Gaston Maqueda Photography | English



(Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro)
From November 23rd to December 2nd, 2015
(10 days)
Join us in this fascinating photographic safari through the majestic wildlife sanctuaries of East Africa.
During our itinerary, designed especially for both, amateur and professional photographers, we'll explore on of the world's most diverse wildlife regions.
Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the endless Serengeti plains will be the classroom where we'll spend 10 days photographing lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, cheetahs, buffalos, antelopes, and countless bird species. We will also witness one of the most spectacular natural shows: the great migration, on which, almost 3 million ungulates travel south searching for fresh pastures.
You can't miss this unique adventure, designed by photographers for photographers.
Date: From November 23rd to December 2nd
Place: Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara
23rd: Group meeting in Kiboko Lodge in the morning. A lovely hotel complex in the shadow of Mount Meru, next to Arusha city.
At noon we'll get going to our first destination, Lake Manyara, located in the depths of the Great Rift Valley, and 2 and a half hours away.
We'll spend the night in Lake Manyara Serena Lodge, where we could take advantage to photograph the sunset over the Rift Valley.
24th: In the morning we will set out on our first photographic safari. The objective is to arrive to the flamingo colony, where we can photograph thousands of this incredible birds at Lake Manyara's shore.
Besides, during the travel aboard 4x4 trucks, we'll be able to photograph baboons, giraffes, elephants, antelopes, zebras, buffalos and wildebeest.
In the afternoon we will make a short trip to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where we'll stay at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, a luxurious hotel with views over the crater.
25th and 26th: During these two days we will explore the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the most incredible fauna sanctuaries in the world. It is an ancient 30 kilometers (19 miles) volcanic chimney, populated by all kind of animal species. Zebras, gnus, hyenas, gazelles, hippos, elephants and primates. The crater's main attractions are the lion prides that make Ngorongoro one of the best places in the planet to watch and photograph this felines. The Ngorongoro Crater is also known for housing the last black rhinos in East Africa.
27th: In the morning we will travel to the Serengeti plains. It is a long journey, between 3 and 4 hours, traveling through mostly bad dirt roads. There will be 2 strategic stops. First in a Maasai village, where we will get to know closely the proud people of Serengeti, take pictures or buy souvenirs.
Second stop will be at the entrance of the Serengeti National Park, where we will make procedures and explore the vicinity on foot, including a climb to Nabi Hill, where you can admire the vast plains of Serengeti.
The last stretch, from Nabi Hill, will take place in a thrilling safari. It isn't rare to watch gazelles, giraffes and even Cheetas during the journey from the entrance to the Serengeti Serena Lodge, where we will stay.
28th to 1st: Four full days exploring with our cameras the legendary Serengeti. Without any doubt, the world's most biodiverse place in the world. Giraffe towers, gazelle and elephant herds, rivers full of hippopotamuses and crocodiles, buffalos, antelopes of every size, from the tiny Dik Dik to the giant Eland.
Predators are also plentiful. You can watch lions, sometimes while they're hunting, in almost every safari. Cheetahs are common in the southern plains. The elusive leopard is also common, but very hard to locate. Still, the Serengeti offers the best oportunities in the world to watch and photograh the "king of stealth".
We will witness as well the great migration. It's hard to find the words to describe how it feels to be surrounded by millions and millions of zebras and gnus. It is definitely an experience worth living.
For the bird lovers, Serengeti provides an unique oportunity, with several species of vultures, ostriches, eagles, storks and little passeriformes like weavers, oxpeckers, barbets and rollers.
We will spend 4 unforgettable days at the Serena Serengeti Lodge, at the heart of the national park.
2nd: Early in the morning we will return to Arusha, where we will arrive in the afternoon to Kiboko Lodge. The safari will end with a dinner and a toast there.

Price per pax: USD 4000 (double occupancy)

