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Maasai Mara safari

Maasai Mara specialist photographic safari 2023 – 9 days

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

from US$ 5,100 per person sharing

Big 5

Classic Safari



Maasai Mara specialist photographic safari 2023 – 9 days

E-mail    +27 (87) 551-8105 (RSA)   |   +44 (23) 9387-7464 (UK)   |   +1 (786) 655-4040 (US)

Indication Price (from): US$ 5,100 per person sharing *view all prices and dates

Length: 9 days / 8 nights

Group Size: 4

Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Departure Dates: 24 June - 2 July 2023 (4 SPACES LEFT) | 12 - 20 August 2023 (2 SPACES LEFT) | Open for bookings for Oct-Nov 2024


Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.


Our fee for compiling your dream safari is included in the price that you pay.

Join award-winning photographer Arnfinn Johansen on this exclusive safari for four guests in the famous Maasai Mara in Kenya. You will overnight on community-owned land bordering the park. Your small team will enjoy the use of a specially modified photographer’s vehicle and an off-road driving permit – only available to those who drive off-road responsibly and have a proven track record in this regard. This off-road permit, issued by the authorities on a trip-by-trip basis, means that the possibility of obtaining unique pictures is significantly higher.

Your basecamp – Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp – is set up just for you, in a Maasai village, offering a unique and authentic insight into the traditional lives of these pastoralists. This unique safari offers genuine empowerment for local people, and so helps to conserve the greater Serengeti/Maasai Mara ecosystem. There are no fences between the park and the community land, and wildlife roams throughout the area.

Maasai Mara is renowned for the large numbers of resident big cats, and the Great Wildebeest Migration. In 2023 we offer two departure dates – late June and mid-August. During late June, the wildebeest herds will be concentrated in the western Serengeti (Tanzania). These “shoulder” months are the best time to see, follow and photograph the big cats in the Maasai Mara without the crowds of tourists that follow the migration. Your guide will ensure that you get up close and personal with Mara’s fantastic wildlife, and find those unique angles and light conditions that make the difference between good photos and truly amazing photos. During August, the herds are massing in the northern Serengeti and looking to cross the Mara River and into the Maasai Mara. Dramatic Mara River crossings are not guaranteed, but your guide will be on the lookout for tell-tale signs.

Whether you see the big migrating herds or not there is plenty of resident wildlife and your day will be packed with epic encounters. Your guides will ensure that you get up close and personal with Mara’s amazing wildlife, and find those unique angles and light conditions that make the difference between good photos and truly amazing photos.

Ivan Glaser (2019 guest) had this to say: “My recent Africa Geographic trip to Maasai Mara way exceeded my wildest expectations. I absolutely loved it. Arnfinn, with his extremely helpful wildlife photography tips and advice and John with his unbelievable knowledge of animals, their behaviour and habitat as well as his remarkable off-road driving skills, are the perfect team to provide both photographers and non-photographers the ultimate Masai experience. The effort they both made to ensure the week was a success was second to none. On top of all that, the Africa Geographic team provided a seamless travel experience which always just adds to the overall experience. I can’t wait to go back.” He even published a photo gallery with us about his safari

Don Goldman (2019 guest) had this to say: “We have traveled from the US to Africa for safaris 6 times prior to this trip. We have stayed at many camps rated in the top ten on the continent. None and I mean none have offered a safari experience equal to Oltepesi Camp. John and Arnfinn were with us advising on photography for about 13 hours a day. That’s not a typo it’s 13. Out at 6 or before we were in unbelievable positions every day for sunrise and finished the day in perfect position for sunset. The perfect positions continued throughout every day. Multiple kills were seen. Classics such as lion in tree, lion carrying her baby, leopard in a tree with a kill and of course the herds were all seen. The difference is you are with the owner. John allows you to share his families home. He and his family live right next door. The Maasai lifestyle is truly part of the experience not just a uniform worn by the staff. John helped me enjoy much more than the animals. We discussed his culture, traditions, family, and his hopes for the future. In summary this trip was extraordinary. Perfect. I can’t recommend it enough.”

Here is another travel diary, this time from Africa Geographic safari client Ruzdi Ekenheim – an extremely experienced traveller.

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Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi

On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport you will be met by an Africa Geographic representative and transferred to Tamarind Tree Hotel Hotel in Nairobi. Should you wish to explore any of Nairobi’s popular attractions or dining venues, contact us and we will gladly arrange a programme that is tailored to your needs.

Overnight at Tamarind Tree Hotel.

