It has been dubbed the 8th natural wonder of the world and there is quite simply no place like it on earth. The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is the undisputed Eden of Africa. So why has it taken me all these years to put together a photographic safari to this icon of Africa? Well, I have visited the crater extensively for the last six years, searching for a way to unlock its photographic potential and finally I have discovered the secret. I now share this secret with you so that you can get awesome and unique photographs.
The Ngorongoro Crater is natures own version of Jurassic Park. Surrounded by 360 degree and 600m (1,968ft) high walls, the crater is the largest intact and unfilled caldera in the world. At the bottom you find Africas most incredible ecosystem where some of the largest elephant bulls roam plus big cats and black rhinoceroses, not to mention a smorgasbord of plains game. It is an ancient, timeless place of wonder and unspeakable beauty. This is a bucket list item and something everyone who loves Africa just has to see at least once in their lifetime!
This photo safari is specifically designed with photographers in mind and very carefully timed so that there are moody skies, incredible backgrounds and dramatic light. At this time of year there is almost no one else in the crater so you will have the place to yourself. If you are a photographer who enjoys playing with light and lines and if you enjoy composing your shot and capturing frames that show an animal in its environment then don’t miss this safari. It is also a great safari to see predators in action, as the crater is jam-packed with predators and prey alike. The chance of seeing predator action is therefore high due to the confined space that the predators and prey live in. Expansive views of forests and green plains await.
The 2nd leg of this safari dovetails beautifully with the crater in that we visit a very special part of the Serengeti where lions on rocky ‘koppies‘ and our vast expansive views continue. The word ‘siringet‘ means ‘vast’ in the language of the Maasai and the Serengeti really needs no introduction. If you want to experience real, wild and expansive Africa then look no further.
This is an 8 night (9 day) Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti Photo Safari with an exciting extension option to Ruaha (details appearing at the bottom of this page).
9-17 May – FULLY BOOKED!
15-23 April FULLY BOOKED!
Place your name on the 2021 waiting list now by completing the contact form at the bottom of this page
US$18,790 per single photographer.
US$16,995 per sharing photographer
US$18,495 per photographer sharing
US$1,300 single photographer supplement
This tour also makes for a wonderful private safari in which case the cost will be revised accordingly.
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.
Reservations for this photographic safari require a deposit of 40% per person of the tour fee. Payment of the balance is due 4 months prior to departure. All deposit and payment details will appear on the booking form which you will receive upon enquiring. This tour can be booked on a private basis in which case it will be re-costed based on the number of participants.
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 log fire in your room.
Sweet dreams or Lala Salama as we say in Swahili!
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 site is also one of the best locations in the crater for photography. You will be able to photograph hippo at eye-level to your hearts 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 Gods 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 Africas 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. 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 Africas 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.
You will enjoy 8 awesome safari drives in this very special corner of the Serengeti. With one of the highest concentrations of hyena in all of Africa, the plains offer up exhilarating photography. With beautiful ‘koppies‘ dotted around this pocket of the Serengeti, the theme and mood of the photography that you did in the crater will continue. Your photographs will capture a timeless and expansive Africa and nothing will say this more than a large male lion sitting on a rocky ‘koppie‘, surrounded by grass plains filled with Zebra, eland and gazelles!
Weather: Due to the high altitude of this safari we will experience some cold and wet conditions so bring warm clothes like trousers, fleeces and a jacket. 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.
For FAQs before booking a safari, click here
For FAQs before leaving on safari, click here
– 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 when in the crater photographing.
– 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 whilst on safari drive.
– This safari has been timed so that the tourist masses are absent. There will only be a few other cars in the crater and the Serengeti, 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 and so are the backgrounds.
– If you enjoy capturing your subject in its environment then this is definitely the safari for you (Relook at your photographic possibilities above…)
– 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 to each other.
– 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 craters 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 even the best professional photographers green.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– When photographing predator action, one needs to really know and to be familiar with your camera. Greg will customize your auto focus settings so that you can track a cheetah running at full speed on the plains. He will also give you settings to create motion blur images.
– Not only are you visiting the Serengeti in the low tourist season but this leg of the safari plays out in the most beautiful part of the Serengeti with rocky ‘koppies‘ and vast plains, allowing you to capture unique photographs depicting one of Africa’s greatest parks.
– 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.
For those of you wanting to lengthen your trip, we offer a very exciting extension to this Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti photo safari. This extension is booked on an adhoc bespoke basis and for exact details and a separate costing, please enquire when booking the main tour.
Ruaha National Park is known as the ‘connoisseurs park‘ and for 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 opposed 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.