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Tanzania Photo Safari: Wildebeest Birthing Season

Dates
: February 7-18, 2021
Fee: $9,995 (includes lodging and ground transportation)
Deposit: $1,500 (balance due by August 2020)

 


A photo safari in East Africa is often considered an experience of a lifetime! We will visit Tanzania's most iconic locations: the Serengeti, the Ngoro Ngoro Crater and Ndutu (part of the Ngoro Ngoro Conservation area). We will also visit Tarangire National Park, which is considered to be one of the best locations in Tanzania to see Elephants. This itinerary has been designed to cover the very best photographic locations that Tanzania has to offer in February. The Wildebeest migrate throughout the year moving through Tanzania into Kenya and back. In February, close to 2 million wildebeest make their way to the Southern Serengeti and northern parts of the Ngoro Ngoro Conservation area, where over 300,000 wildebeest are born in the span of a month. This is a time where there is plenty of food for the predators. We expect to see the big 5 and hope to see the big cats in action. This is also a good time to view young cats as the predators time their litters with Wildebeest birthing season.

Our own private 4x4 land cruisers will be used for game drives and traveling to the different locations. Three photographers per vehicle will allow for maximum flexibility for photography in different directions. Each photographer will have a full row to themselves, which will allow them to comfortably sit in one seat and keep their camera gear handy next to them. This will also maximize comfort during game drives and moving from one location to the next. A set of experienced driver guides has been arranged.

 

Location details:


Ngoro Ngoro Crater

The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 610 meters (2,000 feet) deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometers (100 square miles). Estimates of the height of the original volcano range from 4,500 to 5,800 meters (14,800 to 19,000 feet) high. The elevation of the crater floor is 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) above sea level. The Crater was voted by Seven Natural Wonders as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania in February 2013. Approximately 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, live in the crater. Large animals include Elephant, Buffalo, Eland, Cheetah, Lion, and larger antelopes. Black Rhino are still reported in the park but not so often. Serval cats and Jackals and Hyenas are also there.

 

Ndutu - Ngoro Ngoro Conservation area

The Ndutu Region forms part of the northern section of Ngorongoro Conservation Area and stretches to the unfenced southern reaches of the Serengeti National Park, a meeting point between these two incredible wilderness areas.

Over two million migratory animals made up of several species wildebeest, zebra, eland and Thompson gazelle move clockwise from Ngorongoro and the Southern Serengeti to the Northern Serengeti into Kenya and back.

This migration route happens because they follow the rains and therefore the new grasses, which grow up rapidly. The Ndutu area is famed for its short grass plains, which grow grass that is particularly rich in nutrients and sustains the migratory animals whilst they have their babies. Traditionally the wildebeest and zebra tend to calve on these plains with a peak around February, which makes for a beautiful natural spectacle and some exciting predator hunting behaviors.


Serengeti

The Serengeti ecosystem is a geographical region in Africa. It is located mainly in northern Tanzania and extends into southwestern Kenya between 1 and 3 degrees south (latitudes) and between 34 and 36 degrees east (longitudes). It spans approximately 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi). The Kenyan part of the Serengeti is known as Maasai Mara. The Serengeti hosts the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world, which helps secure it as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world. The Serengeti is also renowned for its large lion population and is one of the best places to observe prides in their natural environment. The region contains the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and several game reserves. The Serengeti is also home to a diversity of grazers, including African buffalo, warthogs, Grant's gazelle, eland, waterbuck, and topi. The Serengeti can support this remarkable variety of grazers only because each species, even those that are closely related, has a different diet. For example, wildebeests prefer to consume shorter grasses, while zebras prefer taller ones. Similarly, dik-diks eat the lowest leaves of a tree, impalas eat the leaves that are higher up, and giraffes eat leaves that are even higher.

 

Itinerary

The itinerary below is primarily to give you and idea of the logistics and transfer days/times. For location info and details of possible photographic opportunities, please read the section above.

Please note: when logistically possible, we do take breaks in the afternoon. Since it is very hot around (85 degrees F) in the afternoon hours wildlife activity tends to slow down. We take advantage of this time and take a break to rejuvenate as well. However, we reserve the right to change plans to stay out longer or go out earlier to take advantage of any good sighting or activity.

 

Day 1 (February 7) -  Kilimanjaro international airport to Arusha

After landing at Kilimanjaro international in the evening, you will be picked up and transferred to Arusha where we will stay overnight.

