with author/photographer Boyd Norton
Our 29th Year of Tanzania Photo Safaris
February 3 - 15, 2014 (Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti migration)
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Watch Boyd's Video Here
Why go with us? Experience! Boyd has 29 years of traveling here and leading photo tours (and five published books on African subjects). This is total immersion in the photography and natural history of one of the last great wildlife places on earth.
Moreover, you will be helping to save Serengeti! Boyd has been leading the battle to stop a destructive commercial highway that would cut across northern Serengeti National Park, bisecting the great migration. He is a founder and co-director of Serengeti Watch, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization to protect and preserve the Serengeti ecosystem. He was also a founder of the STOP THE SERENGETI HIGHWAY Facebook page (with over 50,000 followers).
See the article in Outdoor Photographer magazine about Boyd's battle to save Serengeti.
Boyd's newest book, Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning was published in October, 2011. A significant portion of the book's proceeds will be donated to Serengeti Watch. Here are a few comments about the book:
“Preserving the Serengeti is as much about saving our humanity, our link to nature and our own ancient past, as it is about stopping an environmental tragedy. Boyd's book, Serengeti: the Eternal Beginning covers it all very well.”
Richard Engel, Chief Foreign Correspondent, NBC NEWS
“Boyd Norton has captured the magic of this ancient and majestic ecosystem. Through superb and deeply sensitive photographs and compelling accounts of his experiences there he introduces its animals and people. Serengeti: the Eternal Beginning is profoundly moving – you will understand why it is so important to preserve this place for generations to come.”
Jane Goodall, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace.
"What manner of insanity would lead us to destroy our own cradle. A cradle that still brings forth so much life.
That is the Serengeti. And it's richness and wonder are under great threat.
Boyd Norton's book, Serengeti, shows us this magical land in all its splendor, and demonstrates how we might better know it and preserve it".
Ed Begley, Jr., actor, eco-activist
Photographic expertise and leadership of Boyd Norton. Boyd has made more than 45 trips to Africa. He estimates that he has spent almost 1000 days in the Serengeti ecosystem. Five of Boyd’s fourteen acclaimed books are on African subjects. His newest, Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning, was published in 2011. He’ll show you his secret places for best landscapes and wildlife. Barbara Norton is an award winning video producer who has made more than 30 trips to Africa.
* Intensive game viewing and photography at Serengeti National Park during migration time.
* Time to absorb and photograph the wonder of it all. Most safari companies rush from place to place. We take our time. We can spend hours watching and waiting for the action or just the right light.
* Of SPECIAL IMPORTANCE to photographers, each tent is equipped with electrical outlets. This allows you to re-charge batteries, back up your files, review and edit photographs - all in the privacy of your own tent. Overnight SERENGETI MOBILE CAMP. (all meals)
* Exploration of Ngorongoro Crater and a chance to photograph a Maasai boma.
* Visit to Olduvai Gorge and the Zinjanthropus Site.
* Limited to 14 participants. As a compromise between providing ample space and reducing our carbon footprint, we will have 4 people per 7 passenger "stretch" Land Cruisers. Since we started this practice five years ago we have had overwhelming approval from our participants.
This is Africa as you've always imagined it to be: the magic of a Serengeti sunset, the teeming wildlife of Ngorongoro Crater. A safari to Tanzania is a special adventure into the premier game-viewing country of Africa. Tanzania's great game parks and reserves are unsurpassed anywhere in the world. We'll see all of the major plains animals, zebras, giraffes, impalas, gazelles, and other herbivores. There will be baboons and monkeys, herds of elephant and buffalo, and some of the most wonderful bird life you will ever see. Not a serious photographer? Not a problem. You will enjoy the extra time we spend viewing and observing the wildlife and fabulous landscapes.
Boyd’s intimate knowledge of all these areas will assure you of the best photographic and game viewing opportunities.
We have planned these safaris during this period for a special reason - the Serengeti migration, the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth. Our trip is timed to coincide with the annual migration of thousands of animals through the eastern Serengeti, and we will witness the herds as they travel across the plains on the way to the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
*Game Drives for Photographers and Naturalists
Early mornings and late afternoons, for the best wildlife photography and light. Long days in the field. Excellent driver-guides who are sensitive to the needs of photographic groups.
