alongside award standard guides, initially hand picked years ago and as much a part of the trip as the wildlife. Always putting his hard earned photographic and animal experience to work for you alongside the amazing tracking skill of those guides, you will be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of everything the Mara offers.

Richard will be on hand every step of the way to improve your technical and field craft skills whilst out on the plains, taking your photography to the next level all whilst having a blast. Whether you are a well seasoned snapper or absolute beginner you will be able to learn and grow, returning with images to be proud of as well as skills that you will carry with you on your next photographic endeavours.


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    FEB 2018

    Depart 17th February

    Return 24th February

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    BUSH CAMP

    Luxury camp
    Olare Motorogi Private Conservancy
    Learn with Richard out in the wilds of Africa

Lion silhouette, black and white outline taken in the Masai Mara but wildlife photographer Richard Costin.

Lion yawning in early morning golden light.

Highlights

  • Work alongside Richard
  • Wild Lion, Cheetah & Leopard
  • Luxury camp & award standard guides
  • All inclusive, including all flights

This Safari will be small intimate groups working directly alongside Richard. His down to earth, no nonsense approach to teaching and photography means anyone with any level of gear will enjoy this trip. Spending thousands of pounds on gear a photographer does not make, although if you have it bring it along!! Field-craft, patience and technique are what you will learn putting what you do have to best use.

Richard will be directing the vehicles exactly as he does when working alone, the same way that has enabled him to take the images he has published the world over. Once back in camp there will be informal sessions on digital workflow, raw processing and anything else, preferably with a cold drink in hand! We run focused trips, working hard to get the shots but all the while, never loosing the important sense of fun. That’s why Richard does what he does, a love of animals and sheer enjoyment.

The trips are strictly limited to 8 people with a maximum of 4 guests per vehicle (vehicle’s normally carry 6 or more guests). This is hugely important and often glossed over elsewhere. You really do need room to move around in the vehicles to make the most of the opportunities that we work hard to get and these vehicles allow for this when not full to capacity. There will be no waiting your turn on either side of the 4×4 and you will have ample room to have your equipment ready to use at a moment’s notice.

Lion Eyes, taken on Safari in Africa by wildlife photographer Richard Costin
All flights, food and drink included.

THE CONSERVANCY

Olare Motorogi

Richard prefers to run not only the workshops but his own freelance African photography in the private conservancies that border the main Mara reserve. But why?

The main advantage is the much calmer environment where numbers of people are strictly limited. The crowds of 30+ vehicles (per sighting) that can be seen in the main reserve are never a risk in the conservancy in which we base our tours.

The rules also allow us to make our own informed choices about a sighting. Extending a trust to our guide’s tracking and animal welfare skills that pays dividends in terms of sightings and photo opportunities. Those who are located in the main reserve are strictly prohibited from entering the conservancy which ensures a much more natural environment in which we can work. If and when the need arises however we are allowed to enter the main reserve. Flexibility is a key part of our tours and this really does let us have our cake and eat it!

This tour is heading out in mid February which is a fantastic time to experience the Mara. Less people are on the plains whilst the Mara’s cats are mostly resident and of course needing to hunt almost daily. This makes for a very productive and pleasant experience in which to work within the Mara ecosystem and is one of Richard’s favourite times to visit.

African landscape shot. Taken in one of the conservancies in the Masai Mara, Africa.
Male Lion photograph from photography workshop with Richard Costin.

These conservancy is home to an abundance of animals including all the big cats for which the Mara is famous. They form part of a vital buffer zone between the Mara Reserve and the wildlife dispersal areas surrounding it, covering an area of thousands of acres directly adjoining the Maasai Mara National Reserve; creating areas of outstanding beauty and importance for wildlife.

This conservancy offers pleasant and exclusive viewing of game in a pristine environment with a rich and diverse wildlife population rarely found anywhere else on the African savannah. This area is included in Richard’s top locations list and many of his most widely published and award winning pictures have been taken within its borders.

This is a wonderful, relatively undisturbed part of the Maasai Mara ecosystem, with good populations of both predators and herbivores, including many Elephants. Rhino and wild dog have also been sighted occasionally.


THE CAMP

Kicheche Bush camp.

A small, intimate tented camp located right in the heart of Olare Motorogi. Very (very!) comfortable with amazing staff, food and all the comforts you could possibly need. It is the perfect way to have a safe & genuine African experience. The tents are of the fully sealed, semi-permanent variety with private toilets as well as hot showers available inside after each afternoon drive. A large comfortable bed will greet you at the end of the day, available as double or twin.

