Day 1

Depart from home

Day 2

Arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport near Arusha, Tanzania, and transfer to our hotel.

Day 3

A three to four-hour drive takes us across the Great Rift Valley, past Lake Manyara to the Karatu Highlands. After completing conservation entry formalities we continue for another hour up the forested shoulder of Ngorongoro Crater to the spectacular 2,000-foot-high crater rim. When viewed from atop its steep volcanic walls, the 100-square-mile crater floor presents a breathtaking patchwork of habitat—changing constantly with the interplay of light and shadow moving across it. Often called the eighth wonder of the world, the crater appears suddenly, in the midst of the forest, like a lost world. After settling into our beautiful hotel, we descend to the crater floor for our first game drive. (BLD)

Days 4–5

Descending the steep crater wall each day, we find year-round herds of elephants, wildebeests and zebras, as well as Ngorongoro’s famous black-maned lion prides, hippos and incredible birdlife. We spend the maximum possible time in good light exploring the many habitats on the crater floor, staying to photograph the interplay of individual animals and different species wherever we encounter them. We return to our hotel overlooking the crater each evening. (BLD)

Day 6

Our destination today is Ndutu in the southeastern Serengeti. Here, our comfortable lodge is well positioned to intercept the great herds of zebras and wildebeests as they wend their way across this vast savannah following the rains and the burst of fresh grass. We stop along the way at Olduvai Gorge. Located between Lake Natron and Lake Eyasi, the gorge is an archeological site of immense importance. In 1979 Dr. Mary Leakey discovered the 1.8-million-year-old fossil of Homo habilis in a wall of the gorge. Later finds included hominid footprints dated to around 3.5 million years of age. (BLD)

Days 7–9

This is a glorious time of year to photograph in the southern grasslands of the Serengeti. Wildebeest and zebras usually congregate in massive herds near Ndutu. Thousands upon thousands of very young calves and foals are interspersed among the throng of adults. Large prides of lions stalk these herds while sleek cheetahs prey on the accompanying gazelles and impalas. We divide our time between two locations in the Serengeti to ensure good access to large herds and a diversity of other wildlife, habitats and photography opportunities. Since movement of the wildebeest and zebras is governed by changeable weather patterns, the largest herds are in the southern Serengeti if the weather is wet, and closer to the central Serengeti and its rivers if the south is dry. To ensure our attempts to encounter the large herds, we adjust our location during our stay in the Serengeti to see different habitats and cover more ground if the herds are away from Ndutu. (BLD)

Day 10

We drive north today to our lodge in the central Serengeti. Built in the Nyarboro Hills on the edge of an escarpment, it overlooks vast plains frequently covered with migrating wildlife during this time of year. (BLD)

Days 11–13

We photograph from sunrise following the daily movements of the herds in their search for fresh grazing. Predators abound and we search for those secretive species, like leopards, as well as the more visible species, like lions. We expect to see frequent kills and photograph the assemblage of peripheral animals such as vultures, jackals and hyenas who wait patiently to claim their share of this abundance. (BLD)

Day 14

(Mar 26) A one-hour flight takes us to Arusha, where we have dayrooms at a quiet hotel outside the city. There is time to rest, shower and prepare for flights home this evening. (BLD)

 

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