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.
Is This Safari For You?
Here are some key points to help you decide:
1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.
2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort on safari activity and making images. We do meet daily to review images and discuss technique, but this is not a “classroom-intensive” trip. Our "classroom sessions" are optional (although the review sessions are valuable and there is not a more beautiful classroom).
3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (boating, walks, etc.) are also available at any time.
March 4 - Arrive Arusha, Tanzania
When your airplane lands you will be met by our staff and transferred to your lodge in Arusha. Overnight at Rivertrees Country Inn.
March 5 - Arusha to Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Drive from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, first crossing the Maasai Steppe and the Great Rift Valley Escarpment, and then winding up into the fertile Ngorongoro Highlands. The Conservation Area is a wildlife and cultural preserve that covers 3,200 square miles, of which a mere 102 square miles represent Ngorongoro Crater. Only Maasai are permitted to live within the area’s boundaries; they are seen throughout the highlands and conservation area wearing bright red and royal blue cloths and tending their herds of goats and cattle. The crater floor, however, is reserved only for wildlife. At some ten miles in diameter, the crater is the world’s largest intact caldera, and it abounds with one of the highest concentrations of diverse animals imaginable.
PJ and your head guide will brief you on your itinerary and review the expectations for your safari, giving you a taste of what’s to come. Please ask the guide questions at this time and as they come up during the safari.
Savor lunch at Gibb's Farm, where nearly every ingredient comes fresh from the estate's organic farm. With delicacies to suit every palate, this is sure to be a memorable meal. Take a leisurely stroll on your own through the gardens at Gibb's Farm to stretch your legs. Enjoy the quiet atmosphere, the abundance of beautiful plantings and the views out into the surrounding highlands.
After you arrive at camp and have had a chance to see the floor of Ngorongoro beneath you, immerse yourself in the semi-nomadic culture of the Maasai by visiting a boma, which is a settlement of circular mud-and-dung Maasai homes. Many Maasai still roam the plains of northern Tanzania with their herds of cattle, maintaining their traditions while adapting to new ways of life. Learn more about their extraordinary culture as you tour the boma and take in the scenes of village life.
Enjoy the friendly comforts at your camp this evening. Set on the crater rim, the campsite offers stunning views of Ngorongoro and the surrounding highlands. After dinner, enjoy a warm fire as well as the company of your guide and fellow travelers as you gaze up at the stars.
March 6 - Ngorongoro Crater
We will rise early for our descent into the Ngorongoro Crater, where you will find an abundance of wildlife. Over a full day of wildlife viewing, you might even see rhinoceros. We will spend our entire day in the Ngorongoro Crater Area, a habitat rich in culture and teeming with wildlife. Sometimes there are more than 30,000 animals in and around the crater, including black rhino, cheetah, lion, hyena, eland, and numerous antelope. On the floor of the crater, the alkaline Lake Magadi serves as an important water source, also attracting flamingo flocks during the dry season. Nearby, the small Lerai Forest, with its yellow fever acacia trees, provides shade and shelter for wildlife. You will often see baboons, vervet monkeys, and even elephants in its thicket. Thorny bush, grasslands, hippo pools and a second small lake are also found on the floor. You’ll soon see why Ngorongoro is considered to be among the world’s great wonders.We will rise early for our descent into the Ngorongoro Crater, where you will find an abundance of wildlife. To maximize your wildlife viewing time on the crater floor, enjoy your picnic lunch near a hippo pool. You will return to camp at the end of daylight, as the sun is setting in the crater. Overnight at camp on the Ngorongoro Crater Rim.
March 7 - Ngorongoro Crater to Serengeti National Park
Depart the cool, grassy Ngorongoro Conservation Area 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, called Olduvai Gorge where we will stop for a brief lecture and a change to visit the museum. Olduvai Gorge is a deep ravine and site of fossilized remains of animals and hominids that date as far back as two million years. Following our stop, we continue our way over the scrublands and begin our climb to Naabi Hill. The wooded knolls around Naabi Hill Gate mark the Serengeti’s official entrance, which then drops into the park’s signature wide-open plains. Like no other, this stretch embodies the meaning of the word “Serengeti,” which derives from the Maasai “Siringet” and has been artistically translated as “the land that flows on forever”. Serengeti National Park covers 6,000 square miles of pristine land and offers not only expansive vistas but the largest migration of mammals on earth, including 1.5 million wildebeest. We will visit Olduvai Gorge en route to the Serengeti. Overnight seasonal luxury mobile camp in the Ndutu region of the Serengeti.
