The sun is slowly setting and the afternoon light is becoming increasingly attractive to photograph, but here in Africa the last light of the day changes quickly and we know that it is dark soon. We have parked our safari vehicle along a river, silent and expectant, we are waiting for our motif to come down to the river to cross it on the stones that form a way over. The minutes go by and the light is fading quickly, our so sought after motif is not showing herself and then the darkness comes and takes over the African night. We listen out into the darkness, at first it is completely silent but then the silence is broken by warning sounds from some dik -dik antelopes near us, our guide sweeps a light in the direction of where the warning came from and there she stands, Giza Mrembo – the dark beauty. Silent and unnoticed, has she crossed the river into her hunting grounds. The feeling of euphoria is complete when we meet the black leopard’s gaze as she passes our jeep in just a few meters …

Black leopard is not a species but an unusual melanistic variety of the “regular” spotted leopard. Melanism means that an animal has an increased concentration of melanins. The effect is that the animal gets a darker, or full black, pigmentation in its fur. Black leopards are found naturally in the dense tropical forests of Southeast Asia and India and in central and western Africa’s forests, from time to time there are reports that a black leopard has been seen. Often it is about volatile and irregular meetings but in Aberdares mountains in Kenya and a bit north on the Laikipia Plateau, Black Leopards are seen more often and regularly but never before has a black leopard shown itself as Giza Mrembo does …

Already as a cub, when she followed her mother on nightly hunting adventures, Giza learned that safari vehicles were not a threat to her or her mother. Often she approached the cars curiously and examined them. Today, she moves carefree among safari vehicles when she sees them, if she is hunting she can sometimes try to take advantage of the cars when she sneaks up on dik-dik antelopes or hares and when she rests she remains carefree if a car approaches.

The Laikipia Plateau is located in central Kenya and is an approximately 9,500 square kilometer wilderness. In the early 1990s, a large nature conservation area was formed here. The area is owned by both private landowners and the local community and is managed to preserve and improve the areas natural biological systems. The area is characterized by bushy grasslands with acacia trees and thorny bushes. The landscape is filled with rivers, waterfalls and cliffs and mountains, a perfect mixture to have a rich animal and plant life.

Laikipia is not only known for Giza but also for the great density of “regular” leopards, it is not uncommon to see several leopards when you are out on game drive and especially in the evening. The large number of leopards in the area is a result of the fact that there are no lion prides there. However, you can see lions in the area as they sometimes walk through, the same goes for cheetahs. Laikipia also has wild dogs but as in many places where they occur they are few and move over large areas. In Laikipia you will find elephants, hippos, buffalo and spotted hyenas, but also the more unusual species as striped hyena, Grevy´s zebra and reticulated giraffe. There are also antelopes such as Impala and Kudu. The most common of all antelopes are the small and cute dik-diks, in almost every bush you can see them. Laikipia also has a rich birdlife with many northern Kenyan species and one or the more common bird is the colorful vulturine guineafowl.

On the tour, will we of course have focus on photographing black leopard, but we will not forget the other animals. Most often, Giza and the other leopards are seen in the evening and early morning, which means that there is plenty of time to look for and photograph the other animals of the area.

When Giza is sighted, only three jeeps are allowed at a time near her. In total, there are only six or sometimes seven safari vehicles in the reserve and of those are three “Black Leopard cars” that have priority at “sightings” of Giza . In order for us to have as good opportunities as possible to photograph Giza and the other leopards we have booked two of these three vehicles for our groups . This means that we will always have priority with both our cars when Giza is seen and that we can follow her without a time limit. If there are already three cars at a sighting and we get there, two of the other cars must release us.

During the tour, our photographic leaders will constantly give you photographic advise based on your prior knowledge and level. The guidance in the field is completely adapted to you and your needs. In addition to this, we will also have theoretical sessions where we talk about different photo techniques that we will use during the tour. When we are in Laikipia we will have focus on photographing leopards and often in the dark with the help of light. We will of course have a workshop on this type of photography before going on our first game drive

In addition, we will include different techniques on how to create movement in your images through eg. to use panning as a method. As mentioned, continuing education is adapted to the group’s and the individual’s knowledge, but we will also see what photographic opportunities may arise during the tour.

Laikipias svarta vålnad, Kenya. Fotoresa med Wild Nature fotoresor. Foto: Staffan Widstrand


Day 1 (6/9)
Arrival to Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta Airport in the evening. Transport to hotel.

Day 2 (7/9) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Departure from Nairobi towards Laikipia after breakfast. The trip takes about 5 – 6 hours and we make one or two stops on the way. When we checked in, will we have lunch and have a first small workshop of photo techniques for the afternoon and tonight’s game drive. We have permission to drive off-road for better photo opportunities.

Day 3–6 (8-11/9) (Morning coffee – Brunch – Afternoon tea – Dinner)
During these days will we have a game drive in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening. We have permission to drive off-road for better photo opportunities.

Day 7 (12/9) (Morning coffee – Brunch)
Morning game drive in the same way as before. After brunch will we go back to Nairobi. The trip ends at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi.

