2012 10 September-African Photo Safari-Tanzania and Kenya

Renner Safaris

Dream, Explore, Discover

We had an exciting start to our African photo safari in Tanzania and Kenya! Our first morning in Tarangire National Park our guide spotted a herd of elephants that  appeared to be nervous, even agitated, so we maintained a safe distance while watching them.  It was a good thing!  All of the sudden this young elephant charged out of the herd and ran towards our vehicle trumpeting, flapping his ears and screaming along the way. Any elephant charging you is a huge elephant (or so it seems at the time!)  I have been charged a number of times and afterwards it is fun to look at the photos of the charging beast to determine the actual size of the animal. It is most often an adolescent that feels it is protecting the herd. They are usually smaller animals, but still large enough to do substantial damage to a vehicle, so one always has to be careful.

  The Guide said “Just Sit Quietly! Don’t worry, He will Stop!”
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Elephants are protective parents and if there are babies among them, the whole herd will group together with the larger animals facing outwards to protect the young from danger. 

 Hello There!
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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I love the big old bulls. One should respect them because of their size and often because of their temperament. They have been known to be unpredictable, so we observe them with caution. The old bulls most often are solitary animals but do join the herd for breeding.

Solitary Bull After Mud Bath
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Just as on our previous safaris, the wildlife sightings were fabulous with countless great photo opportunities for everyone!  This  was our July/August safari and was, as usual, another outstanding trip!  In the newsletter, I will show some photos of the wide variety of wildlife we encountered.

Martial Eagles are magnificent birds!  They are fierce hunters capable of even killing small gazelle.  Smaller animals and birds must be especially wary if any of these eagles are in the area.  The Martial Eagle is a very large eagle,with a body weight of 6.6–14 lb and can have a wingspan of 6 ft 2 in–8 ft 6 in.

Martial Eagle
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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We found this Agama Lizard perched on a stone wall at our lodge in Tarangire.  They are nice to have around because they eat primarily bugs, insects and other annoying little creatures.

Agama Lizard
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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These cute, furry little critters are common dwarf mongoose.  Their diet  consists of insects insects, spiders, scorpions, small lizards, snakes, small birds, and rodents. They are a highly social species that lives in extended family groups of two to thirty animals.  All group members cooperate in helping to rear the pups and in guarding the group from predators.

Dwarf Mongoose
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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In Ngorongoro Crater it is fascinating to see how so many different species of animals live together and also get along with each other.

 Wildebeest, Zebra and Tomson’s Gazelle
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Ngorongoro Crater is also one of the only places in Tanzania that one can still see the highly endangered Black Rhino.

Black Rhino
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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I was especially fortunate to have my daughter Jenny along with us on safari again in July. She  enjoyed Ngorongoro Crater because of the vast assortment of animals. She especially enjoyed watching lions there because the crater is one of the best places in Africa for observing the big cats!

Jenny and the Lions
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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African Photo Safaris In 2013

Tanzania and Kenya – 17 Days – Birthing Season of the Great Migration  (available)  Feb. 1-17, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana and Zambia – 15 Days (sold out) May 16-28, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya -18 -Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River (sold out) July 18 – Aug.4, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya -17 -Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River (sold out)
Aug. 28 – Sept. 13, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek (one space available) Sept. 12 – 17, 2013 Itinerary and Pricing

African Photo Safaris In 2012

Tanzania and Kenya – 17 Days – Birthing Season for the Great Migration Jan. 28 – Feb.13, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana and Zambia – 16 Days (Sold Out) May 10 – 22, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya -18 -Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River (Sold Out) July 18 – Aug.4, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya -17 -Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River (Sold Out) Aug. 27 – Sept. 12, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek (Sold Out) Sept. 12 – 17, 2012 Itinerary and Pricing

Important information about our safaris

Prices for our safaris to Kenya and Tanzania include international airfare from LAX – most other companies do not include airfare.
We have only three passengers per nine passenger 4×4 safari Land Crusier. You will enjoy plenty of space for you and your equipment.
We stay in luxury safari lodges and tented camps.
You do not have to be a photographer but you must enjoy watching the wildlife because that is what we do!
I will be there to photograph with you and available to answer your questions.
Parks we visit on our African safaris.

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When you are in lion country, be certain to stay alert because there is a good chance that if you are not watching them, one might be watching you!

 Lion Eyes
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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There were four sub-adult lions in this pride that entertained themselves (and us) by watching a nearby herd of cape buffalo.  The buffalo were large and would be no match for the young lions but it is often good to dream.

Wishful Thinking
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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It doesn’t take long on safari to realize that that many of the animals are accustomed to   safari vehicles. The best part about it is that we are privileged to observe the animal’s natural behavior. This can often lead to some very interesting photos. As long as we remain quietly in our vehicles, they think we are part of the cars so aren’t interested in us.

 Getting a Little Shade
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Some photos just defy description! 

 Roarrrrr?
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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I enjoy photographing the different moods of lions.  I especially like their affectionate side, their playfulness and even the intense stare of a large male lion.

