Africa Through the Lens: A Photographer

August 14 - 26, 2011

Safari Leader: Randy Hanna

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


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, 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.


It's About Photography — Lots of it!

This workshop will be very informal and fun. Randy Hanna 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

*Accommodations in parenthesis*

August 14 - Depart home country.

August 15
 - Amsterdam to Arusha, Tanzania. (Mountain Village Lodge)

Connect in Amsterdam with your flight to Kilimanjaro Airport, arriving late this evening. You will be met by Thomson Safaris staff and transferred to your lodge in Arusha.

August 16
- Arusha to Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba - NMS)

You will awake to a new world this morning. Exotic birdcalls fill the air and hints of freshly brewed Tanzanian coffee scent the breeze. After breakfast and a safari briefing with your guide you will leave Arusha by Land Rover, crossing the Maasai Steppe on your way to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Soon, the impressive Great Rift Valley Escarpment will come into view – a 2,000 foot high wall that rises up out of the flat plains. Head up the winding, switch-back road, through bucolic rural farm land as you approach Gibbs Farm, where you will stop for lunch. Then continue up to Ngorongoro Crater itself. Arrive at your Thomson Nyumba camp and settle in before visiting the nearby Maasai boma of Irkeepusi. Here you’ll meet friends of Thomson Safaris who will give you a window into their day-to-day lives. Maasai are pastoralists who tend sheep and goats, and their most prized possessions: cattle.

Return to your Nyumba in time for a delicious dinner this evening. Prepare for a full day of wildlife viewing before heading to bed tonight. Please note, at this elevation the nighttime temperatures are cool year-round (40-55 degrees F or 4-10 degrees C). Make sure to bring warm layers with you on safari.

August 17
- Ngorongoro Crater (Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba - NMS)

Rise for a hearty camp breakfast before you spend a full 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. To maximize your time on the crater floor you will enjoy a picnic lunch at a scenic picnic spot.

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 easy prey. Before sunset, it is time to depart this Garden of Eden for the comfort of your Nyumba, which is nestled in the lush forested landscape that is so typical of the fertile Ngorongoro region. Relax with some palate teasers before your evening meal. Sleep well tonight, before a busy day tomorrow.

August 18
- Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Serengeti National Park via Olduvai Gorge (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Central - SMM)

Rise early today. As the cool, fresh air fills your lungs you’ll feel invigorated and rejuvenated, ready for another great day on safari. Pack up your bags and depart camp after your early breakfast. You’ll have one more opportunity for photographing wildlife on the crater floor as you descend from the eastern rim and cross westward through this rich ecosystem. The crater provides year-round sources of food and water for the resident animal populations. You may see lion, hyena, warthog and zebra as well as some of the largest bull elephants on the planet. Birders will be also be impressed by the hundreds of avian species in this area

Later this morning you’ll head up a winding, switch-back road to reach the western edge of the crater rim. Continue to Olduvai Gorge; make a brief stop at the museum to view some of the incredible finds of Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey. You can also have a picnic here before entering famed Serengeti National Park.

The plains seem endless as you meander through the wildlife-rich central Serengeti. Settle in to your private Nyumbas later this afternoon and enjoy another wonderful dinner. Gather around the campfire to enjoy a brilliant spectacle of stars and a relaxing drink.

August 19
 - Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Central - SMM)

Today you have the option of joining a Serengeti balloon safari (additional fee and advance reservations required-if needed, the back up ballooning day would be tomorrow morning). The experience begins with an early rise (approx 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. From the comfort of your Nyumba you’ll smell the luscious scents of hot tea and fresh coffee beckoning you to greet the dawn; the majesty of the Serengeti awaits! 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 to enjoy a picnic lunch at your leisure.

Upon your return to camp this afternoon you can relax in the tranquility of your Nyumba as you reflect on today’s activities; your exploration of the heart of the park has been both informative and adventurous and you’ll relish each moment in your unique surrounds. 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 a scrumptious dessert await your evening indulgence. Retire to your comfortable camp beds after a full and satisfying day.

