Great Migration Mara River Photo Safari

Witness the Great Migration with high opportunities to photograph the iconic Mara River crossings and predators in action in the northern Serengeti. Track the central Serengeti’s famous cheetahs and leopards. Descent into the Ngorongoro crater for a full-day game drive searching for black rhinos and other 300 species inhabiting the world’s largest inactive caldera. Admire the majestic elephants of Tarangire National Park in the backdrop of ancient baobab trees.

Join our exclusive 10-day photography expedition through Tanzania’s prestigious national parks. This is a classic African bucket-list safari: the itinerary is crafted for all nature lovers who wish to experience the epic landscapes and wildlife encounters of East Africa without a hurry and in prime time with specialist guides.


Great Migration Mara River Photo Expedition 2023:
12. – 21.8.2023


Exclusive, small group safari: 6–9 people (only 3 photographers in one safari vehicle with their own naturalist guide)


Arusha – Tarangire National Park – Ngorongoro Crater – Serengeti National Park (Central) – Serengeti National Park (North) – Kilimanjaro International Airport


US$8200 / per person sharing (with luxury accommodations)
Ask prices with mid-range accommodations

Great Migration Photo Safari Itinerary

The Great Migration Photo Safari maximizes your time in nature: we’ll stay 7 nights and all days except the day of arrival inside the world-renown national parks of Tanzania! Even on arrival, you have a chance for spotting monkeys and birds in the lovely lodge surrounded by riverine forest.

The itinerary is tailored for experiencing the incredible wildlife sightings and breathtaking sceneries of Tanzania. You don’t need to be a photographer to join the safari: we welcome all nature lovers and promise that you will experience life-changing moments in the bush!

Our safaris include unlimited game drives: you decide how many hours you wish to spend in the African bush each day. You can also always opt for a relaxed morning or afternoon in the camp – and sometimes the animals can be observed from the privacy of your own veranda. Our small group size (only 3 photographers per safari vehicle) allows ample space for moving around and the luxury to chase the sightings you wish to capture.

10-Day Safari Itinerary: the Great Migration, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park

After arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha, you’ll meet your expedition leaders Piritta and Niina and local wildlife guides. It’s just a 30-minute transfer to the charming Rivertrees Country Inn, a lush oasis outside the safari capital of Arusha, where you can unwind after the flight.

Rivertrees is an old coffee estate in the foothills of Mt Meru, surrounded by a secluded forest and river: both monkeys and birds love the spot. Depending on your arrival time, you can laze by the swimming pool, indulge in a massage, or explore the paths meandering by the river for photographing monkeys and birds.

Al-fresco lunch or candle-lit dinner at own cost, depending on your arrival time (all other days on this safari are full-board including breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

Accommodation: Rivertrees Country Inn (B&B)

After breakfast, we will embark towards a lesser-visited Maasai boma in the lush rainforest of Monduli Juu area, just 50 km northwest of Arusha. Today’s main destination is Tarangire National Park where we’ll have our first afternoon game drive spotting elephants and other wildlife before checking in to our camp inside the national park.

Our drive from Arusha through Monduli Juu to Tarangire is one of the visual joys of the day, and we’ll have many exciting photo ops on the way. You will have your own row in the safari vehicle with plenty of room to move around, store your camera gear, and access both sides of the vehicle. We often stumble upon wildlife while transiting between two safari destinations – there’s never a dull moment!

First, we’ll linger through the safari capital of Arusha, taking in the bustle of the city and its colorful markets. Hopefully, we’ll also get great shots of Mount Meru and snow-capped Kilimanjaro, towering upon the cityscape.

Visiting Maasai villages has become so popular that the cultural experiences nearby national parks aren’t authentic or rewarding for the photographers. Thus, we’ll take you off the beaten path to the highlands of Monduli Juu to meet the Maasai. You can freely take photos of the Maasai as they show us around their homes, and the chief explains their pastoralist culture. The visit will end traditionally in the form of adumu, the world-famous jumping dance that translates into vibrant photos.

We’ll enjoy a packed, hot lunch at a scenic spot in the highlands of Monduli Juu. On a clear day, the views toward Mount Meru and the Rift Valley are gorgeous, and the birding is excellent, too!

On our way to Tarangire National Park, we pass more Maasai settlements, and probably also wildlife that coexists here with the pastoralists. In Tarangire, we enjoy a long afternoon game drive, when our guides search for the best wildlife sightings to photograph. Our guides are some of the best of their profession, so they will tell us a lot about the species we encounter – and they are always up to any questions you may have. We will experience the African bush to the fullest from the first day, and check in the lodge for sundowners and dinner.

