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Country Visited: Uganda
I’d experienced mountain Gorillas in Rwanda almost 15 years ago and have wanted to experience them again ever since. Unfortunately the price rise in Rwanda forced me to look elsewhere and Uganda became the obvious choice. What a revelation Uganda turned out to be.
I traveled to Uganda with Wild Focus Expeditions and visually discovered a country of unexpected scenic beauty. Not only did I again experience the mountain Gorillas but also wild Chimpanzees. While they may be related, their behaviour and therefore the experiences with both were equally exhilarating while remaining entirely different. The thrill of being charged by a Silverback or touched by a young gorilla is like no other. To observe behaviour in their natural environment is such a privilege.The excitement of being surrounded by noisy and excitable chimps as their voices raise above the canopy and travel across the jungle sends shivers. Even to photograph and observe them as they quietly interact and groom each other from a mere few meters is an adrenalin rush.
Wild Focus offered both Gorilla and Chimpanzee Habituation ‘experiences’ as well as Trekking. On top of a one hour Gorilla Trekking option Jami of Wild Focus Expeditions added a day of Gorilla Habituation. Our four hour Gorilla Habituation (while physically demanding) was exceptional in the closeness and time we spent with this Gorilla family group. This is raw jungle trekking where there is no trail other than the one cut by our trackers or freshly created by the Gorillas themselves. Make no mistake, it’s was tough going and so good flexibility and a high level of fitness was definitely required for the area where we trekked. While the Chimpanzees trek was not a physically demanding experience in Uganda, the Gorillas most certainly were. I understand that each trek is different and is based off of the groups’ collective fitness level.
The quality of accommodations that Wild Focus Expeditions provided on this trip was also another surprise. We stayed in some truly inspired luxury accommodations. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge was a standout. From a foot massage on arrival, to our own butler, an open bar and our open fireplace, it was the perfect location to return after a day of trekking.
There is a great deal more to Uganda and it’s friendly Ugandan population than I had even imagined.
Country Visited: Kenya
I though twice about writing a review simply because my husband (Mike Hayes 7/19/18) captured everything so nicely in his and I wasn’t sure another glowing review would make a difference. As you read through the reviews you will come to the conclusion rather quickly that Wild Focus Expeditions does not disappoint. This was my first trip to Africa and I must say it is a magical place.
Upon meeting Jami, you recognize immediately her passion for wild life and conservation. We learned so much about animal behavior as well as African culture from her and our two experienced guides – Siele and Mwashi.
As many reviewers have previously noted, accommodations and cuisine were beyond expectations, particularly Mara Bush Camp – private wing.
Friends and family want to know what the highlight of our trip was and I don’t have just one answer. Everyday we witnessed something extraordinary. I guess Africa does that to you…..I’m hooked!
I can’t wait for the next adventure with Jami (and Theo). Sadly, they are booked out at least two years in advance, which is a testament to their expeditions and the way they run their business. Although, for them, it’s clearly a passion they wish to share with as many as possible. I’m so glad we discovered Wild Focus!
Country Visited: Kenya
For me this trip was simply sensational. An extraordinary experience from beginning to end. There were way too many individual highlights to even try to list them. I can say the Wild Focus Expeditions ‘team’ of guide & driver was faultless. Their knowledge of game and the anticipation of their movements had us in exactly the right place at the right time so often. As a keen photographer, having two people in the front of the vehicle looking out for my interests was hugely appreciated and i have amazing images to show for it. The combination of Amboseli National Park with its Kilimanjaro backdrop and its elephants, followed by the authentic tribal experience at The Turkana Cultural Festival (including the specially arranged Wild Focus Expeditions’ tribal photoshoots and village visits) and finally Elephant Bedroom Camp and the game of Samburu National Park made this trip unforgettable. Seriously, I could go on and on. This was my second trip with Wild Focus Expeditions and based on both outcomes I will be back yet again. Special mention to Jami Tarris who throughout was generous with both her knowledge and time.
Linda and Alan Berman
Country Visited: Kenya
Our guides were excellent, knowledgeable and accommodating. Very good at appreciating photographic needs and finding photo opportunities. The accomodations were the best that could be found in each of the three areas we visited. We were treated to many exciting animal sitings and interactions. Jami was very helpful both before and during the trip. I highly recommend this trip.
Country Visited: Kenya
Incredible Adventure! Our adventure to Kenya was professionally planned and even more effectively executed. Jami prepped us in detail prior to our departure and I was well prepared for what laid ahead in Africa.
The sequencing of our 12 days in Kenya made each move that much more exciting. I would not be honest if I didn’t say that I thought 12 days may be too long for my attention span. At the end I could have stayed another week.
Our adventure began in Nairobi with a private visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where we personally met our adopted orphan elephant, Musiara being mine. Incredible work being done by this organization.
