Incredible Calving Season Safari
The Big Five... and More!
4 Guests Per Tour
DateJanuary 29th-February 7th 2020
Trip length10 Days
The Circle of Life Unfolds Before Your Very Eyes!
There’s a special and magical time of year in Tanzania when the wildebeest give birth in the Ndutu and Ngorongoro Conservation areas. The calving season takes place from January to March and during that time up to 8,000 wildebeest calves are born every single day.
This is one of the absolute best times of year to witness the spectacle of the great migration during a unique time. If you are a fan of the big cats, then this is your best chance to see all the gorgeous feline predators as they stalk the young wildebeest. In fact… we bring our guests right into the highest concentration of predators in all of Africa. Have your cameras ready and trigger fingers poised to click and capture the most amazing wildlife photos that you can imagine.
One of the best parts of this safari is the fact that our drivers can take us off-road in many of the best places to photograph the wildlife. During other times of the year, this is not allowed in Tanzania. Talk about getting up close and personal with all your favourite animals!
4 Guests + Pro Photographer + Local Guide/Driver
We like to keep our groups small and intimate on our safaris. Having four guests per vehicle allows us to offer everyone the room they need as well as the attention of our incredibly knowledgeable guides and beloved pro photographer leaders. Not only will you take the best photos of your life but you’ll make some wonderful new friends along the way. Learning about wildlife and photography has never been this much fun.
On the Calving Season Safari, we offer deluxe accommodations, delicious meals, expert local guides who have a deep knowledge of the terrain and wildlife, and top photographer guides who we are privileged to have on our team.
Imagine yourself in Africa along with our Discovery team of pro photographers as we explore the incredible national parks like Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and the legendary Serengeti. Awesome, right? We agree. This is one trip that will live forever in your heart and soul.
Reserve your spot today and bring adventure into your life by creating some fantastic memories that will bring a smile to your face for years to come.
Discovery Gold Standard
From antelopes to zebras, you’ll get the Discovery A to Z pledge of seeing more animals that you could possibly imagine. Every day has a new story to tell and each game drive is 100% unique. These are your stories and we think you’ll cherish them as much as we do. It isn’t uncommon for our guests to wipe away tears of joy as they witness the majesty of the Great Migration, the Big Five, and so much more.
You’ll witness the circle of life throughout this VIP Photo Safari as we visit the most renowned national parks in all of Africa and be offered the opportunity of a lifetime to capture photos of these spectacular animals. Hang on to your safari hats, you’re in for quite a ride!
While the VIP Photo Safari’s main goal is to provide our guests with the best photo ops for wildlife, we do celebrate the culture of Tanzania.
You’ll visit an authentic Masai village and get a chance to meet with Masai tribesmen, women, and children. Have your cameras ready as they will greet us with a traditional jump dance and friendly smiles. We’ll also stop along the road for a spontaneous shoot with locals (if and when possible) once in a while for some great candid photos.
In Arusha, we escort our groups to a beautiful cultural center where you’ll see all kinds of Tanzanian and African art including sculptures, carvings, masks, paintings, jewelry, crafts, and more. Don’t forget to haggle!
Discovery Photo Tours works with some of the most talented and experienced professional photographers in the business. Our goal is to provide you the opportunity to travel alongside and work elbow to elbow with internationally acclaimed photographers who will help you capture the incredible beauty our destinations offer. Whether you’re new to photography or a professional looking to expand your portfolio, our tour leaders will share invaluable techniques, knowledge, and experience gained over the course of their careers. Photography aside, we expect you’ll have the time of your life on our tours. Traveling the road with us means there will be lots of laughs, interesting stories and delicious meals where you’ll be treated like family and will leave with new life-long friends.
The Big Five... and MORE!
Life Changing Photo Safari
Welcome to Tanzania!
Ready for an adventure?
Kuwakaribisha Kwa Tanzania :-)
Congrats! You made it to beautiful Tanzania and are one day away from starting your adventure where you will literally be witnessing tens of thousands of animals. We do not kid!
Today is arrival day and time to get some rest at the hotel after being picked up at the Kilimanjaro airport by your driver. Marvel at the sight of the world's tallest free-standing mountain as you head from the airport to your first hotel in Arusha. In the evening your small group will meet up for a delicious welcome dinner with your photographer leader. Sleep well tonight, as tomorrow is the beginning of an extraordinary adventure.
Tarangire National Park
Here we go!