March 8 - Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti, Tanzania's second largest national park, covers nearly 6,000 square miles of grassland plains, savannah, kopjes, hills, woodlands, and riverine forests. The Grumeti, Mbalageti, and Mara River systems serve as critical water sources and are often excellent sites for wildlife viewing. Beyond the heralded migration of wildebeest and zebra, the Serengeti is best known for its big predators, including cheetah and leopard, as well as large prides of lions and clans of hyenas. Other commonly seen animals include gazelle, buffalo, giraffe, topi, hartebeest, ostrich, and jackal, but it is the full diversity of wildlife and habitats that you will truly find amazing. The greater Serengeti ecosystem actually covers the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and numerous surrounding wildlife-protected lands that combine for a total of almost 17,000 square miles, which is larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all together.
From our location in the Serengeti, we will be perfectly located to make the best of our wildlife viewing and photography. Optional Hot Air Balloon activity can be planned for the early morning. Overnight seasonal luxury mobile camp in the Ndutu region of the Serengeti.
March 9 - Serengeti National Park
Another full day in the Serengeti. The most social of the big cats, lions live in groups called prides, comprised mostly of females and cubs and only 1-2 adult males. Typically prides have 6-12 lions, but can sometimes have more than 30 members. Superior hunters, lionesses inherit the same territories as their mothers while young males roam until they drive out old males from other prides to take over leadership. As lionesses hunt in groups and often at night, you are more likely to see prides as they languidly stretch out in the brush, underneath an acacia tree, or in the shade of a large rock formation. Particularly in the Serengeti, males who reside around savannahs and plains develop large dark manes as they grow older. The lion’s roar, a familiar sound in the Serengeti at night, can be heard from over five miles away. Overnight seasonal luxury mobile camp in the Ndutu region of the Serengeti.
March 10 - Serengeti National Park
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-round process involving over one million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra who roam the plains quietly, in search of food and water. While some antelope and hyena may follow the herds, other animals remain in their territories or have separate migratory patterns. The migration’s most dramatic moments often occur when large numbers of wildebeest and zebra make river crossings, during which they must elude predators in a desperate fight for survival. There is no telling exactly when these highly dramatic movements will occur, but all safari-goers are sure to see plenty of wildebeest and zebra while in Tanzania.
Spend more time seeking out wildlife and exploring the Serengeti's rich landscapes. The so- called Big Five and the Great Migration are the most well-known of the Serengeti's offerings, but there is much more to see. Thousands of equally fascinating dramas of a smaller scale play themselves out on these endless plains. Overnight seasonal luxury mobile camp in the Ndutu region of the Serengeti.
March 11 - Serengeti National Park
What is the story behind the Big Five? It actually has nothing to do with the size of the animals. In the 1800s, colonial trophy hunters named buffalo, rhino, elephant, lion, and leopard as the most difficult animals to hunt on foot. Thus, they were named the Big Five. Years later, tourism companies adopted the term and the list became the so-called five must-see animals while on safari. While it is possible to spot all the listed animals on your trip, leopard and rhino sometimes prove difficult to track down as they are both solitary, reclusive species. Ultimately, however, wildlife viewing in the Serengeti will be nothing short of amazing.
Enjoy the journey to your next camp in the central Serengeti, as there will be plenty to see along the way. Perhaps you will come across a chase between predator and prey; maybe you will spot a wake of vultures; or maybe you will be lucky enough to find a leopard relaxing high in the limbs of an acacia tree. Overnight seasonal luxury mobile camp in the central region of the Serengeti.
March 12 - Serengeti National Park
Big herds and big cats. That is what has made the Serengeti famous worldwide. Wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, and an array of antelope live and travel in large groups, or what are called herds. The herds can swell to hundreds of thousands at select times throughout the year as some of the animals migrate to new lands to get water and food. Lions also live in groups, which are called prides, and generally range from 6-12 animals. But some prides can have as many as 40 lions. Both cheetahs and leopards live completely solitary lives once grown. Both have orange-yellowish coats and black spots, but cheetahs are smaller than leopards and have distinguishing dark lines running from their eyes to their jaws. Cheetahs usually reside around open plains while leopards stick to wooded areas, where they can bring their prey into the branches for safe keeping.
