From the beginning of our safari at Tarangire National Park with the largest concentration of Elephants in East Africa, to the walls of the Ngorongoro Crater that form a vivid backdrop for the cheetahs, elephants, and lions that inhabit the crater floor, to the vast rolling grasslands of the Central Serengeti teeming wildlife, to the vast 1.5 plus million animal wildebeest migration you will experience and photograph the best of East Africa in this Tanzania Photo Safari.
So why Tanzania?
1.This trip covers the best and least crowded parts of the African Wildlife Photography experience.
2. Tanzania is one of the most secure countries in Africa for US travelers.
3.You will receive unparallel instruction from renowned photographers Jess Lee and Tamara Gooch.
4. Most travelers are not aware that 80% of the Mara River is bordered by Tanzania on both sides. Only 20% of this river is located in Kenya. Kenya’s Masai Mara now has over 3,700 beds we spend 5 days in the northern Serengeti where there are only 11 safari lodges and camps. There are more animals and less people in the Northern Serengeti.
Photos from previous trips can be seen here
Here is our itinerary
for the 2015 Africa trip.
August 24th 2015
DAY 1: ARRIVAL
(International Airfare Excluded)
Arrive at Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha, Tanzania and transfer to the Africa Tulip Hotel for a Pre-Safari briefing, where you spend the night as you prepare for the photo safari.
DAY 2: 0800 Meet with the guides and transfer to Tarangire National Park for photography game drive and exploration.
Tarangire is renowned for its huge herds of elephant and many majestic baobab trees. Although this park is quite a bit smaller than say the Serengeti, the concentration and variety of wildlife is immense. During the dry months from July to October, some of the highest concentration of wildlife of any park in Tanzania can be found. Lion, leopards, cheetahs and even the rare caracal are hunting here. Buffaloes, giraffes, impala, eland antelope, kudu, waterbuck, gazelle, oryx and many other species are abundant.
The Tarangire River flows continually through the park, even during the dry season. Large concentration of animals can now be seen along the river and at various waterhole's. From July, many elephants migrate from the surrounding areas into the park and refresh themselves in the cool waters of the Tarangire river and the many swamps of the park. Overnight Nasikia Tarangire Camp.
Day 3: Full Day of Game drive and photography of the wildlife of Tarangire with special attention to the vast herds of Elephants. Overnight Nasikia Tarangire Camp.
Day 4: Tarangire – Lake Manyara - Ngorongoro Crater.
Game drive out of Tarangire and then onto Lake Manyara for game driving and exploration. Climb onto Ngorongoro crater rim for overnight at the Sopa Lodge on the Crater rim.
Lake Manyara National Park, Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.
The compact game-viewing circuit through Manyara offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience.
From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Contrasting with the intimacy of the forest is the grassy floodplain and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to the jagged blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes. Large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds congregate on these grassy plains, as do giraffes – some so dark in coloration that they appear to be black from a distance.
Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favored haunt of Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. Squadrons of banded mongoose dart between the acacias, while the diminutive Kirk’s dik-dik forages in their shade. Pairs of klipspringer are often seen silhouetted on the rocks above a field of searing hot springs that steam and bubble adjacent to the lakeshore in the far south of the park.
Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s bird life. More than 400 species have been recorded and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 species in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.
Day 5: Ngorongoro Crater, Descend into crater floor for full day (6hr limit by park rules) game driving and exploration. Overnight Sopa Lodge.
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most densely crowded wildlife areas in the world and is home to an estimated 30,000 animals. park. The park teems with wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, aggressive pack hunting hyenas and resident lion prides. Supported by a year round supply of water and fodder, the park supports a vast variety of animals, which include impressive herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, eland, warthog, hippo, giant elephants and a small population of black rhino. Another big draw to this picturesque park is it dense population of predators, which include lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs and the ever elusive leopard, which sometimes requires a trained eye to spot.
That said, it is the setting of the park that makes wildlife viewing and photography in the caldera so extraordinary and rewarding. The steep walls of the crater, often falling into indigo shadows, create a spectacular backdrop for your images. But it is the animals that are the stars in all the pictures. They are varied and abundant, many are remarkably tame and habituated to the safari vehicles. They are also generally out in the open, where they are easily photographed.
Day 6: Ngorongoro – Central Serengeti.
Game drive and exploration to the central plains of the Serengeti. Nasikia central Serengeti Camp.
