Migration and Big Cats Photo Safari

Grant-Atkinson-Grumeti_RA_3452_043919-28 February (9 nights)  (Sold Out)

In February 2017 Grant and Helena Atkinson will lead a private group of photographers to some of Tanzania’s greatest wildlife areas.  We time our safari to co-incide with the great migration, at the peak of the calving season, of the herds of wildebeest in the southern Serengeti and the big cats that prey on them.  We take in the splendor of Ngorongoro Crater.  We also spend time in Tarangire, taking in its diverse assemblage of widlife including carnivores like lions and spotted hyaenas.

This safari represents a fantastic combination of superb wildlife photography experiences, comfortable accommodation and expert guiding.  This photo safari will very likely provide some of the best opportunities to see lions, cheetahs and spotted hyaenas in action.  As always, we will spend lots of time out in the field, and you will be with like-minded photographers who are happy to put in the time to get the images.  We will be staying in private luxury tented camps at three of the four locations (domed suites at The Crater) and for most of the safari, we will have the ability to go off-road (not in environmentally sensitive areas) in order to get the best photographic angles of our subjects.

Safari Highlights

  • Eight days on safari in the best areas of southern Tanzania, including Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
  • We are visiting this region at the peak of the Great Migration and during the wildebeest calving season to maximize our photographic opportunities.
  • A maximum of three photographers per vehicle, means that there will be plenty of space to have your gear at the ready, and the opportunity to access both sides of the vehicle.
  • We have modified safari vehicles, specifically optimized for photographers to help us in getting the best images for our trip.  The vehicles have three rows of seats within, and there are large opening along the side of each Land Cruiser for photographers to work from, with minimal obstruction.  Roll-up canvas blinds will provide protection from the elements if and when needed.
  • Two photographic leaders, Grant and Helena Atkinson, will lead the group, along with a very experienced Tanzanian head guide and guide team.
  • The group size is limited to nine participants and will make use of three vehicles.  Grant and Helena will switch between the vehicles on a daily basis.
  • Extra luggage allowances to accommodate the special needs of our photographic equipment (for our one flight from Serengeti back to Arusha).
  • This itinerary focuses on up-close and real wildlife experiences from the surroundings of premier accommodations.

Is this Safari for You?

Here are some key points to help you decide: point 1

  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 will spend most of our time and effort on safari/ photographic activities and making images.
  3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love these safaris.  The wildlife experiences on this trip will appeal to anyone with a love for animals and nature.  We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (walking, etc) that are available subject to camp restrictions and availability

The Itinerary

19-20 February 2017: (1 night)

Machweo Lodge – Arusha, Tanzania

machweo

On your arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by our local representative, who will assist you by means of a closed- vehicle road transfer from the airport to our accommodation in Arusha town for the night.

Machweo Lodge is perched on a hill encompassing panoramic views across the Maasai steppe, the Monduli Mountains and Mount Meru.  The lodge has a truly African feel and is conveniently located only 30 minutes form Kilimanjaro International Airport.

The accommodation consists of 6 cottage suites, lavishly furnished and ideally positioned for maximum privacy, featuring separate sitting and living area, each accommodating up to 3 guests.  All 9 new rooms offer top class amenities, a private balcony and have amazing sunset views toward Mount Meru.

On the morning of the 20th, we will meet our driver guides and depart in our specially-designed safari vehicles by road towards Tarangire National Park.

View Machweo Lodge Website

20-22 February

Oliver’s Camp – Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

olivers-camp-guest-bedroom

Our drive to Tarangire will take us through some lovely scenery and is not a lengthy drive.  Once we pass through the Park entrance, we will be on our first game drive and will spend the rest of the day exploring this incredible environment.

Uncrowded and relatively unknown, Tarangire National Park covers 2,850km(square) just south of Lake Manyara, in the northern region of Tanzania.  Famous for its vast herds of elephants and forests of enigmatic giant baobab trees, the rugged landscape is incredibly diverse and stands out from any other on the traditional safari circuit.  Tarangire is a park for those who want to step that much further off the beaten track to experience a truly wild area.

