Photographic Safaris | Photographic Tours & Filming Production
Kenya & Tanzania Photo Safaris….
Vacations Quests’ photo tours offer the opportunity to visit some of the finest and wonderful locations in East and Southern Africa regions of Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia along with like-minded photographers whilst being accompanied by one of our seasoned professional photographers and naturalist guides. They are not only experts at getting you to the very best places for wildlife at the best season and the best time of day for the best shots, but also expert organizers able to competently help with the day to day running of the tour, and happy to offer photographic advice when desired.
Our photographic safaris’ themes are centered on Africa wildlife, lifestyles, nature and captivating landscapes. These are small group tours –limited to 12 participants with 4 participants/ photographers per each 8 seater extended/ long chaise “stretch” Land Cruisers, providing ample space and reducing our carbon footprint. We also do arrange private photo tours and safaris and destinations on request. Our Kenya photo safaris provide quality nature experience, visiting the rich wildlife areas during the height of the migration season, and ending up snorkeling and whale watching on the coast.
Along the way we create opportunities for the traveler to engage and become informed by local community conservation project leaders and artists. These safaris are designed to create a life-changing experience allowing the traveler to come away with not just pretty pictures, but also firsthand exposure to how local community needs and ingenuity play a role in modern day conservation of our wildlife and environment in Africa.
Don’t fall for it! These days, every local tour operators in Kenya claim to offer photographic safaris with guides who are professional photographers. This is a popular sales gimmick… These guides then present their ‘point and shoot’ or entry level DSLR cameras with which to take photos. If you ask them: Have you ever sold a picture? The answer is almost always a shameful No, not yet. Ask more specific questions such as what a depth preview button does, what a scattering circle is or how to create a high dynamic range photo and they say nothing more. And for this you’ve paid a lot. This is not the case with us…
Photographic safaris are our specialty! There are many tour operators with excellent guides, however, these guides often do not have the necessary knowledge of photography to ‘see’ or understand what you need as a photographer: the right light, the best position of the vehicle relative to that light etc., let alone being able to advise you on getting the best photos possible.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, you naturally want the best photos to take home and we can help by providing the best photographic ‘opportunities’ so you go home with amazing and unique photos.
We know exactly how to position ourselves so that you can take the best pictures. Moreover, we can give you advice on techniques and camera settings, for example, Here it pays to use fill-flash or If you use spot metering here, you will most likely get a better exposure of the eyes. Small but valuable tips can mean the difference between a regular photo and an extraordinary photo. Moreover, we can read and anticipate animal behavior and therefore warn you if and when the animal exhibits interesting behavior.
Photographer as a guide
If you indicate that you would like to take one of our photographic safaris, your group (maximum 4 pax per vehicle) will travel in our custom-made (with extra-large space) safari vehicle. And if so desired, our photographer could accompany you for the duration of your trip, furnishing you with invaluable tips and advice.
What to Expect
Custom designed itinerary
We leave the camps before sunrise to photograph during the sweet light of early mornings and we use late afternoon light for the same reason because the light is best and the wildlife activity is superb during these hours. Expect long days in the field shooting thousands of excellent images. Our superb driver-guides are sensitive to the needs of photographic groups as we have used the same hand-picked guides for dozens of safaris. There will be time out of the vehicles, and fabulous photographic opportunities await you.
We will utilize both road and Air- Air to maximize time spent in the field, and road to transport the equipment and also to navigate the varied terrain as we get as much closer to our subject. Our 4×4 extended Toyota Land Cruisers and Land Rovers are equipped with roof hatches for game viewing. On our photo safari, we put a maximum of only four persons in a vehicle. This guarantees you plenty of space for your equipment and in the roof hatch, something essential for photographers.
Accommodation and food
You will stay in deluxe-tented camps, game lodges and hotels. We much prefer tented camps wherever possible, as they offer the convenience of a lodge, but give you the feel of camping. Your tent is canvas, but has a thatched roof, a concrete floor with rugs and has electricity. The beds are very comfortable. Each tent has private facilities en-suite with cold and hot running water and flush toilets. Meals whilst on safari are on full board basis. The tented camps are far better than you expect!
Your guides and staff
On your safari, you will expect to be accompanied by our director, who will rotate in the vehicles providing the insights and guidelines of your safari. In addition, you will be accompanied by professional and seasoned driver-guides, who know the best locations for wildlife and have experience with serious photographers. Tented camps and lodges have their own permanent staffs.
Fitness and health
These photo safaris are not strenuous, and anyone who is reasonably fit and in good health should be able to participate. You will, however, have long international flights and will be spending many hours in a vehicle on game drives. Land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. The maximum altitude you will reach on this safari is about 5,000 feet above sea level. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in this trip, please contact Vacations Quest for more information.