* Accommodations and Food
Some of the safari accommodations are in modern, deluxe lodges that are in harmony with their environment and are constructed of local materials. In the Serengeti you'll stay at a deluxe tented camp, immersing you in the sights and sounds of Africa. Food at all locations is well prepared and delicious.
* Pre-departure Preparation
Extensive background readings and travel information will be supplied when you enroll. Plus, you will receive a copy of one of Boyd's latest books, Safari Journal (Click to link to Amazon).
We use the best safari outfitter in all of East Africa, a company that was started twenty years ago by two close friends of Boyd's and native Tanzanians. As a native owned company, this means that all income derived goes directly into the local economy, not to some foreign owned company office in Chicago or New York or London. This is ecotourism in its best form. Every year our participants have nothing but glowing praise for our safari outfitter, their driver guides (the best in the business), and the camp staff.
"The trip to Tanzania went far beyond our already high expectations! Each day was filled with wonder and excitement - we lost track of time and moved into a world beyond imagining. You were super hosts and made our visit even more special - something we will always remember!!" M.S., Colorado
"You two are wonderful leaders, your kindness to peoples needs, your flexibility, your information, your choice of operators—all beyond my expectations." D.B., Colorado
"The trip with Boyd far out distanced my highest expectations and hopes. I found the safari not only rewarding in the way of wildlife photography, (jaw dropping at every turn), I also felt it was an incredibly enriching cultural experience. Boyd knew Tanzanians everywhere we went and is obviously loved and respected in his adopted country. I will cherish the memories and photos for the rest of my life. " C. H., Maine
The safari begins this evening at your U.S. departure point, as you board the KLM/Delta flight to Amsterdam. You will have a short layover before continuing to Arusha. On arrival, you will be met at the airport, your Visa issued, and taken to the hotel. Overnight Mount Meru Hotel (meals on plane)
After breakfast we will depart for Ngorongoro Crater, one of the most famous wildlife viewing areas in the world. The accommodations will be at the NGORONGORO SOPA LODGE. It offers a stunning view of the crater, with close proximity to the access road for the descent. After lunch we will enjoy an afternoon game drive in the crater. (all meals)
The next day we will spend the entire day exploring the crater, leaving early in the morning, well before most tour vehicles depart. We will descend from the rim, at about 7,600 feet in elevation, to the floor of the crater some 2,000 feet below for the first game drive. This 102-square-mile crater is the world’s largest, unflooded, unbroken caldera. Within its perimeter are thousands of wildebeest, black rhino, cheetah, gazelle, giraffe, and a high density of lions, hyenas, and other predators. (Recommended reading: The Innocent Killers by Jane and Hugo Van Lawick-Goodall). Flamingos inhabit an alkaline lake in the center of the crater, and other bird life is abundant.
We’ll have a picnic lunch, maximizing the time there, and returning as late as possible in order to get the last golden rays of light. Overnight NGORONGORO SOPA LODGE. (all meals)
* Special feature: depending upon his availability, Boyd’s Maasai friend, Edward Sindato Ngobei, may accompany us one of the days in the crater. Edward is a university graduate, a young chief of the local Maasai and works for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Edward has been featured in two U.S. nationally broadcast television programs (in one he was Anthony Hopkins’ guide). Edward is pleased to answer any questions about the Maasai culture, one of the few remaining unchanged cultures in Africa.
From Ngorongoro we’ll drive to the Serengeti,
via Olduvai Gorge, the world-renowned site of discoveries of early hominids made
by archaeologists Mary and Louis Leakey.
* Special Feature: Boyd has friends on staff at the Olduvai Museum. If they are available, one of them will accompany us to the Zinjanthropus Site (site of Mary Leakey’s discovery of the first hominid skull -1.9 million years old), and give a short talk about the fascinating discoveries here.
The Serengeti is one of the most famous wildlife areas in the world. The park’s 5,700 square miles are part of the 9,600-square-mile Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, home to incredible herds of wildebeest and other grazing animals. This vast area consists of treeless central plains, savannah dotted with acacias and granite outcroppings called kopjes, and riparian bush and forest in the north.
We have timed the trip to coincide with the great Serengeti migration. Although there are never guarantees in the natural world, we usually see huge herds of wildebeest and other plains animals grazing on the savannah. The herds follow the rains and feed on the new grass, so what we will actually see depends upon the weather pattern. If past years are any indication, we have positioned ourselves to be in the right location at the right time.
