Set out on a photo safari amid some of East
Africa’s most spectacular landscapes and hone
your skills while photographing an ever-changing
tableau of wildlife. Learn how best to capture
movement and light as you frame dazzling herds
of zebras, majestic lion prides, and wildebeests
on their annual migration across the Serengeti.
Spend time with the Maasai and document their
traditions in the Ngorongoro Highlands.
Learn how best to work with movement and light as you frame dazzling herds of zebra, lolling lions, and a colorful spectrum of birds.
Spend time with the Maasai in their village and enjoy a rare chance to shoot portraits and photograph the traditional way of life of these iconic pastoralists.
Head out on safaris, walks, and other activities designed to maximize photographic opportunities.
Go on a photo shoot at a coffee plantation, and fill your lens with scenes of lush fields, bright coffee beans, and local culture.
Itinerary - 9 Days
Day 1 — Arusha, Tanzania
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport this evening and transfer to our hotel.
Arusha Coffee Lodge
Day 2 — Arusha/Lake Manyara National Park
Drive to Lake Manyara National Park, famous for its elephants, hippos, giraffes, flamingos, and tree-climbing lions. Get your equipment ready for our first safari this afternoon, and train your lens on giraffes or Cape buffalo against the stunning mountains of the Rift Valley. Plantation Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Lake Manyara National Park
Rise early for a morning game drive, heading to the shores of Lake Manyara to photograph the numerous bird species and other wildlife that congregate here. Visit a coffee plantation this afternoon, and document the coffee production process and the culture of the local people. Plantation Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Ngorongoro Crater
Travel into the Ngorongoro Highlands after breakfast for a very special opportunity to visit with a Maasai community off the beaten path. With your camera in hand, pay a visit to a school, witness an initiation ritual, and learn about this fascinating culture from the village chief and his wives. Capture the spirit of traditional song and dance, and enjoy time to work on portraiture and photographing daily life with these proud people. After lunch, descend 2,000 feet to the base of the Ngorongoro Crater, where volcanic slopes shelter almost 25,000 animals. Document the interactions of predator and prey; zoom in on birdlife from marabou storks to rainbow-hued lovebirds; and test your wildlife photography skills on elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, and more. Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Ngorongoro Crater
Return to the crater floor at sunrise for breakfast and a morning photo safari. Take the afternoon to relax and, look over your images. Listen to a talk by our National Geographic photographer, and ready your camera to catch the sun set over the crater this evening. Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Olduvai Gorge/Serengeti National Park
Drive to the Olduvai Gorge where, on a National Geographic-sponsored expedition in 1960, Louis and Mary Leakey discovered Homo habilis, one of the earliest members of the human genus. Take a private tour of the site and learn about recent finds before continuing west to Serengeti National Park. This afternoon, drive to our lodge in the central Serengeti, looking for lions, cheetahs, and leopards along the way. Serengeti Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 7 & 8 — Serengeti National Park
Rise early for a morning game drive before flying to the northern Serengeti, and with luck, witness
the dramatic river crossings of the wildebeest
migration. Great herds of wildebeests and zebras
eye predators warily as crocodile snouts break the
surface of the Mara River. Stay at Sayari Camp, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection, and on morning and afternoon game
drives, take in the region’s spectacular array of wildlife. On our last evening, gather for a candlelit
farewell dinner in the bush.
Sayari Camp (B,L,D daily)
Day 9 — Serengeti/Arusha/Depart.
After a final early morning safari, fly back to Arusha. Relax at our hotel before connecting with your flight home.
Rivertrees Country Inn (B, L)
National Geographic photographer Michael Melford has produced more than 18 feature stories for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 for National Geographic Traveler, including nine covers. He has been featured in many books, three of which covered Alaska for National Geographic. Michael’s assignments have focused on conservation, preservation, and celebrating the beauty of wilderness and national parks around the world. Melford has been traveling to Africa for over 35 years, and he claims it to be one of his favorite places on earth. His first assignment on the continent was for LIFE magazine– traveling through Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls for a story on the last passenger steam train in Africa. He returned twice for National Geographic Traveler stories on Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana. Over the years, Michael has visited the wild game of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, the Masai Mara in Kenya, and within Rwanda and Botswana, concentrating on the incredible wildlife. When not shooting for National Geographic, Michael enjoys sharing both his love of nature and his extensive knowledge of photography. He believes in inspiring people to care about our planet.
ALT indicates a departure that has a slightly different itinerary than the one shown on this page. Click the ALT icon to see the day-to-day itinerary.
*The March departures follow a slightly modified itinerary to provide travelers with the best opportunity to witness the wildebeest migration.
August - September 2018
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $2,700.
International airfare to/from Arusha and airfare within Tanzania is not included in the expedition cost. The group flight within Tanzania is $425 to $775 (subject to change), depending on the departure date.
In order to optimize photographic opportunities and allow for better access to our National Geographic photographer, these departures are limited to 16 travelers.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.