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Ngorongoro Crater Photo Safari

This photographic safari promises to deliver incredible and unique photographic results and it will leave you in absolute awe of Africa’s beauty. There is quite simply no place more beautiful anywhere in Africa than the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s one of those places that you just have to see at least once in your lifetime. It also happens to be one of the best photographic locations on the continent and photographers who use it as a stopover point to get to the Serengeti only, have largely overlooked the Ngorongoro Crater. This is a totally unique one-of-a-kind photo safari as it focuses specifically on the Ngorongoro Crater as a photographic destination in its own right. We have chosen a time of year when there is hardly anybody else in the crater so you will feel like you have it all to yourself. In just a couple days you will build a portfolio of work that most professional photographers do not have.


Tour
Dates:


This is a 4 night (5 day) Ngorongoro Crater Photo Safari with two exciting extension options to the Southern Serengeti and Ruaha (details appearing at the bottom of this page).

This safari is booked on a pvt request basis only and the best months to run this Safari are April and May each year.


Tour Price:


Tour Price

The price of the safari will depend on whether you are traveling on your own, with a partner or in a group. Please email me for an exact costing here.

Cost includes all accommodation; meals; laundry; drinks (excluding premium brands and selected wines); park fees; internal flights; meet and greet service with transfers; an additional luggage allowance; private safari drives with exclusive vehicle use; photographic tuition and the guiding services of professional and African wildlife photographer Greg du Toit.

Not included in the cost are visas; purchases of a personal nature; staff gratuities; personal travel and medical insurance; your international flights and adhoc activities not included on the itinerary.

All deposit and payment details will appear on the booking form which you will receive upon enquiring.






Why this is the safari for you...


- This safari has been timed to coincide with weather that offers diffused moody light. The crater walls offer great backgrounds and as a result, you will spend a solid 12 hours each day out in the field photographing.

- This is a safari specifically for photographers so that you can bring all the gear you need.

- This is not a big group safari with professional photographic hosts having to move between cars. On this safari there is only one car and the same professional photographer will host and guide you for every safari drive.

- You will receive help, guidance and advice on your camera settings as well as in-camera reviews whilst on safari drive. This safari is all about being out there, photographing all day and getting unique images.

- This safari has been timed so that the tourist hordes are absent. There will only be a few other cars in the crater, which means you have the place to yourself.

- The crater has been dubbed the 8th natural wonder of the world and this is a safari that offers breathtaking views and vistas that will quite literally leave you speechless.

- If you are a photographer who enjoys playing with light and lines and giving your photographs mystery and mood, then this is the trip for you as the light is dramatic in the crater and so are the backgrounds.

- If you enjoy capturing your subject in its environment then this is definitely the safari for you (see the photos included in the itinerary below).

- There are also few better places to see predators in action than at the bottom of the crater. The steep crater walls keep both predators and prey in close proximity of each other.

- The crater floor is one of the best places in Africa to see caracal and serval and golden jackal.

- The crater floor is home to some of the biggest elephant tuskers left in Africa. These magnificent beasts roam the floor in peace and quiet as the crater walls guard them from poachers.

- The crater floor is the best place in all of Africa to get photographs of endangered free-ranging black rhinoceros.



- Professional African Wildlife Photographer Greg du Toit will host you every step of the way on this safari. It has taken him six years to discover and unlock the crater’s secrets and now he is ready to share these secrets with you on this one-of-a-kind safari.

- This safari is short yet it offers you a complete and well-rounded portfolio of images that will make the best professional photographers blush.

 - Because the Ngorongoro Crater is the proverbial Garden of Eden, filled with incredible wildlife and offering dramatic light and wonderful backdrops, this safari will see you building and growing your portfolio more than on any other safari in Africa.

- For those of you wanting to extend your safari, the Serengeti is close by (within driving distance) and this part of Africa is also excellent for predation. The Serengeti is famous for its high cheetah and lion numbers and the tourist levels will also be at an all time low at this time of year. Its an easy, spectacular and highly effective extension to your safari and one of Africa’s best-kept secrets as the whole world  descends upon the southern Serengeti in February each year, all competing for sightings but we will see the same predators but with far fewer vehicles.

- For those of you who enjoy walking, landscapes, exploring true wilderness and taking galaxy and star trail shots with baobabs, there is an extension to this safari in Ruaha National Park. See details at the end of this itinerary.



 -Photographers of all levels are welcome and you will receive expert tuition based on your level of experience.

- Potential predators on offer include cheetah, lion, jackals, bat-eared foxes, caracal, serval, hyena plus many smaller creatures like mongooses.

- The amount of general plains game like zebra, gazelles, elephant, buffalo, hippo, warthog, eland, kongoni, baboons, monkey, birds (the list goes on and on) are in such abundance on this safari that you will experience and photograph one of the true wildlife meccas of Africa.



Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Arusha

After being met at Kilimanjaro International Airport you will be transferred by road (approximately 90 minutes) to a delightful coffee farm on the outskirts of the town. A hearty meal and a comfortable bed awaits you at Legendary Lodge which is a luxurious boutique lodge. There is WiFi so that you can let your loved ones know that you have arrived safely.

