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Oh Warren, what can I say.
Your enthusiasm, amazing knowledge, ability to have us in the right place at the right time is just amazing.
Each trip I have ‘done’ with you just gets better…… if that is possible. Who could have believed one minute we would be surrounded, so closely, by so many elephants trumpeting and playing with each other and then each sunset have the pleasure of leopards and even a caracal just posing for the camera.
The whole experience was just a pleasure from start to finish. Peter and Heather organised everything superbly, it was such a pleasure to have Jesse join us and the amazing spotting from yourself, Armin and Jesse made each day a bundle of surprises.
Your patience with improving my camera skills was so appreciated and I am now looking back and savouring every minute of that magical week.
You and your team are in a league of your own.
Thank you, and, see you in 2016 – bad luck!
~ Sally Bruce, Berkshire, U.K.
I have just returned from a fantastic photographic safari in Samburu with Warren.
Heather and Peter made sure all the arrangements were in place before we arrived and from the moment we stepped out of the plane in Nairobi we were well looked after.
I have never met such a enthusiastic, knowledgeable and patient person as Warren. He answered endless questions about the wildlife and repeated numerous instructions for the camera without ever appearing to lose patience with us!
His knowledge of the wildlife and its habitat and his ability to predict the movement of the animals and position the car in the best place for photos is amazing. ‘Close up and personal’ can’t get better than a lion standing roaring next to you and elephants trunks smelling around you as you lean out of the car looking up at them taking photos! I mustn’t forget to mention Amin who keep guard and was brilliant at spotting animals for us.
The advice about improving photos, tales about filming or sundowners out in the bush before having dinner together in the evening were perfect endings to the day.
I didn’t want to come home at the end and can’t wait to return!
Asante Sana Warren.
~ Jane Gross & Heather Cawley, UK
“ During the last 12 years I have been on several safaris with Warren: mostly in the Mara but also in Samburu, Laikipia and the Serengeti. Every trip has been a total success. Back in 2004 he was an already very well known cameraman – an integral part of Big Cat Diary, the programme which lit up my own love of the Mara At that time I was the proud owner of a Canon 10 D! Equipment has improved considerably during the intervening years – but so far as the ability of Warren’s incredible eyes to sight potential subjects and then to find the best possible place to observe the subsequent action, nothing has changed! He really has remarkable skills – based on his long experience of African wildlife, his driving skills ,his relaxed and friendly personality and his many, well informed contacts.
All our trips have proved exciting and trouble-free. I do believe that luck is the residue of careful planning and certainly our time with Warren has illustrated that well. He has a particular love of Samburu, a quite beautiful Park, and our recent trip there was memorable. When his team have been in charge of all our planning they have always been very thorough and have chosen appropriate lodges.
We feel we have been extremely privileged to have shared his wonderful knowledge and enthusiasm on so many occasions.”
~ Andrew & Margaret Melhuish
We were lucky to arrive in Serengeti just before the rains arrived – so we were privileged to see the neverending lines of wildebeest as they arrived to graze on the fresh grass. What a spectacle! And Warren, Heather, Peter and the camp team really went the extra (several thousand!) miles to make Phil’s and Andrew’s big birthdays special. Nothing was too much trouble. We will never forget the dinner under the acacia and the stars – one of the best nights which we talk about even now.
~ Victoria Peckett & Philip Ladmore, London
Last night was the first night in ages when I have not been woken by lions outside the tent. Shame! But what an honour to enjoy a 9-day master class with a filmmaker legend like Warren Samuels.
What was it like? Well we were based in an authentic safari camp in semi-luxury tent accommodation with ensuit loo and shower but with a structure that rippled in the dark as roaming wildlife brushed the sides.
I awoke each morning at 5.45am, splashed warm water onto my face and then enjoyed an African tea and biscuit. I dressed, downed a bowl of porridge and then grabbed camera bags before heading out at 6.30am in time for sunrise.
Each day was different even if the structure was the same. One morning we found mating lions and I reacquainted myself with the cheetah brothers before stopping for breakfast in the Mara. Then perhaps a lion kill, and a croc kill at the crossing as frenzied wildebeest flocked across the Mara River.
Our soirees in the Mara were accompanied by a series of challenging debates as our heads wondered backwards and forwards, with binos to eyes, carefully scanning foreground and background.
How can the long-term survival of the Mara be maintained? How can you balance access to this area, a site worthy of world heritage status, and at the same time preserve its natural beauty? And access must not be reserved solely for the privileged wealthy few. Not an easy answer. And access must be available to those who just simply appreciate wildlife, the amateur photographer (and yes amateur filmmaker) and not just those driven by a professional need. But most of all it must remain accessible to local Kenyans. Income needs to increase to protect the Mara but without the need for a massive increase in the number of vehicles or the imposition of prohibitive charges.
Up go the binos – a pride of lions, giraffe with young, then Bella’s granddaughter. My heartbeat increases with the sighting of a beautiful leopard and my hands shake as I race to activate my camcorder. Another discussion begins. How can driving discipline be improved and enforced? The off road rules are frequently ignored and cats regularly crowded and leopards in particular, arguably intimidated. We parked appropriate distances away for me to fill the frame of my XL2 with 2x converter but I sometimes struggled to film a cat without a vehicle sneaking into frame holding tourists pointing cameras with two-foot long lenses. Fit all vehicles with GPS? That would do it!