Limited vacancies: 6 passengers

Safari includes:
- Accommodations at ecological lodges at Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti, as well as 2 nights in Arusha.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner during the safari dates.
- All safari transportations in all terrain vehicles, specially prepared for photographic duties.
- Specialised drivers and african fauna guides.
- Wildlife photographic workshop activities, organised by an expert nature photographer.
- Transfers between national parks.
- Visit to a Maasai village.
- Admission tickets to the aforementioned national parks.
- Aereal ambulance service located in Arusha.
Safari DOES NOT include:
- Plane tickets to Tanzania
- Tips
- Beverages
- Souvenirs and personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
Why is this safari different to others?
A safari intended for photographers is a completely different experience to a conventional safari.
In traditional safaris times are limited, and the main goal is to find big ammounts of animals in the least possible time. This way, photographers find that, during the safari, we are rushed from one placed to another with no time to take good pictures. Besides, at traditional safaris, we share the vehicle with people not accustomed to the activity. They speak loud, get in front of the camera, rock the vehicle while we are taking pictures, etc., unitended actions that can disturb our work anyway.
The photographic safari is something completely different. We take advantage of different hours and keep different timings, being our number 1 priority for the photographers to get the best possible pictures. Here the number of animals doesn't matter as much as the quality of the encounters and the chances to make the best possible photos based on the position and lighting. While you wouldn't spend more than 5 minutes next to an animal in a conventional safari, in a photographic safari these times are more relaxed and brings us better oportunity.
Besides, the group, being limited to 6 people, allows a more personalised experience and a better use of the vehicle, where each passenger has its own position from where to shoot without having to deal with pushes, yelling or annoyances from other people, not accustomed to this hobby, and thus, unwillingly, ruining the experience.
The quality and quantity of the pictures you can make in a photographic safari, compared to a conventional one, is enormous.
Why Tanzania?
There is no doubt about it, Tanzania offers the best of the best for this kind of activity. Less crowded parks, better hospitality, and superior safari services. Tanzania has been selected the best safari destination in the World, over Kenya and Southafrica. Besides, in Tanzania you will find the best wildlife sanctuaries in Africa (Serengeti and Ngorongoro).
Why November?
November is off season in Serengeti for tourists, but that doesn't mean it is the same for photographers.
Actually the season has nothing to do with fauna watching, but with marketing interests, weather and the great migration.
In november we can avoid crowds that abound in January and February, and from June to August. Crowds can have a negative impact in our photography. Besides we can be witness to an abundance of short storms. A short downpour may scare away tourists, but it could become a valuable asset to the photographer to portray the most dramatic skies you could ever see.
Rains in this season could be intense but short, usually not longer than 20 minutes, and doesn't ruin the safari in any way. We count with expert off road drivers and suitable vehicles such as Land Rover Defender and Toyota Land Cruiser.
In this season we are also witness to the arrival of huge groups of animals to the south of Serengeti.
No doubt about it, NOvember and December are the best months for photographers in Serengeti.
What vaccines do I need?
Yellow Fever: Even though it's a very rare disease in Tanzania, the country's health department demands a vaccine certificates to everyone arriving from Latinamerica (including Mexico, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina), or anyone who has made a stop in any other African country. Travelers from Spain, USA and Canada are not required for certificates when arriving on a non-stop flight, but will become mandatory if your flight has stops in any African or Latinamerican country.
Malaria: This is the most serious disease and preventive treatment is recommended. Treatment is based on pills. The two most common antimalarials are Lariam and Tropicur (Mefloquine). The first one has to be taken once a week, and the second one requires a pill a day. Malarone is a more modern, effective drug, and with less side effects than Lariam. Ask your physician for the best choice for you. Do not treat yourself.
Hepatitis: Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended.
Tetanus: A tetanus shot is recommended, as it is a very cheap and easy to find vaccine.
Ebola: There is no Ebola in Tanzania, and has never. The last Ebola outbreaks were more than 5500 km (3500 miles) away from Tanzania. Remember, Africa is not a country, but the second largest continent in the world, consisting of 54 countries.
Can I bring children?
Unfortunately children under 18 are not allowed in this trip. For those willing to visit Serengeti in a family environment, there are lots of children friendly safari organizers.
What animals will I be able to photograph?
Africa is a paradise for the wildlife photographer. Big mammals are always present. Among the species you'll be able to photograph for sure are antelopes, giraffes, gnus, zebras, hippos, lions, buffalos, ostriches, hyenas, jackals, monkeys, elephants and birds.
There are also elusive animals, either because of their habits or number. Rhinos are uncommon in Serengeti, but it is possible to photograph them at the Ngorongoro Crater.
The Serengeti plains are plenty of cheetahs, but there are not as many as lions and hyenas. Cheetahs requiere a little more patience.
The hardest animal to find is the leopard, evasive in nature and with night habits. In spite of that, the central Serengeti region is the best place in the world to watch these felines.
Do I have to be a professional photographer to go?
Even though the trip is designed for photographers, you do not have to be a professional one to come. In fact, most of the tips and techniques you will learn during the safari are good both for amateur and professional photographers.
It is necessary, though, in order to take advantage of this trip, to have the basic knowledge of photography and some basic concepts as shutter speed, aperture, focusing, ISO sensitivity and white balance.
What kind of hotels will be staying at?
Accommodations will take place at the Safari Lodges, part of the renowned chain Serena Hotels.
What kind of equipment do I need?
To take full advantage of the safari, these photographic equipment is recommended:
- At least 1 DSLR body (if you have 2 is better)
- 10mm to 70 mm zoom or prime lens (for portraits and landscapes)
- At least 300 mm zoom or prime lens (for wildlife)
- A light tripod or a monopod (recommended)
- Bean bag. Very important to keep the camera stable during safaris.
- Proper bag for keeping your equipment safe from dust and rain.
- Basic cleaning kit (air-blower, cleaning solution and tissues for lenses)
- A laptop or any storage system able to keep backup of your work.
- Enough memories and batteries.
- Polarizing filter, and if possible, any graduated neutral density filter (Cokin is an inexpensive brand with good quality).
What else do you advice to take to the safari?
Besides photographic equipment, it is adviced to bring mosquito repellent (there are not many in this season), a hat and sunscreen, specially for those with sensitive skin, since the sun it is really strong in Africa, and may produce severe skin and lip burns.
Sunglasses will keep your eyes safe from dust and intenese light.
Coats for the night and the morning safaris. In Ngorongoro in particular it could get really cold at night and at dawn.
How do I go to Kikoki Lodge and how do I make the reservations?
The safari starts at Arusha, northern Tanzania. Luckily, Kiboko Lodge is just 25 km (15 miles) away from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Lots of airlines fly there, like KLM, Qatar Airways, Kenyan Airways, Ethiopian, Turkins Airlines, Fly Dubai.
The great majority of travel agents and websites offer flights to Kilimanjaro from any city in the world.
WARNING: when buying your ticket, consider that delays and cancellations may happen. It is recommended to arrive to Arusha one or two days in advance (November 21st) to avoid any inconveniences. Since the nature of the trip is in group, it is not possible to wait travelers without disrupting the dynamic of the group.
To get to Kiboko Lodge you can contact them directly to arrange a transfer service (not included in this safari price) or take a taxi at the airport.
FOr safety and economic reasons the first option is adviced.
For reserves (not refundable) an advance transfer of USD 1000 is required for your place to be confirmed. Transfers are made through bank or wire transfer. Account informations will be provided at reserve confirmation (please have in consideration the fact that commissions and banking expenses are to be paid by the traveler).
For further information and questions about the safari