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Wesley Bernard's Tanzania Photographic Safari

 

In honor of Ida Acuna Braun.

I am dedicating this trip to my good friend and student Ida Acuna Braun.  Ida was taken from us much too soon not long ago and she so wanted to be a part of one of my Safaris.  She loved the natural world, wildlife and most importantly capturing it with her camera. So in the spirit of Ida we will do our best on this trip to observe and respect the people and wildlife as she would have.

May 23 - May 31, 2017

Exercise your photographic vision in the most picturesque and wildlife-rich sites in Tanzania with Wesley Bernard. This photographic safari is designed for photographers of every level, from the seasoned semi-pro to the enthusiastic novice. Photographers will appreciate the carefully crafted itinerary which has built in plenty of time to explore Tanzania’s treasures. Included is a stay inside Serengeti National Park and a full day in Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest unbroken volcanic caldera, home to nearly 30,000 animals. Each day Wesley will help with all aspects of camera operation,lens use  and the best ways to capture animals photographically.  We have a camera tent for charging batteries, computers and for reviewing and critiquing images each evening.  Led by professional, experienced guides in addition to Wesley, you will maximize every opportunity to get the shot, including optimal lighting during the “golden hours” after dawn and before dusk. If you are not a photographer then don't worry you will still get the photographer's treatment,  Photo tips and lessons, a seat all to yourself in the custom Land Rover with plenty of room to move around. Photo Safaris are less crowded than normal and offer the participant an opportunity to see wildlife at the most picturesque times with world class guides.

 

Please click on video below and to see a gallery of images from past safaris please scroll to bottom of page.

 

5/23/17 

Depart From North America

5/24/17 

Arrival into Arusha

Arrive this evening into Arusha where you will be warmly welcomed.

  

Transfer from Kilimanjaro Airport With Your Group

 

Thomson will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your comfortable lodge.

Accommodations: Rivertrees Country Inn

 

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5/25/17 

Arusha

 

An ancient and now dormant volcano, Mount Meru stands as a striking backdrop beside downtown Arusha. Dense villages and farms cover Meru’s verdant foothills, whose volcanic soil provides fertile grounds for scores of banana trees, coffee fields, flower plantations, vegetable gardens, and other farms. At 14,977 feet, Meru also happens to be Tanzania’s second tallest mountain next to Kilimanjaro and the fifth tallest in all of Africa. It takes its name from the Meru tribe that has long lived on its slopes. Some have also endearingly called it “Kilimanjaro’s little cousin.”

Safari Briefing

Your head guide will brief you on your itinerary and review the expectations for your safari, giving you a taste of what’s to come. Please ask the guide questions at this time and as they come up during the safari.

 

Visit to Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park encompasses a mere 53 square miles, and is situated just outside the growing town’s busy center. Its diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife often draw comparison to its larger counterparts in northern Tanzania: Tanzania's second tallest mountain, Mount Meru (14,980 feet), is an ancient extinct volcano that is sometimes referred to as Mount Kilimanjaro's “little cousin”;Ngurdoto Crater teems with wildlife, including buffalo, elephant, giraffe, and bushbuck, and is nicknamed "Little Ngorongoro"; a small swathe of grassland is named "Little Serengeti." Arusha National Park also has unique assets, such as the exquisite colobus monkey which makes its home in the lush forest canopy. There are also hundreds of bird species and the Momella Lakes, where great numbers of flamingo can often be seen. This park is truly a hidden gem.

Picnic Lunch

 

Enjoy your lunch outdoors in a scenic spot.

Arusha National Park Waterfall Walk

Head into the foothills of Mount Meru with a park ranger and your guide, and follow a gentle uphill trail to the Tulutuluisia Waterfall. From this vantage point, you have beautiful views of the park's diverse landscapes.

 

Relax at Your Lodge This Afternoon

 

Relax at your lodge this afternoon, enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

Accommodations: Rivertrees Country Inn Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

 

 

5/26/17 

Ngorongoro Highlands

Ideally located between Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara National Park, the highlands have habitats ranging from open grasslands to dense forests with numerous farms and villages nestled into the hills. At an average of 4,500 feet above sea level, the area has a temperate climate, and can be chilly even on summer evenings. The volcanic soil, often red and rich with iron, is ideal for farming, which is why the Ngorongoro Highlands are sometimes referred to as the "breadbasket" of Tanzania.