Located slightly off the main safari route, Tarangire National Park is a lovely quiet park in Northern Tanzania that is most famous for its elephant migration, birding and quiet authentic safari atmosphere. The majority of travelers to the region either miss out Tarangire altogether or venture into the park for a matter of hours leaving parts of Tarangire virtually untouched but not us!
Our guides know the best places at the right time of year to get us closer to the action. Lions, Elephants, Cheetah, and so many more animals are waiting to be discovered. Hey, we're not Called DISCOVERY Photo Tours for nothing ;-)
Tarangire National Park
And now for something completely different...
After a leisurely breakfast, put on your best walking shoes and get ready for some serious fun. We're going on a hike that you'll never forget on our awesome walking safari. This is a completely different way to experience Tanzania and its stunning wildlife. All your senses will be awakened as you see, hear, smell, and feel your surroundings just like the first explorers of the regions centuries ago.
For your safety, you'll be escorted by an official Tanzanian National Park Authorities armed ranger. We always abide by the strict rules laid out by TANAPA and stick to specific walking routes.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Volcanic Crater Tour
The jewel in Ngorongoro's crown is a deep, volcanic crater; the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world and this is where we spend our day. No Tanzania safari would be complete without exploring this incredible region with unparalleled photo opportunities.
Once a majestic mountain as tall as Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater is now the best place in Tanzania to see 'The Big Five' (Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Rhinoceros, and Leopard). Estimates place the height of the former mountain up to 5,800 meters high! The crater can get busy in peak season which is another great reason to join the calving season tour which takes place off-peak time.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Take it easy!
After several days on your mission for great wildlife photos, today is a day of rest and relaxation at our luxury lodge that is nestled on a hillside of a valley with beautiful views of a coffee plantation and a waterfall within the incredible highlands of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Sleep in (if you choose) or take advantage of the spa and get a well-deserved massage, catch up on that book you've been meaning to read as you lounge by the pool or take a nature hike to a local waterfall along and a descent to the Empakai Crater with a local guide. Your decadent room hs a deep tub that is perfect for a nice long soak and the rain shower will make you feel like a new person after days on the dusty trail.
In the afternoon we head to a local Masai village for a photo session with the tribe as they share their traditional dance and customs with us. What a day! This is the perfect blend of relaxation and photography in a magnificent setting. Oh and the two days we stay at our luxury lodge... the drinks are on us ;-)
Serengeti National Park
On the road again
We hope that you're well rested because this is where this safari becomes truly unique.
While it is incredible to see the big five, the calving season is all about the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest babies being born at this time of year. It is also the absolute prime season for photographing predators like lions, hyenas, cheetah, and leopards who are constantly stalking all the baby zebra, antelope, and wildebeest. The South Ndutu region is the prime location for the calving area and our mobile safari camp is perfectly situated to put you in the middle of all the action.
don't forget all the other awesome animals that roam the Serengeti. And just so you don't have to google it, here's what else you have to look forward to: Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra, Wildebeest, Cheetah, Hyena, Wild Dog, African Civet, Bat-eared Fox, Bushbuck, Grant's Gazelle, Eland, Genets, Impala, Kudu, Ostrich, Vervet Monkey, Waterbuck, Porcupine, Dwarf Mongoose, Serval, Warthog, Secretary Bird, African Fish Eagle, Vultures, and Nile Crocodile.
That's the short list.
South Ndutu Area
Everything a safari should be
Explore the range of different habitats that include swamps, woodland, soda lakes, and the world-famous Serengeti short grass plains. See great herds of wildebeest and zebra and a host of other animals. Wildebeest calves can run minutes after they are born and within 3 days they are normally strong enough to keep up with the herd. Have no fear, it isn't a one-sided battle in favor of the predators. The wildebeest know all the tricks of the predators and will instinctively give birth in the shorter grass areas in order to be able to spot the big cats easily.
In fact, the female wildebeest team up to form barriers around their young so as to give them the best possible chance for survival. There are no guarantees for either side and the circle of life continues.
The Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania's protected areas, which altogether make up some 14% of the country's land area, a conservation record that few other countries can match. Not a bad place to wrap up our safari, if we must say so ourselves.
Your journey will wrap up in a legendary part of Africa! The Serengeti is the subject of countless tales that predate history itself. Home to all the most celebrated animals that the dark continent is so well known for; the Serengeti, and in this case, the central Seronera part gives us our last opportunity to see the miracle of life and the birth of not only the herbivores like the gazelles, zebra, and wildebeest but also the lions and other big cats who also time their birthing times to coincide with the birth of the prey that they hunt. We can't think of too many things that are cuter than baby lion cubs, can you?
