Tanzania - Ngoronogoro Crater and The Serengeti
January 23 - February 1, 2014
As of December 1, 2013, one spot left.
This safari is designed to show off the very best of Northern Tanzania. On arrival we will spend one night in Arusha, then the following morning we will travel west, across the floor of the Great Rift Valley, stopping at stunning Lake Manyara for lunch. Then we spend one night at Lemala Camp on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. Next we head out to the Serengeti where we will cover the whole of this vast ecosystem – first in the south next to Lake Ndutu at Olakira, where the wildebeest should be massing on the short grass plains. Then we travel north to Dunia Camp, and finally Sayari Camp on the Mara River. Here we have access to the Lamai Wedge – an area on the north side of the Mara River, which continues up to the Maasai Mara – it is wild and beautiful and always plentiful with game. The Serengeti in January is truly spectacular – wildlife everywhere, vast plains, woodlands, kopjes, rivers and lakes – it is diverse, and always exciting.
Experience Tanzania's wildlife up close and personal with our exclusive access to the best areas, first-rate safari vehicles and driver-guides, and photography instruction in-the-field and critiques at night. Our Safaris have always sold out - if you've got Africa on your list, you won't want to miss out. Contact us and get your name on this Safari!
January 23: Arusha Coffee Lodge, Arusha
You'll fly from your home via Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro International Airport. And we drive a short distance to Arusha Coffee Lodge. We'll spend one night here, and next morning, after breakfast we'll travel west towards Ngorongoro, stopping at Lake Manyara along the way.
January 24: Lake Manyara National Park
Located in deep in the floor of the Great Rift Valley, this park hosts a beautiful soda lake which is fringed by a stunning groundwater forest. A wilderness of diverse habitats and rich in game, Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s smaller wilderness enclaves. It is this diversity of terrain, as well as plant and animal species that make Lake Manyara a truly remarkable and special place. Richly populated with game within a wealth of bio diverse habitats, a truly unique experience is sure to be had in this relatively small area. From the entrance, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favored haunt of Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. Squadrons of banded mongoose dart between the acacias, while the diminutive Kirk’s dik-dik forages in their shade. Pairs of klipspringer are often seen silhouetted on the rocks above a field of searing hot springs that steams and bubbles adjacent to the lakeshore in the far south of the park. Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.
January 24: Lemala Camp, Ngorongoro Crater
Carefully chosen by us, Lemala Camp is directly on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater - we'll have instant access down to the crater floor and be shooting while so many others are waiting in the queue to get in the park. Lemala is an intimate camp, with luxury accommodations under canvas in large spacious tents, each with verandah, twin or king beds, en-suite bathroom with flush toilet, hot water and hot showers.
This 18 km wide volcanic caldera formed 3 million years ago, after the original mountain (which would have towered as high as Mount Kilimanjaro), collapsed. It is where some of Africa's last black rhino can be found, as well as big cats, antelopes, elephants and more. Masses of flamingos can be found crowding the soda lakes.
January 25-31: Serengeti National Park
If there is such a thing as the ultimate safari destination, it has to be the Serengeti National Park. There are bigger, wilder, more remote areas in Africa, but the Serengeti speaks to something atavistic, to something in the evolutionary memory. It may be a universal response judging by the gut reaction of Serengeti safari-goers. The great herds, the endless plains, the flat-topped acacias, the gallery forest along the river, all these hark back to our hominid past and our hunting instincts.
At this time of year the entire park is fabulous. In the north the majestic Mara River is home to countless hippos and crocodiles. The scenic central Serengeti has huge skies and a real vastness. In the south there are the vast kopje-studded savannahs near Lake Ndutu, situated in the lee of the brooding volcanic Ngorongoro highlands. Massive herds of wildebeest and zebra congregate on these plains to give birth to the next generation. The zebras foal during December/January and the wildebeest calve during February/March. The wildebeest follow the rains. Every year they journey many thousands of kilometers, and from December through to the end of May they are generally in the Eastern Serengeti. During June, July and August they move West and North ultimately crossing the border in to Kenya where they feed on the lush grass of the Maasai Mara until November when they start to head south again.
Our time in the Serengeti will be spent at three different areas so that we can experience the park to the fullest.
