I visited Lake Manyara which is a beautiful little reserve but I did not think it was worth going there for photography - personally I think that you can get better shots staying at Lake Nakuru in Kenya. There were a lot of flamingos on Lake Manyara - more than I have seen at Nakuru but they are so far away from the roads that they were not even worth a photo. The park is also famed for its tree climbing Lions and I am sure at some point you would come across them but only if you were extremely lucky and after many visits. Most of the park is very thick bush - even thicker than Kruger ! :)
I then headed to the Central Serengeti which for me was my most favourite. It is a beautiful park with varied landscapes and many many photo opportunities. You are a little more restricted to the roads in the Serengeti than you are in the Masai Mara (on the northern side of the river) but the place is very big and has an endless feel to it - much more so than the Masai Mara. In 5 days I saw 68 different Lions, 6 Cheetah and 4 Leopards, not all good for photography, but it is good to know that there are good populations of cats in the area.
The scenery in the central section if wonderful - cloud scapes with rocky Kopjes in the scene WOW - this is the place !! those of you who enjoy black & white & infra red - the Serengeti was made for you :)
I then visited the Ngorongoro Crater - it is definitely a unique place and certainly worth a visit although being restricted to the roads means that there is a good deal of luck involved to get great shots - we saw 13 Lions and a cheetah - but did not take a single photo of any of them - on that day they were just too far from the road. On another day it might be different.
It is a good place for scenic shots with the crater wall in the background and as I said certainly worth a visit on the way to the Serengeti. I would only spend 1 full day there though.
The trip idea I have in mind would be during late Jan / Early Feb, it is quite late for a 2011 trip but I will be offering the dates for anyone who is interested.
Jan / Feb is when the wildebeest and zebra give birth - mostly in the southern Serengeti, along with this comes great predator action and sightings. The trip then would be split between 4 nights in the central Serengeti to include the resident wildlife that inhabits this very scenic part of the reserve with its mountain backdrops and rocky Kopjes. Then we would move to the southern Serengeti for another 4 nights to witness the 1000's & 1000's of Wildebeest on the open grass plains.
Summary would be
1 night Arusha - arrival day
2 nights Sopa Lodge on the rim of the Crater
4 nights central Serengeti
4 nights southern Serengeti
fly from Serengeti back to Kilimanjaro for departure
Accommodation in Arusha and at the Crater will be in a lodge whilst accommodation in the Serengeti will be in comfortable Mobile Tented camps - both with en-suite toilet facilities and communal recharging area.
If anyone is interested in doing this photo safari in Jan / Feb 2011 please let me know as soon as possible. I will be posting more info and prices on my website soon.
Enjoy a selection of photos from the Serengeti & the Crater
Typical "Kopje" in Central Serengeti
Rain storm over the southern grass plains of the Serengeti
Zebra on the grass plains - Serengeti
Topi Silhouette, Serengeti
Herd of Zebra passing a Kopje
Pride of Lion walking across the Serengeti plains
Masai Giraffe - Serengeti
Zebras running through water
Male Von Der Decken's Hornbill
Group of Lion cubs resting in the shade
Common Ostrich eating fruit
Helmeted Guinea fowl
Young male Leopard in central Serengeti
Lilac Breasted Roller
Male Lion and females - Serengeti
Coke's Hartebeest - Serengeti
Young Lion - Serengeti
Mobile Tented Camp in Central Serengeti
Mobile Tented Camp in central Serengeti
Lions on the open grasslands
Red and Yellow Barbet - Lake Manyara
Lioness on top of a Kopje - Serengeti
Lioness with cubs - Serengeti
Thompson's Gazelle running
Fischer's Lovebird - Serengeti
Male Lion with baby Thompson's Gazelle
Male Lion with Thompson's Gazelle
Cape Buffalo in the Crater