Extensive background readings and travel information will be sent to you upon your enrollment in this program. On your arrival, we will assemble for a welcome dinner and pre safari briefing with an opportunity to clear the air on any concerns and to prepare your psychologically.
Photography Lectures & Workshops
These we offer through expert photographer Elizabeth Barnwell
Elizabeth Barnwell has a long history of involvement with the photographic arts in Minnesota and abroad, as an art educator, documentary event photographer and owner/founder of E Photography in 1997. Elizabeth earned a B.A. in Studio Art from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA and holds a M.Ed. in Art Education from The University of Minnesota.
Elizabeth’s photographic work from Malawi was featured by Madonna and Gucci at the U.N. in February of 2008 at an event which raised over 5 million dollars for the country of Malawi and UNICEF. (Follow the link to read more www.elizabethphotography.com )
Sample set departure Kenya Photographic safaris 2022/23
The land of contrasts! Immortalized by countless wildlife films, Kenya needs little introduction. We’ve designed our Kenya Photo Safaris to take you to the heart of the region’s best photographic locations, flying between Nairobi and some of the more distant parks to ensure spending ample time in the field. We visit some of the most exciting photo locations in the country: the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve, wild, rugged and beautiful Samburu Game Reserve, the alkaline Rift Valley Lake of Nakuru National Park and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy—the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. We spend extensive time in the Mara and Samburu to get a real “sense of place” and to devote the time necessary to experience the wildlife and create numerous images.
Our Wildlife photographic safaris operate in the months of August through December. August to September, being the timing for annual wildlife migration in the Masai Mara- the Northern extension of Tanzania’s Serengeti. November in Kenya brings with it a different experience for the photographer compared with the peak migration period of Aug, Sept & Oct. It is the start of the short rains where mornings are generally bright and sunny followed by a build up of dark thunder clouds in the afternoon. This offers dramatic backdrops with animals bathed in warm sunlight in the foreground. The reserves are also a lot quieter at this time of year with fewer tourists and vehicles.
December to March, being the Migration period in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
Photo Safari Highlights
- The best of Kenya’s wildlife sanctuaries: Masai Mara National Reserve, Samburu Game Reserves plus Rift Valley Lakes -Lake Nakuru National Park, Naivasha , Elementaita and the private Ol Pejeta Conservancy
- Maximum space and guaranteed window seat with only four photographers per nine-passenger Land Cruiser
- Unlimited game drives and shooting days in the Masai Mara residing in a Luxury Lodge / Camps located in prime wildlife areas
- Trip timed for prime zebra/wildebeest migration dates
- Tried and Tested routes, accompanied by seasoned guides and wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists backed by our 15+ years of hands on experience operating these highly productive Kenya photo safaris!
The Masai Mara Reserve is arguably the greatest wildlife location in all of Africa. The Mara is the northernmost corner of the Serengeti ecosystem—and is so remarkable that one cannot do justice to it in a brief description. This region is one of the continent’s best locations for lions and cheetahs. We spend six days here focusing on the predators and their prey. Birds are always a big part of the Mara experience, as well, and everyone enjoys the brilliance of lilac-breasted rollers and saddle-billed storks, the regal demeanor of the hawks and eagles, and the excitement of a squabbling throng of vultures on a carcass. Our tour is planned for the traditional time of the great migration “crossings” of zebras and wildebeests over the Mara River and the amazing and dramatic interplay between them and the resident Nile crocodiles! Although the timing is extremely unpredictable, we stand a reasonable chance of intercepting this remarkable wildlife phenomenon during our stay.
Samburu & Shaba Game Reserve:
Samburu and Shaba National Reserves are hot and dry, a classic example of arid habitat – a semi desert region of scattered scrub vegetation traversed by rivers, which are often little more than a wide sand bed. Only the Ewaso Nyiro River provides a year round source of water and it is here that the game eventually gathers into concentrations that make good game viewing. Elephants are the main attraction and there are buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah as well as reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, Oryx and other species of arid habitats
A sheltered oasis, clustered around a waterhole and set in the pristine calm of its own private reserve, Sweetwaters Tented Camp is in a class of its own. Abounding with wildlife, unfettered by the more rigorous strictures of the Kenyan National Parks and designed to offer a charming blend of under canvas ambiance and uncompromising luxury, it has long been the preferred retreat of wilderness and safari lovers alike. One of only four private game reserves in Kenya, Sweetwaters excels in the provision of privileged seclusion and private game viewing. Thanks to its private status it also allows such unforgettable pleasures as night game drives, guided bush walks and both horse or camel riding across its game-teaming plains.