Visit to Lake Manyara National Park

Visit and go wildlife viewing in Lake Manyara National Park. Tucked alongside the Rift Valley escarpment, this small national park takes its name from Lake Manyara, a shallow freshwater lake that covers nearly 80 of the park’s 127 square miles. Huge mahogany and fig trees forest the hilly area near the park gate, where baboons and blue monkeys often spend their days. Manyara is also known for its tree-climbing lions and leopards, but it takes a sharp eye and excellent luck to spot the big cats in the forest.

 

Boxed Lunch en Route

 

Daniel Tewa Visit

Visit the home of Daniel Tewa, a charismatic local historian, storyteller, and respected member of the Iraqw people. Daniel will impress you with his encyclopedic knowledge of Tanzanian cultures and history. His wife, Elizabeth, a skilled artisan who has made hundreds of fancifully beaded "wedding skirts" in her lifetime, will be able to explain the iconography used in these works of art. You'll also be able to come inside the mound-like traditional Iraqw home, which Tewa built beside his own modern biogas-powered house to preserve his heritage and the environment.

 

Relax at Your Lodge

 

Take a little time to unwind and enjoy the amenities at your lodge. A little rest between wildlife viewing drives will leave you refreshed for tomorrow's adventure.

Accommodations: Bougainvillea Safari Lodge Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

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5/27/17 

Ngorongoro Highlands to Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Drive a short distance from the rural highlands to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a wildlife and cultural preserve that covers 3,200 square miles, of which a mere 102 square miles represent Ngorongoro Crater. Only Maasai are permitted to live within the area’s boundaries, and they are seen throughout the highlands and conservation area wearing bright red and royal blue cloths and tending to their herds of goats and cattle. The crater floor, however, is reserved only for wildlife. At some ten miles in diameter, the crater is the world’s largest intact caldera (an ancient sunken volcano), and it abounds with one of the highest concentrations of diverse animals imaginable.

Full Day of Wildlife Viewing in Ngorongoro Crater

Descend into the Ngorongoro Crater, where you are likely to find an abundance of wildlife. Over a full day of wildlife viewing, you might even see rhinoceros. The diversity of species often inspires awe.

 

Picnic Lunch on the Crater Floor

Enjoy Ngorongoro Biodiversity

To maximize your wildlife viewing time on the crater floor, enjoy your picnic lunch near a hippo pool.

 

Relax at Your Camp This Afternoon

Take a moment to enjoy the views into the crater from your lodge. From this perspective you can survey the entire crater floor. As the day draws to a close, watch for the distinctive cloud cover that sweeps gracefully from the crater's rim into its bowl.

Accommodations: Ngorongoro Nyumba Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

 

 

 

5/28/17 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

While rhinos are among the world’s most ancient living mammal species, they nearly went extinct over the 1970s and 80s due to illegal hunting. Poachers decimated the once widespread population in order to obtain the rhinos’ horns. Much like elephants’ ivory tusks, the horns, which are actually dense amalgamations of hair that harden over time, have fetched high prices in criminal markets worldwide. More recently, increased conservation and anti-poaching efforts have stabilized rhino populations. Black rhinos can still be found in remote parts of the Serengeti, and are often spotted in the Ngorongoro Crater. They are extremely solitary creatures, and male bulls aggressively defend their territory. Calves stay with their mothers for up to five years. Search for these ancient and extraordinary creatures on the crater floor.

Another Day of Wildlife Viewing in Ngorongoro Crater

Continue your exploration of the crater today, searching out more wildlife and taking some of the most impressive scenery in Africa.

Maasai Boma Visit

Immerse yourself in the semi-nomadic culture of the Maasai by visiting a boma, which is a settlement of circular mud-and-dung Maasai homes. Many Maasai still roam the plains of northern Tanzania with their herds of cattle, maintaining their traditions while adapting to new ways of life. Learn more about their extraordinary culture as you tour the boma and take in the scenes of village life.

Accommodations: Ngorongoro Nyumba Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

 

 

 

5/29/17 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Serengeti National Park

Depart the cool, grassy Ngorongoro Conservation Area and later arrive on the great Serengeti plains for a different but just as spectacular wildlife viewing experience. You will pass one of the world's greatest prehistoric archeological sites, called Olduvai Gorge, and then continue your way over the scrublands. The wooded knolls around Naabi Hill Gate mark the Serengeti’s official entrance, which then drops into the park’s signature wide-open plains. Like no other, this stretch embodies the meaning of the word “Serengeti,” which derives from the Maasai “Siringet” and has been artistically translated as “the land that flows on forever”. Serengeti National Park covers 6,000 square miles of pristine land and offers not only expansive vistas but the largest migration of mammals on earth, including 1.5 million wildebeest.

