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Hi, I'm new to TPN. I am planning a photo safari in Tanzania, and am looking for any advice/experience on 'must do' photographic opportunities. For example, Ngorongoro Crater at sunset or Lake Manyara at sunrise. I shoot a Canon 7D and love it. I will probably not pack a tripod.

Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 2
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Hi Barry, welcome to TPN!

While there are some stunning vistas in Tanzania, really a safari is all about the wildlife. Most people try to see each of the Big 5 species (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) and consider it a big success if they do.

So I can't recommend Ngorongoro Crater highly enough. Aside from being a beautiful place to observe at sunrise and sunset from atop the rim (great landscape photography there), I spotted every one of the Big 5 species down in the basin. It's worth multiple days there if you can swing it. Early morning is the best time to see activity from the wildlife there, and of course the light is good then too!

Lake Manyara is pretty and if you have lots of money there is a stunning and unique treehouse lodge there which is very beautiful. But my favorite place to stay in Tanzania was Ndutu Lodge, and seeing the lake at sunset on the way back to Ndutu from a game drive is a very nice experience.

The only particular thing I'd suggest you skip is a sidetrip to Olduvai Gorge, unless you are a real anthropology nut. It was out of the way and pretty underwhelming - especially compared to the fabulous main attractions!

In general you can leave game-spotting up to your guides - they are excellent at what they do and they have a roving network of data sharing via the radio for on-the-fly decision making. Your 7D will be a great tool for this experience, especially as it gives you more reach from your lenses. But don't neglect a wider lens like a 24-70mm, because you do get very close to the wildlife in the safari vans and you don't want to miss out of those opportunities.

You will have a blast!

Registered: 02/02/11
Posts: 48
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Hi Barry,

welcome to TPN, as Patrick so rightly pointed out, you will have a great time in Tanzania, especially where you intend going.... I'm not sure if you have done any African photoshoots before, but in Tanzania, they are generally a wonderful opportunity to get some outstanding wildlife shots....

The best times for photography, especially wildlife is sunrise and a couple of hours thereafter and an hour or two before, and an hour after sunset. As Patrick rightly pointed out, the guides there are extremely experienced and will lead you to the animals... whilst the vast majority of visitors, understandably, go for the big 5, there are many other beautiful and interesting species of animals and birds so one should be prepared for anything...

Personally, I would take a tripod with me, my practical experiences of wildlife and Afican scenic photography has taught me that. I would hate to blow a magic sunrise or sunset because I didn't have a tripod. I don't know what lenses you intend taking, other than obviously a good tele zoom, but again, I agree with Patrick about a wide zoom, especially for the crater and the views. If you have space, I would also include a lens for portraits, the inhabitants of Tanzania, especially the Masai, are well worth (if not totally overphotographed) taking some people shots.

Enjoy and have a wonderful time..


AndrewRHB Photography

Registered: 03/29/11
Posts: 28
Location: Durban, South Africa
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Hi Barry and also a grand welcome!

Do you have room for another?   Love to join you as a favorite place of mine.  I think the gents above have certainly added some wonderful comments.  My personal experiences in this region is somewhat based on when you go.   I have had the best experiences actually out on the Serengetti, although Ngorongoro Crater is totally fantastic too.  There are two primary things I would mention, again depending on your time.  I went during the wildebeest migration and one of the absolute memorable times in my life was placing the jeep we were on the in the middle of the migration.  Although quite dusty, the number of animals totally around us were mind-boggling, with even the cats/hyenas sitting off to the sight watching as well.   Second, if there is a storm passing through, make sure you follow it!  The post-strong lighting and effects are fantastic out in the open plain, especially with giraffes meandering about too. 

Take good camera cleaning equipment...again the dust can be heavy along with good water protection...rather vital in those parts.   As the others mention, wide angle lens were as valuable to me as the zoom, especially with the experiences I mention above.   Whatever you do, do not stop for anything!   You can sleep when you get home.  Enjoy and please post up when back.  Love to see some stuff!

Richard Schoettger

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 57
Location: Singapore
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5 posts :: Page 1 of 1