A safari rich camp in a stunning location in the central Serengeti. The camp is slightly raised allowing far reaching views across the Serengeti plains.This is a gem of a camp in an awesome location. Small and intimate, authentic but good attention to detail. Each tent has been designed with minimalist ideas – with neutral base colors and simple but effective furniture. Nevertheless, each tent is also unique and each offers an individual and identifying color scheme – from earthy tones to rusty reds and safari greens. Tents have en suite shower rooms with flushing toilet, hand basin with running water. In these spacious canvas havens, you will find all the comforts you need out in the bush: tastefully crafted furnishings, cozy bedding with fine linens, hand woven mats, fluffy towels and the small touches that will make you comfortable during your stay. ‘Nasikia’ has been designed to strike a perfect balance between luxury and immersion within the environment.
At dusk there is a magical path of lanterns between the tents and also to the Dining Tent. Although using kerosene lanterns, you will also observe a mix of solar guide lights and scented beeswax candles to create an enchanting setting to unwind after the day’s adventures. Guests take pleasure in the library in the Dining Tent or enjoy a sundowner while flicking through the pages of the photographic and historical volumes.
Meals are taken in custom-designed canvas dining tents and are made with fresh, local produce by skilled chefs. Freshly baked breads, homemade soups, salads, a variety of healthy, delicious entrees and, of course, decadent desserts highlight the daily menus. When partaking in lunches at the camp, your table is set up under a shady tree as the breeze sweeps by and the environment engulfs you.
Each guest is greeted upon return or arrival with cold face washers and fresh juice.
At Nasikia, meet the new day to the cooing of the African dove, the fresh scent of the earth and grass and observe the zebra grazing in the distance. And as the sun sets again; sip a glass of cold white wine by the campfire beneath a canopy of a zillion stars....this is Africa!
Day 7: Central Serengeti - Full day game driving and exploration in the central areas of Serengeti.
The Central Serengeti offers superb game viewing year round due to its abundance of resident animals. Specifically, the Seronera River Valley in the Central Serengeti is a ‘must see’ on every safari regardless of the specific month of travel. Many of the non-migratory or resident animals will be concentrated in the Central Serengeti, which provides a dry season refuge, as it forms the main plains/woodlands boundary. Resident lions will be abundant here as they take advantage of the animal concentrations around the permanent sources of water. Cheetahs will also be in abundance as they have followed the migratory gazelles from the plains into the woodland/plains border of the Central Serengeti.
Game viewing in Central Serengeti is at its best during the dry season (June - November) as resident animals are more concentrated in the immediate area due to the lack of water on the plains. Resident herbivores include impala, buffalo, hippo, warthog, topi, hartebeest and giraffe. Resident carnivores include lion and leopard.
In addition to the resident wildlife, significant concentrations of migratory animals are found in the Central Serengeti during the dry season including cheetah, Thomson’s gazelle and hyena. The Thomson’s gazelles migrate to the eastern short grass plains during the wet season and then back to the Central Serengeti during the dry season. The majority of the cheetahs in the Serengeti are also migratory in that many of them follow the Thomson’s Gazelle migration. Additionally, hyenas are semi-nomadic and many of them can be found in the Central Serengeti during the dry season, where the majority of their den sites are located. During the wet season, they "commute" to the Eastern Plains to take advantage of the abundance of animals found on the plains during this time. Accordingly, you will likely encounter an array of resident animals plus migratory gazelles, cheetahs and hyenas from about June to November in the Central Serengeti.
There are 12 documented resident lion prides just within a one-hour game drive radius from Seronera. During the dry season, the resident prides begin to shift west and north in their territories and concentrate in the central region of the park. The dry season is a particularly good time for lion viewing in the Central Serengeti.
The Seronera Valley in the Central Serengeti is also one of the best areas in Africa to spot the elusive leopard. You will likely encounter this majestic cat in the branches of the sausage trees that dot the banks of the Seronera River a mere 5 miles from our camp.
Day 8: Central Serengeti – Northern Serengeti. Game drive to northern areas to our Northern Serengeti Luxury Mobile Camp.
In central Serengeti the main track through the parks splits. But whilst the road west leads on to Lake Victoria and the major towns of northwest Tanzania, the road north leads only to the northern area of the Serengeti and a network of little used tracks through remote Maasailand. The reason is that the border crossing between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya has long been closed by the Tanzanian government in order to protect this side from the heavy flows of mass market tourist traffic.
Nasikia Mobile Camps follow the Great Wildebeest migration throughout the year and offer the best in wildlife viewing. Each camp has 6-12 beautiful tents which are 10m by 4m and locally made from heavy duty rip-stop canvas. Tents are equipped with a cooling feature of shade-clothing over it.