Tarangire National Park has the greatest concentration of wildlife in Tanzania, ranging from a large variety of birds to lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, and elephants. The Tarangire River is a magnet for thirsty wildlife, especially in the dry season.

Tarangire is particularly known for its huge herds of elephants and provides unique chances to observe the interaction between elephant families and the function of their complex societies, led by the matriarchs. This is also the place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as oryx and gerenuk, also known as giraffe gazelle, can be spotted.

Tarangire’s ancient baobab trees and breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe provide spectacular setting for a safari – and we have interesting landscapes to photograph in addition to the wildlife.

We’ll stay two nights in Tarangire Safari Lodge, a luxurious tented camp known for its prime location inside the national park and panoramic views. The classic safari tents introduce you to the fascinating life in the African bush with all the needed modern comforts, but feeling at one with nature. Hopefully, lion roars and hyena calls would lull us to sleep, or elephants would visit the camp during the lazy midday hours!

Accommodation: Tarangire Safari Lodge (full-board: BLD)

A full day of game drives in the Tarangire National Park.

After grabbing a cup of Tanzanian coffee or tea and snacks at the lodge, we will depart for the early morning game drive. We highly recommend hitting the road already before the sunrise to catch the best morning light and predator activity. Bush sunrises are where the magic happens!

Around 9.30-10 AM, we will return to the lodge to enjoy a full breakfast. Alternatively, we can be out driving and searching for wildlife until noon with a packed bush breakfast and coffee/tea and come back to the lodge for lunch around 12-1 PM. We can modify schedule according to the group’s wishes and available wildlife sightings.

All the time, the expedition leaders are there to provide you with actionable tips, tricks, and instructions on safari photography, if you so wish. And our expert wildlife guides are with you to share their knowledge about the wildlife species, their behavior, tracking, and anything else you’re interested.

Our guides are especially knowledgeable about the needs of photographers on wildlife sightings. They always search for the best possible positions for the vehicle, considering the angle of light and compositions. This is a crucial detail for us, and therefore we take special care of it during all the game drives on our expedition. As we only have one person per row in the Land Cruiser, you have access to both sides of the vehicle at all times: also during the transits. We don’t want you to miss any seconds of the sightings!

After lunch, you will have some downtime to relax and enjoy the lodge’s surroundings. Go through your photos from the morning drive, dip in the swimming pool, or take a nap if you wish. It’s the hottest time of the day, so most of the animals are also resting and hiding deeper in the bush. Your private veranda and lodge grounds are great for birding, as there are more than 550 bird species in Tarangire.

Around 3.30-4 PM, we will depart for the evening game drive, and we will return to the lodge only after the sunset – unless you wish to have a sundowner at the lodge admiring sunset over Tarangire National Park.

We’ll end the day with a great dinner and enjoying a cold drink around a fire, the African way.

Accommodation: Tarangire Safari Lodge (full-board: BLD)

We still have time until the afternoon to chase all the missing frames and wildlife sightings in Tarangire National Park. In late afternoon, we’ll check-in to charming Ngorongoro Farmhouse for a relaxed evening, getting ready for tomorrow’s epic adventures in Ngorongoro and Serengeti.

We recommend grabbing early morning coffee and snacks before a long morning drive. Then, you can either return to the lodge for hot breakfast and lunch and search for the best sightings for the rest of the time or you can spend the whole day on game drives with picnic breakfast and lunch.

We’ll depart Tarangire in the afternoon. It’s a 2-hour drive to our next destination, Karatu, just outside the gate of Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We will pass scenic Lake Manyara National Park and the village of Mto wa Mbu with an option to explore the colorful local market and the culture around it.

After hectic days in Tarangire National Park, you will have the opportunity to relax for the late afternoon hours in the beautiful Ngorongoro Farmhouse, an old coffee plantation. Lounge by the swimming pool, stroll through fragrant gardens spotting birds, or get to know coffee producing process. It’s time to gather energy and prepare our gear for early morning crater descent to one of the most spectacular natural places in the world – the Ngorongoro Crater.

In the evening we will enjoy a sunset over extinct Oldeani volcano to be followed with a delicious dinner and maybe some bush stories around the fire, under the stars.

Accommodation: Ngorongoro Farmhouse (full-board: BLD)

After early breakfast at Ngorongoro Farmhouse, we will descend to the Ngorongoro Crater for a long game drive at the crater floor, and then proceed through Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Central Serengeti. It will be an exciting full-day game drive, and you can expect to capture both magical wildlife sightings and sceneries.