 

Day 2 (February 8) - Arusha to Tarangire National Park

After breakfast we head to Tarangire National Park, entering in time for lunch. We will check in and have some down time before heading out for our first game drive. We get to explore the parks scenery, mammal and the abundant bird life along the river.

 

Day 3 (February 9) - Tarangire National Park to Ngoro Ngoro Crater

After an early breakfast, we will start our game drive at Tarangire National Park. Our main goal this morning will be to find the herds of Elephants that are abundant in the park. We will hope to spend plenty of time watching their interactions and maybe catch a glimpse of them bathing in the river. As we finish our morning game drive we will continue out of the park towards Ngoro Ngoro Crater. We will eat lunch along the way, eventually checking into our lodge and photographing sunset from the rim of the crater.

 

Day 4 and 5 (February 10-11) - Ngoro Ngoro Crater

An early/short breakfast will be had on both days by all to assure us being one of the first into the crater. This plan as it will enable us to get photos in the best light. These 2 days will be long and we will bring boxed lunches with us. After and extended morning game drive we will have lunch by the lake, as it is the only place in the crater where people are allowed out of their cars and use the washrooms. Be ready for many different kinds of photographic opportunities including Elephants, plains game, big cats, birds and more.  We will eventually start making our way back out of the crater getting back to the lodge at about 5 p.m. in time to freshen up and have an early dinner. It is advisable to wear layers as mornings will be very cool but it will warm up considerably in the afternoon. Having a beanie is sometimes not a bad idea in Africa.

 

Day 6 (February 12) - Ngoro Ngoro Crater to Ndutu

We will leave our accommodation in Ngoro Ngoro after breakfast and head towards Ndutu.  We have chosen a lodge that is located in excellent part of the park giving us a greater chance to see a variety of wildlife, birthing and predation. We will arrive at our lodge in time for lunch. After lunch you will have some time to settle into your new rooms. However we will be out for the afternoon game drive around 4pm and returning just after sunset.

 

Day 7-9 (February 13-15) - Ndutu - Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Once again it is advisable to dress in layers, as mornings do get chilly followed by warm afternoons. On a typical day we will wake up at 5.30 a.m. followed by quick breakfast. After extended morning game drives we will get back late morning, giving you a short break before lunch. In the afternoon, you will have time to download and review your photos from the morning but we will be out for our afternoon game drive by 4 p.m. getting back to the lodge before it gets dark.

 

Day 10 (February 16) - Ndutu to Serengeti

After a morning game drive, we will leave our lodge in Ndutu and head to the Serengeti.  We will carry a picnic lunch with us so can enjoy the wonderful sights of the Serengeti as soon as we enter the park. We will take out time, photographing along the way and make our way to the camp by sunset. We have chosen a remote tented camp in the Serengeti that will be home base for 2 nights. The camps location should put us close to wildlife.

 

Day 11 (February 17) - Serengeti

We will enjoy the morning sunrise and hope to photograph big cats along with hippos. We will also come across several species of birds as well. If we are lucky we will have the opportunity to photograph the elusive Leopard. We will return to camp for lunch and an afternoon break. By 4pm we will be out for our afternoon game drive and looking for photogenic wildlife.

 

Day 12 (February 18) - Flight back to Arusha and road transfer to Kilimanjaro

Our last sunrise game drive in the Serengeti will be followed by a transfer to the airstrip for our charter flight back to Arusha. On arrival we will have time for lunch and shopping. We will have access to a day room where were can freshen up and repack if needed, before our road transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport.

              

Itinerary Includes:

  • All lodging (based on double occupancy; single supplement is $900*)
  • Ground transportation and air transfer from Serengeti to Arusha
  • Services of experienced guides and drivers
  • Water during game drives
  • All meals at the lodges/camps
  • All necessary permits and park fees
  • All in the field instruction
  • Comprehensive and detailed information packet including logistics details, packing and equipment lists, and more

Itinerary Does Not Include:

  • Airfare to Tanzania
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance (insuremytrip.com)
  • Extra activities not specified in the itinerary
  • Any drinks with meals
  • Tips for guides/drivers and hotel staff
  • Incidentals

*Single supplement may be required if we cannot pair you with a roommate; we will inform you of the rooming arrangements as the trip fills.


A $1,500 deposit is required for registration. The balance amount should be paid by check. This is done to keep the fees down and pass on the benefit to you.


Please contact Nikhil if you have any questions.

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