Important notice: Jonathan Scott will be joining you on this safari.
The Mara River - A place where wildlife meets conflict: in its millions. The migration is a constant dynamic. But at one point during the cycle, a major obstacle stands in the way of the momentum. At first it causes a stutter and a pause, but then the surge comes, and millions of animals cross the Mara River in one of the most spectacular wildlife scenes on earth. C4 has reserved a small, intimate and private camp in the heart of the action in perhaps the best time of year to see this phenomenon.
This year marks C4 Photo Safaris tenth consecutive year leading photo safaris in the Masai Mara. We have always believed in leading from the front and so for our 2017 season we have arranged that Jonathan Scott will visit each of our safaris for one full day of the safari. You will be hosted by this legendary wildlife photographer of the Mara who have spent 40 years working here studying the ecosystem and the big cats.
Jonathan and Angela are the only couple to have both won the overall BBC wildlife photographer of the year award; they have written numerous books on the Mara and have produced many TV shows. The most well known being BBC’s Big Cat Diaries which was a worldwide success.
Jonathan will join us on each of our 2017 Mara Safaris to share his love of the Mara, inspire, educate and present talks on conservation to us in what is essentially, his home.
During their visit, you will have an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy time with one of the Masai Mara’s largest stars, learning from his experiences, sharing his company and being inspired by an extremely passionate and amazing individual.
We all know that the Mara is home to the ‘greatest show on earth’. So C4 decided to run the best photo safari we could muster in the heart of the greatest show. Its simple really - find a camp in the middle of the action, book it for 9 photographers with the best photo camp operator in the business and then have C4’s professional photographers personally guide you whilst on safari. Between the C4 guides there are more than 30 seasons in the Mara and they have mapped their own special places and secret spots, which they will share with you while driving around. The Mara is a very large system and much of the conventional tourist traffic concentrates on a small section of the river. There is so much to see and photograph and with the knowledgeable C4 professional wildlife photographers as your guides, you will always have the best positions available. You will be taken to the far-flung corners of the Masai Mara, you will not only get to experience the migration, but also the beauty, freedom and wilderness of one of Africa’s greatest ecosystems.
On this safari, there will be 3 vehicles with a maximum of 3 clients per long wheeled based vehicle, ensuring that everyone has ample room to photograph from. Brackets, braces and clamps can be fixed onto the rails on the vehicles for tripod heads and flash brackets. Everything is designed to aid your photographic enjoyment. There will be two C4 Photo guides rotating between the three vehicles.
C4 Photo Safaris, in the interest of your photographic excellence have negotiated a camp right in the heart of the action, in the middle of the Mara. This camp has a major Wildebeest crossing right in front of it, so you may be lucky to have a crossing while enjoying lunch one day!
Isak was born to be a photographer, but before he discovered this, he became an engineer. Once he picked up a camera, his engineering career came to an end and Isak has now established himself as one of the top bird photographers in Africa. The benefit of his engineering training is his flawless technical knowledge of camera systems and the post processing software that accompanies them.View Profile >
André grew up in the African bush with literally one hand on his binoculars and the other hand on the camera. An avid birdwatcher at that young age, he was given his first SLR in 1990. The passion of birding turned into one of photography and in 2004 Andre Founded C4 Photo Safaris with Shem Compion.View Profile >
Jonathan Scott is an award winning author and internationally renowned wildlife photographer based in Kenya, Africa. He and his wife Angela are the only couple to have individually won the Overall Award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition – Jonathan in 1987 and Angie in 2002.View Profile >
Arrive in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi in the early afternoon. A 45-minute road transfer will take you to the African elegance of the Nairobi Serena Hotel. You will spend the evening in the lush and open surrounds of the Serena Hotel. One of Nairobi’s original hotels, this hotel has all the comforts of the past with the convenience of the modern era: The perfect place to relax for the evening. Your C4 Photo Safari guide will make contact with you at the hotel to arrange dinner for the photography group and discuss the logistics of the following morning.
We depart for the Masai Mara for the 10am scheduled flight and touchdown at Ol-Kiombo Airstrip after a short 1-hour flight. From there we are transferred by road to our camp situated in the Mara. You will be staying in a classic East African style safari camp consisting of canvas tents, staffed by local Maasai. You will have en-suite bathrooms with flush loos, flowing water and hot showers. While traditional, the camp is comfortable with large beds and private verandah’s. In the afternoon we will sample one of Africa’s greatest ecosystems.