The next four evenings we will stay in a tented camp located in the Naabi Hill area. The camp will be set up in advance for the private use of the tour group. It is nestled in the acacia woodland overlooking the plains of the Serengeti National Park, which should be filled with herds of wildebeest and zebra at this time of year.
Mobile camping allows for privacy, away from other tourists and enjoying an intimacy with wildlife that is unsurpassed. The ability to leave the camp just before sunrise and not have another safari vehicle around is treasured by clients, allowing us to be as close to the herds as possible. There is a separate dining tent, with a staff to prepare meals on a charcoal fire, and the food is often the best on the safari. Soft drinks and bottled water are included, with alcoholic beverages at an extra cost.
Each tent is equipped with small tables and comfortable beds with mattresses, sheets, pillows, and blankets. There is a verandah attached to each tent with two camp chairs and a canvas washbasin that is filled with hot water in the morning, afternoon, and in the evening. In addition each tent has a privacy toilet and a shower with hot water available on request. The camp does have a generator to provide electricity during the day for operating your gear and charging batteries. As you sit around the campfire at night, sounds of wildebeest, hyenas, and lions fill the air. Of SPECIAL IMPORTANCE to photographers, each tent is equipped with electrical outlets. This allows you to re-charge batteries, back up your files, review and edit photographs - all in the privacy of your own tent. Overnight SERENGETI MOBILE CAMP. (all meals)
Overnight SERENGETI MOBILE CAMP. (all meals)
We will spend the next two evenings at Sametu Tented Camp. Situated at the heart of the Serengeti National Park, the camp resides at the eastern edge of the infamous Seronera Valley, which is often referred to at the 'predator capital of Africa'. The immediate area offers arguably the best year round wildlife viewing in the entire park due to dense resident populations of large game including: lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, hippo, buffalo and several species of antelope. When the great wildebeest and zebra migration thunders through twice a year, game viewing is unbeatable. This deliberately rustic eco-lodge is managed in tune with the surrounding pristine wilderness, with a maximum occupancy of 12 - 14 guests, the camp's authentic seclusion is unmatched. Moreover, it is located in a region that has little tourism traffic and some outstanding game photography opportunities. Sametu has a team of dedicated attendants, cooks and staff, assuring you one of the most intimate experiences available in the Serengeti. Overnight SAMETU TENTED CAMP.
We will say farewell to the Serengeti plains and drive back past Ngoronogoro to the Plantation Lodge. The accommodations for the evening are on an old coffee farm with its beautiful gardens and exceptional rooms. You will immediately notice the care and attention that went into creating this lodge. While here we will have opportunity to meet our good friends, Dr. Frank Artress and his wife Susan, founders of a medical clinic in Karatu. This amazing couple gave up a thriving medical practice in San Francisco to devote their lives to helping people in the region with their medical needs. See a short video about them here. Overnight PLANTATION LODGE. (all meals)
This morning we will drive back to Arusha. We will have time for shopping and lunch at the Cultural Heritage Center, the very best place to purchase treasures to bring home. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax, or re-pack in our dayrooms at Mount Meru Hotel. We will have a farewell dinner before departing for the airport in the evening. (all meals)
We arrive in Amsterdam this morning and have a short layover before connecting with the KLM flight back to the USA. (meals on plane)
Accommodations will be a combination of modern, deluxe lodges and mobile camping. The lodges are in harmony with their environment and are constructed of local materials. Camping consists of spacious canvas tents that are set up exclusively for your private booking and located as close to the herds as possible. Each tent is equipped with small tables and comfortable beds with mattresses, sheets, pillows, and blankets. There is a verandah attached to each tent with two camp chairs and a canvas washbasin that is filled with hot water in the morning, afternoon, and in the evening. Tents are ensuite, with a chemical semiflush toilet, and showers.
Food at all locations is well prepared and delicious. There will be picnic lunches some days while on safari to maximize time photographing wildlife.
Tour land cost: $8995 US Dollars based upon minimum of 6 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.
Single room supplement: $1345; single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.
Note: The land costs on international tours is based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.
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|For information on future phototours, click here to sign up for periodic emailings. In the past we have offered numerous trips to Bali and Borneo, Chile, Galapagos, Venezuela, Italy, Peru, Belize, Antarctica, and Siberia (Lake Baikal). In the summer of '11 we will be returning to Siberia and in the fall to Italy.|
All photos © Boyd Norton; all rights reserved