January 25-27: Olakira Camp, Southern Serengeti
Olakira Camp is a mobile tented camp that moves through the Serengeti, attempting to stay close to the movement of the Great Migration, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. The camp is in Ndutu in the southern Serengeti in January, the magical period during which the Great Migration takes over the Ndutu plains to give birth to their next generation. Each tent features two twin or one king size bed, en suite bathroom with hot water, shower and flush toilet, and private verandah with a stunning view over the Serengeti. Meaning “star” in Swahili, Olakira Camp aims to deliver an intimate and authentic safari experience. Superb meals are served in the dining tent or under the Serengeti stars.
Time spent at Olakira Camp is channeled into game drives and wildlife viewing. Our aim is to get you as close into the thick of the action as possible. Typically we’ll be out early and stay till late morning – then a brief respite in camp, followed by an afternoon game drive until sunset. And we can go off-road in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
At breakfast you will be delighted by iridescent birds, at lunch you may be entertained by a passing group of elephants.. Rest your eyes on a near tree or the distant view. Sights abound, so do sounds. Listen to the murmurs of a million doves greeting the sunrise, a cacophony of guinea fowl as they startle away, the swish of a hawk through the clear air. Hyenas howling, zebras and jackals barking … the rich chorus of the Serengeti rings night and day.
January 28: Dunia Camp, Central Serengeti
Situated in the heart of the central Serengeti, the serene Dunia Camp is the perfect foil for an exhilarating Serengeti safari: eight tranquil tented suites boast gracious décor and perfect privacy, with airy en-suite bathrooms to wash away the dust from a day adventuring in Africa. Dunia Camp is special because it offers guests a tranquil and very private base from which to visit two of the Serengeti’s prime game viewing areas; the Central Serengeti valley and the Southern Serengeti plains. From its location in an exclusive valley away from heavy traffic, excellent game viewing can be accessed throughout the year.
Dunia is a camp at one with the landscape: like the lithe cheetahs that pad across these plains it’s a camp that touches the earth lightly.
January 29-31: Sayari Camp, Northern Serengeti
Located in the remote and exclusive northern Serengeti, the camp overlooks vast Serengeti plains, home to staggering wildlife, great numbers of big cats, giraffe, elephant and buck and an increasing population of rhino. During the Migration season, millions of zebra and wildebeest arrive to share the fertile land with the permanent inhabitants. The combination of a superb location, luxurious facilities and an incredible wildlife experience ensures that Sayari Camp will etch itself into your memory as the standard against which you will forever judge any other safari camp.
Sayari is Swahili for universe or planet, capturing the vast Serengeti plains and endless skies where the camp is situated. The luxury guest tents blend perfectly into the majestic Serengeti landscape. The en-suite bathrooms have flush toilets, a double sink, shower and beautiful bath with a view. After game drives, enjoy the infinity pool or choose the privacy of your verandah, the warmth of the fire place, or the comfort of the library, bar or lounge to relax.
Far from the tourist track, the vast and expansive plains of the Northern Serengeti are one of the best-kept secrets of African Safaris. It is home to lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, large herds of antelope and many other animals. The stunning Mara River filled with hippos and crocodiles, cuts through this land. We’ll feature game drives each morning and afternoon, with plenty of downtime during the midday to offload cards, take a nap, or get some one-on-one instruction. Evenings we'll enjoy the campfire, an amazing meal, followed by critiques and post-processing instruction.
February 1: Travel Day - Arusha and Home
After our last game drive at breakfast at Sayari, we will fly over the Ngorongoro Highlands back to Arusha. You will have lunch in Arusha town and in the afternoon if you would like to shop, the markets are typically bustling and colourful. Arusha is also “Tanzanite Town” where the majority of the World’s supply of this extraordinarily beautiful blue gem, unique to Tanzania, is traded.
We have booked dayrooms at the simple Kilimanjaro Airport hotel so that you can shower and change before you fly. We will transfer you to Kilimanjaro International Airport in time for your check-in and your flight to Amsterdam.
Safari Camp Life - What to expect
In short, you’ll feel like you’re in a luxury hotel! We’ve hand picked our camps for comfort, knowledgeable and friendly staff, great food and convenience to our main objective, wildlife. Typical tented accommodations feature twin beds or queen bed, high thread-count linens, dressers for clothing, sitting area, verandah, and of course en suite bathrooms, with flush toilets, hot water and showers. They are enormous in size, bright, open and airy.
