Join Jonathan Scott, aka the Big Cat Man, on a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience in the Masai Mara, Kenya. Based at Governors' Camp, where the Big Cat Diary film crew stayed for the filming of the BBC's nature documentary series, some of the most amazing wildlife viewing opportunities in the world await just beyond your tent. Daily activities consist of early morning and afternoon game drives and while some days may incorporate bush lunches, sundowners or bush dinners, others will return to the camp for meals or midday leisure time where guests can relax and watch out for the game that passes the lodge.
Custom-made 4x4 safari vehicles guarantee every passenger a window seat as guests set out into the Mara wilderness on morning and afternoon game drives. Spend three days of this safari experience with Jonathan Scott, who will accompany the group on game drives and share his expertise with presentations on the landscapes of the Mara, the Great Migration, professional wildlife photography and, of course, the big cat families whose lives he knows so intimately. The Marsh Pride of Lions tend to spend time around the marsh near the camp, following the wildebeest herds, and cheetah are also frequent in the area, preying on young impala and gazelle.
October in the Mara is the end of the dry season and the days often begin and end with spectacular orange sunrises and sunsets. By this time the grasslands have been grazed short by large zebra and wildebeest herds which have usually already begun their long trek back to the Serengeti: witnessing a river-crossings though never a certainty are a highlight of any game drive with the thrill of encounters with the Mara's legendary big cats a daily occurrence. This tour offers an additional hot air balloon experience as the movement of these immense herds is best viewed from above. Topi, gazelle, impala and warthog are raising young at this time. Gentle family groups of African elephant with calves are a common sight around camp as they wander through the riverine forest.
Day 1 Depart London Heathrow on an overnight flight at 18:25, landing at 05:00 on 9th October in Nairobi
Day 2 On arrival you will be met and transferred to Wilson Airport for your light aircraft flight to the game-rich Masai Mara. You will then be transferred by road to Governors Private Camp – your home for the next six nights – with game viewing opportunities available en-route. Your accommodation will be tented and all meals, game drives and park fees are included.
Day 3 Rise early this morning to head out in a 4x4 safari vehicle just after sunrise with the camp’s knowledgeable wildlife guides. Return to camp for breakfast and then head out again till lunchtime. Morning and afternoon game drives tend to last around three hours and their locations are decided on the day, based on the movements of the animals. Whilst you’re out on safari, Jonathan Scott will arrive at the camp and will join the group for lunch, after which he will offer a presentation on the Masai Mara, in which he has lived and worked for decades. In the afternoon, Jonathan will join the group on a game drive and provide his own commentary on the day’s wildlife sightings. The remainder of the afternoon will be spent relaxing and socialising in the camp before Jonathan gives a pre-dinner talk on Big Cats and Photography. Having made a living studying these magnificent creatures and photographing their most captivating and intimate moments, he’s the man to learn from if you’re keen to improve your wildlife photography skills.
Day 4 This morning’s early morning game drive will also be accompanied by Jonathan. Back at the camp, he will talk about the Mara’s most fascinating natural phenomena, the Great Migration before you sit down for lunch. No time spent with Jonathan Scott is complete without hearing about his fascinating life. While he’s always friendly and ready to share any of his enthralling stories at any time, he will also give a pre-dinner talk covering his life story, explaining how a man from the south of England with a passion for big cats became one of the most well-known wildlife experts and photographers in Africa.
Day 5 Get up at the crack of dawn for an early morning game drive with Jonathan before heading back to the camp to enjoy breakfast. After your final game drive and lunch with Jonathan, he will depart in the afternoon leaving you to continue your safari experience with the camp’s other extremely knowledgeable park guides.
Day 6 Embark on morning and afternoon game drives. In October the bush surrounding the lodge is teeming with migratory birdlife. Governors’ Camp have specialist ornithologist guides who, during your time on safari, are on hand to point out European and White-fronted bee-eaters, Montague and Pallid harriers, Common kestrels, Steppes eagles, African cuckoos, Spoon-billed storks and, if you’re lucky, rare Egyptian vultures.
Day 7 Today perhaps opt to take your safari experience into the skies: hot air balloon flights over the Mara are available at an additional supplement of £400 per person. These gentle flights are the most impressive place from which to observe the migratory herds embarking on their immense journey and to grapple with the sheer enormity and beauty of the natural landscape.
Day 8 So guests will have their final game drive this morning before having breakfast and then checking out. Flight times are confirmed the day before so this is subject to flight times. They will then be transferred to the airstrip and fly back to Nairobi for their onward flight to London Heathrow.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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