For these five full days, we will focus on showing you the best of the Masai Mara and this will include tracking the migration and getting to the heart of the action. You will be taken out each morning in first light. We will have Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles with roof top hatches and large windows from which to photograph. Each client will have their own row in the vehicle with open windows and hatch, ensuring that everyone has ample room to photograph from. Brackets, braces and clamps can be fixed onto the rails on the vehicles for tripod heads and flash brackets. Everything is designed to aid your photographic enjoyment.
Depending on how and where the migration is moving, we might spend whole days in the reserve taking a picnic lunch along with us. We will find the best crossing points on the Mara River and spend pleasant hours watching the wildebeest mass on the banks with hungry crocs waiting below. If we are patient enough and fortune favours us, we will witness a wildebeest crossing, arguably the most spectacular wildlife event on the planet. Beside the actual visual spectacle, the noise of the crossing is something that will never be forgotten. Besides tracking and following the migration, we will search for as many predators as possible,including cheetah, as the great plains are home to these majestic cats. You will also enjoy unfamiliar sights of general game such as Topi standing aloft termite mounds and tiny shy dik dik’s going about their daily routine. The Mara also houses some of the largest buffalo bulls on the continent and a huge density of raptors. A special for birders, amongst others, is the large and relatively common Rupell’s griffon.
Our time in the Masai Mara will not just be about the wildlife though. We will take you to seldom-visited parts of the ecosystem and indeed right up to the southern boundary where the Masai Mara and Serengeti adjoin. Here, there is little human traffic, and we will enjoy the peace and quiet of the great plains as well as some private game viewing. This element of our safari is unique as most safari operators concentrate all their efforts on the river but we feel that by combining superb game viewing with a wilderness experience, we will offer our guests the very best of the Masai Mara.
The evenings will be spent sitting around the campfire and dining on excellent camp cuisine. As the coals die down, the warm camp beds beckon and everyone retires to bed. The aim of this photo safari is to help you take amazing photographs and improve your own photography, no matter what level of photographer you are. The C4 photo guides will help you and during the safari will also present a series of photo critiques, lightroom and other slide show sessions in the evenings. These are always immensely popular and helps our clients gain some insight into the skill levels and experience of our guides- who easily impart their knowledge to you.
Should you have any other specific requirements, you are welcome to ask for your guides expert advice.
After a last morning game drive, we return to camp for a hearty brunch before departing to the airstrip at 12h00 where we return to Nairobi. A transfer back to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport/your hotel concludes the safari. Most of the international flights depart in the early evening and this fits with most connections. This is unfortunately the end of the tour and another special package from C4 Photo Safaris.
C4 Photo Safaris look forward to hosting you in the Mara for the greatest wildlife show on the planet.
Justly famed for its exceptional standards of efficiency, service and five-star hospitality, the elegantly sophisticated Nairobi Serena is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group and is consistently voted ‘Best Hotel in Nairobi' by airlines and international travel magazines alike. Despite its pivotal central location, the Serena Nairobi hotel remains true to its title and offers an oasis of serenity amidst the bustle of one of Africa's most vibrant capital cities.
The Nairobi Serena Hotel offers a number of dining experiences, and a selection of bars, coffee shops and café areas, both inside and out. The hotel also features a dedicated resident's lounge: The Bambara Lounge, which offers a café service, newspapers and private seating throughout the day. Or try our restaurant in Nairobi, the Mandhari, renowned for the excellence of its seasonally inspired menu and extensive wine cellars. An internationally-themed buffet breakfast and lunch are served in the Moroccan-styled Café Maghreb, which also features a table d'hôte dinner menu and 24-hour brasserie service.
C4 Images and Safaris has negotiated a private bush camp right near very close to Entim camp that we used in 2009/10.jpgs camp is situated in a forested area looking directly over a wildebeest crossing point on the Mara River. We will have the whole camp to ourselves, be far removed from other tourist areas and lodges yet still in the heart of the action.jpg tents are large luxury accommodation, with en-suite bathrooms and flush toilets. You will need to learn the phrase "duo maji moto", or "two hot waters" for your two hot water evening buckets for your shower.jpgs is the classic Hemingway styled safari. No luxury is spared, yet you are as far removed form any tourism, as Hemingway was. With your own view of the Mara River, there is no better place to be in the Masai Mara. Meals, prepared in traditional East African safari style by the camp chef, are taken in the large Mess Tent or under the stars. There will be a generator with battery bank to charge laptops and batteries.jpgentral tent will be the area from which to download and edit photographs during the quiet hours of the day or after your day's safari.