More information

    On all our tours we have different theoretical photography workshops. These workshops are always related to the specific tour and can be anything from teaching different photography techniques or tips and tricks for image editing to talking about image composition or preparing for special photo opportunities on the trip.

    Throughout the trip, our photography leader provides active photography advice when we are out in the field. Everything for you to develop as a photographer and take fantastic pictures home with you.

    When we photographing the black leopard and other leopards, this often happens in the dark and the animal is illuminated with a light. In this photography, it is important to have a lens that has a large aperture, preferably 2.8. Often the leopards comes close to the cars, so a zoom lens like 80 – 200 mm or 70 – 300 mm is perfect. Of course, longer focal lengths will also be useful eg. If the animal sits still or moves in open spaces.

    Apart from leopards will we be photographing many different types of subjects, everything from landscapes with and without animals to portraits of mammals and birds, it is advisable to bring everything from wide-angle lenses to telephoto lenses. On jeep safaris, lenses such as a zoom 80/100-400mm or 500mm are excellent. A 70-200 mm zoom should be supplemented with a longer focal length or 2x teleconverter. To increase the focal length, teleconverters should be used in certain situations. A crop-format body ostensibly turns 400mm into 600 or 640mm. With a full-frame body, you should have a 1.4x converter with you if the longest lens has a focal length of 400 mm. If you have access to two camera bodies, it is good to have both and have slightly different focal lengths on the bodies. This is to avoid having to change lenses if there is a lot of dust. Tripods are difficult to use in the jeeps, but can be useful when shooting on foot. Tripods can also be good if the opportunity arises for night photography.

    Mornings can be a bit cool when traveling in the jeep, so it is good to bring a long-sleeved shirt or a jacket. A cap or hat can be good as protection from the sun. A pair of thicker trainers is the best choice for the feet. Comfortable field clothing with both long and short arms and legs is the best choice.

    We will stay in a camp of mid range standard.  Single rooms are very limited in the camp.
    Contact us for more information about availability and price.

    The accommodation has some restrictions in terms of accessibility. The safari vehicles we use may mean a reduced accessibility in case of reduced mobility.

    Share in double room/tent, meals according to itinerary, drinks, transport by Toyota Landcruiser to/from Nairobi – Laikipia, safari vehicle with priority access at black leopard sightings, game drives with local guides, Off-road permits, entrance fees and other fees related to the conservancy, photo guiding, photography workshops.

    Round-trip flights to Nairobi, Kenya, tips, alcoholic beverages, visas, possible vaccinations and medical tests, insurance and other things of a personal nature.

    The tour starts and ends in Nairobi, exact time location to be announced later.

    The registration fee shall be paid after an invoice from us, right after your booking. The remaining amount shall be paid no later than 30 days before the trip. Payment will be in Swedish crowns (SEK). Amount in Euro and US dollars mentioned above are just reference amounts.

    Swedish citizens need a visa to Kenya. Swedish citizens must have a visa for entry into Kenya. Visa is obtained through an electronic application via the Kenyan Migration Authority’s website. The fee is paid in connection with the application (approximately $ 50). Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after the date you travel into Kenya. If you are not a Swedish citizen, it is important that you find out which visa rules apply to you.
    NOTE: It is no longer possible to apply for a visa at the airport in Nairobi after arrival.

    If you’re not a Swedish citizen please check on the nearest Kenyan embassy if you need a visa or not.

    When checking in for flights, a passport is required.

    Contact your insurance company about travel insurance and cancellation insurance. We always recommend travel insurance that covers medical transports both at the destination and for transport home.

    Contact your doctor for advice on vaccinations. Also check any requirements for medical tests for entry into the country.

    Our tours are open to all nationalities, which means that the group can be international.
    The tour guides on our trips speak Swedish and English.

    Terms and conditions

Photographic leader

Henrik Karlsson, born in 1968, is a photographer, writer and conservation biologist.
He is ambassador for OM SYSTEM and has been appointed as a National Geographic Explorer. He is also a member of the Swedish Nature Photographers Association (Naturfotograferna/N) as well as PhotoNatura. In 2003 he was awarded Naturfotografernas/N and Kodak’s scholarship. Henrik has also won awards in several European photo competitions.

Henrik has a wide selection when it comes to subjects to take images of and tell stories about. He will be more than happy to photograph everything from insects to the orchids in the forest or the great wild animals around the world. He has the whole world as his photographic field but is more and more drawn to Africas beauty and wildness.

Previously, Henrik worked as a guide in several Swedish Nature Reserves and National Parks. He is a frequent lecturer and an appreciated guide on photo courses and workshops. He also leads photo tours all over the world.

In 2011 Henrik self-published the book ”Mångfaldens ö – bilder och tankar från Ölands natur”, and the book ”Vilda Norden” was published in 2017. 2020 he published the book Ölands orkidéer and in 2021 Orkidéer på Gotland.

    Book the tour

    The black ghost of Laikipia, Kenya 6th - 12th September 2025

    NOTE! When you have made your booking you will immediately get a confirmation e-mail. If you don´t get the confirmation e-mail please check your spam e-mails or contact us by telephone, +46705 89 13 18.

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