The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unfolded and unbroken caldera in the world – about 20 kms across, 600 meters deep, and 300 sq km in total. It’s the 7th Wonder of the World, and also known as the Eden of Africa.

Already from the crater rim, we can begin to pick out the familiar shapes of elephant and buffalo on the crater floor, mingled with zebra, wildebeest, and gazelles. The Ngorongoro Crater has some of Africa’s greatest concentrations of big predators like lions, leopards, and hyenas, and it’s the best place in Tanzania to see the endangered black rhinos. We’ll break the game drive by enjoying packed lunch by a hippo pool. If we’re lucky, we might even see flamingos in the crater’s lakes.

In the afternoon, we will drive cross the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the Serengeti National Park. The drive meanders by the volcanos and Maasai settlements, and we can stop anytime to take photos of the landscape or wildlife. On our way to the camp, we will have a late afternoon game drive with photo opportunities in the beautifully diminishing, filtered light.

After arriving at the luxurious Serengeti Sametu Camp in Central Serengeti, it’s time for a good dinner. We’ll stay 2 nights in this unfenced camp, surrounded with wildlife roaming through the open grassland all around us. At night, only canvas walls separate us from nature, and we can hear the calls and cries of the savanna.

Accommodation: Karibu Sametu Camp (full board: BDL)

A full day of unlimited game drives in the central Serengeti National Park.

Serengeti means “endless plains” in Swahili, and when you drive out to the open savanna, you will see how this place truly lives up to its name.

The Central Serengeti, also called Seronera, lies at the heart of this iconic national park. Abundant resident wildlife and quintessential acacia-studded savanna makes Seronera a fantastic year-round destination for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

Seronera area is rich in lions, leopards, and cheetahs – and often all of them may be spotted in one day of game drives. Nothing is still guaranteed in the wild but that is exactly what makes it so interesting – you never know what you will see when you head out to the game drive. And the bush sure can surprise you!

In the varied habitats of rivers, swamps, kopjes, and grasslands we can also find elephants, hippos, crocodiles, buffalos, impala, topic, jackals, and even bat-eared foxes. The area nearby our camp has large numbers of big cats and is particularly famous for its cheetah population.

We recommend the same, field-tested formula: early morning coffee and snacks at the camp to be followed with a proper morning game drive, then full breakfast and lunch in the camp and relaxing for the hottest hours before returning to the game drive loops in the afternoon. But we are open to your personal wishes and can adapt the schedule to the groups’ likings. For example, after a hearty breakfast in the camp, you will have the opportunity to depart again to the bush and come back for lunch around 12AM-1.30PM. After lunch, you can browse through photos or have some precious “DNA moments” (DNA stands for: “Do Nothing At All”) before heading out again for evening game drive around 3.30-4 PM. It’s also possible to do a full-day game drive with packed breakfast and lunch.

On our last evening in Seronera, we’ll enjoy complimentary sundowners in the bush before returning to the camp for dinner.

Accommodation: Karibu Sametu Camp (full-board: BLD)

After breakfast, we will drive from the Central Serengeti to the northern part of the park, towards the Mara River.

It’s approximately 140 kilometers and about 4-hour drive but certainly not just a transit: it’s an utmost privilege to witness the endless plains of Serengeti from south to north. We consider it as one long game drive, searching for animals on our route.

After arrival in the luxurious Karibu Mara River Camp, we will enjoy a late lunch and some downtime before the evening drive. We’ll stay the next 3 nights in this stunning location, just a stone throw from the Mara River, where the iconic wildebeest crossings happen.

Around 3.30-4 PM, we will explore the shores of the Mara River for the first time in search of the Great Migration and the hungry predators. We will then return to camp after sunset to have some cold drinks and a great dinner.

Accommodation: Karibu Mara River Camp (full-board: BLD)

A full day of game drives in the Kogatende and Mara River area in the northern Serengeti.

This is where we truly start to “hunt” for the spectacular Mara River crossings of the wildebeest and zebra!

We will depart for our morning game drive before sunrise and head to the Mara River. Catching the river crossings is not easy, and it takes patience, as the movements of the huge wildebeest herds are unpredictable.

But when our patience is rewarded, it will be a spectacle you will never forget! The chaos, the splashing water, the panic of the prey, the rush – the survival. It’s something indescribable by words alone.

Our expert wildlife guides are also skilled drivers and will try their best to get us great positions when the crossings happen. It will be hectic, that we can guarantee. Being prepared with your camera settings is essential, and we will provide you with tips on this, too.