Visit Olduvai Gorge

Make a short stop at Olduvai Gorge, a deep ravine and site of fossilized remains of animals and hominids that date as far back as two million years. A brief lecture and small museum tour are included.

 

Afternoon Wildlife Viewing in the Serengeti

Spend an afternoon wildlife viewing in the Serengeti. The big cats often spend these hours lying drowsily about the plains and up in the trees while many antelope and other animals continue to graze.

Accommodations: Kubu Kubu Tented Camp Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

Serengeti National Park

Most of us know about the “Great Migration” from nature programs that capture some of the most thrilling moments on film. Often misunderstood, the migration is a perpetual, year-round process involving over one million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra who roam the plains quietly, in search of food and water. While some antelope and hyena may follow the herds, other animals remain in their territories or have separate migratory patterns. The migration’s most dramatic moments often occur when large numbers of wildebeest and zebra make river crossings, during which they must elude predators in a desperate fight for survival. There is no telling exactly when these highly dramatic movements will occur, but all safari-goers are sure to see plenty of wildebeest and zebra while in Tanzania.

Optional Serengeti Balloon Excursion

Those with advance reservations will have the opportunity to balloon across the plains during one of your mornings in the Serengeti. A pre-dawn wake-up call leaves you time to drive to the balloon launch site in order to catch the most dramatic light. Then take to the skies just as the sun rises. Glide over the plains and acacia treetops, taking in spectacular views of the Seronera River Valley and the surrounding plains. After your descent, enjoy a magnificent champagne breakfast right in the midst of the Serengeti wilderness.

 

 

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Continue Your Exploration of the Serengeti

Explore the pristine landscapes of the Serengeti with your guide's uncanny wildlife spotting instincts leading the way. Expansive plains, rolling hills, dramatic granite outcrops and riverine valleys are home to an endless variety of fascinating creatures, from the lowly dung beetle to the impressive elephant.

Accommodations: Kubu Kubu Tented Camp Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

5/30/17

Serengeti National Park

The most social of the big cats, lions live in groups called prides, comprised mostly of females and cubs and only 1-2 adult males. Typically prides have 6-12 lions, but can sometimes have more than 30 members. Superior hunters, lionesses inherit the same territories as their mothers while young males roam until they drive out old males from other prides to take over leadership. As lionesses hunt in groups and often at night, you are more likely to see prides as they languidly stretch out in the brush, underneath an acacia tree, or in the shade of a large rock formation. Particularly in the Serengeti, males who reside around savannahs and plains develop large dark manes as they grow older. The lion’s roar, a familiar sound in the Serengeti at night, can be heard from over five miles away.

Full Day of Wildlife Viewing in the Serengeti

Go on a wildlife viewing drive in the Serengeti for a full day. Your expert guide will point out wildlife that few others could hope to spot, whether a leopard well-concealed in the trees or a lion deep in the savannah grasses

Accommodations: Kubu Kubu Tented Camp Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Depart

Flight from the Central Serengeti to Arusha

Enjoy your last views of the Serengeti before flying to Arusha, where you will catch your departing flight.

 

Extra Baggage Allowance on Internal Flight(s)

 

You will have an additional baggage allowance on your internal flight. The total weight of your bags cannot exceed 50 pounds.

Stop at Cultural Heritage Center

A shopping mainstay in Arusha, the Cultural Heritage Center attracts many travelers each year with its abundance of wooden carvings, artifacts, apparel, and crafts. The center also has Tanzanite and other gemstones for sale. While the center caters mostly to tourists, they also have wonderful cultural displays and a separate wing that displays some of the finest African art in Tanzania.

 

Farewell Shanga Lunch at Arusha Coffee Lodge

During a special farewell lunch in Arusha, you will have time to say goodbye to your safari companions as you prepare for your departure. Visit the adjoining Shanga workshop where physically challenged artisans create remarkable jewelry, learn glass-blowing, and sell their work. This extraordinary project was created in order to mentor and empower those who are often marginalized in Tanzanian society. You will be surprised and inspired by the quality and beauty of their creations.

Day Room in Arusha

 

Enjoy a day room in Arusha, resting up and readying yourself for your departure.

Farewell Snack

 

Enjoy a nutritious snack, including a variety of nuts, fruit, vegetables and other treats to enjoy now or on your flight home.

 

Transfer as a Group to Kilimanjaro Airport

Accommodations: Day Room at Mount Meru Hotel Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Snack

5/31/17 Friday

Return to North America

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Accommodations on Safari

Mount Meru Game Lodge

This former private residence is a unique property located on the outskirts of Arusha; it has been a refuge for injured or orphaned animals for over 15 years.