Day 2 - Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater

We meet at breakfast for our drive up to the Ngorongoro Crater. With no internal flight to worry about you can bring all your equipment. A 500mm focal length, or there about, is perfect for the crater but also bring your macro lenses and your wide-angles. This is no ordinary photo safari, you are going to get unique and inspirational shots that will make even seasoned professional wildlife photographers blush so pack it all! Its not just about location but also about timing. You will be visiting the crater at a time of year when no one else does and at a time of year when the weather is moody and the light spectacular. As a result this trip will yield photographs different to anything you have captured before. Imagine having the Ngorongoro Crater all to yourself!



We will road transfer through the Great Rift Valley and into the beautiful Ngorongoro Highlands. This incredibly scenic drive will take you to the very edge of the crater before circumnavigating the rim to your luxurious lodgings where you will enjoy what is quite possibly the finest 'out of Africa' view in all of Africa. The drive from Arusha to the crater will take about 3 hours excluding the time at the gate where we purchase tickets to the Ngorogoro Conservation Area. See your lodge here.

After a scrumptious dinner, you will turn in for a well-deserved night's rest. Sleeping right on the edge of the crater you might have a buffalo walk through the camp or you might hear lions roar. All the wildlife is free ranging and you will experience as authentic a safari as Hemingway did. Our lodge is super luxurious making this an ideal safari for non-photographing partners. The high altitude chill is kept at bay with a fire in your room.

Sweet dreams or Lala Salama as we say in Swahili!



Day 3 & 4 – Ngorongoro Crater!

Your day begins with the finest traditional safari experience. There is no need for alarm clocks, you will be woken with a steaming cup of coffee or tea and biscuits, plus fruit if you so desire, brought to you in bed. We depart camp each morning at 05h50, in the dark. We will wind our way along the rim and then down the decent road and to the crater floor where we will capture sublimely moody and mysterious images.

For successful wildlife photography one needs great subjects but also great angles and backgrounds. There is no off road driving allowed in the crater which means that we are not, like on so many other safaris, parked on top of our subjects. This means that our angles are superior and that we can compose our subjects within our frames. But wait, there is more: Not only do we have better angles and room for composition but we have perfect backgrounds throughout the day. The steep crater walls offer magnificent green and blue backgrounds that eliminate the usual dynamic range issues and which allow you to create breathtakingly beautiful fine art imagery. But wait, there is even more: The word photography is Greek in origin, meaning to ‘paint with light’. It really is all about light and as the saying goes ‘amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money and masters worry about light’. The high altitude combined with the time of year that you will be in the crater, means that there will be swirling mists, thundershowers and moody skies throughout the day. This means that photography on this Ngorongoro photo safari is not restricted to golden hours. As such we will stay out all day everyday photographing throughout the day and capturing mood filled images with gorgeous diffused light. The thundershowers bounce around the crater offering incredible vistas and images, making this the ultimate outdoor studio for any wildlife photographer.




Only closed vehicles are allowed in the crater for safety reasons but our vehicle is especially designed for photographers allowing us to shoot out the side.

We will break for breakfast and lunch on the crater floor and the picnic sight is also one of the best photographic locations in the crater for photography. You will be able to photograph hippo at eye-level to your heart’s content and you will be able to get inflight shots of the extremely elegant Grey Crowned Cranes. Zebras come down to drink in close proximity of our picnic spot too.



For 2 full days you will photograph the crater filled with all its incredible creatures and vistas. The crater offers forests, plains and green rolling hills. It is God’s own game reserve and it offers the best chance of photographing large elephant bulls, colloquially called 'tuskers', as well as free-ranging black rhino. For those of you who love all of Africa’s creatures, the general game on the crater floor is excellent with warthogs and large herds of zebra being the order of the day. There are resident lion prides (who often have cubs) and loads of smaller interesting creatures too, like golden jackals, mongooses and caracals. Cheetah being free ranging move in and out of the crater. If you are specifically interested in cheetah, then don't miss the post trip extension to the southern Serengeti (details at the end of this itinerary). For those of you who enjoy birds, the crater offers incredible birdlife with water birds, eagles and a plethora of others. There are lots of macro opportunities as at this time of year the crater bursts forth with life, including fields of wild flowers.




With full memory cards, you will depart the crater each evening at 6pm, which is the latest that we can stay as there is a strict 'gate closing time' for all visitors. The scenic drive back up the wall and along the rim to your camp will leave you spellbound at Africa’s exceptional beauty and the incredible bounty of wildlife that you will have experienced each day.

Back in camp, a delicious gourmet dinner awaits, after which you turn in exhausted from the creative energy expelled during the 12 hours of photography. You will wake only to do it all again the following day! You will spend 2 full days in the crater, which is a total of 24 hours of safari driving and photography. The crater is only 19km or 12 miles in diameter, so after 2 full days, you will have captured its bounty and driven every road a few times over but because of the light, angle, mood and subject material, in just 2 days you will build an incredible photographic portfolio that will really stand out. This is the only and first photo safari to make the crater its focus and it's the first specialised photo safari to visit the crater in the off-peak season. This means that it will yield photo results that are unique and different. Whether you are a seasoned photographer or just starting out, this safari will elevate your imagery and portfolio to a new level.