Picnic lunches can be taken on longer game drives and enjoyed al fresc while out exploring this vast and diverse area. Early evenings can be enjoyed over sundowner drinks in discreetly selected spots away from camp; or after a game drive and hot shower, around the campfire. The dining area offers a more intimate setting for our delicious home-cooked meals. We have a selection of house wines from the famous wineries of South Africa. Bread, cakes and pastries are all baked in camp, while fresh produce is flown in regularly. We aim to produce healthy, balanced and enticing menus, and are happy to cater to your individual requirements. If you wish you can dine privately on your own verandah, whilst enjoying the personal service of our helpful, well-trained staff.
30% deposit confirms your booking
Maximum of 9 clients. There will be 3 vehicles with max 3 clients per long wheeled based vehicle. There will be two C4 Guides that will rotate between the three vehicles.
Arrive in Kenya's capital of Nairobi in the early afternoon. A 45-minute road transfer will take you to the African elegance of the Serena hotel.
We depart for the Masai Mara at 10am on a scheduled flight. Touchdown at Ol-Kiombo Airstrip after a short 1-hour flight. From there we are transferred by road to our base camp situated in the actual Mara itself.
Out in the Mara each morning at first light.
Depart to be at the airstrip at 12h00 where we return to Nairobi. A transfer back to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport concludes the safari. Most of the international flights depart in the early evening and this fits with most connections.
"Photographically this was by far my most successful safari ever. Both Isak and Andre were fantastic. Although Ive been a photography addict since I was 16 years old, I learned a fortune from them both and my love for the medium was so strongly reinforced just because of this trip."Raphael Melnick
"We have to say that this was by far the best holiday that we have taken thanks to the knowledge and professionalism of Shem and Greg. Not only with the camera but also with the Masai Mara. When we originally booked this safari we wanted something different other than the Mala Mala experience. These guys delivered starting on the first evening out by taking us to see a Cheetah Malaika, with 5 beautiful cubs. On the second day we were very fortunate to witness a river crossing with a few crocodiles which made it perfect with all of the drama that was created when the Zebras and Wildebeests crossed the water. Shem and Greg also made us realize how important lighting is when photographing wildlife in Masai Mara. By maximizing the ’golden hours’ and taking us out at sunrise and sunset they contributed to making wildlife photography a memorable experience. We saw so many different animals than on our first safari. This included the sighting of a Pangolin, which was also a first for 2 of our drivers and 2 of our guides in all of their years in the Masai Mara! Karanjas photo is one of our favorite photos. It took several days to find this Black Rhin and not just any Black Rhin but this exquisite specimen. You have to agree by looking at the size of its horn. We were lucky on our last evening ride to notice a blur of him in the bush. However, because of all of the vehicles surrounding him he refused to come out into the open. But our group was committed to photographing Karanja and on the last day of the safari, and just before we departed, we were fortunate to find him in another location. He was lazing in the bush and it made it perfect for photographing as he was not a mere blur. The icing on the cake was when he stood up and felt relaxed enough to start walking and feeding around our vehicle. This allowed for excellent photography. Thank you and look forward to our next safari with C4! "Jimmy and Angie Sandoval
"My family and I have just been privileged and blessed to have spent 6 days in the Masai Mara with C4 images and Top Billing. I wanted to thank and commend Shem and Albie for the most awe inspiring and once in a life time experience. I know that their masterful and insightful bush knowledge, love of nature and their expert skill in capturing the moment in an image, have contributed to us enjoying the greatest show on earth to its fullest extent. Also having world class photographers in your vehicle, allows one to capture extra-special personal images to keep as a memory of that moment for life. We were lucky to witness rare and beautiful sightings of Cheetah and her 5 cubs, mating lions, a lion kill interaction with jackal and hyena, and a visceral wildebeest river crossing, all in one day.Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to Shem, Albie and Entim camp for a mind-blowing bucket list experience."Spencer Burke
"It had been my long time dream to photograph wildlife in the amazing Masai Mara and despite my very high expectations, this years trip with with Shem and Albie exceeded anything I had imagined. While the Mara did its best to deliver endless, amazing sightings -which Shem, Albie and our guide Sammy seemed to find on demand frolicking cheetah cubs, week old lion cubs, serval, a young family of jackal in the dawn light, two crossings, mating ostrich, the list goes on! - while our guides ensured that we were always positioned for the best light and in anticipation of where the action was moving to. But for me the real highlight of this trip was how Shem and Albie ensured that we took time to look up from the viewfinder and enjoy the whole Mara experience, finding amazing landscapes, portraying animals in their environment and imparting a wealth of knowledge about the ecosystem, behavior and of course photography. Thank you for delivering such a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable experience. You can be sure that I will return. David Hanrahan "David Hanrahan