The tented camp offers single, twin, double (with a honeymoon option), triple and family (quad) tents. Each bed is fitted with imported cotton sheets, duvets and double pillows for comfort, as well as mosquito nets for protection. Each bathroom boasts a ceramic wash basin with running water, a leather framed mirror, a supply of natural based products and linens. Nasikia also provides separate toilet and shower areas for privacy.
At the camp entrance, guests are met by a patio area with a table and chairs for relaxing and enjoying the view. Inside each tent is an arrangement of satisfying furniture, such as a desk and chair, storage chest (with extra blankets), wardrobe with slippers and robes, umbrella and laundry bag, beds and bedside tables. All indoor fittings depict color tones which adhere to the natural area they are located in.
Nasikia chefs are the creators of fine bush cuisine, using fresh produce from all over Tanzania, to offer a menu that will tantalize each and every guest. The camp strives to maintain its intimacy and uniqueness, while being directed by the location, wildlife and other factors of responsible tourism.
Day 9, 10, 11: Northern Serengeti Full day game driving and exploration of the migration. Northern Serengeti Luxury Mobile Camp
The migration heads north as the dry season progresses, so from mid / late July through to early November, there are huge concentrations of animals in an area that spans the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the far northern section of the Serengeti National Park.
Late August and early September sees the herds spread out across the northern Serengeti, where the Mara River provides the migration with its most serious obstacle. This river gushes through the northern Serengeti from Kenya's adjacent Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Watching the frantic herds of the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion. It's common to see herds cross the Mara River north on one day, and then back south a few days later.
This area has until the past few years been out of reach of most permanent safari camps in the Serengeti, our mobile camp is located at Bologonja, in the far northern areas of the Serengeti. This puts us in a great position to game drive to the Bologonja and Mara Rivers, it's in these areas that the action is likely to be at its best as the wildebeest cross backwards and forwards between Kenya and Tanzania in response to local rain showers, the resulting fresh grass (and only they know what else).
Day 12, Sept 4 2015
Game drive to airstrip for:
Depart LOB 0945
Arrive JRO 1310 to return home.
As one visitor put it:
“This is the total sensory experience holiday. Your senses are constantly stimulated by the sights, smells and sounds of the Wildebeest Migration and its many inhabitants. The thrill of leaving camp at dawn, in search of big cats is an experience that is difficult to repeat.”
There is no better time to visit the Africa than during the Great Migration. The sound of the approaching herd is a deep, primal rumbling of thundering hooves and low grunts. The sight of the wildebeest is staggering ~ a continuous charging mass that stretches from one horizon to the other, this endless grey river of life is mottled with black and white as zebras join the throng. Over the course of the migration, visitors to Kenya will have the opportunity to follow the progress of the herds and experience the full grassland cycle firsthand. Africa’s largest concentrations of predators are drawn to this perfect opportunity for easy hunting. Lions are frequently seen attacking the herds - especially at night. At the same time, packs of Hyena freely weave throughout the herds, singling out and separating the young and the weak. Predators are not the only obstacles that the wildebeest face; Kenya’s heavy rainfall in the highland Mau escarpment has turned the Mara River into a raging torrent. As it happens each year, the herds will gather at the banks in preparation for the most perilous stretch of their journey. As sheer pressure builds, the herds are finally are forced to surge into the river, often hurling themselves off high banks. In the struggle across the Mara River, many are drowned or swept away by strong currents. The crossing attracts massive crocodiles who each year awaits this season of bounty. By mid September the herds will begin reaching their goal, and spreading out to graze across the expanse of the Mara"
Land cost from and to Kilimanjaro International Airport
US $12,995. Double occupancy in twin room. Single Room Supplement: US $2,410.
Optional Balloon Safari from central or northern areas = US $515 pp
Terms $2500. Deposit, $1500. payment August 2014. Final Payment June 1st 2015.
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:
Price quoted includes:
* All transport, 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser with pop-up roof with 3 bench seats. One photographer per bench giving access to both sides of the vehicle
* Hotel and lodge accommodation as detailed
* Bottled drinking water - 2 x 1L bottles per person per day
* Services of various local guides
* All National Park entrance and special camp site fees
* WMA activity permits
* All food - breakfasts, packed lunches and evening meals
* Donations and payments to local community projects
Prices quoted exclude:
* International flights
* Travel and personal accident insurance
* Visa, passport, vaccinations, medicines
* Expenditure on personal bar bills (including all additional drinks), souvenirs, personal items
* Optional excursions/activities not detailed in itinerary
* Any additional services requested