Dates: February 2023 – exact dates TBD
Cost: $7,395 per person sharing a double. Single room supplement $1,800
Group Size: Maximum of 8
Tour Leader: Buddy Eleazer
The wildlife-rich Serengeti ecosystem is one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles on earth. For generations it has offered exhilarating photographic and wildlife watching opportunities.
The wildebeest migration is one of nature’s most amazing spectacles. Over a one-year cycle, the animal’s birth in the southern Serengeti and then move from Kenya’s Masai Mara and then back to southern Serengeti and the process repeats. The migration arrives on the Serengeti’s southern plains and on the edges of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in January and stays through March annually.
During the first few months of each year the Wildebeest are grazing on the nutrient rich short grass following the short rains of November. This becomes the perfect arena for them to give birth to their young. The grass is still low, enabling the grazing animals to see predators more easily, and the new shoots are soft and full of nutrients, thanks to the rich volcanic soil in the region. This means that the grass growing there is perfect for young wildebeest to eat and build up their strength in the first few weeks of their lives.
The Gazelle and Zebra join the thousands of Wildebeest on their journey and eat the grass shoots that are less appetizing to the baby wildebeest. This leaves behind only the most nutrient-rich grass shoots that are freshly sprouted and soft enough for young wildebeest mouths to pull from the earth. These grasses are also said to help aid the wildebeest mothers in lactating and making sure their milk is full of the rich goodness needed to raise strong and healthy babies to carry on the tradition of this epic migration.
Nearly all the wildebeest calve within a three-week time frame, which usually falls between late January and late February. During this time over 8,000 calves are born each day. This is the peak of the calving season, and our safari will perfectly coincide with this peak of the birthing season. Compared to the rest of the year, the herds are quite sedentary while they feast on the tender green grass and give birth to their young, so this is an excellent time to photograph this event!
Predator density at this time in Tanzania is said to be higher than anywhere else in the world. Many predators also raise their young at this time, with young Wildebeest becoming a prime target for young Cheetah, Leopard and Lion cubs learning survival skills. Wildebeest mothers have been following this route for thousands of centuries and know the behavior of the predators all too well. The mother Wildebeest instinctively know to give birth on the shorter grass plains where hunting predators are easier to spot. Other mothers join them here and actually form protective barricades around the younger and most vulnerable newest additions to the herd in order to ensure they have the greatest chance of survival.
We will also spend time in Tarangire with its bush birds and raptors as well as big game animals. There are leopards, elephant, Maasai giraffe, hippos, and wildebeest. During our stay in Tarangire, we will stay at Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge. Tarangire is famed for its massive elephant herds, true sense of wilderness and a gentle backdrop of baobabs. Other animals we hope to see include the greater and lesser kudu, bushbucks, impala, elands, gazelles, buffaloes, waterbucks, different bird species among others. It is the lesser visited but more intriguing park on the northern circuit. At Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge, there are 12 permanent tents.
In February and March, an estimated three million wildebeest and zebra invade Tanzania to give birth following the short rains. Serengeti has a magnificent variety of animals and habitats. It is the best place on our trip to photograph leopard. We will also stay at the beautiful Elwai Camp (Elwai means whistling Acacia in the Maasai language). The camp is a tented safari camp in Ndutu – Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Tanzania. This will be our basis of operations in Ndutu as our base of operations for viewing and photographing the migration.
Ndutu is one of the premier locations in Tanzania for safari – specially to view/photograph big cats – lions, leopards, & cheetahs. There is year-round resident wildlife such as giraffe, elephant, hyena and various antelope in Ndutu, and you can spot wildlife around the waterholes during the dry season from June to November.
Day 1 – Arrival at JRO and stay at Rivertrees
Day 2 Arusha to Tarangire
We wake up to a great breakfast provided by the staff of Rivertrees. After breakfast we meet our expert drivers and drive though Tanzania’s rural landscape to Tarangire. After checking in at Tarangire’s Ndova Tented Lodge we will have lunch and proceed to our first afternoon game drive.
Day 3 – Tarangire
We will have a full day at Tarangire. The park is famed for its super tusker elephants and our goal is to catch amazing shots of these rare pachyderms.
Day 4 Tarangire to Ndudu
We have our morning game drive through Tarangire’s varied habitats which include dry bush, open plains, a huge marsh teaming with birdlife, lions, leopard, buffalo, and elephant. After breakfast we transfer to Ndutu’s Elwai Camp for a PM game drive.