On our full game drive days by the Mara River, we can choose to take a packed bush lunch with us instead of driving back to the camp for lunch. This can maximize our river crossing photo opportunities. However, if enough participants (at least 3 people) would like to go back to the camp for lunch, we can provide this flexibility for them. And others who wish to stay at the river may choose to do so.

At the latest, we will return to the camp after sunset for cold drinks and dinner, according to the already familiar routine.

Accommodation: Karibu Mara River Camp (full-board: BLD)

Another full day of game drives in the northern Serengeti in search of the Great Migration. Our schedule is like on day 7 but flexible to group’s wishes and available sightings.

The northern Serengeti is unspoiled, beautiful, and quiet compared to the southern Serengeti plains. The area stretches from the Lobo Hills southwards to Seronera and is typified by green rolling hills, which is a pleasant diversion from the much flatter southern plains.

This region of the park – wedged between the Central Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve to the north – is remote and relatively inaccessible, which means it sees fewer visitors, even at the time of the Great Migration.

This northern sector of the park is also home to the greatest concentration of elephants in the Serengeti, as well as good numbers of lions, leopards, cheetah, and hyenas. On top of the wildebeest and zebras, you can expect to see diverse resident animals such as giraffe, topi, eland, and hippo. We won’t be chasing the Great Migration all the time: we have a lot to explore around us!

Accommodation: Karibu Mara River Camp (full-board: BLD)

After early morning coffee and snacks, we will enjoy the last morning game drive in Serengeti. Depending on the previous sightings and wildebeest movements, we can spy the Mara River crossing sites one more time.

Around 10 AM we will drive back to camp for a full breakfast before checking out and driving to the local bush airport to catch our domestic flight from Kogatende to Arusha.

We will arrive in Arusha/Kilimanjaro airport in the afternoon. The flight schedule will be confirmed at the time of your booking. You can catch an evening flight home or optionally check-in to your accommodation in Arusha (in case your flight departures on the next day we can help booking an extra night in Arusha). Please also ask about safari extensions: you can easily combine other national parks or a beach holiday in Zanzibar, Mafia or Pemba island to your photo safari!

The price of the photo safari expedition is US$8200 per person (sharing) with luxury accommodations listed here. Ask for the total price for the mid-range accommodation options.

The price includes twin/double room accommodation with full board, all national park and conservation fees, unlimited game drives in the national parks and other activities mentioned in the itinerary, services of the local wildlife guides and two photography tour leaders, all road transfers while in Tanzania, a domestic flight from Serengeti (Kogatende) to Kilimanjaro inclusive of one additional luggage (i.e., camera bag), and all other services mentioned in the detailed itinerary. The accommodation is based on two people sharing one twin or double room. A single supplement applies if you wish to book single rooms.

The prices are subject to change according to the possible yearly price changes of camps, lodges, and local government fees, i.e., National Park fees.

What is included:

  • All transfers upon arrival and departure to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport (Arusha)
  • Domestic flight from the Northern Serengeti to Arusha, inclusive of one additional luggage (i.e., camera bag)
  • Transportation on-trip by luxurious, safari-equipped 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser Game Viewers – maximum of 3 photographers per vehicle
  • Services of our expert wildlife guides and 2 photography tour leaders
  • All national park and concession fees
  • All accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals on a full board basis as indicated in the itinerary (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) – with the exception of the day of arrival, which is B&B basis due to different flight schedules
  • Unlimited mineral water on game drives and road transfers
  • All daily activities, unlimited game drives, and excursions as indicated in the itinerary

What is not included:

  • International airfare to and from Kilimanjaro International Airport
  • Trip cancellation insurance and any other, personal travel insurance
  • Visas when applicable
  • Beverages at the lodges
  • Gratuities
  • Laundry
  • Additional accommodations and/or excursions and tour extensions before or after the scheduled Great Migration Photo Safari

Booking & Information

Please email us below if you wish to book your space on our Great Migration Photo Safari or receive a more detailed schedule and information. We’ll also gladly tell you more about our other planned photo safaris and different possible extension options for your photo expedition.

We are also organizing private safaris; ask for an offer. We are looking forward to sharing the magic of Africa with you!

Expeditions For Wildlife Conservation

We will donate a portion of our profit to a carefully selected wildlife conservation organizations. Your journey with us will also help to conserve our precious wildlife.

Meet Your Photo Guide

Piritta is a wildlife and conservation photographer who has spent several years in southern and eastern Africa, driving around and visiting even the remote corners of this great continent. She has years of experience in photography, and her love of Africa shows in her work. She always seeks to improve and loves sharing her expertise and knowledge from Africa and photography alike. You’ll find her portfolio of images here.