An Unforgettable Photography Masterclass in Magical Kenya
The winners of the Wildlife India Photography Awards 2017, and twenty other Masterclass participants, were treated to some spectacular, breathtaking moments in the heart of Kenya’s incredible savannahs, conservancies and reserves, over seven days, mentored by some of the best in the field. Better Photography reports.
Nairobi, Kenya. We were greeted at the airport by a fleet of tough Toyota Land Cruisers. At that point, the anticipation within our group was almost palpable. What we experienced in the next seven days was easily beyond our wildest imagination. Here is a glimpse of one single happenstance from each day.
Day 1, June 25, Nairobi & Amboseli National Park
After spending some time watching orphaned elephants play and feed at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, we moved to Amboseli. We were treated to a rather rare sight even as we entered the reserve—Masai giraffes gracefully moving across the plains with the breathtaking, awe-inspiring Mount Kilimanjaro in full view. That evening was our first park drive. Between our contest winners, participants, mentors, a team from Panasonic India, and our camera crews, we collectively shot over a terabyte of photographs and videos! And our trip had only just begun!
Day 2, June 26, Amboseli National Park
The day-long safari began with a mighty, gut-wrenching duel between two male elephants, warring for control. Neither one of them would give up. It was also astonishing to notice that they would only attack from the front, face-to-face, never from the rear. Humans have a lot to learn from them.
Day 3, June 27, Mount Kenya & Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy
We walked uphill, on a forested trail to spot birds at the base of the beautiful Mount Kenya (the highest mountain in Africa, after which the country, the Republic of Kenya, was so named). A profusion of mosses, lichens, ferns and dense, rich rainforests gave way, almost magically, to sun-dappled conifer forests. And just as magically, we spotted an extremely rare ‘golden zebra’ with its herd.
Day 4, June 28, Ol Pejeta Conservancy
We had no appetite for lunch after a rather emotional experience. We had the singular (and very sad) honour, to meet and touch (yes… touch!) the very last living male northern white rhinoceros on the planet. We are the very last generation to see this truly magnificent sub-species alive. We could not help feeling a sense of shame that humans killed them off with poaching, just as we do with so many other species. By being bystanders, our responsibility in all this does not diminish. A lesson to take back.
Day 5 & 6, June 29 & 30, Masai Mara
The endless grasslands of the Masai Mara National Reserve is a sight to behold. A large part of the ‘Great Migration’ across the Mara river had already occurred, and the Mara was dense with wildlife. Herds of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, giraffe, antelopes, dik-diks, fox, baboons, warthogs… foraged, frolicked, and played out their parts in the circle of life. We spotted the ‘big five’ on the very first day… lions, elephants, cape buffaloes, black rhinoceros… And a family of five very sleek, beautiful cheetahs.
Day 7, July 1, Masai Mara & Nairobi
On day seven, our flight back from Masai Mara to Nairobi was to depart early. Yet, there was time for one more short safari at dawn, and for our very last glimpses of the magical wildlife of Kenya. And on that very last trip, we came face-to-face with the king of the jungle—a large, powerful, regally-maned lion… enjoying a robust breakfast after an electrifying, successful hunt.