Days 5 to 9 Ndutu
Each day we will have an early morning game drive. If the herds are giving
birth, we head to the plains. If the conditions are not right for birthing, there are a wealth of different habitats to explore. The marshes and lakes support a huge variety of bird life as well as resident lion prides. Some years large prides have as many as 25 members including newborn cubs and their mothers, older juveniles, and adults. Cheetahs are abundant in the plains, and the wooded ridges are always productive. We range far afield in this area, so we usually bring a bush breakfast that allows us to photograph into the late morning. PM drives start late when the animals become more active as the day cools down. Cheetahs often hunt in the afternoon, adding lots of excitement to a game drive. Our luxury bush camp has LOTS of amenities (Besides its location in the middle of a wildlife rich habitat)
Day 10 Ndutu to Gibbs Farm and Mto We Mbu
After a morning game drive at Ndutu we continue to the Wildlife tented camp, deep in the Serengeti ecosystem. Here we search for lions, cheetah and especially leopard that inhabit the Seronera River Valley and the surrounding savannah.
Day 11 after slightly early lunch drive back to Arusha – day rooms before flights home
We descend for a last morning game drive. After we leave the Crater, lunch will be waiting for us at Gibbs Farm, a colonial-era coffee plantation that still produces coffee today. We return to Arusha for shopping at the African Cultural Center. Carvings, artifacts and Tanzanite gems are all specialties here. At our day rooms in Arusha, we freshen up for the flight home.
Included In the Safari
- Pick up at Kilimanjaro International Airport and hotel transfer
- All transportation throughout the safari itinerary (ground and air)
- 12 Day / 11 Night photo safari
- Deluxe accommodations for entire Safari (Minimum ☆☆☆)
- All meals provided for breakfast, lunch & dinner starting with dinner on February 13th through breakfast on February 24th
- All National Park fees, Game Reserves entrance fees, and taxes Return to Kilimanjaro International Airport at end of Safari.
- International flights to and from Africa
- Travel, evacuation or other associated insurance
- Visas and passport fees (where applicable in preparation for your travel)
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary and all drinks
- Accommodations enroute or returning from Africa
- Any additional transfers not mentioned in the Safari itinerary
- Optional activities (balloon rides, guided walking safaris, etc.)
- Gratuities for the guides, staff at accommodations, and airport transfers
- Personal expenses (souvenirs, liquor, telephone calls, internet, laundry etc.)
- Pre- and post-safari tours or activities, accommodations or meals before or after the safari
- Items of a personal nature
- Participants must arrive in Arusha, Tanzania prior to 6:00pm on February 13th, 2024!
- We strongly encourage participants to purchase travelers’ insurance.
- Traveling in remote locations can present challenges that may require slight changes to the itinerary. We will always try to run the tour as the initial itinerary. In the event, beyond our control, such as political unrest, natural disasters, over bookings by the lodge, where a change is required, we will do our best to keep you close to the original shooting location. It is our intention for you to have the best possible experience. We will try to notify you of any changes as soon as we are made aware of them. If, however these changes cause an increase to the price, the increase will be passed on to the participant.
Difficulty of the Trip
- This is an outdoor nature photography safari, so being fit and in good health will allow you to enjoy the trip more comfortably. However, our planned activities should be within the ability of most people in moderate to good shape. Conditions can be cool in the evening and hot at mid-day, so please pack appropriate clothing for both conditions. Temps will average 60°f in the early morning and 85°f at mid-day. Participants are required to carry all their own gear and luggage and should be easily capable of being active for a full day of shooting
Participants are required to sign a standard personal indemnity and waiver of liability form. Every effort is made to keep participants safe during all stages of the safari, but each person is solely responsible for avoiding personal injury or damaging their equipment during the trip.
The Fine Print
- Price includes all transportation within Tanzania, accommodations, meals, activities and excursions mentioned in the itinerary, bottled water during the program including lunch and dinners, English speaking guide throughout the program.
- Price does not include international airfare, visa fees, any beverages throughout the trip (except for bottled water), and any personal extras such as phone calls, minibar, and laundry.
- A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit is necessary to confirm a booking. Final payments are due no later than 95 days prior to departure. Cancellations received less than 95 days prior to departure are not refundable.
What Do I Do Next?
This group size is small, and this is a very popular destination and space is limited. If this exciting trip fits you, your camera club or you and a group of friends; if you’re excited by the thought of seeing nature while taking your photography to the next level, then now is the time to register. If you have any questions or wish to register, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to buddy@MagnumExcursions.com