AUGUST 18-25, 2018 THE WILDEBEEST MIGRATION
David & Rita Trafford of award-winning De Trafford Estate & Sijnn Wines, along with world-renowned wildlife authors & photographers Daryl & Sharna Balfour, invite you to join them on a spectacular and exclusive wine & wildebeest migration safari in Kenya’s acclaimed Maasai Mara National Reserve in August next year (2018). Past guests have described these safaris as “the world cup of wildlife” and we pride ourselves on offering what we believe to be “the original and best wildebeest migration safaris” currently available… along with a selection of some of the best wines likely to be served in any safari camp anywhere in Africa.
Daryl & Sharna set up their exclusive traditional tented camp accommodating a maximum of 12 guests, for only a few months each year, in an private site in the best game-viewing area of the Mara. Daryl & Sharna will be on hand to offer insights into this wildlife spectacle as well as specialist advice & tuition in how to take better photos & improve your photographic skills on your safari-of-a-lifetime, while their resident naturalist guides, Pierre Burton, Phil West, Andy Campbell or Alex Rostocil are among the best in East Africa and will ensure that your safari is memorable, fun and informative. The annual wildebeest migration, one of the natural wonders of the world, has been termed “the greatest show on earth” and it is truly something that is impossible to describe, or even adequately film or photograph.
“Nothing I have seen, whether on television, the printed page or even IMAX movies, prepared me for the reality of the migration. I don’t think the human brain can comprehend such vastness and scale; our minds are not used to seeing a million of anything, let alone wild animals. Truly the world cup of wildlife viewing!” Past guest.
Our exclusive “mobile” private tented camp offers top quality catering from our four experienced safari cooks, with large walk-in Meru-style custom tents, erected solely for the use of these safaris, at a secluded and private location in one of the best game viewing areas of the Maasai Mara, and with easy access to many of the most common wildebeest river crossing points. The camp features spacious traditional safari tents with a choice of large queen-sized or comfy twin beds, each with private en-suite ablution facilities featuring a fully enclosed dressing room with washbasin and clothing racks, private bucket showers in a fully enclosed attached bathroom, and a flush toilet for each tent, and solar-powered electric lighting in the tents, while meals will be taken in our large, airy mess tent at truly spectacular candle-lit tables set with fine china and quality glassware.
We have endeavored to recreate the atmosphere of the original mobile safari camps of a by-gone era with our camp, and this is the way Capt William Cornwallis Harris, Ernest Hemingway, Sir Randolph Churchill (Winston’s dad), Teddy Roosevelt and Robert Ruark experienced and wrote about Africa, (with a few more modern trimmings, of course!) and this is the best way to avoid the over-crowded mass-market tourism of the bigger commercial lodges and safari hotels. We place a premium on the wildlife experience, with our highly qualified & experienced Kenyan guides, who have worked with us for more than 12 years, being among the best in the industry not only at finding and locating the game, but also informing you about the country, its people and its wildlife. The guides are all thoroughly versed at ensuring you will have the best position and angle to optimize your photography, and will offer good photographic advice and assistance whenever required. All our guides are ardent and skilled photographers and will ensure your photography is enhanced at every opportunity.
Your eventful and full days will be spent exploring the northernmost limits of the MaraSerengeti Ecosystem, seeking the area’s abundant wildlife – including the migrating herds of wildebeest and zebra that at this time of year should be massed and fattening prior to their return to the Serengeti in the south. We have timed these safaris to coincide with the best possibilities of seeing the spectacular river crossings, when thousands of wildebeest & zebra pour across the crocodile-infested Mara River. We have a great record over the years of showing our guests these crossings, often with spectacular crocodile action too! But like anything in the world of animals, nothing can be guaranteed – though our guides will do their utmost to ensure you an experience of a lifetime.
Our daily schedule, which we adjust and fine-tune according to the movements of the wildlife and our game-viewing plans, involves a pre-dawn wake-up call followed by tea, coffee and a light breakfast in the Mess before we head-out in search of the day’s offerings. Each vehicle is equipped with a tea & coffee basket along with freshly baked cookies, cinnamon buns and egg & bacon ‘jaffles’ (closed toasted sandwiches) for a midmorning stop out in the wilds. We return to camp around 12-1pm for a sit-down lunch (perhaps with a glass of wine!), after which most safari-goers enjoy a well-earned shower and siesta.
Afternoon tea is served around 4pm followed by the evening drive. Sundowners may be enjoyed in the field if our game viewing allows time for them, after which we return to camp for a pre-dinner wine-tasting at the fireside followed by an elegant three-course candle-lit dinner accompanied by fine wines from the De Trafford & Sijnn selection. David and Rita will be on hand to present their wines and talk about the passion that went into their making while we enjoy a fine meal prepared in our primitive camp kitchen, with all meals prepared on an open camp fire! The kitchen tour during your stay will blow you away – and perhaps change your ideas about that expensive kitchen upgrade you had in mind!
The animals and the wilderness dictate our daily schedule – we place more emphasis on the wildlife experience than we do on camp timetables, and our chefs and camp staff are totally adaptable to this. We work on a rotational basis within our vehicles, with guests moving daily between the three cars, ensuring all have the opportunity to spend time with each of our specialist guides, each with their own unique personalities, talents & abilities. Both Pierre & Phil have been working with Daryl & Sharna on these migration safaris every year since 2002.
The Maasai Mara is renowned for its predators – lions, leopards and cheetah are there in abundance – all attracted by the large numbers of herbivores, and it is regarded as one of the best wildlife viewing destinations in Africa by Daryl & Sharna, as well as by many other top wildlife photographers & film makers. The Maasai Mara was specifically featured in the BBC’s acclaimed documentary series Big Cat Diary and Big Cat Live as well as the recent Disney production, African Cats, & we are likely to see many of the lions, leopard & cheetah, or their descendants, that became the stars of these TV series.
