Summit Kenya

A PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI INTO THE HEART OF AFRICA

Kenya is one of the best places on earth to see wildlife, and a trip into its vast savannah, and towering rainforest amongst thousands of animals is an experience unlike anything else. Next winter, join Summit Workshops on an amazing journey into the heart of Africa to explore the diverse ecosystems and animal species Kenya has to offer.

Our all-inclusive Summit Kenya workshop will begin in Nairobi where we will drive to Aberdare National Park, a stunning cloud forest known for its abundant elephant populations and rare black leopards. After searching for wildlife and trekking through the spectacular highland landscape, we will continue to the Ol Pejeta Reserve beneath the towering slopes of Mount Kenya. Internationally recognized for its rhino conservation efforts (home to the only living northern white rhinos on the planet), Ol Pejeta is home to lions, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, wild dogs, and more. From Ol Pejeta, our journey will take us north to Lake Nakuru to search for groups of tree climbing lions, and west into the Kakamega Forest, Kenya’s only remnant of a vast rainforest that once stretched across the entire continent. From the rainforest, we venture south along the shores of Lake Victoria and into the Masai Mara, the epitome of African wildlife safaris. By pairing luxurious safari lodges with some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Kenya, we are excited to invite you on this exceptional journey!

Want to extend this workshop to photograph mountain gorillas and chimpanzees? We are excited to offer an 8-day continuation where we will travel from Kenya to Uganda to visit the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga National Park, and Kibale National Park, home to the largest diversity of primates in all of Africa. Space is limited, so please contact us soon if you are interested! More information is available at the bottom of this page.

What To Know

Topics We Will Cover

Wildlife Photography
Travel Photography
conservation Storytelling
landscape photography

2022 WORKSHOP INSTRUCTORS

Chris Steppig

Owner / Director

Chris is the owner and director of Summit Workshops. Summit was his first job out of college and nearly 20 years later, this is home.  He is in charge of all workshop operations, scheduling, logistics, faculty, social media, marketing and sponsorship. Chris has a passion for conservation, travel, and education and the workshops are a dream platform to help others reach new heights as not only photographers but as people.

Chris is also an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers. The iLCP is a U.S. based non-profit whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography. This affiliation provides a tremendous opportunity to help deliver great content and also be an advisor on matters large and small.

Morgan Heim

Workshop Faculty

Morgan (Mo) Heim raises a camera for one purpose – to capture moments in an animal’s life that will make us consider what that life means. Inevitably, those stories involve people as much as wildlife. How we treat them. Why we need them. What we love, or hate about them. Mo, used to work as a wildlife ecologist for NOAA on things like killer whale surveys and the Elwha Dam Removal project. She later earned a Master’s in environmental journalism and is a senior fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). She has covered endangered fishing cats and shrimp farm development, and the environmental impacts of marijuana grows in our nation’s forests. In 2016, she became a National Geographic grantee for her collaboration on urban coyotes. Her photographic work has appeared in outlets such as Smithsonian, Discover, NationalGeographic.com, Nature Conservancy Magazine, and bioGraphic.com.

Ian Segebarth

Guide and Faculty

The founder and owner of Rainshadow Expeditions, Ian has spent the past decade traveling and guiding in over 40 countries, covering every continent. He has a background in conservation biology and environmental science, which has fueled his passion for nature and exploration. Ian is a highly experienced scuba instructor and technical cave diver, and has completed thousands of dives all over the world, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Antarctica, and the Caribbean. He is also a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine, and his film work has appeared on Discovery Channel and BBC. In addition to guiding, Ian still has ongoing research and exploration in numerous locations around the world, and he will be happy to share his expertise on these topics.

Workshop Information & Itinerary

Trip Highlights

Costs Included In Tuition

Not Included

Workshop Itinerary

Plan to fly into Nairobi at any time, most international flights from the US or connecting in Europe arrive late at night. Airport pickup will be arranged through our group hotel close by and located on the edge of the Nairobi Game Preserve.

After an early breakfast, we will depart Nairobi for Aberdare National Park.  The drive will take us along the outskirts of Nairobi and into the cloud forests of Aberdare where elephants, buffalo, and rare melanic black leopards call home. After checking into The Ark Lodge which offers close-up views of a watering hole frequented by elephant families, we will head into the field for our first game drive in Aberdare!

This morning we will have an early departure to hike through misty cloud forest to a 300-meter high waterfall. Along the way we could encounter many of the park’s 290 species of birds, as well as numerous butterflies and insects. January is the peak season for butterfly diversity in Kenya, so this hike will provide excellent opportunities for macro photography. After lunch we will depart Aberdare for the Ol Pejeta Game Conservancy located beneath the towering slopes of Mount Kenya. In addition to healthy populations of lion, cheetah, elephants, giraffe, hippo, wild dogs, and zebra, Ol Pejeta is home to the world’s only living northern white rhinos and is considered to be a forerunner in rhino conservation efforts (some of their outstanding work has been covered by photographer Ami Vitale in National Geographic). After checking into our room at Sweetwaters Camp which looks out over a watering hole frequented by many animal species, we will venture into the reserve on a late afternoon game drive.

