Arguably among some of the best places to get up close and personal with all the wild cats of Africa, The Big Cats of Serengeti Safari is designed for the true big cat lovers. During the course of this safari, we visit three iconic destinations: Ngorongoro Crater, Ndutu Conservation Area and the Serengeti.
But what is it about the big cats that we cannot get enough of them? Perhaps it the raw power of a large male lion, the beauty and elegance of a lioness or the pure speed and gracefulness of a cheetah on the vast open plains of East Africa?
Either way, the three different destinations included in this departure, ensure a diverse portfolio of unique images, and one truly memorable experience. Taking place in the month of April to coincide with the quieter season in the area, allows us to spend extended periods of time in sightings without being bothered by too many vehicles around us. Not only does this present better photographic opportunities, but it also allows us to spend quality time with animals sharing in a large portion of their day activities, which at the end of the day, is ultimately what the experience is all about - capturing special moments that will be relived for many years to come.
Ngorongoro Crater - Sopa Lodge
It is very difficult to describe the Crater in words... in fact, to describe it as mind-blowing would be an understatement! Roughly 260 square kilometres, equal to about 100 square miles, it is a mesmerisingly large volcanic caldera, formed roughly two and a half million years ago.
The sights and scenes are simply breathtaking and make for some incredible photographic opportunities. The shear volume of animals in the crater is overwhelming, meaning that the photographic opportunities are plentiful.
Facing the ever magnificent sunsets to the west, and located on the highest point on Ngorongoro crater’s entire rim, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge stands well over half a kilometre above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera.
When you step through your door, you are greeted by a spectacular view of the Crater and beyond , and the room luxury doesn’t stop there. Because of its altitude the lodge can be fairly cool at night, so each room has central heating, hot water bottles placed in every bed during the evening turndown service; and the luxuriously appointed bathrooms have extremely spacious showers under which you can reminisce about the wonders of this awesome, almost magically mystical place called Ngorongoro.
Ndutu Conservation Area
From the Crater we head towards the Ndutu Conservation Area, one of the most productive and diverse wildlife areas in Tanzania.
The Ndutu Region forms part of the northern section of Ngorongoro Conservation Area and stretches to the unfenced Southern reaches of the Serengeti National Park, a meeting point between these two incredible wilderness areas. This section of the park is made up of rolling grasslands and acacia woodlands, and peppered with alkaline lakes that attract impressive flocks of flamingos.
Lake Masek Lodge is a 'permanent tented lodge' with only 20 luxury chalets, offering guests an intimate and authentic safari experience while enjoying the substantial facilities of a permanent lodge. This lodge shines brightest in the green season (Dec to Apr); the plains are transformed to a verdant hue and wildflowers bloom in dense clusters as the great migration floods the surrounding range.
Stay alert, and enjoy the thrill being on an adventurous safari in the Ndutu area.
Our final stop on this safari is Ehlane Plains, situated in the Eastern section of the Serengeti.
This camp is designed to merge with the eco-system, all under canvas and all with clear vistas of the wilderness ahead. Each tented suite contains a lounge cove with comfortable couches and coffee table, dressing area with handcrafted cupboards, net-draped king size bed with bedside tables and lamps, mninga writing desk with chair, full length wall mirror and soft carpets to wander along. The suite flows into ensuite; a natural theme of shower, double hand basins and flushing toilet. The camp is open, no borders or rails, the wildlife comes and goes. Stay alert, eyes open; the thrill of the safari from the silver screen is here.
Ehlane Plains Camp has been established in the far eastern plains of the Serengeti, a remote and wildlife-filled pocket of the savannah. This is where the true magic begins, and where your dream of wild Africa comes alive.
The area is vast, with massive open plains filled with pockets of kopjies (rocky outcrops). With this vast expanse of land comes a variety of general game and where there is general game, you will find the predators...
Lions, leopards and cheetah can often be found on and around these large rocky outcrops, as they offer a great vantage point to look over the plains in search of any prey, and / or other predators that may be in the area. The height helps them to escape the pesky flies, which can cause massive irritation, and in some cases, provide much needed warmth on the cooler, overcast days.
On this last part of the safari, we focus our efforts almost exclusively around these rocky outcrops in search of the big cats atop the kopjies in search of some pretty special moments to capture.
Camera Gear Recommendations
This is a safari with plenty of diversity, and the photographic opportunities are no exception. From wide angle scenic shots of the big rocky outcrops, sunset and sunrises, to close ups of the big cats in action, we suggest quite a wide range of focal lengths to increase the chance of capturing images unique only to these areas.
A 24 - 70mm works well when you are close to the rocky outcrops to photograph animals on the rocks and in their environment.
A 70 - 200mm is always handy to capture animals in their environment whether they are close or far and also works very well for animals walking towards you.
Using a longer focal length like a 200-400mm or a fixed 500mm allows one to get those close up images, and in the wide open spaces, to showcase some great depth of field shooting at lower apertures.
Why Travel with Wild Eye on the Big Cats of the Serengeti Safari?
The focus of this safari is to create a diverse portfolio of images showcasing the beauty of Africa's big cats in their natural environment. If you are a cat lover, and an appreciator os spectacular scenery, this is a safari you don't want to miss out on.
Visiting three different different areas, unique in their own special ways, allows us to explore the best of what Tanzania has on offer. It's an action packed safari hosted by two Wild Eye guides who will make sure they go above and beyond to ensure you take the most out of this unique experience.
Join the safari and allow Wild Eye the opportunity to change the way you see the world!
To have a look at the safari page, CLICK HERE.