Wildlife, Butterflies

& Swahili Coast of Tanzania

Photography tour with

Rena effendi

dates & group size

January 12-22, 2024.

Maximum 8 participants.


*Historical town of Bagamoyo.

*Serengeti Great Migration.

*Usambara Mountains.

*Amani forest reserve & butterfly project.


*Combination of historical landmarks, nature reserves and local cultures. 

*Vast majority of landscapes, ecosystems.

*One of the biggest diversity of butterfly species in the country.

*Wildebeest calving season in Serengeti.

*Colourful busy fish market in Bagamoyo, east coast of Tanzania.

suitable for

*Documentary & travel photographers.

*All ages & skill levels.

*Educational seekers & history lovers.



Day 1. Arrival at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) of Dar es Salaam.

Our driver will be waiting for you at the airport to transfer you to your lodge in Dar Es Salaam located on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Upon arrival at the lodge, your tour leader & a member of our team will meet you for a briefing and Q&A relating to your trip.

Accommodation: Alexander`s Hotel.

Day 2. Transfer to Bagamoyo.

In the morning be ready for a drive to Bagamoyo for a cultural and historical exploration of the area.
The town of Bagamoyo is home to world-class Historical sites and one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites with rich cultural heritage. Bagamoyo is a quiet village with a few German colonial buildings still standing. In the past, the town of Bagamoyo was one of the most important trading ports on the entire East African coast. Its port was the penultimate stop of slave and ivory caravans that traveled on foot all the way from Lake Tanganyika. Once the caravans reached Bagamoyo, the slaves and ivory were shipped by dhow to Zanzibar, where they were then dispatched all over the world. These days, Bagamoyo is a center of dhow building in the region and along the Tanzanian Coast.
Bagamoyo is surrounded by old buildings of the previous generation and beautiful Arab architecture with thick walls of Earth fitted with well-carved doors made of thick African hardwood. On your walk through narrow streets between the Old buildings of Bagamoyo stone town, you will visit the German Colonial Administrative block, Art market, Old post office, 1st Tanzania Primary School, Old Mosques, Hanging tower, Caravan Serai Museum, and the fish market. On your walk along the Indian Ocean beach visit a center for dhow sailboat building and get to know how local people build boats.

Accommodation: Firefly Bagamoyo.

Day 3. Transfer to Usambara Mountains.

In the early morning drive to the Usambara Mountains and arrive at Usambara by lunchtime. Check in the lodge in the Amani Forest Reserve. Scenic nature walks in the mountains.
Geologically the mountains are very old - at least 100 million years. There are 16 tree species that can be found in the East Usambaras only. The forests of the East Usambaras have many rare species in all groups of animals, except mammals. The East Usambaras have been compared to the Galapagos Islands with regard to the diversity of endemic species.

Accommodation: Mawingu Camp.

Day 4-5. Usambara forest hiking & visit the amani butterfly project.

Participate in the butterfly collection by locals. Spend the day at the butterfly farm. The Amani Butterfly Project is a non-profit organization that helps 400 rural Tanzania from 6 villages in the East Usambara Mountains farm and market native butterflies. The mission of the project is to reduce poverty and create incentives for forest conservation. The butterfly farmers are represented in the project by an elected board of 12 volunteer butterfly farmers who set the project’s prices, and policies, and control the dispersal of the project’s village development fund (10% of butterfly farmer earnings). The fund is used for projects that benefit the whole community, like building schools.
The East Usambara Mountains belong to the Eastern Arc Mountains, which is a chain of isolated mountains stretching in a great arc from Southeast Kenya to Southwest Tanzania. Geologically the mountains are very old - at least 100 million years. There are 16 tree species that can be found in the East Usambaras only. The forests of the East Usambaras have many rare species in all groups of animals, except mammals. High levels of endemism are found among mollusks, amphibians, and reptiles. The East Usambaras have been compared to the Galapagos Islands with regard to the diversity of endemic species. Prepare for scenic hikes during these 2 days in the mountains.

Accommodation: Mawingu Camp.

Day 6. Transfer to Arusha.

In the morning be ready for a long drive to Arusha. Check into your lodge outside of the bustling Arusha city and enjoy the tranquility of nature in a secluded cozy lodge with a swimming pool.

Accommodation: Rivertrees Country Inn.

Day 7-9. Air transfer from Arusha to Ndutu Plains. Game drives.

In the morning prepare for an air transfer to South Serengeti, Ndutu Plains. Ndutu area is home to the Wildebeest Migration’s calving season. The Southern part of the Serengeti consists of flat terrain with nutritious short grasses, open plains, and granite kopjes spread out. During the calving season, the game drive in this area is exceptional. Lake Ndutu, where your camp will be located, is a small seasonal lake surrounded by acacia trees and supports an incredible birdlife with pink flamingos. Southern Serengeti is favored by many filmmakers and photographers as the wildlife here is abundant and vibrant combined with an incredible topography of the place. You may see Zebra, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Jackal, Serval, Caracal, Hyena, Elephant and, of course, thousands of Wildebeests. This is the time when about 8,000 wildebeests are born each day and it is common to see predators hunting an easy meal, so be ready for action!

Accommodation: Tanzania Bush Camp Ndutu.

Day 10. Transfer to Seronera, Central Serengeti.

After breakfast, start your journey towards Serengeti Seronera Valley - the heart of the Serengeti. The landscape of Central Serengeti features a vast range of various ecosystems and includes grasslands, acacia forests, and seasonal streams. Central Serengeti is home to many different species and offers quintessential African scenery. Seronera is home to an incredible population of hippos due to the Retina Hippo Pool. You may also see large herds of giraffes, antelopes, elephants, and zebras, and big cats like lions, leopards, and cheetahs remain in the area regardless of the season.

Accommodation: Tanzania Bush Camp Seronera.

Day 11. Overland transfer to Arusha

From this point, you will be free to continue your journey on your own.

Your tour leader Rena Effendi

Rena Effendi is an award-winning documentary photographer and author of two monographs “Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives along the Pipeline” and “Liquid Land”. Her photography has been described as having a deep sense of empathy with a quiet celebration of the strength of the human spirit. She is the laureate of the Prince Claus Fund award and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet award in Photography and Sustainability. She spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos twice and is a member of its Cultural Leadership network. Effendi’s work has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Saatchi Gallery, İstanbul Modern, the Venice Biennial, and NYC MOMA. Rena Effendi is a frequent contributor to the National Geographic Magazine and Monocle magazine and has worked on commissions for the New Yorker, Time, New York Times Magazine, The Sunday Times, and many others. She is currently directing a full-length documentary feature funded by the National Geographic Society, which follows her journey tracking down a rare endemic butterfly species named after her late father along the conflict-ridden borders in the Caucasus.

Tour price starts from 4,790 USD

What's included

*Rena Effendi as your tutor & tour leader.

*Airport transfers.

*Domestic flights as sated in the itinerary.

*Accommodation throughout your stay.

*Meals and soft drinks.

*Local expert guides & safari guide.

*Private Land Cruiser 4x4.

*Emergency medical evacuation insurance.

What's not included

*Items of a personal nature.

*International return flight to Tanzania.

*Travel, medical, cancellation, and baggage insurance.

*Visa fees (please be sure to check if visas are required).