Ty Smedes Nature Photography Masthead

East African Photo-Tour

with optional Gorilla Trek Extension to Rwanda

February/March 2010




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Having led photo-tours to both East Africa and Botswana, I am planning to lead my 4th African Photo-Tour, targeted for a February 13th, 2010 departure. This tour will cover 15 days and 16 nights. Cost is approximately $7,800, excluding airfare of about $2,000. Cost of the Gorilla extension to Rwanda will be $3,800, including internal flights. Basic safari destination is Tanzania, with Gorilla extension to Rwanda. This is a photo-tour for serious amateur or professional level photographers, and accommodations will be planned to maximize photographic opportunities.

The Itinerary:

Arusha Tanzania: We will fly into Arusha Tanzania, and will overnight there.

Tarangire Park: The first 3 nights/days will be spent working out of an excellent lodge in Tarangire Park, in the northern part of Tanzania. Tarangire is famous for its vast elephant herds, but may feature the best bird photography of the safari. Giant Baobab Trees (thousands of years old) also provide a stunning backdrop for photos of the large mammals.

The Serengeti Wildebeest Migration: Four nights/days will be spent camping in a Hemingway-style camp among the Acacia trees, at the edge of the southern Serengeti Plains. This will be a true tent-camp, but with modern flush-toilets, daily showers, and great amenities. Game drives will originate at sunrise, and begin again in late afternoon, terminating at sunset. Evenings will be spent around a campfire, sampling before-dinner appetizers, before the evening meal is served. There will be approximately 1.7 million Wildebeest in this area, and the females will be giving birth.. Photographic opportunities will be fantastic, featuring newborn calves and the predators that follow the herd, as subjects.

Seronera area of the Serengeti: Four nights will be spent working out of a wonderful lodge in the Seronera area of the Serengeti Plains. Waterholes are abundent, which will afford exceptional Hippo photography as well as a great chance for leopard and other plains mammals and predators. On the last trip we had 8 leopard sightings and the hippo interaction and photography was fantastic.

Ngorongoro Crater: We will spend our final 4 nights at a wonderful lodge perched on the caldera rim, with an amazing view of this ancient basin. Ngorongoro Crater is often referred to as "The Eighth Wonder of the World", and this ancient volcanic caldera hosts populations of nearly every major bird and animal species represented in East Africa. The Lerai Forest, Lake Magadi, Gorigor and Mandusi Swamps, and the high plains host Flamingo, lion, jackal, hyena, cape buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, eland, and the largest bull elephants in all of East Africa. The Flamingos are usually present at Lake Magadi, and the opportunity to photograph them is wonderful. Ngorongoro Crater is simply incomparable, and the views are beyond belief.

Mammals we are likely to photograph include, Lion, Cheetah, Serval Cat, Elephant, Rhino, Hippo, Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Giraffe, Grants Gazelle, Thompson's Gazelle, Eland, Topi, Cape Buffalo, Giraffe, Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Wart Hog, Hyena, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Bat-Eared Fox, etc. Please check my African Mammals page for photos. Those who book the Gorilla Trek extension will have the chance to photograph the endangered Mountain Gorilla.

Birds: The number of bird species and the opportunities to photograph them are fantastic, and many will pose at nearly eye-level. Please check my African Birds page for photos of nearly 200 African species.

Native Culture: We will visit at least one Masai Village. There will be ample opportunity to photograph the native people in the village, and their homes. There will also be opportunities to shop in local stores and open-markets. Photographs are possible here, although one must always ask, before photographing anyone in East Africa.

Summary: This is a photo-tour for serious amateur or professional level photographers, and accommodations will be planned to maximize photographic opportunities. We will begin photographing at sunrise each morning, and will shoot until the light becomes harsh. Boxed breakfasts will be packed, and we will eat breakfast in the field, nearly every morning. Afternoon shooting will commence at approximately 3:00pm, and will last until sunset.. Some days will include a full day in the field, with breakfast and lunch packed and served in the field. There will be plenty of time for rest and organizing photos, during mid-day or evening.

Safari duration will be 15 days on the ground, and16 nights.

Optional Gorilla Trek Extension to Rwanda: Those choosing the Gorilla Trek extension will fly from Arusha Tanzania to Kigali Rwanda. We will spend 3 nights at Mountain Gorilla Lodge and will make 2 treks to see and photograph the endangered Mountain Gorillas. There are just 750 of these magnificent creatures left in the wild, and we will have the opportunity to photograph them at the incredibly close distance of from 2-25ft!

For further details, please call or email..

If you have questions, please email me at ty.smedes@smedesphoto.com or call 515-270-9086 !

Ty Smedes
4732 72nd Street
Iowa 50322


Phone – 515-270-9086

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All photos © Copyright Ty Smedes-Urbandale, IA. No part of this web site may be copied, published or placed on any other web site. All images are rights-protected and watermarked for internet tracking purposes. For inquiries: Phone 515-270-9086, email: ty.smedes@smedesphoto.com