Africa Through the Lens: A Photographer

February 16-25, 2014

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, action shooting, wildlife observation, slow speed pan blurs, field craft and 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 15 - Depart home country.

February 16
 - 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.

February 17
 - Arusha to Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba)

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. All of the organic food at Gibb's Farm has been grown on the estate. With delicacies to suit every palate, this is sure to be a memorable meal. 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 be able to photograph the local Maasai in their environment

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.

February 18
- Ngorongoro Crater (Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba)

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.

February 19 - Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Serengeti National Park via Olduvai Gorge (Serengeti Nyumba at Ndutu)

Depart the cool, grassy Ngorongoro Highlands are and later arrive on the great Serengeti plains for a different but just as spectacular wildlife viewing experience. You will pass one of the world's greatest prehistoric archeological sites, Olduvai Gorge, and then continue your way over the short grass plains to the Serengeti. 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. You will have wildlife viewing all the way to camp, as the area is rich in wildlife. Arrive at camp in time to refresh before dinner. Enjoy engaging conversation around the crackling night fire this evening.

February 20
 - Serengeti National Park (Serengeti Nyumba at Ndutu)

More wildlife viewing is on the agenda today as you explore the fertile Serengeti plains near Ndutu. 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 camp in time for lunch and a little bit of relaxation. Head back out for the afternoon game drive, and return back to camp after the sun has set. 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 21
 - Serengeti National Park (Serengeti Nyumba at Ndutu)

Another full day of wildlife viewing in the greater Serengeti ecosystem. In order to spend more time out with the wildlife, plan on being gone all day. A picnic lunch is planned in a scenic spot mid-day.

Spanning nearly 6,000 square miles, the Serengeti has even more to offer you today. 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.

February 22
 - Serengeti National Park (Serengeti Nyumba at Ndutu)

Most of us know about the Great Migration from nature programs that capture some of the most thrilling moments on film. Often misunderstood, the migration is a perpetual, year-long process involving over 1 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra who roam the plains quietly, in search of food and water. While some antelope and hyena follow the herds, other animals remain in their territories or have separate migration patterns. The migration's most dramatic moments often occur when large numbers of wildebeest and zebra make river crossing, during which they must elude predators in a desperate fight for survival.

Upon your return to camp this evening you can relax in the tranquility of your Nyumba as you reflect on today’s activities; your exploration 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.

February 23
- Serengeti National Park (Serengeti Nyumba - Central)

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 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 rise and head out before sunrise on a game drive. 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. Return to camp for a relaxing lunch, and head back out for more afternoon game viewing.

February 24 - Serengeti National Park (Serengeti Nyumba - Central)

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.

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.

February 25 - Serengeti National Park to Arusha to Amsterdam (Mount Meru Hotel - 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.

February 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. $8,990 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 $1500.

For an additional fee you can choose to have the both the safari *and* your flights booked for you. 

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
- Safari briefings throughout your trip
- Complimentary bottled drinking water
- Village and cultural visits
- Scenic flight from the Serengeti to Arusha including special 50lb baggage weight limit
- Farewell lunch
- Airport transfers for group
- Baggage handling
- 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
- Hot Air Balloon ($490)
- 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