From Nairobi we traveled over the Equator (fun photo opportunity) to Samburu and began our Safari. For me, I’ll always remember Samburu as the land of the Elephants. Of note, these elephants are up close and personal – not for the weak of heart. Our guides, Mwashi and Siela were outstanding and knew where and when to go to find the best photo opportunities. A special wildlife treat in Samburu was spotting a Striped Hyena – very rare from what I’ve been told. Although elephants were abundant and a striped hyena spotting was special our guides made sure we did not leave Samburu before seeing all of the “Samburu Special Five” consisting of: Grevy Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Somali Ostrich, Gerenuk, and Oryx – all incredible! Wildlife was not all we experienced in Samburu as Jami set up a local village visit. Nothing was spared on us as we were guests in this village and got a rare opportunity to see how they lived and experience their culture first hand. Their diet consists of Meat, Milk, and blood – you probably get the picture.
Lake Nakuru was our next destination and a much different habitat than Samburu. Rhinos is how I’ll remember Lake Nakuru and our initial spotting of a Black Rhino. When this Rhino made it clear he was the king of his domain we took note, as did my heart rate. This left an impression! Although the black rhino is the aggressive one the White Rhino is impressive in size, second only to the Elephant in East Africa.
The Maasia Mara Game Reserve was the final leg of our adventure and it surpassed my expectations. This is what I envisioned Africa to be and it delivered. (Of note, our accommodations at the Mara Bush Camp Private Wing were top notch. From Michela the manager, to Martin our personal assistant, James the bartender,and Obi the chef all exceeded my expectations).
The Maasia Mara is were the largest groupings of wildlife existed. It is amazing to see hundreds, if not thousands of Wildebeest, Cape Buffalo, Zebras, and Impala/Antelope roaming the plains of the mara. With that said, Cats is where the fun lies and Siela and Mwashi made sure we did not miss out. We had numerous picture opportunities for lions, male and female. Leopards were a little more evasive but our guides found them. A most memorable moment was watching a Leopard drag his kill (wildebeest) to a hiding spot, note the wildebeest may have been 3x the leopard’s weight. The endangered Cheetah proved most difficult but again our guides came through and we had a front row seat to photograph a group of five. Although Cats my be the stars in the mara we also saw Hippos, Crocks, Giraffe, Ostrich, Birds of many kinds, and a special appearance of a Bat-Eared Fox.
Along with “Samburu Special Five” we can check off the “Big Five” as we saw Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, Buffalo, and Elephants during our travels. As this trip was a Photography Safari animals did not consume our entire time as there are amazing sunrises and sunsets along with some very beautiful rivers, landscapes, and unique trees. If you are a bird enthusiast, as one in our group was, you should bring another media card along as you will be taking pictures non-stop. Of note, our guides could name all the birds as well.
Jami/Wild Focus Expeditions planned this itinerary to meet our needs in all areas from Wildlife to Culture to Accommodations. Her personality was infectious and created an environment in which all nine in our group, including her, became a close group of friends.
This type of trip is an investment and Jami understands this. She went above and beyond to deliver a value. Great Job Jami! Thank You for making this Bucket-List Vacation one that I will always remember. I look forward to a future adventure with Wild Focus expeditions. Hopefully the next adventure will include Theo.
Country Visited: Japan
WOW! We recently took our third trip with Wild Focus Expeditions (WFE) to Japan and we were not disappointed! We have taken other trips with WFE to Kenya, Rwanda and Svalbard and had the same level of service, personal attention and enjoyed the group dynamics as well as the photography attention from both Jami and Theo. Jami and Theo are two of the most knowledgeable guides for their trips as they not only know photography, which they have been doing for many years and have had their work in major publications, they know the locations they are traveling to and have personal relationships with many of the locals. They know what they are looking for when it comes to photography and they put you in the position to get the best shots as well as coaching you through the proper settings etc. These two don’t just sit back in an office and plan trips, this is their passion and they live it!
Our trip to Japan started with a couple of extra days in Tokyo to see the city and just experience the culture. Jami and Theo flew in early and met several of us and explored the Tokyo with us. It was a wonderful way to meet several of the other people on the trip and relax and have fun. From Tokyo we flew to Hokkaido to search for Cranes, Owls, Eagles, Foxes and Swans as well as enjoy the beautiful countryside of Japan. Our accommodations were excellent, the food was amazing, and our host were exceptional. We spent several days going to various locations as the weather would change and we would head to the area that would give us the best opportunity to take some incredible pictures.
We then ventured to Nagano, Japan to experience the world famous snow monkeys! We were able to stay just outside the park in a traditional Japanese motel that allowed us easy access to the monkeys each day. These animals were amazing and Jami and Theo knew exactly when we needed to be in the park and what to look for to get the best pictures.
Not only did we get great pictures on this trip, one on one time to learn more about photography and to refresh our skills, we also had many days and nights of conversation and laughter with many new friends.