The Serengeti; a name that evokes old fashioned adventure and exploration. Men dressed in immaculate khaki uniforms, with trimmed moustaches, rifles over their shoulder in the burning desert heat. Hundreds of thousands of Wildebeest snake through the plains in their great migrations, stalked by prides of Lions. Golden sunlight beams down on endless plains dotted with huge elephants. Leopards sit lazily in trees in the midday sun, their tales swatting away the endless flies. It was (and in many ways still is), a formidable place. Millions of animals live in a park that covers over 60 thousand square kilometres, many of them predators. There’s something magical about the place, especially around golden hour, evoking a primitive, almost primal feeling. The light is so perfect around golden hour, it has an almost tangible quality as it rakes through the grassy plains silhouetting giraffes against distant mountains.
The Serengeti is the Wildlife photographers dream. It was my first time properly photographing a Safari and one I will never forget. In the four days Alex Stead and I spent there, we were showered with amazing experiences. We watched Lions with a fresh Zebra kill, we were just metres away from Cheetahs relaxing at sunset, we spent a sunrise floating above the plains in a hot air balloon.
Wildlife photography in the Serengeti is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I’m very grateful to the Four Seasons Safari Lodge for giving us the opportunity to do it. Alex and I were working together with them to create some magical images to promote the area and I’m really pleased with what we came back with.
Whens the best time to visit the Serengeti?
This is something we had to consider before flying out. There are two main seasons in the Serengeti; dry and rainy. Dry season is hot, with barely any rain. It is the most popular season as lack of water causes much of the Wildlife to congregate around limited watering holes, making it easy to spot large amounts of animals. It also means the park is crowded with tourists.
We decided to go out at the beginning of rainy season. Things were greener and the park was a lot quieter which suited us great, as it means you get a more private experience with the wildlife. We had a great guide who really knew the best spots to take us, which helped a lot with capturing the Wildlife shots we did.
Sunset views from the Four Seasons Safari Lodge
We spent our first night photographing sunset from the hotel. The Four Seasons has some amazingly special views over the plains. In the dry season animals flock to their man made watering hole. You can sit in the infinity pool and watch whilst dozens of thirsty Elephants drink just metres away from you.
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon rides in the Serengeti
To say we were blessed on this trip is an understatement. I got to fulfil a lifelong dream and spend sunrise floating over the Serengeti in a Hot Air Balloon. This was definitely an experience I won’t forget, we flew just feet over Lions, Giraffes and Hippos for over an hour After we had a champagne breakfast out in the middle of the plains.
Wildlife Photography in the Serengeti
The main aim was to capture some beautiful Wildlife photography. The Four Seasons took us out on Four Seperate Safari trips, mostly at sunrise. We were very lucky to have been loaned some serious gear from Nikon, including the new Nikkor 400m f/2.8. It was a seriously impressive lens and allowed us to get really up close and personal with the animals. Here are some of the shots I captured.
Giraffes in Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater is a huge volcanic Caldera in the Serengeti National Park hosting a huge variety of animals. I caught this shot just outside and it is one of my favourite Safari Photos.
If you would like to see more from our trip, you can check out this video I made for my YouTube channel – Tips on Safari Photography.
You may also be interested in some of my other location blogs, you can find them here.