Published: June 21st 2011June 21st 2011
Learn to take great wildlife photographs with a true professional.
Kenya safari photography workshop
A one week safari in Kenya designed especially for photographers, staying six nights in Kenya’s finest wildlife area, the Mara ecosystem, and escorted by well-known wildlife Photographer Paolo Torchio. The safari spends time in two exclusive wildlife conservancies in the Mara eco-system: Ol Kinyei Conservancy and Olare Orok Conservancy as well as in the Mara Reserve.
Accommodation is at the Mara Porini Camp and Porini Lion Camp. These are small authentic bush camps with no more than 10 guest tents so that you will have just a few other like-minded people as company. The Porini Safari Camps offer visitors the experience of staying in small, high quality safari camps located in exclusive wildlife conservancies in some of the finest big game areas in Africa. Here you will escape from the crowds and experience the African wilderness without the presence of other tourist vehicles and with the personal attention of Paolo Torchio, your photographer escort. The advantage of being in the conservancies is the absence of other tourist vehicles with no minibuses to be seen.
Please note that the bush camps are traditional
safari camps, which do not have permanent structures, restaurant or swimming pools. They provide an authentic safari experience with comfortable accommodations in spacious tents. The guest tent have en-suite bathrooms with proper flush toilets and safari showers which utilise canvas buckets filled with hot water piped to a normal shower head. The camps have solar power and cameras can be recharged daily in the manager’s office.
Transport from Nairobi to the Mara is by scheduled flights to avoid a long journey over bumpy roads and to give more time to viewing the wildlife. From the camps, game drives are taken in open-sided 4×4 safari vehicles with experienced safari driver-guides.
Paolo Torchio was born in Turin, Italy, in 1961 and came to Kenya in 1990. A keen photographer since childhood, he was immediately captivated by the African wildlife and wilderness areas that he encountered, and quickly made the country his home.
Paolo's work has appeared in a host of other Kenyan wildlife and travel magazines, including Travel News, Kenya Birding, and About Kenya, as well as in some illustrious wildlife magazines elsewhere in the world. Paolo's photography has earned widespread acclaim. In 2006 he was declared Overall Winner
of the East African Photographer of the Year Award.
His photographs and articles documenting aspects of the region's animal, bird and insect life have appeared regularly in Swara, the quarterly magazine of the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS), where they are seen all over the world.
Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi, where you will be met by one of our friendly representatives who will transfer you to the Fairview Hotel Nairobi for 1 night on Bed & Breakfast basis. On this first day you will be met by Paolo Torchio for an initial briefing and welcome.
Day 2: After breakfast you will be picked up and transfer to Wilson Airport for the 50 minute flight to the Mara, landing at Siana airfield from where you will be transferred to Mara Porini Camp for 2 nights. On arrival you will be met by your Driver & Guide, who will take you to Mara Porini Camp. After lunch, time to settle in and depart on an afternoon Game drive in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy to photograph the wildlife. Return back to Camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: A full day to enjoy drives and walks within the
Ol Kinyei Conservancy to photograph the wildlife for which the Mara is famous. Night game drives, with spotlight, will also be taken. Return back to Camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: A full day is spent traversing the Mara Reserve from Ol Kinyei to Olare Orok, with a picnic lunch en route and plenty of time for game viewing in the Mara Reserve. Arrive to Porini Lion Camp late afternoon, where you will stay for the next 4 nights.
Day 5: A full day to enjoy drives and walks within the Olare Orok Conservancy & Mara Reserve to photograph the wildlife for which the Mara is famous. Night game drives, with spotlight, will also be taken. Return back to Camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: A full day to enjoy drives and walks within the Olare Orok Conservancy & Mara Reserve to photograph the wildlife for which the Mara is famous. Night game drives, with spotlight, will also be taken. Return back to Camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: A full day to enjoy drives and walks within the Olare Orok Conservancy & Mara Reserve to photograph the wildlife for which the Mara is famous. Night game
drives, with spotlight, will also be taken. Return back to Camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Today is your final morning in the Mara. Depart on an early morning game drive, returning back to Porini Lion Camp for breakfast. After breakfast, you will transfer to the Ol Kiombo airstrip in the Mara to fly back to Nairobi. Either continue your trip down to the Coast or return back to the UK.
best time to go
All year is good for game viewing in the Mara Eco system. April/May and November are the wet seasons. July-October is the annual migration, so offers superb photographic opportunities during these months.
How this vacation makes a difference
The local Maasai communities have set aside the Ol Kinyei Conservancy and the Olare Orok Conservancy as reserves for wildlife, and in return receive an income from tourism activities. This is used to fund community projects such as schools and water supplies. Employment opportunities have also been provided for the local Maasai people in both conservancies as game rangers, trackers, and camp staff. Apart from the management and Head Cook, all other staff in the camps and Conservation Areas are members of the local community.
The group ranches are located near the main parks and are crucial wildlife dispersal areas. The Mara eco-system where Ol Kinyei and Olare Orok Conservancies are located, is under serious threat of being degraded and fragmented as the Mara is being divided into individually owned plots. Tracts of wildlife habitat are being permanently lost with this subdivision of the group ranches. Many small individual landowners are now selling their plots to the highest bidders, who are setting up non-sustainable mass market concrete lodges or becoming involved in intensive farming and fencing off of their small holdings. Snaring of herbivores and poisoning of big cats has increased and wildlife is being driven out.
Previously, the Maasai were entirely dependent upon their livestock and in dry seasons they used unreliable water sources including boreholes with pumping equipment which was no longer properly maintained. As a result there had been degradation of the environment through over-grazing and the community had suffered hardship during the increasingly frequent periods of drought. Since the conservancies were set up, the communities where our camps are located are now receiving regular quarterly payments of the fees without delays. Bednight fees and visitor entry fees have increased greatly
this year as a result of improving tourism. Over US $120,000 a year is now flowing to the group ranches' accounts with no associated costs and a further US $110,000 a year is going to the communities in wages.
As a result of the community receiving direct benefits from wildlife there has been a change in attitude towards the concept of wildlife conservation. The community members have given their positive support to conservation and there is no snaring or harassing of wildlife within the three conservancies. The members see the wildlife as a resource which belongs to them and are enthusiastic about encouraging wildlife to move into their conservancies. They also recognize the vast improvement in vegetation and grass cover within each conservancy which is now a valuable source of controlled grazing for livestock during severe drought periods.
Since the conservancies were established there has been a big increase in biodiversity. Our camps are run and maintained with the conservation of the environment at the forefront. We have a written environmental policy for water, land, energy, solid waste and sewage which is adhered to by the camp management. The numbers of tourist visitors are being limited to retain
the wild and unspoilt nature of the area and to minimise the impact on the environment.
During their stay guests have various opportunities to learn about the local Maasai people and how the conservancies and camps’ goals are aligned with theirs. Maasai warriors escort guests on a walk in the conservancies where they can learn about how the various indigenous animals and plants are used by the community and how their way of life is intertwined with their surroundings.
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