The Guide to Tanzania Photographic Safaris

Going for a Photographic Safari in Tanzania is one of the best decisions anyone who loves photographing wild animals and plants in their natural habitat can make and not be wrong at all! This country has vast areas of national parks, game reserves, and other wildlife areas that are accessible throughout the year. Spotting wildlife in Tanzania’s Parks is much easier, possibly than other countries in Africa in general.

Planning a Photographic Safari in Tanzania is not something that you can do yourself without knowing some of the important information. Tanzania is renowned in the world for conserving its land and natural resources. To date, Tanzania has 22 national parks and more than 16 game reserves, amongst other conservation areas. Almost 40% of its land is allotted for wildlife conservation in one form or the other, far beyond any country in Africa. This is an equivalence of an area of 378’035sq.km (145’960sq.mi) put into nature conservation. Tanzania contains a total area of approximately 945’087sq.km (364’900sq.mi).

Planning a Photo Safari in Tanzania needs a proper understanding of which regulations should be followed, where to go, when to go, which equipment is allowed or not allowed, and much more. If you are not familiar with any of these tips, this Guide to Tanzania Photographic Safari will be your best benchmark before you go.

What is a Photographic Safari?

If you are a photographer, this question will be a recite of what you have been living or experiencing and enjoying in your life. But if you have never experienced Nature or Wildlife Photography, then this is what you need to know before you start the actual planning.

A Photographic Safari is that adventurous journey or expedition that involves sighting and searching for wild animals purposely for taking professional photos or footage. And the term safari itself means a trip or journey that involves visiting and observing wild animals, birds, or reptiles in their natural habitats – it attracts a sense of adventure.

A photographic safari is not different from the normal safaris unless it is organized specifically for travelers who are looking for images that are more durable and beyond ordinary. Some photographers do this for business or just fun or a combination of the two.

Rules & Regulations for Photo Safari in Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the famous countries in the world for conserving its wildlife reserves and natural resources. If you are going for a photographic safari in Tanzania, you should also learn to follow the rules and regulations of taking photos in the parks. You should not worry so much about how you will know all the rules, most safari guides know most of these rules. So a driver-guide will be your guide of dos and don’ts when going for a Photographic Safari in Tanzania. Your Tanzania Safari Planner and Outfitter will include all the necessary details that will maximize your experience in Tanzania – and this includes the choice of the best photo safari guide, proper itinerary, nicely located accommodation properties, and the appropriate vehicle(s) and other gears.

There will also be a pre-safari briefing that that will communicate how your safari will be and other necessary details.

Where to go for the Best Photographic Safaris

Tanzania has four major tourism circuits: the Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern Circuits. Each circuit has its unique attraction that is the best for a photographic safari. Below is our best list of amazing places to go for a Photographic Safari Adventure in Tanzania:

  • Serengeti National Park
  • Ngorongoro Crater
  • Tarangire National Park
  • Lake Manyara National Park
  • Selous Game Reserve
  • Nyerere National Park
  • Katavi National Park
  • Ruaha National Park
  • Mahale Mountains
  • Gombe National Park
  • Arusha National Park
  • Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Mkomazi National Park
  • Usambara Mountains National Park

These are some of the places that should be included in your list of places to go. Deciding the best places to go depends on what you want to achieve on your photoshoot project. In order to get your itinerary planned and suit your needs, we recommend that you consult your travel specialist to get advice on where could be the best place to go according to your requirements. Our Specialists will always be happy to assist…

Wildlife Photography Equipment & Gears

Packing and selecting the right equipment also would determine the quality of your photos or footage. Most photographers already know what we are talking about here. If you are not sure what you should pack before you go, these recommended equipment/gears could be your best way to start.

  1. Two DSLR Cameras
  2. Tripod
  3. Clamp
  4. Lenses (Two or more lenses from 300m+)
  5. Memory card
  6. Laptop
  7. External Hard drive
  8. Lens cleaning cloth
  9. Spare batteries for your cameras
  10. Bean Bags (Our Company provides)

The above list is not what you should always stick on, feel free to add or remove some items that you think you might not use. But we highly recommend having two camera options to avoid unnecessary frustrations when your first camera is not functioning.

Filming using Drones, is it allowed?

A straight no! Tanzania has strict regulations for filming using drones, especially inside the parks. There is a chance of using your drone under a special permit from the Filming Board of Tanzania, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), and Conservation Commissioner-Tanzania National Parks. Learn more about drones usage in Tanzania on this link.

Self-Drive vs Hiring a Safari Guide?

The second option is better. If you want to get an exclusive photographic experience, consider hiring a private photographic guide. Most of the national parks in Tanzania are vast and some are even bigger than countries of Germany and the Netherlands all combined!

Photographing wildlife in Africa is more than picking up your equipment and capture images in front of you! You will always need a highly experienced safari guide who can lead you to the best spots for amazing photography. A guide knows where to go, park regulations, when to go, and all other dos and don’ts.

Hiring a professional guide for photographic safari will help save time as you will be concentrating on your photo experience.

When is the best time?

This depends on your travel interests. If you prefer less crowd, January, March, April, May, and June and November could be a perfect time. If you are not bothered by the crowd, July to October is another best time to go.

If you are about to go for Bird Photography, September to April would be the best time. At this time the migratory birds will be available in large flocks.

If your interest is to witness The Great Migration, then the best time would be between May and November; and January to March for the calving or baby–boom season. Traditionally, the month of April is regarded as the peak of the rain season BUT it has recently proven to be another best time to come for African Wildlife Photography, and a lot of photographers nowadays make use of this time too – there is actually less rain recently than previous years.  In April you are mostly likely to have more privacy for photography than any other time in the year.

The best time to visit Tanzania destinations is mostly determined by weather conditions. The above time will apply to almost all national parks and reserves in Tanzania, but make sure you talk to your trip organizer for more customized details of your safari aspirations.

How many days should you spend?

There are no good numbers to tell but depends on the kind of images you are planning to take. As a Tanzania Safari Specialist, photographic safari can take between 7 days to 30 days, or even more. In other words, if you are going to visit less than 5 parks/destinations in Tanzania, 7 to 15 days can be a reasonable time to spend on a photographic safari. If you are going to visit more than five parks/destinations, 14 to 30 days can be a recommendable time.

Again, in order to have clarity on the exact numbers of days, we advise that you talk to your safari planning specialist to get all information aligned, based on your interests.

Recommended Tours

Below are some of the Photographic Safari Itineraries used by our previous clients; take a look to get a glimpse of a photographic safari planning:

Like all other African Safari Tours, these itineraries are not rigid or scheduled proposals; they can be customized to meet your satisfactions2.

Ready for Tanzania Photographic Safari?

Are you planning for a Photographic Safari in Tanzania and you would like expert advice? Feel free to contact us for more personalized advice for the best African Wildlife Photography!