One last hurrah!
After a final dinner together the night before we wrap things up in style with one last morning game drive before taking the short flight back to Arusha as we all head on our onward journey home or wherever the road takes us.
You'll be asking yourself if the amazing adventure that you just lived actually happened... trust us it did! You'll have spectacular photographic evidence of that. That's the magic of photography; getting to capture memories of a lifetime in digital form.
We love this tour and think you will too.
Get To Know
DateJanuary 29th-February 7th 2020
Trip length10 Days
Max group size4
Can’t make it in August or February/March for our regularly scheduled safaris?
Our team can develop a custom exclusive VIP safari for groups of two, four, eight, or twelve at almost any time of year.
Contact the Discovery Team for details.
While traveling through Tanzania during the calving season we will stay in genuine deluxe safari tented camps and luxurious world-class lodges. These are exclusive accommodations that will bring our group close to nature in some of the most beautiful settings one can imagine. These deluxe camps and lodges include paved pathways, flooring, furniture, electricity, running water, full private bathrooms, and all the other modern amenities you would expect at a hotel. With lounges, dining rooms and a full cooking staff to prepare gourmet fare, your evenings will be filled with memories of relaxing around a campfire sharing stories of the day.
Overview of shooting locations
Photography skill level
Recommended photography equipment
- DSLR or mirrorless camera
- Fast super telephoto (full frame equivalent of 400mm or higher)
- 1.4x or 2x Teleconverter for telephoto lenses (or both)
- 24-70mm Lens for when you want to capture the big picture
- 70-200mm Lens for mid-range shooting
- Zoom Telephoto Lens for Wildlife
- We suggest bringing a beanbag for bracing cameras – We have spares just in case!
- Tripods are not needed for the wildlife shooting
Don’t have the gear you need?
Don’t worry, we can help you find a rental option.
Have questions about gear? We can help!
Join us in Tanzania
Single Room Supplement
Choose your room type below and add to cart to complete your deposit and reserve your spot to join us on this unforgettable tour .
Diana & Steve Sellars
Our Tanzania Calving Photo Tour with Patrick was phenomenal and exceeded everyone of our expectations! Patrick was kind, caring and supportive, offering suggestions to make sure everyone was taken care of at all times. Steve was a little apprehensive to begin with but after our tour with Patrick we are already planning our next trip.
Ken's attention to detail and management of the overall tour was exceptional. Made it one of the best photo tours I have been on. Ken seems to attract fun and interesting people to his tours, which makes it even more enjoyable. The photo pros were the best!!!
This was my first trip with Discovery Photo Tours and Ken Kaminesky, and hopefully not the last!! Tanzania Photo Safari was an incredible experience that I'm so glad I was able to participate. The country, the people and the animals are outstanding!! Our guides were the best, they know the animals, the parks and how to get the best shots for photographers.
Guides in Tanzania
Deborah Sandidge is a professional photographer specializing in world travel and artistic imagery. As an author and instructor, Deborah, expands the horizons of those who enjoy her photographic artistry. Deborah is well respected for her ability to blend the creative and the technical aspects of photography, giving the viewer a unique and fresh dimension illustrated in each subject she photographs
Di Fruscia is a World Visionary Fine Art Nature & Landscape Photographer. His work has won many awards, has been published and displayed thru a multitude of Medias (books, calendars, magazines, travel guides etc.) and by many prestigious companies such as, National Geographic, Time Magazine and Wall Street Journal, just to name a few. Constantly searching for those rare magical moments when the Perfect Light embraces nature in all its glory, you can rest assured – that this is only the beginning of a long and dedicated quest to capture the breathtaking beauty of nature."
Ken Kaminesky is a co-founder and the owner of Discovery Photo Tours. He's a veteran commercial travel photographer, Formatt-Hitech Signature Artist, the travel columnist for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and an entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in the photography industry. Ken's iconic photography has featured in major publications including the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, and twice on the front cover of National Geographic magazine.
Glynn Lavender, owner and lead creative from Australia's Creative Photo Workshops, is a dynamic passionate tour leader who specialises in people photography.
Glynn has the great ability to demonstrate the best ways to light and photograph subjects and help you get the best from each of the many opportunities that happen on tour.
Mike Dexter is a professional wildlife photographer and specialist photographic safari guide with over a decade of experience exploring and photographing the wildest corners of his native Africa. Mike's images have been featured in a multitude of international travel and wildlife publications including Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife, Practical Photography, Nature's Best Photography and Africa Geographic.