Tanzania Photographic Safari, February 20, 2011

February 20 - March 4, 2011

Safari Leader: Andy Biggs

Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for more workshop and safari dates.

Tanzania

About The Photographic Safaris

Looking for a photographic destination of a lifetime? Well this is it! This photographic safari will be conducted in the east African country of Tanzania, home to the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro. It will combine an exciting photography workshop in one of the world's most outstanding wildlife, landscape and cultural locations together with a luxury vacation in fascinating Tanzania.

Tanzania

Tanzania, south of Kenya on the African continent's Indian Ocean coastline, lays claim to the title Home of the Safari, since the word itself is taken from the Swahili word that means "journey." While Tanzania's Kenyan neighbors may dispute that claim, there is no doubt that Tanzania offers one of the best environments in the world for an enriching wildlife experience. The country's game viewing opportunities are considered by many to be the best in Africa. Its game parks are populated with many of the world's most exotic creatures, including all of the "Big Five." Its lakes are huge and bountiful with fish. Its cities are relaxed and friendly. Yet, to a greater degree than is true of many of its neighbors, this sprawling county, the largest in East Africa, remains untouched by the vacationing hordes.

Tanzania

It's About Photography — Lots of it!

This workshop will be very informal and fun. Andy Biggs will be shooting alongside you at all times. We will have discussion and assistance on specialized topics such as, for example, long lens technique, projection flash usage, action shooting, wildlife observation, field craft and east African animal behavior. Advanced techniques will be constantly discussed, demonstrated and put into practice.

This workshop is about shooting. Lots of shooting. There will be no classroom sessions, no lectures, no slide shows, and most importantly, no unnecessary egos. We will all work closely together, sharing our knowledge and experience.

Because of the unique location of this workshop, and the luxury accommodations, this workshop adventure is open to spouses as well as photographers. Even non-photographers will find the locales visited and the wildlife viewing opportunities to be thrilling. The cost for non-photographers is the same as for active participants.

The Schedule

February 20 - Depart home country (or earlier if you wish to arrive early).

February 21 - Amsterdam to Arusha, Tanzania.

Upon arrival, you are met by our guides and transferred to the Kigongoni Lodge. Kigongoni Lodge is located on an historic 70-acre coffee farm near Arusha, amid natural forest. Sitting on a hilltop with lush gardens, the lodge offers breathtaking views of Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru. Tucked between the trees are eighteen cottages, built in traditional African styles and materials. The rooms, cocktail lounge, and restaurant - all with fireplaces – are furnished in an intimate and comfortable manner, maximizing the site’s unique views and natural features.

February 22 - Arusha to Serengeti National Park

You will awake to a new world this morning. Leaving your room and walking through the lush garden is a gentle reminder that you are now in Africa. Exotic birdcalls fill the air and hints of freshly brewed Tanzanian coffee mean that breakfast awaits you. After breakfast you’ll be transferred to the airstrip for your 8am flight to the Serengeti. As soon as you land, you will meet your safari guides and begin wildlife viewing en route to your Nyumba, where you will have lunch followed by a safari briefing.

Head out again this afternoon to continue your exploration of this world renowned ecosystem. You may see gazelle, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, lion, hippo, buffalo and much more.

Return to camp in time to refresh before your first dinner in the welcoming, open-sided dining room. After a delicious meal this evening you will have a chance to relax around a roaring campfire and fall asleep to the sound of nearby animals.

February 23 - Serengeti National Park

Today is your first morning in the bush. The sounds of buff-bellied warblers and African doves provide your gentle wake-up call. A hearty breakfast prepared by experienced chefs wakens your senses and prepares you for a full day of wildlife viewing.

After breakfast you’ll have a full day to journey far and wide in this immense park, allowing your guide’s unerring instincts to lead the way. An infinite number of dramas play themselves out on these endless plains: predators stalk prey, animals eat, scavenge and graze, mothers nurture their young, birds hover and soar overhead, young animals frolic as older animals keep a watchful eye on them… in short, it is a story of life and death, decay and renewal and ultimately, survival of the fittest.

