Africa Through the Lens: A Photographer

February 26 - March 9, 2012

Safari Leader: Andy Biggs

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. Andy 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*

February 26 - Depart home country.

February 27
 - Amsterdam to Arusha, Tanzania. (Arusha Coffee 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.

February 28 - Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park to Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba - NMS)

You will awake to a new world this morning. Exotic birdcalls fill the air as you walk up to the main dining room for breakfast and a safari briefing with your guide. Then you’ll leave Arusha by Land Rover, crossing the Maasai Steppe on your way to Lake Manyara National Park, where you’ll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch before beginning wildlife viewing in this beautiful location.

The park itself is nestled at the base of the 2000 foot, Great Rift Valley Escarpment Wall and forests of tamarind, mahogany, and fig in the north are set in contrast to the wide-open grasslands of the park center. Trees of the ground water forest are home to troupes of monkeys and elephants can often be seen on the slope of the amongst the baobab trees. Also, in the acacia woodlands, lions can be seen sprawled out in the heat of the day on the stout branches of the umbrella trees, while enormous hippos cool themselves in the pools along the lake shore. The park is also rich in resident and migratory bird species, making it a favorite of ornithologists around the world.

This afternoon you will head to your camp on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. Head up the winding, switch-back escarpment road that rises 2000 feet above the plains. Pass through the rolling, red-clay hills of the Ngorongoro Highlands and continue on your way to your Nyumba camp. Arrive in time to relax before dinner and then head to bed early in anticipation of a busy day tomorrow. 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.

February 29
 - 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.

March 1 
- Ngorongoro Crater (Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba - NMS)

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 followed by a visit to 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. This is an excellent opportunity to take candid photos of the Maasai, and it’s a great place to pick up a few souvenirs for friends and family at home.

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 2
 - Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Serengeti National Park via Olduvai Gorge (Ndutu Safari Lodge)

Rise early today. As the cool, fresh air fills your lungs you’ll feel invigorated and rejuvenated, ready for another great day on safari. Departing after breakfast for the Serengeti, you will make your way around the southern edge of the crater rim, spotting the occasional buffalo along the way. At Olduvai Gorge, make a brief stop at the museum to view some of the incredible finds of Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey.

By late morning, you will arrive at famed Serengeti National Park. The plains seem endless as you meander through the wildlife-rich central and southern Serengeti plains. Arrive at Ndutu Safari Lodge in time to refresh before dinner. Enjoy engaging conversation around the crackling night fire this evening.

March 3
 - Serengeti National Park (Ndutu Safari Lodge)

More wildlife viewing is on the agenda today, your first full day in the Serengeti. Take a picnic lunch as you head out on the trail in your trusted Land Rovers. 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!

March 4
 - Serengeti National Park (Ndutu Safari Lodge)

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.

March 5
 - Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Central - SWCS)

Spanning nearly 6,000 square miles, the Serengeti has even more to offer you today. For a different perspective on the scenery, you will move to a Nyumba. Arrive at camp in time for lunch and return to the bush to capture the late afternoon light on film.

This area is home to more lion than any place on the planet. You may also spot illusive predators like leopard and cheetah; keep your eyes peeled and your cameras at the ready should you spot these lithe cats on the prowl, lazing in the shadows or atop a lookout point. In the Seronera river system that flows through the heart of the park you can spot some of the largest crocodiles in Africa, hippos, kingfishers, egrets, monitor lizards and more.

Return to your Nyumba. 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 saw. Continue your conversation around the crackling night fire this evening. As you gaze up at the stars over southern hemisphere, you will feel privileged to have personally experienced this special place.

March 6
 - Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Central - SWCS)

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. Enjoy hot tea or coffee as you sit comfortably on your verandah watching the day break; you may even spot giraffe or zebra grazing in the distance. After breakfast, another fascinating day of wildlife viewing begins.

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.

March 7
 - Serengeti National Park (Thomson Serengeti Nyumba - Central - SWCS)

More wildlife viewing is on the agenda today, your last full day in the Serengeti. Take a picnic lunch as you head out on the trail in your trusted Land Rovers. 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!

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.

March 8 - Serengeti National Park to Arusha to Amsterdam (Kia 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.

March 9 - 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. $9,590 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 $1500. 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 $1800.

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 park entry fees
- Accommodations based on double occupancy
- Meals as per the above itinerary, inclusive of restaurant staff tips
- Services of Thomson Safaris staff throughout
- Services of a Senior Thomson Safaris Naturalist Guide
- Safari briefings throughout your trip
- Complimentary bottled drinking water
- Village and cultural visits
- Services of Thomson Safaris Nyumbas
- Scenic flight from the Serengeti to Arusha including special 50lb baggage weight limit
- Farewell lunch
- Airport transfers for group
- Baggage handling
- Tech Tent at Thomson Nyumbas for charging electronics until 9pm each night
- Tanzania airport departure taxes if your international airfare is arranged by Thomson Safaris
- A personal pre-trip consultant, five days a week, by phone or email
- Complete preparation materials including helpful tips, packing list, trip expectations, tipping guidelines and much more
- Complimentary full-color, 120+ page Safari Journal
- Wildlife viewing drives in a specially customized 4-wheel drive Land Rover with no more than 3 guests per stretch Land Rover Defender

What is Not Included?

- Fees for passport, visas, immunizations and insurance
- Meals and expenses en route to Tanzania
- Any NW/KLM imposed fees for making seat assignments
- NW/KLM variable fuel surcharge is subject to change
- Tips for staff such as guides and Nyumba staff
- Soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits
- 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