This was our first safari with Wild Eye and first safari in Kenya. We had found Wild Eye some 4-5 years ago on social media, and they immediately gave the impression of professionalism, respect for wildlife and nature as well as people. We contacted Andrew Beck who suggested to us a 11-night safari divided into 2 iconic destinations: Amboseli National Park for 5 nights and the Masai Mara for 6 nights. We booked the safari way before Covid-19 hit the world, and it was nice how well Wild Eye kept us informed during this time. With the utmost of friendliness and joy they carried out the communication during the planning process, and it was an easy decision to trust our Kenya experience in their hands. And we couldn’t be happier after our 2 weeks safari with Wild Eye. Judy and Xander were very helpful arranging a 3 night stay in Nairobi National Park prior the real adventure, to adjust for the bush.
We are a married couple who love wildlife but only Jukka is carrying the cameras and Sari is enjoying the scenes with her eyes and iPhone. In Nairobi we met the rest of our wonderful group and guides Andrew Beck and Trevor McCall-Peat for dinner. Very quickly we found out that we are a great group of like-minded people and lots of laughter and smiles were to follow. Next morning we had a charter flight from Nairobi to sunny Amboseli and from that moment on, we were on a photographic safari until the last morning drive in Masai Mara.
Amboseli is well known for the elephants that feed on the wet marshy areas. And we can easily tell you that watching an elephant heard with individuals of different ages, including tiny babies, is pure joy. For photographers there are countless opportunities when it comes to compositions, light and shadow, landscapes (Mount Kilimanjaro), the diversity in general, this park provides it all. Amboseli also offers great heards of general game, as well as big cats. We were lucky to see a pride of lions with youngsters and two cheetah, too. One real specialty of the Amboseli is the dry lakebed, open and very dry area through which animals cross every morning on their way for the fresh water. It is true magic to see a family of elephants, as many as 60-70 animals approach us and not a single sound is heard. If the guides see it safe in regards to the animals and their behavior, it might be possible to climb out of the vehicles for photography. It is a totally unreal feeling laying on your belly, say 30 meters or less to these magnificent animals as they pass by.
What Jukka enjoyed a lot was image processing sessions with the group during the times we were at lodge. Andrew and Trevor are great instructors and offer wells of knowledge in Lightroom and Photoshop. A week flew by with the same schedule; morning drive at 6AM, packed breakfast during the sightings, back to lodge around late noon, lunch and ‘Lightrooming’ at 2:30PM and evening drive at 3:30PM, back at sunset, dinner, and some sleep. And next day we did it again.
From Amboseli we had another private charter flight to the Masai Mara, making it possible to have morning drive in Amboseli and lunch in the Mara. Flight time was approximately 45 minutes over the beautiful landscapes.
In Mara we stayed in Wild Eye Mara Camp, a place one just can’t describe – it is so amazing that you really need to experience it for yourself! Not only the camp itself but especially the genuine Maasai personnel. It is safe to say that we arrived as guests and left as friends, already longing for all those smiles and bright eyes. Mara is probably known best for the Great Migration and big cats. We were at the late wave of great migration, so no animal crossing of the Mara river for us, but still huge, I mean, huge heards of wildebeest, zebras, topis etc around the area. And the big cats! We were extremely fortunate to have found a pride of lions with cubs, a single lioness with a cub, a few honeymoon lion couples, just on the doorstep of the camp. Leopards were a bit challenging but we got some nice shots of them too. Sari even spotted a serval from the moving vehicle, bat-eared foxes, jackals and white-tailed mongoose. The local guides are stunning with their knowledge of animals, the way they spot wildlife from great distances, and the way they position the vehicle for the best possible angle for photographs. We were guided by Ken and after a week in the same vehicle, we were great friends.
The hospitality of the Wild Eye staff and the quality of food is totally next level! Even the vegetarian options were available on every meal, and the taste was superb.
You cannot write down or show pictures of the whole experience, it was simply mind blowing! Change the way you see the world is not short of a slogan. We are very thankful for the whole Wild Eye team for taking such good care of us during the safari, and in fact we have already booked our next adventure with Trevor and Wild Eye to Uganda for gorilla trekking.
Sari and Jukka, Finland (the first ever Finnish guests for Wild Eye)