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Chris Smith is a professional photographer in Charleston, SC. A photographer for almost 30 years, Chris offers a superior knowledge of creating perfect images. For many years, Chris has been the official photographer of the Family Circle Cup, a professional tennis tournament held annually in Daniel Island's tennis stadium

Tanzania Photo Safari: August 4-15, 2015

Our Global Photo Adventure begins in New York as we all arrive from around the country and connect in JFK.  We board our international flight, making a stop over in Amsterdam, before landing at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, Tanzania.  “Karibu na Tanzania!” (Welcome to Tanzania).  Our attache greets us and drives us to the United African Alliance Community Center where a hot meal and a good night’s rest await.  The following morning we make new friends as we wander the campus, learn about life in Tanzania, and photograph the children and orphans who attend the many activities at the UAACC.  That afternoon, several of the older students will serve as guides and interpreters as we stroll around the village, visiting with elders, shopping at the market, and creating images of locals along the way.

After another good night’s rest, an early morning connection with our Safari driver begins our journey into the bush.  Taking in all the incredible sights and sounds along the way, we head for the Ngorongoro Crater.  Ngorongoro Crateris the world’s large, unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera.  Formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago, its steep walls are 2,000 ft deep and its floor covers 100 square miles.  A population of approximately 25,000 large animals, including reputedly the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the crater!  The crater has the densest known population of lions.  We’ll also be on the lookout for black rhinoceros, hippopotamus, wildebeest, zebra, eland, gazelles, buffalo, hyenas, ostrich, and more.  As the glowing African sun begins to set, we’ll relax on the veranda of our lodge at the crater’s rim, taking in spectacular view of the caldera below.  Evening activities may include backing up our day’s catch, viewing images, and photography lessons to take us to the next level.

After departing the Ngorongoro Crater, we’ll visit an authentic Masai tribe.  These semi-nomidic people are found in Kenya and northern Tanzania.  Due to their distinctive customs and dress, and because they often reside near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well known of African ethnic groups.  Our young Masai Warriors will take us on a tour of their community, explain their way of life, and help arrange photo-ops.  Throughout our journey, there will be many opportunities for photography lessons on lighting, equipment, and wireless off-camera flash.  Next stop…the Serengeti!

Once we’ve left the Massai village, beware!  The Serengeti has no walls or fences.  So we’ll see wildlife even before we get there.  The Serengeti National Park is a huge national park in Tanzania, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one and a half million wildebeest and a quarter million zebra.  The sprawling natural countryside is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey.  It is believed to hold the largest population of lions in Africa!  We will spend several days at various lodges within the park.  This close proximity to the wildlife allows us to embark on early morning and late evening game drives.  Since wildlife is most active at those times, this provides us with the most spectacular photographic opportunities that we couldn’t get any other way.  We’ll be on the lookout for Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Rhinoceros, Elephants, and a host of other species too numerous to list.  Our time in the heart of the Serengeti will be an experience you will never forget!

En route back to Arusha, we’ll spend a day at Lake Manyara National Park.  Stretching along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.  In contrast to the expanse of the Serengeti, the first section of the compact game-viewing circuit through Manyara winds through a lush jungle-like groundwater forest where huge baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and out-sized forest hornbills honk in the high canopy.  The vast alkaline Lake Manyara occupies the center of the park, where more than 400 species of bird life have been recorded.  Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.  Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favoured haunt of Manyara’s legendary and elusive tree-climbing lions, as well as impressively tusked elephants.

As our adventure comes to an end we’ll reflect on the amazing sights we’ve experienced in Tanzania, review images that rival National Geographic, and recap the many photography lessons we’ve learned throughout the week.  Soon we’ll be flying out of Arusha and on our way home, where family and friends eagerly await to hear our amazing stories and see our beautiful photos.

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  • http://www.suzyephotography.com Suzy E

    This is so cool! I am going to Tanzania June 24-July 9 as the official photographer for a medical mission team. The medical personnel will be treating Masai tribe patients. We will be staying in remote villages with no electricity or plumbing! I’ve never done anything like this so it will something quite different for me. In the middle, we will take 2 days off for a safari in the Tarangire National Park.

    Your photos are beautiful! I hope I can capture some even half that beautiful!

    • Chris

      That’s FANTASTIC, Suzy! You’ll have a great time and come away with some AMAZING photos and a new perspective on life. I grew up on a small mission village without electricity or running water in the Congo (DRC). Once you get used to it after a day or so, you’ll realize it’s no big deal. I love that you’re going with a humanitarian heart and a mind for missions. God will use your gifts in a great way!

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    This is one of the best site relative to the African safari and gives the valuable information…..Thanks for information…..

  • Laurie Bowers Connolly

    I loved looking at these again, Chris and Cami. Whenever I need a jolt of inspiration, I creep on y’all’s pages. 🙂 thanks!

  • Alice B

    Beautiful and I love it !