This Safari Visits Some of the Best Places on the Continent

Written by Thomson Safaris

We’ve partnered with two adventure icons to create what might be the perfect safari journey this fall. From Sept. 19 to Sept. 29, the African Wildlife Foundation, Nature’s Best Photography Tanzania Photo Safari will venture through some of the “best places on the continent” to go on safari, according to African Wildlife Foundation Senior Vice President Craig Sholley.

tanzania photo safari with awf

Sholley partnered with Stephen Freligh, the publisher and editor-in-chief at Nature’s Best Photography, to create this adventure. Using Sholley’s deep knowledge of East Africa and Freligh’s background in photography, the two selected areas that provide incredible variety in landscape, wildlife and events – the perfect adventure for keeping photographers and wildlife viewers at the edge of their seats throughout.

Craig Sholley and Jeff Vanuga on safari in Tanzania

Award-winning wildlife photographer Jeff Vanuga will join the group as a trip leader with Sholley to explore Tarangire National Park and the Serengeti with our guests.

‘The Most stupendous Crossings that I’ve Ever Seen in My Entire Career in Africa’

This isn’t Vanuga and Sholley’s first time leading a photo safari. This trip builds on the success of a similar journey last year.

“On the last safari, we had phenomenal elephant sightings down by the Tarangire River in Tanzania and great big cat viewing opportunities throughout the trip,” Sholley said. “We also had the opportunity to see some phenomenal crossings at the Mara river on the border between Tanzania and Kenya.”

cheetah chase hartebeest in serengeti tanzania

Late September is right around when herds from the Great Migration are expected converge along the Mara River. Witnessing a crossing is never guaranteed, but travelers on this trip have one of the best foundations for seeing this unforgettable event.

lines of herds cross the mara river

“One particular morning, we saw one of the most stupendous crossings that I’ve ever seen in my entire career in Africa,” Sholley said about last year’s adventure. “It lasted about 40 minutes with probably 30,000 animals – just a continuous flow of wildebeest and zebra thrashing through the water to get to the other side.”

This is the same adventure guest Don Hurzeler attended, which produced some of our favorite safari photos from 2018. It’s impossible to reduce the experience to single snapshot, though.

wildebeest jumps into mara river tanzania

“I think we were all awestruck at the end of the experience. There were tears in people’s eyes because of what they were viewing,” Sholley said.” “Everybody understood at that particular moment that it was very special and unique, and we were all blown away by the experience.”

A Special Addition:
Gorilla Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

There’s a new, particularly exciting photo opportunity this year as well. Guests can choose to continue their journey with Sholley on a special gorilla trek in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

baby gorilla in rwanda by craig sholley

“I have had wildlife experiences throughout the world – amazing wildlife experiences. I still rank being out in the midst of a family of gorillas as one of the most spectacular,” Sholley said. “The intimacy of this experience is extraordinarily emotional. Being less than 15 feet away from a group of gorillas – looking into their eyes is… it’s almost indescribable. And capturing gorilla facial expressions on film and ultimately then looking back at them – those are memories for life.”

A Safari Built for Everybody… but Especially Photographers

The creators of this adventure thought very carefully about taking advantage of East Africa’s diverse wildlife and environments to create a constant state of excitement for photographers.

“Taking people to Tarangire National Park, that Baobab-riddled landscape that is haven to a large elephant population and lots of other critters… phenomenal photographic opportunities in that particular regard,” Sholley said. “And then ultimately going on to the Serengeti during the timeframe where you’ve got fantastic opportunities to see segments of the migration – one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles… What more could you ask for?”

tarangire baobab tree and elephantsElephants in Tarangire National Park

There is another special piece, though.

“There’s a Nature’s Best photographic exhibition that is presently hanging in the Smithsonian that is representative of some of the photos that were taken on the past safari. They’re going to be seen by tens of thousands of people on a monthly basis,” Sholley said. “Over the course of a year, probably a million people are going to look at those images there. They’re going to understand that they represent the majesty and the magic of the continent of Africa.”

At the same time, this is not a trip solely for pro photographers.

“I thought the majority of people on the safari [last year] would be pretty strong amateur photographers and or semi-professionals,” Sholley said. “In the end we ended up with a very diverse group. We had a woman on the trip who was out photographing for the first time… and captured some absolutely amazing images that all of us who have a photography background were surprised by.”

There were also people who were “just there to enjoy the view, who basically had smiles on their faces because they were just capturing images with their eyes,” Sholley said. “Everybody is welcome, and I think they’ll all have a phenomenal experience.”


Space on the AWF/NBP Tanzania Photography Safari is limited. Email or call 800.235.0289 now to reserve your spot.

Ask for Andrew Doherty, Manager of Special Interest Travel