Take a picnic lunch with you to enjoy while you continue to explore the park. The vast open expanses of space, the multitude of animals inhabiting the pristine landscape, all of this will leave you in awe and impress even the most seasoned wildlife enthusiast. Return to your Nyumba in time to refresh before your evening meal.

February 24 - Serengeti National Park

Today you have the option of joining a Serengeti balloon safari (additional fee and advance reservations required). The experience begins with an early rise (about 4am) and pre-dawn drive to the balloon launch site, where you will be given a balloon briefing prior to take-off. As the sun rises, you lift gently off the ground, enjoying a bird’s eye perspective as you skim over the tops of acacia trees, meander over the Seronera River and finally touch down. You’ll be greeted with a champagne toast and treated to a full English breakfast.

For those who do not join the balloon ride this morning you’ll awaken instead to the calls of the African dove or superb starling. As you sit comfortably on your verandah, sipping hot drinks and watching the day break, you may even spot giraffe or zebra grazing in the distance. After breakfast at your Nyumba you begin your quest to discover abundant and fascinating animal behavior in the park.

Later this morning you’ll all regroup to continue your wildlife viewing for the rest of the day, stopping at camp to enjoy a lunch before returning to the bush for more photography.

Upon your return to camp this afternoon you can relax in the tranquility of your Nyumba as you reflect on today’s activities. Few travelers ever have the privilege of seeing, “the world as it was in the beginning.” Under your dining tent, hot soup, fresh bread, entrees and dessert await your evening indulgence. Retire to your comfortable camp beds after a full and satisfying day.

February 25 - Serengeti National Park / Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Spanning nearly 6,000 square miles, the Serengeti has even more to offer you today. For a new perspective on the scenery, you will move to a new location in the park. Arrive at Ndutu Safari Lodge in time to settle in and enjoy lunch before returning to your trusty Land Rovers for more exploration this afternoon. In the river systems that flow through the park you can spot hippos, kingfishers, egrets, monitor lizards and some of the largest crocodiles in Africa.

Out on the plains, you will be looking for warthog, jackal, eland, kudu, reedbuck, baboon, topi, hyena, gerenuk and giraffe. You may also see tightly grouped herds of wildebeest, which often gather together during their prolific calving season. Keep an eye open for newly born calves frolicking on the open plains.

Return to your lodge this afternoon. Enjoy engaging conversation around the crackling night fire this evening. As you gaze up at the stars over southern hemisphere, you will feel privileged to have experienced this special place.

February 26 - Serengeti National Park / Ngorongoro Conservation Area

More wildlife viewing is on the agenda today. Meander through the wildlife-rich territories of the fertile Southern Serengeti plains.

Roll down the windows, or stand up to take advantage of the customized roof hatch, feeling the fresh air rush past as you navigate winding paths and secret trails in your pursuit of interesting wildlife sightings. With this perspective, you have unhindered 360º views, and the possibilities for what lies in store are endless!

Stop for a picnic lunch at your leisure and later today, after a wealth of opportunities for more wildlife photography, you’ll return to the comforts of your lodge. Dinner is sure to be a lively, engaging affair as guests swap stories about all that you saw. Continue your conversation around the campfire tonight and then head off to bed for a good rest.

February 27 - Serengeti National Park / Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Today you’ll have another full day to the Serengeti. Begin with a very early start, with a 5 or 5:30am wake up call. Grab some coffee and a light snack so you can hit the road right at 6am, when driving is permitted in the park. Capture some phenomenal images in the pristine morning light. Later this morning you’ll return to your lodge for an early lunch followed by a short afternoon repose.

Around 2pm you’ll head out again and will stay immersed in the bush until the last possible moment; you must be back at your lodge by 6pm when driving-hours end for the evening. After a busy day and delicious evening meal, head off to bed early to write in your safari journal and get a good night’s rest.

