The Maasai Mara



Isle of Mull

Maasai Mara



“The Great Wildebeest Migration”

Course Dates:
Monday 18th to Friday 29th September 2017.

Closing Date:
Friday 14th July 2017.
(You are not be able to book on this course after the closing date)

Course Location:
The Maasai Mara, Kenya

Course Outline:
The whole of the Maasai Mara is a truly fantastic location within which to film. The range of wildlife there is enormous, and unlike other locations like the Serengeti you do not have to drive across vast areas to see it.
The great wildebeest migration and the crossing of the Mara River has to be one of the most spectacular wildlife events in the year. Anyone who has ever thought of working in wildlife film will know of this event. During this course, not only are we offing you the chance to witness the migration crossing, but also to film it (in 4K) and produce a film of your time doing so.

Standing on the rim of the river banks in the rear of an open-topped Land cruiser; filming all the action close-up with some of the latest 4K camera equipment from Sony.
Working daily from a tented basecamp within the park, you can film on a daily bases capturing more and more images of the event. Returning to camp at the end of each day to digitise and view your rushes, laying them down on the editing timeline to produce a short film of your time in the Mara. – A more genuine experience of what it is like to live and work as wildlife camera operator experience we can not offer.

We feel can honestly say that we do not think you will be able to film such a spectacular sight with any other wildlife film school as the subject of a course.
…And remember all of the equipment you require is supplied as part of this course.

The BBC Television show titled “Big Cat Diary” was filmed in both the Reserve and Conservation areas of the Maasai Mara. The show followed the lives of the big cats living in the reserve. The show highlighted scenes from the Reserve´s Musiara marsh area and the Leopard Gorge, the Fig Tree Ridge areas and the Mara River, separating the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.

The Natural History of the Maasai Mara:
The Maasai Mara National Reserve covers some 583 sq miles in south-western Kenya; it is the northern-most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which covers some 9,700 sq miles in Tanzania and Kenya. The terrain of the reserve is mainly open grassland; in the south-east region are clumps of the distinctive acacia tree. The western border is the Esoit Escarpment which is part of the East African Rift / Rift Valley.
It is globally famous for its exceptional population of Maasai lions, African leopards and Tanzanian cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson's gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti witnessed every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration.
The Maasai Mara is named in honor of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara” which is for “spotted” a description for the circles of trees, scrub and savanna that mark the area. However, The Maasai Mara National Reserve is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem.

All members of the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, African elephant, cape buffalo, and black rhinoceros) are found in the Maasai Mara. The population of black rhinos was severely depleted by poaching in the 1970s and 1980s, dropping to an all–time low of just 15 individuals. Numbers have been slowly increasing since then, but the population was still only up to an estimated 25 black rhinoceros in 2014.
Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson's gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita Plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later.
Hippopotamus and crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara River. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes are also found here. The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Escarpment are one of the best area for game viewing, especially for lion and cheetah.
As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around late October.

The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events in the world, it can involve some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson's gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by predators, most notably lions and hyena.
Antelopes can also be found on the planes here including Grant's gazelles, impalas and Coke's hartebeests as well as the distinctive Masai giraffe. The large roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox (rarely present elsewhere in Kenya) can also be seen within the Mara.
More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park, many of which are migrants, with almost 60 species being raptors. Birds that call this area home for part of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, African pygmy-falcons and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya.

Course Itinerary:

Day 1:    Initial Meeting & Buying of food supplies in Nairobi. Travel to Maasai Mara and build a basecamp to work from

Day 2:   Script writing ideas / brainstorming, Production ethics and formats, introduction to equipment; plus some filming

Day 3–10:   Filming on location (A–B Rough Edit during evenings)

Day 11:   Main Editing + filming of any further footage (if required)

Day 12:   Final Edit and production of Final Film

Subjects we will cover in this course –

•  Initial Program / Script ideas & brainstorming
•  Script writing
•  Production ethics
•  Presenter lead programming
•  Presenters' scripting
•  Animal observation & tracking
•  Filming on location
•  Sound recording on location
•  Editing on location
•  Production of Final Film
•  Logistics & Camp-craft

As part of your course fees we will supply you with –

•  12 or 24 day Wildlife Film Course with 4k cameras and 4k editing equipment, including…
•  Camera instruction from a professional wildlife cameraman (Member of GTC & IAWF)
•  Official ´Government Film Permit´ from the Kenyan Film Office to film in Kenya
•  Special ´Off-Road Vehicle Access Film Permits´ from Maasai Mara Park Authority for filming in the Maasai Mara
•  All Government taxes & levies
•  All ´on-location´ & production equipment
•  Professional wildlife guide from Kenya
•  Professional basecamp supervisor from Kenya
•  All accommodation and facilities in our basecamp locations
•  Two ´Pop-up roof´ 4x4 safari vehicles to film from
•  All vehicle permits
•  All vehicles and transportation overland required during your course
•  Overland transportation from Nairobi to Maasai Mara and back.
Please Note:
•  All of the UK Wildlife Film School courses are booked on a ´First-come, First-served´ basis, so it is highly recommended that you book early to secure your place so as not to miss out this course.
•  Before you can attend this course we will send you some paperwork which you have to sign and return to us via email. Please leave enough time between your enquiry and the closing date to complete this process.
•  Your place on a course is only secured once we have this paperwork back and your course fees have cleared our banking system in full.
•  You are not able to book on a course after the closing date (17.00 GMT on Friday 14th July 2017.)
•  Flights to the Kenya are not included in your course fees as our students fly in from many destinations around the world.

Information Links:
To be taken to our booking page Click here
For more information on the Equipment Damage Waiver Click here
General conditions and further information can be found on our more info page Click here

This wildlife film course is designed to take you through all the necessary fundamental steps you will come across when producing a wildlife film out on location (Should you need us to) This course is open to everyone, from the professional camera operator who wishes to widen their horizons and learn the process of filming wildlife on location; the complete beginner who has never picked up a professional television camera, let alone turned it on and filmed anywhere like the Maasai Mara with it.
Everything in this course from the use of the film equipment, and the setting up of a base-camp to the set-up of all the camera / editing / electrical and generator equipment; to the food and meals you will prepare and eat during your course, have be devised to give you as close an example as you would find in any working film orientated base-camp anywhere in the world.

On top of all of this, you will be filming wildlife and editing your final film to a short script you have written on site; returning home with a copy of the film you have produced, as a video file for you to use in your show-reel or on your website.

Unlike our other courses, we will not be on foot for the duration of this course, but will be working from fully equipped safari vehicles with pop-up roofs designed specifically for photography and film work. This will allow us to be as adaptable with our schedule as we choose to be.

Overnight camps will be in an official base-camp sites and during the day most of your personal equipment will be left in this base-camp (We will have security guards in camp at all times, to protect all of the equipment) so out on location we will simply have the camera equipment and your lunch.
It is our intention to maximise the whole of each day watching and filming wildlife. When not filming, we still intend for you to be learning to use / operating the camera equipment or some other wildlife / camp related task, so everyone will get to experience just what it is like to live and work on location.
At the end of each day everyone will return to base-camp for a main meal and, time permitting, a group discussion to assess the day's filming with reference to our script requirements, digitisation of the days footage and a rough A–B edit.

Field Craft will not be a major part of this course as we will be traveling around the Mara in vehicles, as you are not alowed to walk from one location to another.