African fish eagle. Photograph by Wildlife Photographer Paul McDougall.

Mountains and Lakes

Mountains & Lakes

Location: Various National Parks, Kenya
Dates: Tailor Made Available on request
Duration: 10 Nights 9 Days
Price pp*: From £4,270
Places (8 max): Available
Your guide: Paul McDougall
* Price per person based on 8 people.
Maximum of 4 photographers per vehicle.

Lake Nakuru Photo Safari

Lake Nakuru National Park (188 km², 73mi²), created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru, near Nakuru Town. It is best known for its thousands of flamingos gathering along the shores. The edge of the shallow lake is often hardly recognizable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. The number of flamingos on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff . Also of interest is an area of 188 km around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect Rothschild giraffes, Black rhinos and White rhinos. The park now (2009) has more than 25 black rhinoceros, one of the largest concentrations in the country, plus around 70 white rhinos. There are also a number of Rothschild’s giraffe, again translocated for safety from western Kenya beginning in 1977. Waterbuck are very common and both the Kenyan species are found here. Among the predators are lion and leopard, the latter being seen much more frequently in recent times, in fact Lake Nakuru has one of the largest densities of leopards in the whole of Kenya. The park is also very good for hyenahs, they can sometimes be seen hunting flamingos early in the morning along the lake shore. As well as flamingos, there are lots of other bird species that inhabit the lake and the area surrounding it, such as African fish eagle, goliath heron, hamerkop, pied kingfisher and Verreaux eagle.

Why I love Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is often only viewed as a stopover on many safari itineries. However I have spent longer periods of time here and have always been rewarded. I have seen hyenah hunting gazelle, marabou storks hunting flamingos, tree climbing lions, Leopard with 2 cubs, numerous black and white rhino, the list is very long. Add to this the spectacular scenery of the large Yellow Fever Trees (acacia xanthophloea) and the beautiful thick woodland that surrounds parts of the lake then you have a photographic paradise. The birds here are amazing with thousands of flamingos and pelicans which you can walk towards on the lake shore and get some spectacular images of them splashing around.

Lake Naivasha Photo Safari

Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. The lake is almost 13kms across, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of five metres. Lake area varies greatly according to rainfall, with an average range between 114 and 991 sq kms. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Naivasha completely dried up and effectively disappeared. The resulting open land was farmed, until heavy rains a few years later caused the lake to return to existence, swallowing up the newly established estates. Afternoon wind and storms can cause the Lake to become suddenly rough and produce high waves. For this reason, the local Maasai christened the lake Nai’posha meaning ”rough water”, which the British later misspelt as Naivasha.. The lake and its surrounds are rich in natural bounty, and the fertile soils and water supply have made this one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree. These forests abound with bird life, and Naivasha is known as a world class birding destination. Highlights include the African Fish Eagle, which you can sometimes see swooping to catch fish, various kingfisher species including Pied and Malachite and various heron species including Goliath and Purple. The waters of the lake draw a great range of wildlife to these shores. Giraffes wander among the acacia, Buffalo wallow in the swamps and Colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lakes large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows. The lucky observer can sometimes see Otters swimming through the reeds.

Why I love love Lake Naivasha

Lake Naivasha is sometimes missed out as a wildlife destination, but a couple of hours out on the lake in a boat can reward you with some fantastic images. I have photographed Fish Eagles on several occasions here with them often swooping down close to the boat after fish. The hippos are usually quite active near the boats and its possible to get good eye level images. I’ve also photographed Otters and several different water birds. Its relaxing, peaceful and quiet out on the boat with some incredible wildlife. A perfect way to spend a couple of hours. Around the lake shore, if you look up in to the tree tops you can sometimes see Colobus Monkeys, on occasions they do venture down to the ground and great images can be captured of these intriguing monkeys.

Amboseli National Park Photo Safari

Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley Province of Kenya and it covers an area of 3,810 square kilometres in southern Kenya. The ecosystem mainly savannah grassland spread across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants. Lions, leopards, cheetahs, Maasai giraffes and buffalos are some of the big game you may see on a game drive. Plains game is prolific and includes Burchells’ zebra, eland, Coke’s hartebeest, white-bearded wildebeest, common waterbuck, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle and impala. Smaller mammals always in evidence include black-faced vervet monkeys and yellow baboon, black backed jackals and the extremely numerous spotted hyenahs. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet the Maasai and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. There are five main wildlife habitats, plus a generally dry lake-bed – Lake Amboseli – from which the park takes its name. Habitats range from open plains to stands of fever trees, thick thorn-bush and swamps and marshes. All support good wildlife densities. Bird life is abundant, especially in the vicinity of the swamps and lakes where you can see a large variety of water birds. There are pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, jacanas, egrets, hammerkops and the rare Madagascar squacco heron can sometimes be seen. So far, 47 raptors have been identified, including the rare taita falcon and southern banded harrier eagle.

Why I love Amboseli

Amboseli provides the perfect backdrop for wildlife photography with Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro providing a focal point that fills the horizon. Its a fun safari exercise to see how many different animals you can photograph in front of the mountain (my record is 7), the sunrises in Amboseli are spectacular, the elephants are massive with huge tusks, the landscapes are vast and interesting from desert to swamps. Add in to this the fact that Amboseli is a fantastic destination for lions (the maneless variety are found here) and hyenas then you really so have enough to keep your camera going for a few days. I’ve been lucky to see Elephants fighting here, hyenas with young, vervet monkeys fighting on the road, a pride of 14 lions sat out in the open with the palm trees as a backdrop, and a caracal walking in the open for nearly an hour. Some great memories.

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    Lake Nakuru National Park flamingos. Photograph by Wildlife Photographer Paul McDougall.

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