February 28 - Serengeti National Park / Ngorongoro Conservation Area via Olduvai Gorge

Rise early on your final morning in the Serengeti. Heading east, you’ll arrive at Olduvai Gorge, an archeological site of extraordinary importance in our understanding of the origins of “man.” Here in these desolate gullies, several generations of the Leakey family toiled for decades in search of prehistoric clues in the mystery of human evolution. The small museum details some of their most important finds, among them the skull of “Zinjanthropus Man” and the 3.6 million year old australopithecine footprints from nearby Laetoli.

Stop to enjoy a picnic lunch around noon, and then continue your gradual ascent into Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Your first glimpse of the Crater floor is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Make your way around the southern rim of the crater and arrive at your Nyumba, situated amongst picturesque flat-top acacia trees, in time to freshen up before visiting the nearby Maasai boma of Irkeepusi. Here you can catch a glimpse into the lives of these famed East African people. Learn about their history, culture and their pastoralist lives tending sheep, goats, and cattle.

Enjoy dinner at camp tonight in the cool nighttime air. Temps can dip down to 40-55º F; make sure to bring a fleece jacket and layer clothing while staying at the Crater. Sleep soundly tonight.

March 1 - Ngorongoro Crater

Rise for breakfast before you spend a fully day exploring the crater floor. The area is world-renowned in its reputation and very small in its scale, so you will see other safari goers. Don’t let that distract you from the beauty of the place or from the fact that this remains one of the only places on earth where you may see all of the Big Five at once: Lion, Leopard, Bull Elephant, African Buffalo and Black Rhino. Enjoy a special boxed lunch today.

Your journey will take you throughout this tremendous landscape that is constantly changing as animals move to and fro in search of pasture, water or east prey. This evening back at camp you’ll have time to visit with friends before sitting down to a hearty meal.

March 2 - Ngorongoro Crater

Wake up early this morning so you can have a few bites to eat and a hot cup of coffee before departing camp at 6am for the Crater floor. Maximize the light of the early morning and return to camp for a hearty lunch and a brief afternoon repose. Then you’ll head to the Crater floor once again to capture the best afternoon light on film. Before sunset, it is time to depart this Garden of Eden for the comfort of your Nyumba, where you will have time to discuss the multitude of sightings today and log them in your safari journal.

March 3 - Serengeti National Park to Arusha to Amsterdam 

After breakfast you’ll depart by Land Rover for Arusha. Arrive in time for a farewell lunch at Riverhouse with your new safari friends. Day rooms are provided for you to rest and relax before check-in at the airport tonight. Take a packed dinner with you to eat at your convenience prior to departure.

March 4 - Amsterdam to home

Connect in Amsterdam and arrive back home.

Tanzania

The Cost

The cost of this all-inclusive trip is U.S. $9,290 per person (but not inclusive of airfare to Arusha, Tanzania). The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals. The non refundable deposit for this trip is $1200. Optional hot air balloon is $475 per person.

Accommodations are two person to a room. If you will be traveling alone and would like a private room there will be a supplementary charge of $1200.

For an additional fee you can choose to have the both the safari *and* your flight from New York or Boston booked for you. We encourage this service if you are departing from North America, as we will all be able to arrive in Tanzania on the same flight at the same time. It is our experience that this service eliminates many scheduling headaches, and the cost is at or slightly below the average market rate for such a flight.

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.

What's Included?

- All Game Park fees
- All accommodations, based on double occupancy
- All meals inclusive of restaurant staff tips
- Services of guides and drivers
- Land transportation in safari Land Rovers. Each of the three rear seat passengers has a complete seat to themselves, including access to windows on both sides of the vehicle and empty seats for photographic equipment.
- Airport transfers to and from hotels
- Internal airfare from Serengeti to Arusha
- Bottled water at all times
- $30 Tanzanian Airport departure tax, if KLM / NW ticket purchased through us.

What is Not Included?

- Additional tips for staff such as guides and camp staff
- Fees for passport, visas, immunizations, and insurance
- Hot air balloon flight of $475
- Alcoholic beverages while on safari
- Laundry, phone and other items of a personal nature
- Cost of hospitalization and evacuation if necessary

What Do I Do Next?

Our groups are small, so space is limited. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to info@andybiggs.com.