Day 2: Fly to the Mara and first game drive

Shortly after breakfast you will be collected and transferred to Wilson Airport (Nairobi’s domestic airport). From here it is a one-hour flight to Mara Olkiombo Airstrip in the middle of the Maasai Mara where your professional photographer guide Arnfinn Johansen will meet you. Your adventure starts as soon as you land, so have your camera ready because you will encounter plenty of wildlife during the drive to camp in a community area near the park boundary. Lunch will be served on arrival in Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp, followed by your first outing in the custom-built game drive vehicle that will take you to all corners of this vast wilderness during the coming week. Dinner that night will be in camp, under a million stars.

Day 3 – 8: At play in the Mara…

Your days will be spent exploring Maasai Mara’s vast open plains and forested river banks, with the help of a highly skilled and experienced Maasai guide and driver – John Siololo. Award-winning photographer Arnfinn Johansen will be on hand to provide photographic tips and assistance, and there will be ample time to learn from his vast experience. To take advantage of the light and the best possible photo opportunities, each day starts before sunrise and ends after sunset. With over 100 mammal species and 570 bird species, the photo opportunities are endless, and having an off-road license means you will get close to animals. The adapted game drive vehicle gives you the opportunity to shoot from a low angle – at eye level with the animals. Your group will have packed breakfast and lunch, which will be enjoyed out on the savannah, in spectacular settings. Back at the camp in the evenings you will enjoy cold drinks at the campfire while discussing that day’s photographic adventures, before a wholesome dinner in the dining tent.

Day 9: Last game drive and departure

Your group will again start the day early, as you search for your last special encounters in the best morning light. After another amazing morning you will return to camp for lunch, followed by a leisurely game drive transfer to airstrip in the park, for your afternoon flight back to Nairobi. On arrival an Africa Geographic representative will meet you at Wilson airport and transfer you to JKIA for your outbound flight. Should you wish to stay in NBO that night, please let us know and we will arrange alternative transfer arrangements.

Indication Price (from): US$ 5,100 per person sharing (see below for further pricing where relevant)

Departure Dates: 24 June - 2 July 2023 (4 SPACES LEFT) | 12 - 20 August 2023 (2 SPACES LEFT) | Open for bookings for Oct-Nov 2024

2023 – International Rates
Subscribe now – it’s free Subscriber rates Non-subscriber rates
24 June – 02 July 2023
Per person sharing US$ 5,100 US$ 5,325
Per solo traveller US$ 5,710 US$ 5,965
12 – 20 August 2023
Per person sharing US$ 6,020 US$ 6,285
Per solo traveller US$ 6,630 US$ 6,925

Price Includes:

Meet and greet in Nairobi. Transfer to hotel in Nairobi on day 1. Overnight in Nairobi on a bed and breakfast basis at Tamarind Tree Hotel. Transfer to Wilson airport. Return flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport to Mara Olkiombo Airstrip, extra baggage allowance (30 kg per person checked-in baggage and hand luggage), return transfers between the camp and Mara Olkiombo Airstrip, accommodation in shared safari tents as described, all meals and drinks starting with lunch on arrival day, and ending with lunch on departure day. All game drives by guide John Siololo, personal photography and instruction from award-winning wildlife photographer Arnfinn Johansen, all entry into and transport in the Mara, daily use of specially modified safari vehicle for low angle wildlife photography, special off-road permit for the Maasai Mara National Reserve, 24/7 office support.

Price Excludes:

Flights to Nairobi, travel insurance and cancellation insurance, tips and gratuities (recommended 10 USD per guest/day to the Maasai guide and 5 USD per guest/day to the camp staff). any costs of a personal nature and other costs not specified as included, visas (should your country require one), excess baggage charges.


Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.


The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.


Visa – Can be applied and paid on arrival, but it can only be paid by credit card and it is preferable that you apply in advance for an eVisa via http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html

Curfew – Nationwide curfew (9pm – 4am) to continue until 30th August.

Requirements for travel to Kenya

  • Passengers must have a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, issued no more than 96 hours before departure
  • Fill out a “Travelers Health Surveillance Form” online for contact tracing
  • There will be health screenings on arrival
  • Depending on the country of origin, some travellers may be required to quarantine. A list of exemptions can be found here
  • Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival will be required to quarantine in their accommodation for the first 14 days. Passengers seated on two rows surrounding anyone on a flight displaying symptoms will be traced and required to quarantine for 14 days.

Restrictions in Kenya
There are a number of COVID-19 safety measures in place throughout Kenya:

  • There is a nationwide curfew from 9 pm to 4 am
  • Face masks must be worn in public places
  • Social distancing rules apply when using private vehicles – anyone driving a car must fill only 50% of the vehicle’s seat capacity.

Quarantine Exempted Countries.
This Health Registration Form must be submitted.