"Maasai Mara September 2014 If you have any doubts about going to the Maasai Mara with C4 Safaris - just do it! We enjoyed a fabulous trip with C4 in September 2014 to see the Great Migration in the Mara and were fortunate enough to see three crossings during our stay. We have always booked previously with a UK based travel agent to ensure we had ABTA and ATOL protection. We discovered C4 by chance as we have never seen them advertise in the UK and after careful research, we decided to take a chance and book with C4 as we really liked their itinerary, choice of accomodation and most importantly their professional photographer guides looked very impressive. What a great decision! Everything was superb. Our initial contact email was responded to by Shem Compion himself, the company owner. Minette dealt with the booking process and the lens hire more later very efficiently and always responded quickly to my queries. Once at Nairobi, all of the housekeeping arrangements transfers and stopover hotel etc were excellent. Our small aircraft flight to the Mara was a great experience, our accomodation at the Entim Private Explorer Camp was very good and the food was acceptable. A key point for us was that the camp is inside the national park so we were not constrained by park entrance and closing times. The location, near the Mara river was fantastic and as the camp is unfenced animals can and do come very close to the tents on occasions. Going to bed to the sounds of the African Plains was a magical experience. Our game drives were incredible, our local guide, Anthony, was first class and regulalrly found us great sightings. Our photography guides, Isak and Heinrich were outstanding and both patiently helped us to improve our technique over the course of the trip. We really enjoyed their different personal styles and their company. We were also extremely lucky, the famous wildlife photogrpaher Art Wolfe was in the camp making a documentary and one evening after dinner Art spent over an hour critiquing some of our groups images, providing us with some invaluable feedback and encouragement. In summary, a wonderful trip to a stunning location to see one of nature’s great spectacles. This was our third trip to Africa in the last couple of years and as people warned us, we have definitely been bitten by the bug. Mark and Angela "Mark and Angela
"Our Maasai Mara photo safari with C4 Images exceeded our expectations! Izak was a perfect photo guide and Jackson a perfect guide/driver. Both are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and engaging. Together they delivered an experience full of learning, discovery and enjoyment. Our many animal sightings and up-close views of their behavior were amazing, and were the heart of the photo-safari experience. Izak and Jackson seemed to always have new surprises for us! Photo opportunities in abundance! Our C4 safari experience was great from beginning to end, from the 5-Star Serena Nairobi Hotel experience and luxury Entim Private Explorer Camp, to the amazing Maasai Mara itself."Larry and Carmen Stunkel
"The Mara and Entim camp exceeded my expectations for photographic opportunities and also the overall ambiance and experience. I of course expected and got nothing but the best from the gracious and helpful hosts Shem Compion and Albie Venter having already traveled with Shem to Botswana on a previous occasion. The Masai Mara is simply a wildlife photographers paradise and what better way to experience it than with C4 Images Safaris staying at the exclusive and small Entim private camp! Thanks! I wish I could go back tomorrow."Morden OHare
"My husband and I have just returned from a week long photography safari with C4 in the Maasai Mara. It was truly an amazing experience. We saw 5 crossings of which 4 was at the campsite were we stayed. As were our experience with previous trips with C4 the photographers that were the trip leaders were exceptional and extremely helpful. The practical organization of the trips are also of a very high standard and Minette is always very friendly and helpful with individual requests."Teresa Nel
"My first time on Safari and also first time in Africa. C4 and Kenya left a memorable mark on me and I definitely hope to go back to Africa and I would not hesitate to travel with C4 again. Unforgettable sightings, great tour leaders, impeccable service and amazing food at the camp. Unfortunately C4 couldnt deliver the best possible weather and light but I wont hold that against them ;)"Johan Siggesson
"The best wildlife experience of a lifetime. The location of the lodge within the Masai Mara reserve adds the extra time in the morning and evenings critical for photography. A must for any person planning to visit the Mara. Three photographers per vehicle only, a huge draw card!!"Henri and Melanie Loubser
