In December 1997, my wife and I went on a two-week photography safari to Tanzania organized by Thomson Safaris in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Two other couples shared a 4-wheel drive van with us, driven by our native guide Willie.
We flew to Arusha, Tanzania by way of Amsterdam, and then traveled to the following locations:
After a day in Arusha, we flew to Serengeti National Park in a single-engine plane. The East African "short rains" had just ended, making the landscape much greener than usual. In the Serengeti we saw countless antelopes of all kinds, in addition to the "more exotic" African birds and animals shown on this Web site. We were in the Serengeti for three days; during that time we slept in a tent. We saw many lions, cheetah, giraffes, and hyenas. Although we never saw any leopards, we heard them every night in the camp, as well as spotted hyenas.
From the Serengeti we drove to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, passing through Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys made their discoveries of primitive man. The main feature of the NCA is Ngorongoro Crater, which is a collapsed volcanic caldera twelve miles in diameter and 2000 feet deep. In the crater we saw huge herds of zebra and wildebeest, antelopes, lions, giraffes, and flamingos at the alkaline Lake Magadi. We also visited two Maasai villages. In the NCA we stayed at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, which is located right on the rim of the crater.
After three days in the NCA we drove to Gibb's Farm for New Year's Eve. Gibb's Farm is a coffee plantation that was converted into a beautiful resort with wonderful gardens and many birds.
From Gibb's Farm we traveled to Tarangire National Park, where we stayed in a tented lodge. In Tarangire National Park we saw many giraffes and elephants, as well as the usual antelopes and birds.
In January 2002, we rented a Land Rover and a driver/guide named Kumbi for a two week trip to Tanzania, also through Thomson Safaris in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We flew to Arusha, Tanzania by way of Amsterdam, and spent the first week in Serengeti National Park, staying at the Seronera Wildlife Lodge. We spent the second week at the Ngorongoro Crater, staying at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. The rainy season had been delayed by about two months, and the weather was mostly cloudy and rainy. However, this avoided the harsh light we encountered on most of our first trip, and my improved photographic skills and equipment produced far better pictures. Most of the photos from our first trip are located on "back pages" of the site, with a few of the better ones mixed into the main safari pages.
In October 2003, I went on a three-week Kenya photography safari led by Joe and Mary Ann McDonald. We had good weather and good light, and the conditions in Kenya were better for wildlife photography than in Tanzania because drivers can get off the park roads to some extent. My photographic experience has also improved over time, and my pictures from Kenya are clearly better than most of my earlier safari pictures.
In August 2006, I made a fourth trip, to remote sections of Tarangire National Park and the Northern Serengeti by the Mara River in Tanzania. This was an all-digital photography trip, and I used two Maxxum 7D bodies. Elephants in Tarangire and baby cheetahs in the Northern Serengeti were the trip highlights, along with the wildebeest migration and two river crossings.
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