The park boasts the biggest population of elephant in northern Tanzania.  Impressive herds of up to 300 elephant plus large herds of buffalo are an incredible sight, and you can also expect sightings of migratory zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck and giraffe.  Tarangire hosts both big cats and small.  Good numbers of lions and leopards are found in this area.  Serval, caracal and genet also occur in the park, which is also home to around 550 bird species.  We spend two nights in Tarangire at the best camp, Oliver’s Camp.  Located in the parks remote southern reaches, Oliver’s has just 10 beautifully appointed safari tents in a spectacular location close to the game-dense Silale Swamps and overlooking a floodplain close to Minyonyo Pools.  Oliver’s was inspired by the trailblazing camps that pioneered the early days of safari.  It gives direct access to the dense concentration of wildlife year-round in this remote region, from an intimate and personal base.  Oliver’s is staffed by a world-class team that has worked together for many years to perfect a safari experience that guests consistently rank among their best.

21 February we spend the day exploring the game-rich area around our camp, looking for interesting wildlife and predators in Tarangire.

On 22 February, we game drive our way back north and out of Tarangire towards our next destination, the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater.

View Olivers Camp Website

22-24 February 2017 (2 Nights)

The Highland Camp-Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

highlands-bedroom

After our last morning in Tarangire, our drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a short one.  We will plan to arrive later in the afternoon after spending the day on game drive and having lunch en route.

The Ngorongoro Crater Area (NCA) offers one of the richest wildlife viewing experiences on the African continent.  Part of the Serengeti ecosystem, the region covers 8,292km (square) and encompasses expansive short-grass plains on the southern border of the Serengeti National Park as well as the dramatic Ngorongoro Highlands region, with its enormous calderas and spectacular vistas.  The NCA is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that takes its name from the Ngorongoro Crater, the worlds largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera, formed two to three million years ago.  Approximately 25 000 large animals live in the natural enclosure formed by the 300km (square) crater, whilst the greater conservancy surroundings are home to wildebeest and zebra migratory movements in the wet season.  It was recently voted one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

The beautiful, incredibly game-rich Ngorongoro Crater is the main feature of the region, and is an iconic natural wonder of the world.  The enclosed caldera is an ecosystem in itself within the greater Serengeti: the mineral-rich floor of the spectacular bowl is largely flat and covered in nutritious grasses, providing a paradise for herbivores and predators alike.

Our accommodation for 2 nights in the NCA will be at Asilia’s brand new Highlands Camp.  Set on the edge of the mountain forest hugging the Olmoti volcano to the north of Ngorongoro Crater, The Highlands strikes a perfect balance between a true wilderness experience and a high-style, contemporary escape.  Accommodation at The Highlands strikes the perfect balance of a wilderness escape and a high-end tented sanctuary with all the creature comforts.  Eight elegant domed suites offer king-sized beds with floor-to-canvas-ceiling bay windows opening out to the spectacular views, en-suite bathrooms with hot running water, showers and flushing toilets, and wood-burning stoves for the cold winter evenings.

The Highlands uses state-of-the-art technology to minimize ecological footprint.  This includes a full solar plant, a bio-gas digester that produces the methane used for cooking, rainwater collection off all tents and a reverse-osmosis plant for producing pure drinking water, thus cutting down on plastic bottles.  Grey water is recycled for washing vehicles.  Unavoidable carbon emissions are offset through Carbon Tanzania.

On the 23 February, we will rise early and head down into the Crater to photograph and observe the plentiful wildlife and the beautiful landscapes within.

Early on the morning of 24 February, we will depart in our vehicles for the wildife-rich plains of the Serengeti National Park.

View Highland Camp Website

24-26 February 2017; (2 Nights)

KIMONDO MIGRATION CAMP- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

kimondo-bedroom

On the morning of the 24th, we enter the famed Serengeti ecosystem to spend 4 days photographing the abundant wildlife and herds of the Great Migration.

The Serengeti, which covers nearly 15000 km (Square) is arguably one of the greatest wildlife experiences on the planet.

As winter eases into summer, the migratory herds are situated in the southern Serengeti and this is where we will be based.  It is on these grassy plains that the huge herds of wildebeest that have wandered for hundreds of kilometres have a chance to graze, rest and calve.  Here the wildebeest mothers give birth to several hundred thousand calves in a remarkably synchronized event.  We will enjoy amazing opportunities to photograph and witness the spectacle, along with the local carnivore guild that includes spotted hyaena, lion, leopard, jackals.  Bird life is also prolific in the region.

Few lifetime experiences can match that of witnessing the Great Migration. We will be right in the midst of this wonderment and it will no doubt be a highlight of this trip.