"Awesome! Fabulous! What more can we say? Greg & Shem, your photographic skills, incredible enthusiasm, deep knowledge & love of the African wilderness enabled our keen Aussie group to experience the best of the best in the Samburu, Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara areas. A big thank you to you both and to our friendly & knowledgeable drivers and your great team who made it all happen. It was a totally enriching experience in so many ways and one which we will cherish for many years. We plan to return soon."Rosemary & Phil
"WOW! From the abundance of wildlife, to the jaw-dropping sight of the crossings, to the ever watchful eyes of Africas predator force and within all this organised chaos, the quiet and breath taking magnificence of the sunrise & sunset, this is a safari you have to do. Not forgetting our ever friendly, intrepid professionals, Shem Compion & Isak Pretorius, who take the art of wildlife photography to a new & inspiring level. Thank you both for making our trip that much more!"Michael an Lynette Borcherd
"What a magnificent experience! Thanks Shem for arranging a life changing trip for us! Thanks also for teaching me as a novice so much about photography in the short time we were able to spend together! We hope to be able to do this again in a few years!"Harty and Anne Borcherds
"If you like photography and animals there is no better tour on the planet. BBC type opportunities on a daily basis, expert photography tips and advice. What I hoped to see in 7 days we saw in one game drive!"Pieter de Weerdt
"I am returning to the Mara yet again with C4 this year from the USA. This will be my 6th trip to Africa and my 3rd with C4. I thought my comments might help those who are weighing and comparing all the options available for tourists who are looking for quality not only for photography but for the most up to date information on the animals and the environment. My first trips were with large companies who did a nice job for a first time tourist to Africa. We went from place to place to see the major attractions, spending quite a bit of time in pre-planned shops with lots of driving time. It is clear that much of the information regarding the animals rely on how much your driver knows about the area and much of the information is relayed via phone to other drivers. If you are weighing expenses, consider the time you are actually spending doing what you came to do and then factor in the cost of the best training (in my opinion) for photographing those things and there is no comparison. Not to mention the amazing Masai who just cant do enough for you and I have come to look forward to seeing again. I would welcome any questions anyone might have about C4 and all the top of the line photographers and support that represent it. N Im not paid to do this, I dont hesitate to comment on excellence, it is valuable to those who are researching their next trip."Linda Morisson
"It was a life-long dream to see the abundant wildlife on the plains of the Mara and I finally got my opportunity to go with Shem and C4 Images & Safaris in September 2010. To say that I had high expectations from this trip would have been an understatement in the extreme. Yet, the Mara delivered massively and it was everything I had hoped for and so much more. The quality of the sightings is truly impressive even without any Wildebeest crossings as the abundance of predators is simply sublime. We were so fortunate to add to that, several Wildebeest crossings; one of several thousand and that is an experience which I will never forget. It was very comforting being with C4 Safaris who managed the logistics and travel arrangements with aplomb. Not once was I uncertain over what to expect or where to go and what to do and that is testimony to the experience that Shem and his guides bring to the overall experience. I cannot recommend this tour more highly for anyone who wants to add this to their bucket list.jpgk you Shem, Greg, Andre and Minette for a most memorable experience!"Ian Weatherburn
"The trip to the Masai Mara was a trip of a lifetime. We had incredible sightings and Shem Compion and Greg du Toit were always on hand to share their experience with us. We were not serious photographers when we set out on the trip but I think the bug has bitten after experiencing the incredible sightings we had. The arrangements for and during the trip were efficient and well planned. We can highly recommend C4 Images and Safaris to anyone who is considering a trip. "Frank and Heather Ferreira
"The Masai Mara 2009 tour far exceeded all of my expectations. It was an enjoyable blend of great wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities. The experience and knowledge of both Shem Compion and Greg du Toit made the tour one of the most constructive holidays of my life. "Neil McDonald
"The saying that the migration of wildebeest in the Masai Mara is the greatest natural show on earth is a reality. Everything in the Masai Mara is outstanding and can only aptly be described by adjectives such as its golden grasslands, big skies, prolific wildlife, unbelievable predator sightings, breathtaking sunsets/rises, red-robed Maasai people and many more. In addition to its visual attractiveness, a visit to the Masai Mara is an emotional experience."Andre Lighthelm
"Well run trip for the avid photographer. Lots of time to take the pictures and lots of different wildlife to see. With most things, a certain element of luck is involved so one must enjoy the experience as best as possible. Will be back again"Gary Hughes