Birding in the area is also excellent, and first-time visitors to the area are sure to see a number of “lifers”.
Transport will be in comfortable customised East Africa-style Toyota 4×4 safari vehicles equipped with cooler bags with cold drinks and water, with a maximum of four guests to a vehicle (as opposed to the East African safari norm of six, eight, or even nine!) Each person will have their own open window as well as a large open roof hatch overhead. Ample large, sturdy beanbags are provided for the use of photographers in all vehicles, and a rail around the roof allows the attachment of clamps and ball or gimbal tripod heads, and we assure everybody of opportunities to capture winning images!
All safaris begin and end in Nairobi and you should make your own flight or other arrangements to be in Nairobi on the day or day before your safari begins. We include the first night of your safari (Aug 18), plus transfers from the international airport on your arrival as well as to the domestic airport the following morning for the flight into the Mara. SAA and Kenya Airways offer daily flights to Nairobi from Johannesburg, while BA, Kenya Airways, Swissair, Air France and KLM also offer direct flights from the UK and Europe. Emirates connect with many destinations via Dubai while Air India & Kenya Airways fly direct to Nairobi from India. We use a private charter flight in a 12-seater Cessna Caravan C208 direct from the domestic Wilson Airport to the Maasai Mara at 10h30 on the day your safari begins, Aug 19, and returning to Wilson Airport at the end of your safari, arriving about 12h00 well in time for most outgoing international connections.
Some international flights to Nairobi arrive in the early morning, allowing guests to transfer from the international JKIA airport to Wilson Airport on the same day, but we suggest you take advantage of our inclusive package whereby you will be collected and transferred from the international airport to the grand old Fairview Hotel for the first night , where you can meet your fellow travelers and prepare for the exciting days ahead in the Mara. The cost of the safari excludes airfares to Nairobi, allowing you to make your own personal flight arrangements, utilise frequent flyer air miles, arrive from various destinations, etc.
Dates of this De Trafford & Sijnn Wine & Wildebeest Safari with David & Rita Trafford are August 18-25, 2018
PLEASE NOTE WE DO NOT TAKE CHILDREN UNDER 16 YEARS UNLESS YOU BOOK THE ENTIRE CAMP.
INCLUDED: The cost of the safari includes your first night (Aug 18) in a fine old Nairobi hotel, with transfers, a private charter flight by 12-seater Cessna Caravan C208 from Nairobi on the start day of your safari, August 19, to the Maasai Mara, a return charter to Nairobi on your final day (Aug 25), full board in camp, all drinks including beer, the finest of De Trafford & Sijnn wines, local spirits and sodas, Park fees, services of the camp staff (including complimentary daily laundry), and the assistance & guiding of world-renowned wildlife photographers and photo-journalists Daryl & Sharna Balfour. Our other guides, Pierre Burton, Phil West, Andy Campbell & Alex Rostocil, are among the leading naturalist-guides of East Africa and are indeed involved in the training of other up-and-coming guides in Kenya. All are enthusiastic and skilled wildlife photographers willing and able to assist in your photographic endeavors.
NOT INCLUDED: The price does not include the airfare from your home to Nairobi, visas ($50 or sterling equivalent for most nationalities, SA passport holders currently do not have to pay for visas for stays less than 30 days), curio purchases, gratuities for guides and camp staff or other personal expenses, or any overnight accommodation you might need in Nairobi.
SAFARI COST: The fully inclusive cost of this seven night safari (one in Nairobi, six in the Maasai Mara) is US$6495 per person sharing. A single supplement may be payable for single tent occupancy, depending upon the number of single applicants we have. Please note that due to currency fluctuations and other possible park fee increases, new Government taxes and fuel price surcharges beyond our control the tour price remains subject to change & can only be confirmed at the time of final payment. A $2000 per person non-refundable deposit is payable to confirm a booking. Full payment is required 100 days prior to commencement of the safari. We urge you to take out travel insurance to cover you in case of cancellation as once we have received final payment it is difficult to find replacements at short notice, in which event no refunds are possible. All payments need to be made by EFT to our international bank account. Sorry, no credit card payments are possible.
THE DE TRAFFORD & SIJNN WINE & WILDEBEEST WEEK
We are offering this special “wine appreciation” week in conjunction with David & Rita Trafford, at no extra cost over our standard migration safaris. This allows our guests to enjoy premium wines as selected from the De Trafford & Sijnn cellars, as well as informal tutored tastings and discussions over fireside drinks and dinner. Spending a week in the relaxed & spectacular surrounds of the Maasai Mara with one of South Africa’s leading wine producers is real “bucket list” stuff! We also request guests on these safaris, if possible, to bring a bottle or two of something special they would like to add to the mix, perhaps as a “mystery wine” they would like to test their fellow travelers with, or to add a bit of fun to the tasting proceedings each evening.
Daryl & Sharna Balfour have been among Africa’s leading wildlife photographers and authors for the past 28 years. They have published more than a dozen best-selling coffee-table books including: Simply Safari; African Elephants – A Celebration of Majesty; Chobe – Africa’s Untamed Wilderness; This is Botswana; ETOSHA; and Rhino – The Story of the Rhinoceros. Their work is represented worldwide by several of the world’s leading image libraries, and they have been published in magazines such as National Geographic, Newsweek, Audubon, BBC Wildlife, Africa Geographic, GEO, Stern! and numerous others. In 2001 they were invited lecturers at the prestigious North American Nature Photographers Association annual summit in Las Vegas.
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