Herds of topi, a family of elephants, hyenas, a cheetah makes a kill. We watch tommis and impala as wildebeest gather to cross the Talek. Then idiots in balloons spook the wildebeest that then abort crossing. The migration of around two million wildebeest and the associated dramas is a relatively fragile arrangement but the whole ecosystem depends on it.
We are captivated for some time watching the social interactions of a pride of lions – the mischievous cubs, patient lionesses and protective male.
And what of the locals? We regularly saw Masai breaking the rules and bringing cattle into the park thereby depleting the valuable grass growth. This is a conflict that can only end in tears. Are there other agricultural opportunities or options available to the Masai rather than grazing their growing herds that will ultimately lead to more frequent skirmishes between man and cats? How can the Masai be encouraged to recognise the long-term benefits of conserving their wildlife assets (and unlike my countrymen) before it’s too late?
I filmed hippos and crocs, eagles and kingfishers, sunrise and sunset. And Warren some how made all of this hang together and make sense. His knowledge is encyclopaedic but he answers questions not as a patronising know-all but as one with almost childlike addictive enthusiasm and clearly enjoys sharing his acquired information. He lives and breaths Kenya and it is inspiring to be in the company of such a loyal and patriotic countryman.
I haven’t mentioned his ability as a film cameraman yet. Some of his professional colleagues film racing cars. The track is right there; and they know exactly the path that the camera must follow. Some film football. They just follow the ball – it’s easy. Some film actors – they follow directions to the letter, so predictable. But wildlife? The clue is in the name. Yet Warren makes it look easy and turns it into an art form … check the gain…drop the aperture….. overexposed ….. look at the stripes.
We manage to notice and appreciate every bird and animal we pass in the now iconic Warrenmobile, expertly driven and positioned with respect to wildlife. My close up with the lion (memorable till the day I die) was his choice as he walked alongside us and then peeed up against the tyre. Warren’s extensive CV includes Big Cat Diary and Planet Earth. Mine now includes hanging out of his vehicle with the hand held
camcorder, filming from ground level, a male lion walking in parallel with the vehicle. Wild Vision ….. you bet!
Warren’s oft stated quip was, “we are making art here chum”. I filmed. He drove, he predicted the wildlife behaviour, he positioned the vehicle to achieve the correct camera angle, he directed using the monitor and if he wanted a challenge then at the same time he filmed me with the handheld camera!
We explored at length how the ivory trade problem could be conquered. How do you educate the Chinese and Vietnamese and is the growing Chinese interest in Kenya to be welcomed or feared. Would stockpiling the captured ivory stocks with the threat of flooding the market drive the value and demand down?
Then on the horizon far right, he sees movement and a dip in the road far left and an impending sunset in the next five minutes. He drives, positions, suggests camera settings and hey presto my eyepiece fills with an image of silhouetted elephants against a blood red sky. We’re making art chum?….you bet.
Every evening we stopped to reflect on the day and stood in the Mara to enjoy a sundowner Tusker beer together …… probably the best beer garden in the world!
We enjoyed a lovely meal each evening and discussed the baboons raiding Warrens tent and then defending their cache. I will dine out on Warren’s stories about Richard Hamster, Sir Bob, the last lion to die and the camp buffalo.
All too soon it is time to return home but not before memorable visits to the Nairobi giraffe sanctuary and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where I adopt an orphaned elephant.
I can’t wait to start editing the film……I also managed to grab a few snaps along the way.
~ Laurence Tressler
“Have travelled with Warren 5 or 6 times now. He is quite simply superb as a guide. His knowledge of animal behaviour, and his ability to predict what’s going to happen next, is brilliant. And what really sets him apart from other guides is the ability then to position the vehicle to ensure that you get the best possible shots, in the best possible light. Fantastic for photographers; and really good company!”
~ Derek Holwill
“Warren’s innate understanding of animal behaviour makes him the most rivetting of hosts on an African Safari. He has the ability to put what you see in perspective with its surroundings. A fabulous experience.”
~ Sandi Robinson
I had the pleasure and privilege to go to the Masai Mara in October 2012 and Warren was one of our professional guides. His knowledge of African wildlife is second to none and his enthusiasm and joy of the terrain is infectious.
His camera work and photography speak for themselves and the many awards he has won for all the wildlife documentaries he has been involved in over the years are testament to his abilities. I was truly impressed that he was willing to spend so much time sharing his professional knowledge with others; even with someone like me who had only a simple point and shoot camera. He was patient, kind and fun company.
I would wholeheartedly recommend travelling with Warren – you won’t be disappointed! (And I shall be deeply envious!)
~ Naheed Mehta MBE
I have been on 6 Safaris with Warren in the Mara over the last few years.
In the past I have also been with other guides.
His expertise, knowledge and driving skills are unsurpassed, in fact so good that when I go again I would do so only if Warren leads the Safari.
His leadership ability is also outstanding.
What a privilege to have been with Warren, typing this is giving me withdrawal symptoms!
~ Jonathan B Kersley & Susan E Kersley
Warren is the only guide I would travel with when we next do a safari. His passion and knowledge is wonderful, his focus is always on the people in his care, and he is a delight to be with because he has the humility to be awed by the Mara after so many years, and he gave this to us. We loved him for himself, and hope to have enough money one day to travel with him again. Give him a hug from me please. We still miss the Mara.
~ Jo Hughes
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