The next two days will be based out of Sweetwaters Camp exploring and photographing the incredible diversity of animals at Ol Pejeta. A typical day will involve an early morning game drive before breakfast, the middle portion of the day to relax, sit by the pool, or watch wildlife at the nearby watering hole from the porch of your room before heading back out into the reserve for a sunset drive before dinner.

After an early breakfast we will depart Ol Pejeta and drive northwest to Lake Nakuru National Park, home to a population of tree climbing lions, leopards, hyena, rhinos, giraffes, and more. After checking into the Lake Nakuru Lodge which offers sweeping views over the valley (sunsets at the lodge’s outdoor bar are not to be missed!) we will head out for an evening game drive before dinner.

In the morning we will wake up early to check out of our hotel and head out into the National Park to look for animals before starting the journey north towards our next destination in the Kakamega Rainforest. This will be one of our longer days on the road as we follow the highway northwest towards the Ugandan border. As we travel, the landscape will become greener and more tropical as the savannah is replaced by dense rainforest. In the late afternoon we will arrive at the Rondo Retreat Center located in the heart of the jungle.

The Kakamega Rainforest is the only surviving remnant in Kenya of Africa’s Congolese Rainforest that once stretched across the entire continent. It is home to thousands of bird species, monkeys, and stunning jungle landscapes. Our hotel, composed of British style cottages, is located in the center of the rainforest and offers miles of trails that begin in the garden and lead into the wild. Our day will be spent exploring the rainforest and taking a rest while enjoying high tea in the garden while monkeys play overhead. In the evening we will have the opportunity to hike past tea plantations and to the top of a nearby hill that offers sweeping views over the entire ecosystem.

After a mid-morning departure, we will drive south from Kakamega and into the renowned Masai Mara. Our journey will take us through several of Kenya’s largest tea plantations, along the shore of Lake Victoria, and past several spectacular waterfalls. As we draw closer to the Tanzanian border, we will begin to pass through several towns and villages of the Masai people before entering the Masai Mara, one of the top destinations on earth for viewing wildlife. Our hotel, the Bascecamp Mara, is a charismatic safari lodge located on the edge of a hippo-filled stream. Like many of the lodges in the Mara, the Basecamp is not separated from the reserve meaning animals can come and go as they like (it is very safe). At night, expect to receive escorts between your room and the dining lodge by Masai employees, and don’t be surprised when the roar of a lion awakes you from the other side of the river!

The next three days will be spent exploring the spectacular Masai Mara. The open savannah here teems with wildlife and the huge diversity of species makes for nonstop viewing and photographic opportunities. During our visit in January, many animals will have just had their babies which will offer plenty of entertainment and fun photographs.

At long last our journey will come to an end. After checking out from the Basecamp Mara, we will make one last drive through the reserve before making our way back to Nairobi, where we will have a final group dinner before heading to the airport for our late-night flights home.

UGANDA MOUNTAIN GORILLA EXTENSION

Arrive into Nairobi at any time, airport transfer to Ole Sereni. For those already on our Kenya Trip, drive from Masai Mara and overnight at Ole Sereni in Nairobi.

Meet in lobby of Ole Serene early AM, fly from Nairobi to Kigali, Rwanda, take a Covid-19 test, and be transferred to Hotel Des Milles Collines for the night. All meals and overnight.

Breakfast at the Hotel and receive your Covid 19 test results. After breakfast we will have a brief city tour of Kigali and a visit to the Genocide Memorial Centre, followed by lunch and a drive (3 hours) to Mgahinga. Dinner and Overnight at Travelers Rest Hotel.

Gorilla trek in Mgahinga National Park. Situated on the border between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo, this park protects a large portion of the Virunga Volcanoes. A large habituated group of Mountain Gorillas known as the Nyakagezi Family can be seen here with a 95% success rate. Once the family is located we will have one hour to observe and photograph their behavior! After returning from the trek, we will drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Overnight at Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge.

Gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park is home to nearly half of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas! Of the 36 gorilla families in the park, 19 have been habituated. We will hike into the park with one of the rangers who protect these gorillas, and once a family is located we will get to spend a full hour photographing them in very close proximity. During the hike in and out of the park we will likely encounter numerous other wildlife species. Overnight at Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge.

Drive to Kibale. Midday stop in Queen Elizabeth National Park for a game drive and Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise with wildlife viewing along the channel. Picnic lunches in the Park. Overnight at Kibale Forest Camp.

Early morning Chimp trek in Kibale National Park. This park is home to the highest diversity of primates in all of Africa, and likely the best place in the world to see Chimpanzees! In addition to chimps, we will have the opportunity to see an additional 12 species of primates and nearly 400 species of birds. Overnight at Kibale Forest Camp.

Breakfast and drive to Entebbe (6 hours). Afternoon flight to Nairobi to connect back to the US.

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