Go on a wildlife viewing drive in the Serengeti for a full day. Your expert guide will point out wildlife that few others could hope to spot, whether a leopard well-concealed in the trees or a lion deep in the savannah grasses. Overnight seasonal luxury mobile camp in the central region of the Serengeti.
March 13 - Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Highlands
As you go from the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Highlands, you cross grasslands abundant in dramatic granite outcrops called kopjes. The grasslands eventually lead into the wide-open, treeless plains that are so emblematic of the Serengeti. The wooded knolls around Naabi Hill Gate mark your departure from the park, and then it’s on to the desert-like bush country. You will pass one of the world's greatest prehistoric archeological sites, called Olduvai Gorge, where archeologists have been making thrilling fossil discoveries for nearly a century. Your drive concludes in the highlands, whose rich volcanic soil makes for some of the most fertile land in Tanzania.
As you follow the meandering path out of Serengeti National Park, take in the gorgeous scenery and wildlife viewing before moving on to the next part of your adventure.
Spend an hour with two to three photographic models at Gibbs Farm. The setting is up to you, whether in your room, the lounge, the patio or out in the lush gardens. Please be familiar with your equipment and plan for various lighting conditions. (There is no additional equipment available at Gibb's.) No need for a tip, but please note that you will pay each model directly, $20 per model.
You may choose to spend the afternoon relaxing on the verandah with tea, or taking advantage of innumerable optional activities: a farm or garden tour, bird watching, coffee roasting, and more.
This evening, relax at the Tembo Fire, an open-air sitting area nestled at the foot of the organic gardens. The tradition of the nightly campfire began as a purely practical measure to ensure that elephants - or "tembo" in Swahili - are not tempted to feast in the organic gardens at night. It soon became a popular place to sit and relax at the end of the day. Now, with a comfortable seating area and full bar, the Tembo Fire makes a wonderful place for conversation, story- telling or star-gazing. Overnight at Gibbs Farm.
March 14 - Depart Ngorongoro Highlands
Today is the last day in Tanzania, and most international flights depart in the evening time. A drive down from Gibbs Farm and towards Arusha will take up the morning, after a leisurely breakfast. For those who are interested, the Cultural Heritage Center attracts many travelers each year with its abundance of wooden carvings, artifacts, apparel, and crafts. The center also has Tanzanite and other gemstones for sale. While the center caters mostly to tourists, they also have wonderful cultural displays and a separate wing that displays some of the finest African art in Tanzania.
A special farewell lunch will be hosted at Arusha Coffee Lodge, and afterwards you will have a day room at Mount Meru Hotel so you can wash up and pack for your journey back home.
You will be transferred to Kilimanjaro Airport at the appropriate time, depending on your flight departure time.
NOTE: Customized extensions to this safari, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and other destinations may be arranged through Andy Biggs Photo Safaris as desired. Ask us for further information.
The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $8,990 per person, plus a government-imposed VAT amount of $600. 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.
Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share a room and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then a single supplement will be charged $1,500 (please contact us if you would like to have your own accommodation as we have a very limited number of single slots available).
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 Do I Do Next?
This group is super 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safari Leader: PJ Hicks
Dates: March 4-14, 2018
Cost: $8,990 plus $600 Government imposed VAT
•Services of a Professional Photographer
•Accommodations Based on Double Occupancy
•Meals as Noted in Itinerary, Inclusive of Restaurant Staff Tips
•Complimentary Bottled Drinking Water Throughout Your Safari
•All Park Fees
•Services of Professional Safari Guides and Drivers
•Safari Briefings Throughout Your Trip
•Special Tanzanian Dinner at Ngorongoro Crater
•Land Transportation in a Customized, 4-Wheel Drive Safari Vehicle
•Guaranteed Window Seating in Safari Vehicles
•Maximum of 3 Travelers per Land Rover
•Guided Walks with a Naturalist, when Available
•Village, School, and Cultural Visits as Noted in Itinerary
What is Not Included?
- International Round-Trip Flight to Tanzania
- Fees for Passport, Visa, or Immunizations
- Cost of Hospitalization or Evacuation
- Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Soda
- Laundry, Phone, Internet, and Items of a Personal Nature
- Tips for Guides, Drivers, and Camp Staff