The Maasai Mara

The famous Maasai Mara National Reserve and neighbouring (unfenced) conservancies are located in the southwestern part of Kenya, where it borders Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and forms a combined giant unfenced protected area known as the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. The Maasai Mara makes up only 10% of this massive area. The Maasai Mara mainly consists of open savannah grasslands, with forested riverine areas and a few hilly areas. There are two large rivers that cut through the Mara landscape – the Mara and Talek rivers.
The herds of wildebeests and zebras undertaking the Great Wildebeest Migration arrive in the Mara from the Serengeti during late July or in August, and stay for about three months as they take advantage of the nutritious green grass, before heading back south into the Serengeti. But the Mara’s attractions include far more than this annual spectacle. The resident lions, cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs target prey species (including many wildebeest and zebras that do not migrate), making for year-round action, and of course species such as hyenas, elephants, hippos, giraffes, crocodiles and buffaloes are always to be seen in this wildlife paradise.

Modified game drive vehicle

The game drive vehicle we will be using for this safari is Arnfinn Johansen’s private Toyota Land Cruiser, custom-built for photographers. The vehicle is spacious, with eight seats for four guests – allowing you to move around easily. The sides of the vehicle have no window glass, and low frames – for better panning and action photography. The roof is removable, allowing you to photograph from a high perspective. It is also possible to remove one row of seats, to permit the lowest possible shooting angle. The vehicle has canvas instead of a back door, for photography at animal eye level. There are 230-volt power outlets, for charging of batteries. The vehicle design also makes for easy use of tripods, monopods and bean bags. Beans bags of various sizes are provided.

Off-road permit

The special off-road permit allows your group to leave the normal dirt roads in the park and drive towards special sightings, and so the possibility of obtaining unique pictures is significantly higher. This permit is only available to professional guides and cameramen with a proven track record.  The permits are issued by the authorities on a trip-by-trip basis, and never guaranteed. Should off-road permits inside the park not be available for any reason your group will still spend time in the park, and only go off-road outside of the park boundaries – in line with regulations.

Your accommodation – Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp

Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp is a simple but comfortable eco safari camp located on the outskirts of Maasai Mara. It is made to meet the needs of professional wildlife photographers, nature photo enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. The camp offers the very best guides in Maasai Mara, with many years of experience.

The camp is located in Oltepesi Village, an authentic Maasai village, providing you with a unique opportunity to get to find out about the Maasai way of life. As special guests, you will be able to roam the village and photograph/film as much as you like, without asking for permission. You have the option of spending a night in a traditional Maasai house.

Accommodation consists of spacious safari tents with en-suite bathroom including shower, wash basin and flush toilet. The tents have solar lights. The camp has a dining tent where the chef and camp staff serve delicious food, and where you can charge batteries. There is a bonfire outside, where you can relax with a cold drink in the evening before dinner.

About Arnfinn Johansen

Arnfinn Johansen is a Norwegian semi-professional wildlife photographer based in Lillehammer, in the centre of southern Norway. He is a member of the Norwegian Nature Photographers Association (NN) which is an exclusive association of professional nature photographers with a focus on environmental issues and ethical standards.

In 2017 Arnfinn co-founded Oltepesi to meet the needs of professional wildlife photographers and nature photo enthusiasts. Arnfinn is also a photo guide for Zoom Fotoresor AB and Africa Geographic. His images are represented internationally by NTB Scanpix news and photo agency which is the leading supplier of visual content in Scandinavia.

Through his photography, Arnfinn seeks to convey the magic of nature, communicate its many moods and reveal its stories and secrets. His images are about more than just excellent composition and technical ability – they offer the viewer an intimate view of nature and a moment of reflection. Some of Arnfinn’s most powerful shots show his subjects in their natural environment, combining clean composition with the space and beauty of the landscape. He always looks for stories behind the images that need to be told, to inspire respect for nature and remind us to be humble. When all of these elements come together in a single photograph, Arnfinn knows he has succeeded.

Arnfinn’s work has been recognised in many international competitions, including European Wildlife Photographer of the Year (GDT), Asferico, Glanzlichter, Por el Planeta, Oasis, Global Arctic Awards, Memorial Maria Luisa (MML), Nordic Nature Photo Contest (NNPC), Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Awards, Black & White Spider Awards, Sony World Photography Awards and Nature’s Best Photography Africa.

Arnfinn’s work has been on display at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC (U.S.), at Somerset House Gallery and Patrick Mavros Art Gallery in London (UK), at Iziko South African Museum in Johannesburg (South Africa), at Giacosa Theater of Ivrea in Torino (Italy), at Museum of Man and Nature in Munich (Germany), at Natural History Museum in Oslo (Norway), and in other citys like Mexico City in Mexico, Moscow in Russia, Kolkota in India, Oviedo in Spain, Fürstenfeldbruck and Lünen in Germany.

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