Evening meals around the campfire are great and can all be washed down with cold beer, wine, juice or something stronger. It is perfectly situated just outside of the main Mara park to allow us an easy access should we need to venture in for something specific.

Luxury safari camp in the masai mara
dining out in the bush on Richard Costin's Wildlife photography workshop.

The camp is of a very high, award standard with regards to eco tourism. When the weather allows (which is more often than not) they are fully solar powered and all material is recycled.

Full charging options are on had to keep our gear running both back at camp and even within the customised safari vehicles in a battery emergency.

bush living out in the masai mara whilst out on a photo workshop in search of big cats.Outside dining in the masai mara.
camera equipment charging with laptop processing images taken out on a wildlife photography workshop in AfricaCamping or glamping out in the wilds of africa.

GAME DRIVES

WORKING IN THE MARA

You will work in the exact same way Richard works when out on his private projects. That can be summed up simply as working smart, determined and flexible. We leave camp at approximately 5am (after your morning coffee has been brought to your tent) and make our way to the destination chosen for that morning.

Richard’s flexible work ethic means we will be ready on any given day to either stay close to camp or travel out far and wide pending the animal movements. We also work smart; our extensive experience means we go for the predictive approach rather than the clumsy reactive one.

Knowledge of the animal’s behavior is a key component to wildlife photography and this allows us to usually predict where the animal will be in a few minutes time when we are on a sighting. This allows the animal to come to us which is a much better experience, most importantly for the wildlife as it puts them at ease as but for us as well. This gives us the most time to prepare for a chosen shot. This ‘micro-risk’ method Richard has developed means we sometimes miss ‘regular’ shots but more often than not come away with something much more special than the simple, drive up and shoot technique achieves.

wildlife photographer Richard Costin preparing his safari 4x4 toyota land cruiser for a day of photography
sun downers out on the plains of the masai mara reserve

Most days are split into two drives. The morning drive usually ends around 12 o’clock to allow us to rest and escape the mid day heat. The cats do the same and it allows for a far more focused afternoon drive, heading out around 4 o’clock and returning after sunset for hot showers and drinks around the fire before dinner.

The vehicles are custom modified Toyota Land Cruisers. Although able to take 6 or even 9 people, we strictly limit the numbers to 4 in the main area (with Richard huddled up front in the passenger seat). This is so everyone has freedom of movement as well as allowing ample room for equipment. There is absolutely no need to take turns on a sighting and the open nature of the vehicle allows for everyone to get high or low in the car for the shot you are after all at the same time.

photography safari out in africa in search of lion, leopard and cheetah
workshop guests working at sunset photographing big cats with wildlife photographer Richard Costin

BOOKING SECURITY

All bookings are made through our partnership with the fantastic Safari Consultants. A UK based tour operator offering full ATOL bonding for the safari and flights as well as a wealth of experience and knowledge of African tourism. Richard uses and relies on them for all his African travel and they are great!


Leopard portrait
All workshops are ATOL protected for your financial security.

Leopard portrait
Leopard portrait
Lion walking through the masai mara
Saddlebill Stork bird photo, taken in the masai mara, kenya, africa by wildlife photographer Richard Costin
Buffalo
Elephant portrait taken in the masai mara
Lion cub drinking from pool in the masai mara.

COST

Unlike a lot of other tours, this includes international flights from the UK all fully ATOL bonded. Please get in touch for alternate costing/options for travellers coming from outside the UK.

* Costs are given on a shared basis (couples of course kept together), all tents have private wash area and are available with either twin beds or a double. If we are unable to pair you prior to travel there may be an additional fee involved. Single occupancy can also be pre arranged at additional cost.

* Our prices here are correct at the time of writing and the Kenyan fees are displayed in US dollars to allow for consistency of price on the web site.

* To bring a great value trip to you we work with very tight margins from our operators. To that end the trip prices quoted are based on the assumption of a minimum of four persons travelling in total for this trip. Should we for some reason not meet this minimum requirement we will offer you either a full refund or the opportunity to still join us with a slight fee increase.

For more information regarding booking conditions, please see the “small print enlarged” section below or contact Safari Consultants on +44(0)1787 888 590.

$4500 US plus £885 GBP

Why the double pricing above?

Due to the highly changeable nature of the Pound vs the Dollar at the moment we are quoting the Kenyan costs in Dollars here on the web site to ensure consistency with the information. The total will be converted to your chosen payment currency at the time of booking pending the exchange rates and chosen/available flight options at the time.

