Conservation, Communities & Cameras

Itinerary:

Day 1:  Arrival

Plan to arrive at Naboisho for lunch or early afternoon to settle into your tents and meet your hosts and fellow Asilia Adventurers. After afternoon tea and armed with your camera, you will head out for your first game drive in an open-sided four-wheel drive vehicle before returning for a welcome dinner. Overnight: Naboisho

Day 2: Tuck into a hearty breakfast in camp before traversing the Mara to Lemek Conservancy to visit the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) headquarters. Your morning will be spent with real-life conservation heroes, learning about their anti-poaching units, mitigating human-wildlife conflict in villages and their research and collaring of the Greater Mara’s elephants. This is a humbling and fascinating insight into the challenging and never-ending work to conserve one of Africa’s iconic species. After a camp-packed picnic lunch, the group will travel to the Ol Chorro Rhino Sanctuary, where you will have the rare treat of walking with their two resident white rhinos. These endangered modern-day dinosaurs are kept safe by rangers and you will gain an awareness of the challenges they face in protecting them and hear the concerns they have for the future of this precious species. On returning to camp, freshen up and then with an ice cold beverage in hand, the focus on rhinos continues with an engaging talk from Lara on her speciality, the black rhino. Before dinner is served, George will also take the team through camera trap deployment in preparation for the following day’s activity. Overnight: Naboisho.

Day 3: Today the photographic safari begins in earnest. Set off early from camp to have the benefit of the glorious dawn light and throughout the morning, locations will be selected and marked for the camera traps, in the hopes of capturing some exciting species caught unaware. Naboisho is known for its big cats in big numbers and is believed to have one of the highest lion densities in Africa, strong numbers of cheetah and is home to more than 220 recorded bird species — so there will be plenty to photograph. After lunch back in camp, guests are free to use the camp classroom to start editing images or they can relax by the pool and catch forty winks. The game drive in the afternoon will remain focused on photography, however, threaded through the drive, Lara will tease some of the information you would have learned the day before, at the Mara Elephant Project, to help you identify the elephants you meet on your safari. Overnight: Naboisho

Day 4: Wake up to the dawn chorus and your tea or coffee brought to your tent before setting out for another day of adventures. The game drive in the morning will continue with a photographic aim before returning to camp for a quick lunch and then heading to The Maa Trust, a thriving nonprofit organization working toward a harmonious balance between conservation and sustainable human development in the Masai Mara. The first Mara Conservancy was established in 2005 and now forms part of a collection of 15 separate conservancies that surround the Reserve. This land is owned by over 14,500 Maasai, who lease concessions to tourism partners, which offers the local community consistent income while conserving the land and wildlife. The revenue generated is believed to support 100,000 people within the Greater Mara Region. This afternoon, you will have the great pleasure to sit down with these ladies and learn the traditional craft of beading. While designing and threading your own beaded camera strap, you will learn about the meaning of the beads, hear the personal narratives of these

incredible women and the other fantastic projects the Trust implements such as youth empowerment programs, vocational training, beekeeping and honey production, brickmaking, Female Genital Mutilations (FGM) education, healthcare, water and sanitation. If that wasn’t enough, you will return to Naboisho and the warmth of the campfire to meet a member of the Kenyan Wildlife Trust (KWT) to learn about their flagship project the Mara Predator Conservation Program (MPCP). Over snacks and drinks, gain an understanding of the challenges and successes of their conservation and community projects; including how to identify big cats, understanding the purposes of collaring lions, how they use the data as well as the success in engaging primary schools with Wildlife Clubs alongside Asilia’s own Twende Porini. Overnight: Naboisho

Day 5: To put what you have learnt into practice, this morning you will set out early to meet the Lion Ambassadors of the Mara. With approximately 500 lions concentrated in a relatively

small area covering 2,572 km2  of protected lands, the Mara has high human and livestock densities residing in the surrounding unprotected community lands. A central challenge is ensuring coexistence between lions and people while implementing impactful conservation strategies at a meaningful scale. MPCP chose a brigade of 10 lion ambassadors to provide a crucial link to the communities and ensure human-lion conflict and the resulting retaliatory killings and persecution of lions is halted in its tracks. This morning you will join an ambassador on their daily patrol, walking for approximately 3 hours you will learn first-hand what it’s like to be on the frontline of conservation and understand their personal motivations for living and breathing such a sensitive and dangerous job. After an exhilarating morning, no one will blame you for that extra beer at lunch and a snooze on your daybed but of course, you are also welcome to spend time in the classroom editing images and preparing your memory cards for the next activity. Leaving later in the afternoon will ensure you have plenty of time to capture the long shadows and the cats coming out to play, using your newly honed lion identification skills. After a classic Mara sundowner under a flat-topped acacia, the torches will come out and, with eyes peeled for nocturnal animals, your night drive will begin, before a late dinner back at camp.

Day 6: After a full itinerary, the last day is an easy one, allowing the group to head out on a fun game drive, putting into practice everything you’ve learned over the last five days, as well as collecting the camera traps deployed earlier in the week. Following lunch back at camp, there will be a final editing session including looking through what the traps have captured and no doubt having a laugh or two! Returning from the final game drive, a farewell BBQ will be enjoyed by the candlelit pool with a chance to share stories, the best shots of the week and look up at a sky full of stars. Overnight: Naboisho

Day 7: A relaxed morning and breakfast at camp before you say your goodbyes to the camp team, George and Lara and head off to your next adventure.

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Conservation, Communities & Cameras

Lead by: George Benjamin and Lara Jackson

Nov 15-21, 2021

$3000 per person (group size 4-10)

This trip with a difference is a collaboration between wildlife photographer George Benjamin, conservation biologist Lara Jackson and Asilia Africa, and was created to add a deeper dimension to a classic photographic safari. Spend a week combining the joy of safari, an education in photography and a series of insightful and meaningful Positive Impact experiences in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy in Kenya. This conservancy, bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve, beautifully showcases how wildlife conservation and community empowerment can go hand in hand with tourism and, over the course of the week, you will visit various initiatives to learn about this first-hand.