 Focused
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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On our Tanzania/Kenya safaris we have only three passengers per nine passenger vehicle giving you plenty of space for you and your photo equipment. You can photograph through windows on BOTH sides of the vehicle and also from the top, which pops up to create shade so you are protected from the hot, equatorial sun. Compared to other tours that pack the vans with up to eight people, this is a huge deal! Our African photo safaris are limited to eighteen people, including the leaders.As we leave the lodges, the vehicles separate and spread out. This allows us to have up to six guides out looking for wildlife. They each have radios to share what they find. This way no one misses out on seeing the wildlife! When using  six great guides, you will hardly believe all of the wildlife they find. We have trained them to  understand lighting, composition and what we are trying to achieve. Our guides are awesome!Our safaris are designed for the ultimate photographic experience, however please don’t be intimidated from enjoying one my photo safaris just because you are not a photographer or you don’t use a “great camera.” If you enjoy wildlife you will love these safaris and more than likely you’ll come home with your own great photos too!I will be photographing on our game drives too, but I am available to answer your questions and let you know how I am photographing each subject so you can learn more about photography and bring home your own great photos too.To avoid disappointment, make your reservations today. To reserve your space on our photo safaris, please call Paul Renner at (949) 295-3136, or email him at: paulrenner3@cox.net or call Prem Sharma at Best Safaris (800) 757- 6625

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Why not take a break from your regular activities and join us on safari.

  Napping Hippo
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Cheetah brothers resting in the shade to escape the heat of midday sun.  These two have stayed together as adults and have become well known for their hunting skills. 

Cheetah Brothers
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Baboons are some of my favorite animals to watch because their behavior is often human like and they can be quite entertaining.

Mr. Cool~Olive Baboon    
Lake Nakuru, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Bird life in Africa is just incredible!  There are usually 350-400 species found in each park! They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  Ostrich are large flightless birds native to Africa. They are capable of running at speeds up to 45 miles per hour, making them the fastest runners on two legs.

Ostrich    
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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These beautiful birds often perch on the outer branches of trees.  From there they get the best vantage point for spotting insects and bugs in the grass or on the ground.  They will sit patiently waiting until they spot their prey then will quickly swoop down to grab the tasty bugs that were unaware that they were being watched.   

Lilac Breasted Roller    
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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From high overhead these giant vultures can spot even the smallest scrap of carrion, and are quick to descend from lofty heights to secure a meal.  There is stiff competition for the food from lions, hyenas, jackals, eagles and other carnivores.

White Backed Vulture    
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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And then there is the great migration where we find thousands upon thousands of plains animals continuously on the move while grazing their way across the expansive plains. At times the lines of animals can be miles in length.  Their formations often create interesting “S”curves because they often don’t travel in straight lines.

 Wildebeest on the Move   
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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When the large herds move into an area, in just a few few hours they can change the look of the plains by devouring the grass and eating it almost to the ground.  The dots in the distance in the photo below, are not bushes but rather, more animals.  The migration, whether it is in Tanzania for the birthing season or up north in the Masai Mara, is a one of natures greatest spectacles in the natural world!  I hope you will be able to join me on safari to see and photograph it.

Animals in the Great Migration   
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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With so many animals in the great migration passing nearby, this lone Acacia tree, was  the perfect location for our group to stop and enjoy our our picnic lunch.

Lunch Time   
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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We were in the center of the Serengeti in Tanzania and our driver, Exoud, mentioned to me that he had heard that the wildebeest migration was gathering in massive numbers on the banks of the Mara River up in the northern sector of the Serengeti, near the Kenya border. He wondered if the following day we would like to make the long drive north in hopes of seeing a crossing. When we got there, the water was deep and the river was wide!  It was a dangerous place for animals to cross but the wildebeest went for it anyway.  They are not known for their intelligence!  The majority of them, however, swam safely to the other side.

 Crossing the Mara   
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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But some of them were not so fortunate.  Lurking just below the water surface, and lying in wait, were a few huge crocodiles that went into action at just the right moment.  That is a 350 pound wildebeest!  How big do you think that croc is?  Hint: 16-18 feet and big too!

 Danger Zone   
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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When the large herds of wildebeest and zebra move into an area, they raise the noise level considerably.  Elephants become annoyed by the grunting and groaning of wildebeest and barking or braying of zebras, and will generally move out of the area within a few days.  It is not often that we see these animals grazing side by side.

Elephant and Wildebeest  
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Sigma 150-500 mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM
Copyright: Paul Renner, 2012

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Join us on safari and see all of this through your own eyes?

Watching a Pair of Lions From One of our 4×4 Land Cruisers
Masai Mara, Kenya
Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM

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Flying over the migration in a hot air balloon gives one a totally different perspective from seeing it at ground level.  It gives one a better idea of the magnitude of the plains that appear to go on forever.

From the balloon basket high in the sky, the herds below appear to ebb and flow like sea grass in the ocean tide.

After landing it is time for the champagne breakfast, but first we took time for group photos.  It is a spectacular way to begin a new day!  I hope you can join us in the future.

Our African photo safaris are the trip of a lifetime!  I am so thankful to have been born and grown up in East Africa.  Now that I am able to take people with me and share my knowledge about photography along with my personal experiences of Africa, I am thrilled so many clients return and say to me “that was the best trip I have ever been on” or “thank you for the vacation of a lifetime! I want to go again soon!”

For more safari information, prices and itineraries click here.

Enjoy each day.
Paul

Paul Renner
paulrenner3@cox.net
www.rennersafaris.com

Read what our clients have to say about our safaris.


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