INCLUDED


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    Flights

    Trip includes all you flights, including international UK departures. If travelling from outside the UK, please get in touch for details.

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    Full board

    Food and drinks included. Meals cooked fresh in camp each day & picnic breakfasts taken out to maximise morning safari opportunities.

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    Extra luggage weight

    Luggage allowance increase on the internal flight from the standard 22kg to 32 kg for all your gear. Allowing for more flexibility when packing.

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    Exclusive vehicle use

    We have full, sole use of the custom 4x4s. We have absolute control over our activities. No sharing with easily bored muggles!

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    Reserve entry

    The conservancies are Richard’s preferred stomping grounds but we can enter the reserve if something special is happening in there.

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    Richard

    Work alongside Richard out in the field as well as workflow and processing workshops. He is yours to use and abuse!

LIFE ON SAFARI

Leopard in a tree staring at wildlife photographer Richard Costin
Cheetah photograph taken against the sky on photography class with Richard Costin
Wild Lion close up photo
Zebras in the Masai Mara
Rather than describe to you here about Life on Safari with Richard we WILL just show you!
Each trip Richard live blogs about the daily activities of the groups, click here to check it out and get a taste of life on the workshops.

Watch the slideshow video below, all featured images taken out on tour with Richard…

Guests working with interesting angles on a photograpy workshop with wildlife photographer Richard Costin
Richard Costin working with guests on an Africa photography safari
Guests on Richard Costin's safari workshop class photographing Leopard Cubs near the camp.
4x4 safari vehicle customised for photography on the african plains

THE SMALL PRINT (ENLARGED)


Whilst some like to gloss over the following, we feel it is important to note that this trip is a genuine safari experience, therefore..

All stages of this trip are well planned and run by very experienced people. However, it is called wildlife for a reason. Although it is extremely unlikely to return from a drive in the Mara empty handed, we are ultimately only able to show you the wildlife in Mara as it is, wild. So please be aware that we cannot 100% guarantee a sighting of a particular species. Please be assured however our guides live and breath the Mara every day and are superb trackers of award standard. As well we like to think Richard’s photos speak for themselves. The Mara is one of the best places to see these animals in the wild but you must be prepared for some periods of waiting and that some drives will be better than others. Richard and the team will be doing everything possible to make this a trip to remember but we feel it is only fair to remind you that this is wildlife; a trip to the zoo it isn’t!

Likewise, the weather is beyond our control but we will be prepared to go out in all conditions come rain or shine. This can however have knock on effects for special excursions like the early morning balloon rides (if you decided to book one). We will always press ahead regardless of the weather as long as it is safe. People who can put things into perspective and enjoy whatever nature has in store will get the most from this trip, even those who wish to come without cameras and simply observe the wildlife.

This trip is suitable for ages 8 and over providing appropriate behaviour in the vehicles and around the camp is maintained. Should an individual behave inappropriately, Richard and/or Kicheche reserve the right to restrict that person’s safari activities without refund. This is to ensure a fair and enjoyable trip for all guests. We have never had to do this though and hope we never will!

There is very little walking or physical exertion required. However, please note that the ride can be bumpy when driving from location to location. If this may be a cause for concern, please get in touch for further information. All correspondence is held in the strictest confidence and the camp is very accommodating to all needs and something can always be worked out as long as we know in advance.

The price stated includes the current fuel surcharges being levied by the relevant airlines. We will not surcharge this price unless further fuel surcharges exceed 2% of the total cost of this itinerary, in which case you will only be surcharged the amount which is over and above the 2% surcharge.

To bring a great value trip to you we work with very tight margins from our operators. To that end the trip prices quoted above are based on the assumption of a minimum of four persons travelling in total for this trip. Should we for some reason not meet this minimum requirement, we will off you either a full refund or the opportunity to still join us with a modest fee increase. For more information regarding this please contact Safari Consultants on +44(0)1787 888 590.

Exchange rates: Please note that the exchange rates between the SA Rand and/or US$ dollar and UK£ pound are currently extremely volatile, with the recent trend being a huge devaluation of our UK£ pound. As many costs relating to your holiday are paid in either of these currencies, the price of your holiday is closely linked with these exchange rates. For this quotation, we have used the current exchange rates, however, we will need to reconfirm the holiday price with you at the time of booking.

Please see section 8 of Safari Consultant’s terms and conditions for further details of the pricing policy.

It is a requirement that UK flights are arranged through Safari Consultants.

If you have any further questions please simply get in touch and we will be happy to answer all your queries.

GET IN TOUCH

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Elephant, black and white wildlife photo by Richard Costin

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