Our accommodation for the first two nights in the Serengeti is Kimondo Migration camp.  Kimondo is a mobile safari camp that tracks the seasonal migration from the Mara River in winter to the lush southern Serengeti grasslands in the height of summer.  Handcrafted from wood and canvas in an exotic blend of traditional East African style with a subtle Moroccan influence, Kimondo has just eight elegant and airy tents, each with a king-sized cast-iron bed, en-suite bathroom and private verandah.  This mobile safari camp offers a truly intimiate safari adventure in vintage East African style and comfort.

Each tented suite at Kimondo is furnished with a king-sized bed (twins available) that rest under canvas ceilings.  The private en-suite bathroom features safari bucket shower, hot and cold running water and flushing toilet.  Private verandahs are furnished with a comfortable chaise lounge – the perfect place for a siesta during the long, hazy afternoons.

After our afternoon game outing on the 26th we check in to our next camp, Olakira.

View Komondo Camp Website

26-28 February 2017; (2 Nights)

OLAKIRA CAMP – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Our next camp, Olakira, is located not too far from Kimondo, in the famous and game-rich Ndutu area (officially located just within the southern portion of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area).  We move to this camp for better access to additional game drive areas and environments.  During our stay at Olakira, we will traverse both the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the southern Serengeti.  This area is well known for good sightings of lion, sometimes cheetah, as well as many other species like giraffe, buffalo, and other herbivores.  The grassy plains here are also a vital part of the wildebeest’s route, and provide them with the nutrition they need for their journey.

Fine linens, fine dining and a touch of nomadic romance are the hallmarks of this superb safari camp, which all but disappears into the surrounding African bush.  The mess and dining tents echo the style and ambiance of the rooms, with panoramic views of the sprawling Serengeti plains.  Olakira camp is know for providing a personal and authentic East African wilderness experience. Spend the afternoon relaxing in an armchair in the mess area or get comfortable under the shade of the surrounding trees and simply watch the game pass by.  When darkness falls, dinner is served either under canvas or beneath a glittering canopy of stars in a small clearing close by, accompanied by the night sounds of the bush.

Olakira’s nine tents offer a modern take on the vintage charm of East Africa.  Each has a king-sized bed (twin beds are available) complete with rich linens, an under cover verandah with comfortable chaise lounge, and en-suite bathroom and dressing area with hot-water safari bucket showers and flushing toilets.

After our last morning in the Serengeti (February 28), we will board our charter flight (cost included) back to Arusha where the safari ends.

View Olakiar Camp Website

NOTE:

Air travel and customized extensions to this safari, including other camps in Tanzania and/or Kenya, gorilla trekking in Rwanda, or other destinations may be arranged through Eyes on Africa as desired.  Ask us for further information.

Costs

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $10,395 per person. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (single occupancy) and all meals (except as noted above and in exclusions below).

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 reserve 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.

NOTES

  • Combined gratuities for camp guides/drivers and staff are recommended at USD $25 to $30 per day.
  • Any additional gratuities for guides, staff and trip leader should be paid out in cash.
  • Our group size is a maximum of 9 participants
  • Note also that some of the safari camps will only accept cash for curio purchases.

Inclusions and Exclusions

What is included

  • Accommodation on a shared basis
  • 2x Trip leader (Grant Atkinson and Helena Atkinson)
  • Private safari vehicles throughout trip
  • Luggage allowance for Serengeti – Arusha air charters (extra freight seats have been arranged): 70-75 pounds per person in total.
  • All safari activities and transfers to/from the airports and the hotels.

 

What is not included

  • International airfare and / or other transportation between your home and Kilimanjaro Airport, Tanzania
  • Dinner / drinks in Arusha on Day 1, due to the late arrivals (except at breakfast).
  • Gratuities for hotel staff in Arusha and safari camps.
  • Gratuities for vehicle drivers (who will be with us throughout our trip).
  • Laundry or extras in Arush.
  • Visas, travel insurance, personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls, etc).
  • Optional pre-/ post safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari.

 

How do I signup?

Our group size is a maximum of 9 participants and we expect that this trip will fill up. If this exciting safari sounds good and you’re excited by the thought of joining on this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this trip and when the spots are spoken for, that’s it. If you have any questions before registering, send an e-mail to Grant Atkinson or pamela@eyesonafrica.net

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