Our days start early, before sunrise. We’ll have a quick coffee or tea, very light bite, and off on our first game drive of the day. The animals are just starting to stir as the day starts, and we want to be there, and in the best light. We’ll stay out for a couple to several hours, depending on the sightings. After a mid-drive coffee break, we’ll continue on until mid to late morning. Back in camp, it’s time for offloading cards, one-on-one instruction, or just taking time to relax and do nothing. Read a book, take a walk, or take a nap and recharge. In the afternoon, we’ll again head out for another game drive, chasing the best sightings. A cocktail while watching / photographing the sunset is a popular activity. We arrive back at camp after sundown, enjoy a hot shower if you like, and then join us by the campfire or in the living area for cocktails followed by dinner.
Food in our camps is superb – you’ll be served foods you know as well as local specialties – and of course any dietary needs can be accommodated. Soft drinks, house wine, beer and sprits are included, so enjoy! Some days we’ll enjoy breakfast or lunch outside or in the bush, and some days in camp.
We’ve arranged for the best safari vehicles to be with us the entire time – custom Land Cruisers which feature ample room for you and your gear, and great visibility. Of course, on-board power for charging, and cold drinks in the fridge. And only one photographer per row of seats (front seat next to driver guide counts as a row, and we may also have a spotter on board to help us find the best sightings). All of our camps feature daily laundry service (but not on days we travel in between camps). There is electricity centrally located at Lemala and Olakira for charging laptops and camera batteries. At Sayari, there is power in each tent.
Why a Muench Workshops Safari?
We know you have choices, and yes, you can spend less on another Safari. Our aim is to give you the best possible experience, maximizing your time and minimizing the hassle, while providing the best photographic experience and instruction.
Photography and Safari Guiding: We’ve personally chosen only the best safari guide for this photographic safari.
Details Matter: We’ve thought through everything – little details like choosing a camp right on the Ngorongoro Crater rim, within the park, so that there’s not a single minute of wasted time queuing up with other safari vehicles – we’ll be shooting at the best sightings while others are still waiting on the road and at the gates of the park. The itinerary is carefully set – to bring you the best game viewing and all that the region offers.
Photography Instruction: This is a workshop, not just a tour. We will work hard on this safari, with instruction in-the-field and in camp. Most evenings feature critiques and post-processing instruction after dinner, and during the daytime we offer one-on-one instruction as needed. You’ll come away with a wealth of new knowledge not only on how to create great imagery but how best to process those images in Photoshop and Lightroom.
Years of Experience – Happy Repeat Customers: We’ve been leading, guiding and teaching photographers for a long time – and we have thrilled customers who come back on our workshops again and again to prove it. If you’d like to speak to someone who has been with us on a workshop or safari, just let us know, we’d be happy to arrange a phone call.
The Fine Print
A Note on Pricing: The cost of safaris in Africa keeps going up every year. We've worked really hard on keeping our price point of this safari the same as our 2013 safari. It wasn't easy, but we wanted to make sure that we did right by you, so we dug deep to find ways to keep the cost down without sacrificing any of the amenities or opportunities to experience the wildlife and beauty of Africa.
- All meals, transportation, lodging from the time we meet you at Kilimanjaro Airport on January 23, 2014 until we drop you back off in Arusha Town on February 1, 2014.
- Photographic guiding and instruction by Andy Williams. Game drives every day, photography instruction in the field, and critiques most every evening.
- The finest Safari vehicles for the duration of our Safari. Only one guest per row in the vehicles, but do note that the front seat next to the driver counts as a row, and it's possible that we'll have a spotter with us as well in the vehicle, helping us to find the best sightings. On-call services of Flying Doctors, in case of emergency we have Med Evac service to the nearest hospital.
- Daily laundry service (except on days we travel between camps).
- Soft drinks, bottled water, house wine, beer and spirits.
- All park fees and conservation fees.
- Double occupancy accommodations at all camps and lodges. We’ll match you up with a roommate of the same gender if needed and available. If you are single and we cannot pair you up, there may be a single supplement fee.
- In case something goes wrong, we have the services of Flying Doctors to provide medical transport to the nearest hospital.
What's Not Included?
- Air transportation from your home to Kilimanjaro International Airport and back.
- Entry Visas and any airport departure fees.
- Single rooming arrangements, if available.
- Premium wines and spirits.
- Any items of a personal nature purchased at camps and lodges.
- Tips for our guides and camp staff.
- Anything else not specifically listed in "What's Included" above.
- 50% non-refundable deposit to book your place on this safari, due immediately
- Final 50% due by October 31, 2013.
Cancellation Policy and Other Terms and Conditions
All of our standard terms and conditions (except for non-refundable deposit, see above) apply.