Tanzania is internationally known for its spectacular landscapes: from wildlife in the savannah to breath-taking sunsets in Zanzibar (not to mention waterfalls and lakes in one of Tanzania’s many national parks), you are guaranteed to go home with your camera memory full.
In fact, Tanzania is the ideal destination for photography lovers. Whether you’re embarking on your first safari or are already an experienced wildlife photographer, this country will certainly offer you once-in-a-lifetime shot opportunities.
The government is also investing in tourism, making traveling to Tanzania easier and more convenient than ever. The new eVisa system, for example, allows international tourists to apply for a Tanzania visa online in minutes and does not require them to visit a Tanzanian embassy or consulate in person.
In this article, you will find useful information for foreigners who are particularly interested in traveling to Tanzania to take photographs, from beginners to professionals. You’ll read about:
- The most photogenic spots in the country
- Different organized photography Tanzania tours
- Tips on how to photograph wildlife
- Documents needed to take part in a photo tour in Tanzania.
The Best Locations for Taking Pictures in Tanzania
Whether you’re after the most social media-friendly spots in the country or the perfect location for the shot that will make you win a nature photography contest, Tanzania will not disappoint.
Africa’s ‘Garden of Eden’: Ngorongoro Crater
Imagine thousands of unique wild animals living inside the crater of an ancient extinct volcano: you’re imagining the Ngorongoro Crater, one of Tanzania’s most famous and spectacular attractions.
The Ngorongoro Crater was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site and not by chance. It’s considered one of the most spectacular locations in the world where you’ll be able to see thriving flora and fauna (water is never scarce here) and traditional Maasai groups living together.
The Highest Mountain in Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro
The profile of this free-standing, imposing mountain is familiar to travelers from all over the world and so is its snow-capped peak. If you feel up for it, you can climb Kilimanjaro until you reach the glacier at its very top. Otherwise, simply document life at its feet and the way in which the mountain changes color during the day.
Tanzania’s Best Kept Secret: Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s largest park as well as the ideal spot to take scenic and dramatic wildlife photographs. It offers a varied landscape made of rolling hills, open plains, majestic baobab trees, and the Ruaha River.
The park is remote and not very touristy. This means that you’ll have the chance to observe unspoiled wilderness.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Stone Town
A walk around Stone Town in Zanzibar will feel like a stroll in the past. This is a hauntingly beautiful place made of handmade wooden doorways and ancient buildings organized in intricate lanes.
Photography Tours in Tanzania: Where to Start
Of course, you’ve heard of safaris before and maybe even took part in a few. Some prefer to have it all included, others like some DIY. What may be new to many is the idea of a photography safari or tour.
Usually, photography tours are organized around a theme: a national park or an animal species, a specific culture, and even simply the ‘best sunset views’ in an area. Duration varies greatly — from one afternoon to 10+ days.
Usually, the organizers will take care of everything so that you can focus on your art and the scenery only — no car, accommodation, or even food to sort out. Some may include technical equipment (for photography or other activities that you will undertake during the tour, like climbing).
This means that prices vary widely as well — a one-day trip to a waterfall or hot spring may set you back just over $100 but if you intend to sleep in luxury camps in a national park for 10 days, have professional guides take you to the most wildlife-rich areas and keep you safe, as well as getting tips from renowned photographers, prices will go up very quickly.
Many come to Tanzania with a clear mind on what they intend to photograph. Others will need more inspiration. Here’s a list of the most popular photography tours in Tanzania:
- Serengeti and Ngorongoro photo safari
- Great migration photo safari
- Big cats photo safari
- Old Town and Zanzibar sunsets photo tour
- Marangu route Kilimanjaro photo tour.
Photography Tour Advice for Travelers
The right booking is essential and will make or break your holiday. That’s why it’s of paramount importance to research your tour well. For example, are you booking a workshop or a tour, and do you know the difference? Do your guides have local knowledge? How big is the group? Prices are not always indicative of the quality of the tour and may depend on factors such as accommodation and distances. Reading testimonials can also give you an idea of what to expect.
Once you’re satisfied with your choice, make sure to have the right gear. It’s a delicate balance — you’ll need enough equipment to take the best possible shots but you don’t want to carry too much weight. It goes without saying that you’ll have to keep your subject in mind — landscape and wildlife photography require different types of lenses.
Photographing wildlife can be a new skill for many that need to be learned from zero. Patience is the most important part of the process. You may have to wait for long minutes, hours, or even days before you can take a great shot. Try to place yourself onto the same level as the animals in order to get eye contact and understand their habits and behavior for a better chance at immortalizing breath-taking moments.
If you’re photographing local people, don’t forget to ask for permission politely before taking your picture.
It’s not always good to play it safe. The tour should be a moment for you to get creative and try new things and techniques. Let the expert give you advice on methods that you haven’t tried before.
Don’t forget to have fun during the tour. For many, these are their holidays. And even for professionals, there’s no reason why you should feel like you’re back at school.
What Documents Do I Need to Go on a Tanzania Photography Tour?
Different tour operators will require you to submit different documents. Of course, you will need a current passport and valid visa for Tanzania. Depending on the type of activities included in your tour, you may have to submit a health certificate and if you intend to drive, carry a driver’s license passport with you.