August 20
- Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Central - SMM)

Rise early for a quick breakfast and hit the road by 6am. Photograph in the pristine, first light of day before returning to camp for an early lunch followed by some time to discuss photography, review the new additions to your portfolio, or rest before continuing with more wildlife viewing and photography.

Hop in your trusty Land Rovers mid afternoon. You’ll want to roll down the windows or stand up to take advantage of the customized roof hatch. Feel 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!

After returning to camp late in the day you can have a drink, appetizers or a refreshing shower before sitting down for dinner with your group tonight. As you gaze out at the majestic Serengeti Plains you will feel privilege of being one of the few people in who can say that you saw, “the world as it was in the beginning.”

August 21
- Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Kogakuria - SWCK)

For a different perspective on the scenery, you will move to a Nyumba located in the exclusive northern area of the Serengeti. En route, stop by the village of Mgumu, just outside the park gate to peruse the market and enjoy your picnic lunch. Afterwards, continue on your journey towards the Mara River in the Kogakuria region of the park. With your skilled guides at the helm, the wildlife viewing promises to be interesting in each new area of the park you visit.

The northern area of this ecosystem is an outstanding seasonal location, which few travelers have the opportunity to experience first-hand. You may see gazelle, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and much more. Arrive at your Nyumba this afternoon in time to refresh before an al fresco dinner under the canopy of your dining tent.

Having experienced wonderful wildlife viewing throughout the day, dinner is sure to be a lively, engaging affair as guests swap stories about all that you’ve seen. Continue your conversation around the crackling campfire this evening. Fall asleep to the sounds of nearby animals tonight.

August 22
- Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Kogakuria - SWCK)

Rise early for a quick breakfast and hit the road by 6am. Photograph in the pristine, first light of day before returning to camp for an early lunch. Have a brief rest and explore more along the Mara River this afternoon. Here you may find wildebeest tentatively drinking from the muddy banks while some of Africa’s biggest Nile crocodiles lurk nearby, waiting for the perfect opportunity to grab a meal on the run.

This evening you return to camp where you can go over your experiences and compare notes with your fellow safari-goers. Rest easy, and enjoy being lulled to sleep by the sounds of your last night on the Serengeti plains.

August 23
- Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Kogakuria - SWCK)

More wildlife viewing is on the agenda today as you explore the fertile Serengeti. In the nearby woodlands, you will be looking for warthog, jackal, eland, kudu, reedbuck, hyena, gerenuk and giraffe. Stop for a picnic lunch at your leisure and later today, after a wealth of opportunities for more wildlife photography, you’ll return to your comfortable Thomson camp. 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.

August 24
 - Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Kogakuria - SWCK)

Spanning nearly 6,000 square miles, the Serengeti has even more to offer you today, your last full day of wildlife viewing in Tanzania’s most famous national park. Take a picnic lunch as you head out in your trusted Land Rovers.

This evening when you return to the Nyumba you can indulge in a few tasty snacks while watching the brilliant equatorial sun dip below the horizon. Head into the dining tent where the tempting aromas of home made soup and fresh bread beckon you to dinner.

On this last night in the bush, reflect on all that you’ve experienced as you write in your safari journal or relax by the campfire under the starlit sky. Your Thomson Safari has been an adventure full of wildlife viewing in the heart of Tanzania’s greatest parks. You’ve seen more than you could’ve possibly imagined and been welcomed by local Tanzanians throughout your trip. Precious memories like this are to be celebrated in the moment and savored for a lifetime.

August 25
- Serengeti National Park to Arusha to Amsterdam (Mountain Village Lodge - Day Room)

Later this morning take a Regional flight to Arusha (50 lb baggage limit). As you visually retrace your route from above, note the change in landscape from the flat plains of the Serengeti to the verdant, rolling hills of the Ngorongoro Highlands. Touch down at Arusha Airport in time for a bit of shopping and a farewell lunch at Riverhouse with your new safari friends. Day rooms are provided for you to rest and relax before checking in for your departing KLM flight to Amsterdam. Take dinner with you to the airport, which you can enjoy at your leisure.

August 26
- Amsterdam to home

Connect in Amsterdam and arrive in the U.S. Please check your flight itinerary for details.


The Cost

The cost of this all-inclusive trip is U.S. $9,890 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