Homey, comfortable cottages are placed throughout the garden, while in the main building, an elegant lounge and dining area offer a quiet place to relax and share safari stories. At one end of the picturesque garden, there is a semi-enclosed park-like setting where marabou stork, zebra, gazelle, warthog and even elephant recover from injuries obtained in the wild. Depending on their condition, every effort is made to reintroduce them to the wild.

You may be lucky enough to hear monkeys chattering in the trees in the evening or scampering over the roof in the morning.

This former private residence is a unique property located on the outskirts of Arusha; it has been a refuge for injured or orphaned animals for over 15 years.

Homey, comfortable cottages are placed throughout the garden, while in the main building, an elegant lounge and dining area offer a quiet place to relax and share safari stories. At one end of the picturesque garden, there is a semi-enclosed park-like setting where marabou stork, zebra, gazelle, warthog and even elephant recover from injuries obtained in the wild. Depending on their condition, every effort is made to reintroduce them to the wild.

Bougainvillea Safari Lodge

A refreshing, modest lodge in the Ngorongoro Highlands, Bougainvillea offers a welcome respite for any traveler. The lodge's spacious stone bungalows are set in landscaped gardens and feature your choice of king or twin beds, a fireplace, large bathroom with shower, and a verandah. There is a large common reception, lounge, bar, swimming pool, gift shop, and dining rooms. You are in the middle of a busy town, but Bougainvillea is set back off the main road – and doesn't feel at all noisy or crowded.

Ngorongoro Nyumba

This Nyumba is located at the rim of Ngorongoro Crater where it is poised for optimal access not only to the nearby cultural treasures, but also to the crater floor where you will experience exceptional wildlife viewing. The air here has a heavenly fresh scent, though the high elevation (about 7,200 feet) makes for potentially chilly nights; it will be important to bring warm clothes, per your packing list.

The exceptional camp crew will make sure you have everything you need to stay comfortable, for example, making sure hot showers are available in your en suite bathroom, preparing delicious four- course meals and offering you drinks or snacks around the roaring camp fire.

Kubu Kubu Tented Camp

Kubu Kubu Tented Camp offers a luxurious and modern African experience in the heart of the Central Serengeti. After your game drive, you can relax in the comfortable lounge area, enjoy a fine meal, or unwind in the pool before heading to your spacious ensuite tent.

Mount Meru Hotel

An Arusha mainstay near the busy downtown area, the Mount Meru Hotel sits on a 15-acre garden and provides comfortable, modern accommodations. Amenities include cable TV in all rooms, internet access, currency exchange facilities, concierge, massage services, babysitting on request, playground for children, outdoor swimming pool, sun bed, a volleyball court, and a nearby golf course. The Themi Grill serves both international and African cuisine.

 

Included on Safari

  •   Accommodations (based on double occupancy)

  •   Meals as noted in itinerary, inclusive of restaurant staff tips

  •   All National Park fees, village, school, and cultural visits as noted in itinerary

  •   Access to a personal safari consultant by phone or email who will provide preparation materials including helpful tips, packing list, trip expectations, tipping guidelines, etc.

  •   Daily safari briefings throughout the trip

  •   Services of professional guides, drivers, Nyumba staff including chef and wait staff

  •   Tech tent at Nyumba camps for charging electronics until 9pm each night

  •   Guaranteed window seating in customized, 4-wheel drive vehicles with unlimited mileage

  •   Scenic internal flight as noted in itinerary

  •   Extra weight allowance up to 50lbs on internal flights

  •   Village, school and cultural visits as noted in itinerary

  •   Complimentary bottled drinking water and snacks throughout your safari

  •   Group airport transfers on scheduled arrival and departure days

    Not Included on Tanzania Safari

    International round-trip flight to Tanzania; Gratuities for guides, drivers, and camp staff (approximately $200-$300US per traveler); Airline-imposed fuel surcharges, upgraded seat assignment and excess checked baggage fees; Meals and expenses en route to Tanzania; Fees for passport, visa, or immunizations; Cost of hospitalization or evacuation; Beer, wine, spirits, and soft drinks, laundry, phone, internet, and items of a personal nature.

    Airfare

    International airfare is not included. Thomson Safaris is happy to assist guest in arranging flights or provide advice for you to coordinate your own. Guests should plan to fly into and out of Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).

    Insurance

    It is highly recommended that you consider purchasing trip insurance which offers comprehensive coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation, illness or accident as well as damage or loss of luggage. Information will be promptly sent to you following registration and payment of deposit. 

  • Optional Serengeti Balloon Safari

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Click thumbnails below for Gallery of Images from our previous Safaris.