Day 5 – Return to Arusha

On this day, you enjoy breakfast in camp (for a change) before departing  by road. Road transfers are quicker than flying for this safari and we also cut out the need to restrict luggage. From this point you can head into the Serengeti National Park or down to Ruaha National Park. There is more information about both these at the end of this page, so keep reading...



Your Guide:

Greg du Toit will be your host and guide throughout this trip. This means that Greg will be on hand 12 hours per day in the field with you, where he can review your work in camera. Having authoured a book titled  “Getting it right in camera” you will be in good hands. As an African-born wildlife photographer, Greg prides himself in extracting cutting edge and unique imagery from the African continent, including from its most iconic destinations where one would think it has all been done before. For the last 6 years he has been searching for a way to tap into the magic of the Ngorongoro Crater and he is now ready to share his secrets with you, so that you can assemble your very own incredible Ngorongoro Crater portfolio.

Summary: On this safari you will take more images than on almost any other photographic safari. You will see one of the most iconic landmarks in the world and you will have it mostly to yourself. You will finish the trip with a portfolio of totally unique imagery with photographs depicting prehistoric animals like free ranging Black Rhinoceroses and massive elephant bulls, all photographed in an incredible environment of wildflowers, grassy plains and rolling hills. Having visited a popular safari destination at a totally different time of year you will experience an Africa of old, without hordes of tourists and with massive expansive and breathtaking views. The quality of light and the backdrop of the crater walls will see you building an entire portfolio of work, on this single trip alone. Having photographed in Africa extensively I know of no other African photo safari destination that can offer an entire portfolio in such a short space of time.

To book your place on this incredible photo safari email me here...




Special note on packing for this unique safari:

Weather: Due to the high altitude of this safari we will experience some cold and wet conditions so bring warm clothes like trousers and fleeces. Beanies and gloves are not needed unless you are sensitive to the cold. A good waterproof outer shell (gortex or equivalent) is recommended. Layered clothing is the way to go. Please bring a raincoat for your camera. See here for  a simple and effective raincoat that is light and easy to pack.

Camera support: Please bring a monopod with a good ball or gimbal head for supporting your heaviest lens. Tripods are optional. Please bring wide angles and macro lenses if you have them.

Still got safari questions that you want answered, see my FAQ Page...



Trip Extensions:

For those of you wanting to lengthen your trip, we offer two very exciting extensions to this Ngorongoro photo safari. Both are booked on an adhoc bespoke basis. For exact details and a separate costing for either of the extensions please enquire when booking the main tour:

1. Ruaha pre-trip extension:

Ruaha National Park is known as the 'connoisseurs park' and not for no good reason. Ruaha offers pure unadulterated wild bush country. You will enjoy a mobile safari that will see you experiencing and seeing parts of Ruaha that few people ever get to see. A walking safari and mobile camping experience is what this extension is all about. Ruaha is regarded as one of Africa's wildest bush parks and it makes sense to visit it in April/May which is also the low tourist season. Ruaha has exceptional baobab trees, perfect for star trails. For this extension we have special permission to walk in Ruaha during the green season and we are guided by the best walking guide in East Africa. Sleeping in different locations, this is as wild and as real as Africa gets. This extension is aimed at those who enjoy walking, landscapes and a sense of wild adventure as apposed to a more conventional big game photographic experience. This Ruaha extension is booked on a private request basis only, so please enquire to receive a costing and bespoke itinerary.  The great thing about Ruaha is that it receives its rain from Dec through to March so unlike the rest of East Africa, April/May are dry months.

I was privileged enough to do a portfolio for Africa Geographic magazine titled 'Beneath the Radar'. It was a 22 month project and I was based in Ruaha. I would love the opportunity to share with you one of Africa's wildest corners. See the portfolio here...


 


2. Southern Serengeti post-trip extension:


We are offering an incredible extension to the Southern Serengeti, one which dovetails beautifully with the Ngorongoro Crater Photo Safari. You will transfer by road straight from the crater to the Serengeti so this extension really is a no-brainer because the Ngorongoro Crater is right next to the Serengeti. The southern Serengeti is also one of the absolute wildlife meccas for photographers and by visiting in April or May, you will benefit in the same way that you did in the crater, with hardly any other tourists around. The cheetah viewing and associated predation in this part of Africa is currently unrivaled. The Serengeti has been heralded as Africa's greatest national park and it is just a stone throw away from the crater. If your budget and time allows, then this extension is simply a must. Please note that this Serengeti extension is booked on a private request basis only, so enquire about a bespoke itinerary when booking. This extension is geared at big game, plains game, cheetahs, other predators, hunts and 'animals in their environment' shots.



Contact me here for more information about either of the above two extensions.

The end.


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