Tanzania – Migration & Predators Photo Safari I 2018
Huge numbers of Wildebeest and their 2 month old calves, Cheetah, Lion, Spotted Hyaena, Serval, Black-backed Jackal, Plains Zebra, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, vast Serengeti landscapes and beautiful sunsets
Day 1: Arrival in Arusha
After arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, and having taken care of passport control and collected luggage, you will be met outside the arrivals hall exit by an ORYX representative and driven to our acommodations on a coffee estate on the western side of Arusha town (roughly 1 hours’ drive). Here you will be met by ORYX photo tour leader Penny Robartes, who will be your host and photographic leader for the duration of this incredible safari.
Dinner tonight will be the perfect opportunity for a more formal introduction to Penny and the rest of the group. Penny will discuss in detail the itinerary for the next six days of this exciting Serengeti photo safari, answering any questions and providing insight into this amazing part of Africa!
Day 2: Flight Arusha to Ndutu, Southern Serengeti
Following a delicious early breakfast, we will transfer to the nearby Arusha Airport (roughly 10 minutes’ drive), where after we will enjoy a scenic flight over the wall of the Great Rift Valley, passing the Ngorongoro Crater highlands (sadly the crater is usually covered in cloud and so is often hidden) en route to the plains and woodlands of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
We then embark on a drive from Mwiba Airstrip to camp (drive time roughly 45 minutes depending on what we see en route).
After lunch and bit of down time when we can set up equipment properly and relax, we will head out on an afternoon game drive in one of the most celebrated wildlife areas on earth. This Tanzania wildebeest migration safari is designed to focus on predator – prey interactions, and as the majority of the Wildebeest, Plains Zebra and Thomson’s Gazelle will have offspring around the age of 2 months old, there will be lot of opportunities for us to witness predations!
Days 3 to 6: Serengeti South, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Covering an incredible 30,000km², the Serengeti ecosystem is one of the world’s largest and most spectacular wildlife areas. Despite the vast space, the volume and concentration of game that we can expect to see during our Serengeti photo safari is nothing short of astounding.
There is little permanent water in the Serengeti and this, combined with a fairly regular rainfall pattern has resulted in the incredible Great Wildebeest migration where up to two million large ungulates move through the Serengeti ecosystem between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and smaller Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Our visit is timed so as to provide us with the best opportunity to bear witness to the unbelievable numbers of wildebeest, Plains Zebra and antelope in the southern Serengeti, an unrivalled and primeval wonder of the natural world!
Eruptions of Oldoinyo Lengai, the Maasai “Mountain of God”, have spread nutrient-rich ash on the southern plains, and it is this phenomenon that has made the grasses in the southern Serengeti plains (much of this located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area) rich in the necessary minerals needed to nourish the newborn Wildebeest for the upcoming months. The incredible concentration of Wildebeest calves and Zebra foals is a sight to behold, and in addition attracts large numbers of predators who take full advantage of this protein boost! This area produces great photo opportunities for Lion and Spotted Hyaena; however, it is perhaps best known as one of Africa’s premier sites for the lithe, lightning fast Cheetah! Furthermore, we may be fortunate to photograph African Wild Dog, a pack of which resides on the concession, and on the smaller side, the delightful Bat-eared Fox, which is predominantly seen in short-grass plains.
Besides being the ideal location for this Tanzanian tour to view and photograph Africa’s wildlife, the wide green-gold savannas dotted with Acacia trees also lends itself to some of the finest landscape photography in the world.
Our routine will be simple: rising predawn, enjoying a cup of steaming coffee or tea, and getting out into the field so that we are able to maximise our time photographing in the soft, golden light around dawn. We have the flexibility to have breakfast in the field (the packed breakfasts are superb!) or return to camp if desired. During the harsh light associated with the midday hours, we will have time in camp to relax, catch forty winks and of course to edit and review photographs during dedicated post-processing sessions. Later in the afternoon, we will head out to photograph the splendours of the Serengeti again!
Another bonus of the area is the ability to head out on night drives, allowing us to view the denizens of the night, and hopefully achieve a set of images to complement our daytime portfolios.
In addition to the wildlife, there will certainly be a veritable feast of birds with over 500 species recorded in the greater Serengeti area. The star birds however include three Tanzanian endemics, namely Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Fischer’s Lovebird and Rufous-tailed Weaver (a Serengeti-Mara endemic). Raptors are common and vultures are particularly prominent, with the abundant protein in the form of carrion meaning that some huge aggregations of these scavengers can be seen together.
After a final morning’s exploration and photography, we will depart the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (time to be advised) on our flight back to Arusha Airport, where after we will road transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport where this incredible safari sadly comes to an end.