It’s a treat to wake up at a true mobile, tented camp in the middle of the Serengeti. We spent three nights here and I think it’s the most authentic way to experience a traditional safari.
On our first day, we took breakfast with us so we could drive to the river early. I was very encouraged by the massive herds of wildebeest that we drove by. It’s impossible to predict exactly when the herds will be in place to make the crossing so it’s a small gamble when you book your airfare. In other years, I might have missed by a couple of weeks.
We drove north to the Kogatende airstrip then east along the southern side of the Mara River, looking for herds massing near the riverbank. Watching the herds cross is a waiting game because they are unpredictable and get spooked easily. You wait some distance back from the river so the herds don’t get scared away and then, once they look like they are starting to cross, you move forward as fast as you can without spooking them (which means pretty slowly). And as much as you want to be alone while doing this, many other people in the area have the same idea so there’s a bit of jockeying for position as well.
The next morning, we awoke to low cloud cover and a beautiful sunrise. After breakfast, we left Natron and drove up through Loliondo towards the northern Serengeti. The light developed beautifully as we drove north up the west side of Lake Natron.
We stayed at Lake Natron Camp, a beautiful camp set next to the flats of Lake Natron and with an outstanding view of Lengai. It’s a desert-style camp, designed with lots of shady places, a swimming hole, the Rift Valley escarpment behind us, spacious tents with great views of the lake from their front door, and the food was outstanding (special diets handled well too: my gluten-free meals were excellent).
For wildlife photographers, Lake Natron is best known for its high density of flamingos – about 2.5 million lesser flamingos. There were also plenty of zebra and wildebeest around who left evidence that they even came through camp while we slept. The camp was sprinkled with plenty of desert rose which I think of as a Bonsai version of a baobab but with pink flowers on top.
I don’t typically travel to Tanzania in July but when I mentioned to my Tanzanian operator that I wanted to see the migration herds when they crossed the Mara River and also that he had some new camps that I hadn’t seen yet, it seemed like a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
One of the camps is in the northernmost part of the Serengeti to allow easy access to the herds when they cross the Mara River. There was a bit of a gamble though since you can’t predict when the herds in the area will actually decide to cross. And in the bigger picture, you can’t predict the weather well enough to even know if the herds will arrive and cross in the weeks before or after you’re there.
Another camp new to me was on the edge of Lake Natron, an area I had wanted to see for a long time. The area is known for high concentrations of flamingos, lots of other wildlife, and stunning landscapes.
Last week’s gallery opening in Arlington, MA was a big success. For those of you who aren’t local or couldn’t make it, I’ll post the images of Paris that I’m showing there over the coming weeks on my Facebook page – be sure to follow me there.
In Photo Tour news, my March 2017 photo safari is now ready and listed on this site and I’m excited that I can offer it at the same price as my 2016 tour. It’s an amazing 11-day, 10-night safari where you will stay at exclusive camps right in the parks. I’ve designed it to put you right in the middle of the action so you can come home with great images.
March is at the end of the foaling season in the Serengeti: you will see young zebras and wildebeest among the herds. The Ngorongoro Crater is lush and green and Tarangire is full of amazing baobabs and elephants for us to photograph. You can find all of the details about this safari here.
Contact me soon if you would like to join the group on this great photographic opportunity!
I’m showing 10 prints from my Paris Studies collection in a group show: SIX VISIONS: Photography and Sculpture at the Old Schwamb Mill. We hung the show last week (picture here) and reviews are already positive!
If you are in the Boston area, please join us at the opening reception this Saturday, April 2, from 3 – 5pm at The Old Schwamb Mill, 17 Mill Lane, Arlington, MA 02476.
The Old Schwamb Mill is also having its Springtime Open House that day starting at 11am. The Mill is famous for turning oval, wooden frames and, if you come that early, you can see demonstrations before you visit the galleries on the second floor.
If you can’t make the opening reception, the show will remain open until the closing reception on Saturday, June 4 (times TBA). Please check the Mill’s website for their opening hours when you can view the exhibit.
I just sold a canvas of Flamingos Taking Off. When someone buys a print, I always enjoy telling them the story behind the photo.
I took this image of Lesser Flamingos while visiting the Serengeti in Spring of 2012 on one of my photo tours that I lead in Tanzania.
On March 16th, our group drove to sunset at Lake Ndutu, an area just off the southern tip of the Serengeti where the famed migration is at that time of year. Lake Ndutu is packed with flamingos but I noticed this group of six wading together very tightly and followed them with my lens for several minutes. My patience paid off because, suddenly, they formed a line and started running. I pressed the shutter button as the first in line spread its wings to take flight. Seconds later, they were all in the air.
A few months ago, I sat down with Nancy McKeithen, Editor and Publisher of Fluent Magazine. Nancy interviewed me about a variety of photography-related topics – everything from my background, what I like to photograph, my frame of mind when I do, and gear that I use.
My new photo safaris in 2016 are ready and now listed on my site. Both are amazing 11-day, 10-night safaris where you will stay at exclusive camps right in the parks. I’ve designed them to put you right in the middle of the action so you can come home with great images.
Both safaris hit the best locations in Tanzania’s northern circuit:
I just sold a framed print of Boat and Reflection of Colorful Houses: 10 x 18 inches plus matte and frame. When someone buys a print, I always enjoy telling them the story behind the photo.
This image was taken on a trip to Italy in May, 2008.