bigcat

Jonathan Scott's private Kenya safaris

33 posts in this topic

Well it probably cant be called 'private' since up to 12 people can go but has anyone gone on safari with Jonathan Scott (big cat diary)?

 

http://www.wildlifeworldwide.com/holiday/k...tts_mara09.html

 

Its certainly not cheap, wondering if its worth it.

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A whole week at a great camp! The migration will be in Southern Tanzania at that time but the Mara is always good.

 

I'd compare Rekero's rates with this trip for that time of year. Since it is a one-stop itinerary, it would not be hard for you to do a direct comparison. I believe I've heard Rekero gives a discount for 7+ days so be sure you get the correct rates. I also think Rekero gives everyone their own vehicle so be sure you know if the rate is for a private vehicle or not.

 

Questions I'd ask: If it is for 12, how many per vehicle? Serious photographers do not want a full vehicle if for no reason than the extra motion in it. In fact serious photographers get a private vehicle. I'm not a serious photographer, even though taking pictures is a big reason I go to Africa, so I rarely get a private vehicle.

 

What are the modifications to the vehicles that the itinerary mentions which enhance photography?

 

Keep in mind that the footage from BCD is obtained by waiting for hours, days, weeks, sometimes when there is nothing happening. It does not appear you would be given access to special areas off limits to others. Perhaps you'd want to ask that question.

 

When you have the price comparisons and the answers to the above questions, then I think you'll be able to tell if it is worth it.

 

That camp for one week anytime of year would be a great experience. Just at what price.

I've been to the Mara several times, but never to Rekero.

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I think the selling point of this one is that its with Jonathon Scott ;)

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Certainly going with a BCD photographer would be unique and thrilling. If you get the costs, you can figure what that premium is.

 

"The wildebeest and zebra migration is still as dramatic a spectacle as ever, with up to 600,000 wildebeest flooding into the Mara during the dry season. " I took this quote from the itinerary. This does not apply to Feb.

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I know he does them at different times per year and they aren't all photography focussed.

The cost is there - £4595.00 per person for Feb and Oct.

 

http://www.wildlifeworldwide.com/documents...20_Oct%2008.pdf

 

But only for 7 days..

 

= $8125USD

= $10281 AUD

 

For 10 grand I'd expect to be able to spend more than 7 days in Africa

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Questions I'd ask: If it is for 12, how many per vehicle? Serious photographers do not want a full vehicle if for no reason than the extra motion in it. In fact serious photographers get a private vehicle.
Do serious photographers go on a safari with Jonathan Scott.......?

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Nyama the answer to your question must be NO, serious photographeres either go with GOOD professional photographers or with like minded people in a private vehicle.

 

.. isn't he considered good? ;)

I know his wife is very good, seen some of her books.

 

At any rate, they are making a killing off these trips. It funds their world travel. I think they do something similar in Antarctica. Got to admire their business sense.

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Unfortunately I do not have the time nor the money to join this trip. Both Jonathan and his wife are very good professional photographers. And they have a huge experience, so for coaching other photographers they would be perfect. Although I have a very extensive photographic experience in Africa myself, I am sure it would still be a great trip and you always pick up some new things.

 

The price in itself is not really that high as it already includes the intercontinental flights from London to Nairobi. If I had the money I would much rather spend it in such a way than on a luxury safari trip, where you spend less time with the animals but have a private butler....

 

Two things that are important are:

- The number of vehicles and people per vehicle

- What kind of coaching will be given. It is mentioned that the Scotts will travel along. Does that mean that they are making the same trip in their own vehicle and you will only see them at camp during lunch/dinner?

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Nothing about this attracts me.

 

Sure, I would like to go on safari with Jonathan Scott: I avidly bought books by him and watched BCD in its early days. But there's a price on his name, and the cost of the trip, the potential size of the group and the short duration mean, no, it wouldn't be worth it.

 

I can do far better looking at and reading about the photography of his equals (and superiors) in books and on the internet, and choosing much cheaper safari destinations.

 

This is an exploitative offer.

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what are the accommodations like? If the accommodations are truly first rate, that can make up a significant portion of the cost. I am not saying that the trip is a good or bad value, but at least you will get an idea of what you are getting in addition to being out on safari with him.

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what kind of cost are we talking about for Rekero?

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Not sure, it doesnt seem to state on their site.

I don't believe it's one of the cheaper camps though...

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$420 a night plus private vehicles plus a well known leader doesn't add up to what they are charging. I would at least anticipate nicer accommodations for that price.

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Well the pair of them basically travel for a living from what i've gathered, it must be funded by these expeditions. They have to be profiting around $5000 per person for each safari. That's a handy little sum.

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I would at least anticipate nicer accommodations for that price.

 

This is where tastes can differ drastically. If I wanted to go on safari with a 'profile' photographer/leader, the accommodation would be my least important consideration. The most important would be a small enough group for one (uncrammed) vehicle and a decent amount of personal attention from the leader. I might pay for the latter, not the accommodation.

 

I understand why the advertised safari would be attractive to many people and why the kind of accommodation is so important (after all, I spent a lot of time with "F troop"). But I suspect many of those who choose to go to bask in Scott's presence because of his name and reputation will be somewhat disappointed to find they're not in his vehicle for half the time.

