Tanzania: Maasai Photo Adventure

  • 11-day photo safari with National Geographic photographer, Chris Rainier
  • Activity Rating: Moderate

Trip Details


Enjoy a rare opportunity to take meaningful photographs of the everyday life and traditions of the Maasai and the Hadza peoples. Set out on foot to experience the Tanzanian wilderness from the unique perspective of the people who call it home. On the shores of Lake Eyasi, live among the timeless Hadza, capturing images of the daily rituals of one of the last hunter-gatherer groups in the world. Then settle into Maasai country, and get to know this unique culture as we hike the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Serengeti Plain with Maasai hosts. Learn to take compelling wildlife photographs on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater and the legendary Serengeti.

Trip Highlights

  • Hone your photo skills with National Geographic photographer, Chris Rainier
  • Go on foraging walks with Hadza bushmen and photograph the ancient tradition of hunting and gathering.
  • Take portraits of villagers in an authentic Maasai homestead and photograph a traditional ceremony.
  • Photograph a stunning variety of landscapes, from the Rift Valley to the Ngorongoro Crater and the endless plains of the Serengeti.
  • Zoom in on lions, elephants, black rhinos, and much more on safari, and capture the interplay of East Africa's legendary wildlife.

Itinerary - 11 Days

Day 1 — Arusha, Tanzania

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport and meet our trip staff. Transfer to our hotel, set amid tropical gardens in the shadow of Mount Meru.
Dik Dik Hotel (D)

Days 2 & 3 — Lake Eyasi

Travel to the shores of Lake Eyasi, the home of the Hadza bushmen, one of the last surviving hunter-gatherer tribes in the world. Numbering about 1,000, they cling to a lifestyle that has changed very little over several thousand years, living off the land and relying on very few modern amenities. We’ll settle into our camp and make our way to a Hadza encampment, where life will be going on as usual. Spend a full day living among the Hadza, getting acquainted with their culture, and documenting their everyday rituals. We’ll break into small groups and join members of the camp as they go about their search for the day’s food. Through our interpreter guides, enjoy a rare opportunity to talk with some of the world’s last bushmen about the ways they are coping with modern encroachments. (Day 2: 2-3 miles walking, 1 hour; Day 3: 10-12 miles walking, 5-6 hours)
Private Mobile Camp (B,L,D Daily)

Day 4 — Crater Highlands

A morning drive brings us to the highlands above the Ngorongoro Crater, where another photographic adventure awaits. This is the land of the Maasai, the iconic pastoralists of the East African savanna, known for their scarlet robes, their beadwork, and their legendary ceremonies. Pay a visit to a Maasai manyatta, or village, where we’ll be greeted with a foot-stomping, high-jumping welcome dance--a great opportunity for action shots. Immerse yourself in their world, learning about their customs, and taking portraits of the people we get to know. Meet the village elders, visit homes, and take part in a memorable cultural exchange. Later this afternoon, head to our private tented camp in the highlands. (2 miles walking, 1 hour)
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Ngorongoro Crater Safari

After an early breakfast, hop into 4x4s for the descent into Ngorongoro Crater—a 102-square-mile caldera framed by steep green walls and teeming with some 30,000 creatures. Get close-ups lion prides lazing in the grass or readying for the hunt; catch the antics of a herd of zebra or of elephant calves at play; and train your lens on an astounding variety of birds. Following our photo safari, join our Maasai neighbors for a traditional meat-eating ritual and hike out along the ridge on a sunset shoot. (2-3 miles optional walking, 1 hour)
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Highlands Walking Safari

Set out to discover the picturesque highlands on foot on a variety of optional photo walks and hikes with Maasai guides. Take a short walk to a nearby village school and then continue to the home of Ole Dorop, a Maasai elder, for an intriguing discussion about Maasai culture. Hike up a beautiful ridge to a cattle watering hole used by the local Maasai and then on to a viewpoint where we can photograph the rolling plains of the Serengeti. Or, climb to the summit of one of the highest mountains in the Ngorongoro highlands. (2-5 miles walking, 1-3 hours; 12 miles optional summit climb, 6 hours)
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D)

Days 7 & 8 — Highlands Walking Safari

We’ll hike to our next destination, the Elwai mobile tented camp overlooking Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakey family has made groundbreaking discoveries of early human origins with support from National Geographic. Our path starts out ascending a prominent ridge along the top of the Ngorongoro highlands, from which we'll capture breathtaking views of the Serengeti. Wind down out of the hills toward the camp, keeping an eye out for photographic opportunities: wildlife in the grass or Maasai herding their livestock. Spend the following day hiking on the vast Serengeti Plain and in Olduvai Gorge. Our Maasai hosts and walking guides will choose our route based on wildlife activity. (Day 7 and 8: 8-10 miles walking, 4-5 hours)
Private Mobile Camp (B,L,D)

Days 9 & 10 — Serengeti

Venture deeper into the Serengeti in safari vehicles for a photo shoot in kopje country, where dramatic granite boulders poke out of the savanna. Continue to our camp, located in an area with a high concentration of wildlife—in the midst of thousands of wildebeest during the annual migration; or in savanna woodlands that harbor cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, buffalo, vervet monkeys, and much more. Head out on game drives to use your new wildlife photography skills amid the legendary creatures of the Serengeti.
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D Daily)

Day 11 — Arusha/U.S.

Return to Arusha and gather for dinner before transferring to the airport for our evening flights.

National Geographic Active Expeditions are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.

Trip Expert

Chris Rainier

Chris RainierNational Geographic Explorer and acclaimed documentary photographer Chris Rainier specializes in documenting indigenous cultures around the world. Chris was co-founder of the Society’s All Roads Photography Program; serves as a contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine; and was a co-director of the Society’s Enduring Voices Project, which documented vanishing languages and cultures. He is the director of the Global Program for Traditional Knowledge and Sustainability at Arizona State University’s Global Institute for Sustainability, and he also directs the Last Mile Technology Program, which empowers endangered cultures to save their ancient traditions through modern technology. His numerous awards include the Lowell Thomas Award, given by the Explorers Club. He was recently elected a fellow at the Royal Geographical Society in London.


This expedition is not currently being offered.

Activity Level


This is an easy to moderate walking and hiking trip, with some strenuous options. Hikes range from 1 to 6 hours per day (2 to 12 miles).

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

What To Expect

Accommodation Style

We will stay 4 nights in rustic backcountry camps, 5 nights in deluxe tented camps and 1 night in a comfortable hotel set amid lush gardens.

Contact Us: 1-888-689-2557

Call to speak with an adventure specialist about this trip.