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Well the pair of them basically travel for a living from what i've gathered, it must be funded by these expeditions. They have to be profiting around $5000 per person for each safari. That's a handy little sum.

 

I doubt they are earning that much, but likely more than what others are earning to lead trips.

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I for one would love to go on Safari with Johnathan Scott. His passion, love and knowledge of the Mara could be welcome.

 

But I think all we can afford is a safari with mad Mike or Mark!!!! ;)

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I know that Sniktawk is a huge fan of Andy Rouse. AR is certainly well known in the UK, not least because he contributes fairly heavily to UK-based amateur photography magazines and also runs various photography workshops in zoos and the like. He has also won various photography competitions, (as have the Scotts).

 

I'd argue that he's not as well known globally as the Scotts, nor as well regarded in the professional wildlife photography world but since that's a judgement call, let's not argue about that for the moment.

 

I have travelled with the Scotts on a number of occasions, though not on one of their private safaris. They were just two of a number of experts (in wildlife, in photography, in painting and more) on a Festival of Wildlife trip I did in the Masai Mara in 2004. Likewise on subsequent FoWs in Ranthambore and in the Galapagos Islands. We and they both also did an extension to the Galapagos trip in the shape of a tour of Peru. They were also guest experts on an Antarctic trip we did in 2004 and will be again on the one we're doing this year, though it must be said, we chose the upcoming trip purely based on it's specialist itinerary rather than because the Scotts were going.

 

They are a wonderful couple to travel with. Jonathan in particular is very gregarious, very warm and very charming and very willing to help budding or advanced photographers in any way he can. Angie is far shyer in conversation but provides great tips on the digital side.

 

I find it amusing that people seem to be criticising the fact that they make a profit from these trips - since leading or providing expertise on trips such as this is part of their careers, of course they make a profit. It's part of how they make their living. And as with all things in travel, prices are all about supply and demand. If they have reached a point in their careers where they are able not only to fund their own travel but also make a living from it in this way, all power to them! Who amongst us wouldn't love to do the same?!

 

I notice the trip is being offered by Wildlife Worldwide. This is the company that organised those Festivals of Wildlife. They are a very good company but they certainly aren't the most price-competitive in their niche area. However, they are very good at putting together trips with specialist experts such as this.

 

At the end of the day it is up to each individual to work out whether the supplement (on top of what such a trip would cost without the Scotts' presence) is worth it or not for that presence. For some it will be and others not.

 

For example, although I went on the first 3 Festivals of Wildlife, the prices for the following ones to Canada and to Madagascar weren't worth it to me, despite the excellent set of experts lined up for both. So I didn't go. Those who did reported back that they had a fantastic time and the prices were worth it to them, which is all that counts!

 

I'm not sure that there's anything worthy of mockery or scorn either way!

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PS The Masai Mara in particular would be a good area to tour with the Scotts as they do know it intimately and for so long.

 

I would absolutely ask all those questions above about numbers in vehicles and so on.

 

PPS I would not travel with Mad Mark or Mike as I have had a number of guides in Southern Africa tell me that they have been pressured into compromising their own feelings on safety/ harassment of the wildlife because of guests who have watched the programmes produced by this pair and insisted that "if they can get that close, so can we". The guides are forced to choose between reduced/no tips and compromising their instincts.

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PPS I would not travel with Mad Mark or Mike......

 

Not to mention that Mark sold his soul to the papparazzi in Botswana when Price Harry was in town. Most guides won't forgive him for personally driving them around to help find the photos that they wanted of royalty.

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PPS I would not travel with Mad Mark or Mike as I have had a number of guides in Southern Africa tell me that they have been pressured into compromising their own feelings on safety/ harassment of the wildlife because of guests who have watched the programmes produced by this pair and insisted that "if they can get that close, so can we". The guides are forced to choose between reduced/no tips and compromising their instincts.

I'd met Mark Tennant together with a couple he was guiding before the programs were released and thought he seemed knowledgeable and sensible and would have been interested in travelling with him at that stage, must admit the TV programs put me off. Though I suspect that Mike might be the madder end of the partnership....

 

Interesting point about the 'adventurer' type wildlife programs giving normal safari clients entirely the wrong idea about what they should be doing!

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Interesting point about the 'adventurer' type wildlife programs giving normal safari clients entirely the wrong idea about what they should be doing!

This is something more than one of our guides in Botswana mentioned to us during our 2004 trip. I think perhaps one of their series was airing or had recently aired so they were on many visitors' minds.

 

I probably got their names the wrong way round. No idea if it's Mad Mike and Mark or Mad Mark and Mike!

 

I've come across reports that people who travelled with one of them had a great time, and I don't doubt that. I simply would not travel with them because of their direct impact on that pressure placed on guides. And the guides all referred to their programmes specifically, not to other adventure wildlife shows.

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Ditto Wild Dog's comments - I have met Mark Tennant on safari private guiding someone. He looked to be a complete professional and knew what he was doing. We even shared a couple of sightings ...........

 

RE the show itself - it's pure entertainment. I still watch it - to see if I recognize people or landmarks or animals etc etc.,

 

EDIT: Apologies - I meant Hunting Dog - not Wild Dog, as mentioned above - Typo!!!

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