2014, 12 Newsletter, African Photo Safari to Tanzania and Kenya

Renner Safaris

Dream, Explore, Discover

At Renner Safaris we have enjoyed a sensational year with seven African photo safaris! On each trip I found myself saying, “This is incredible!” I am extremely fortunate to earn my living by leading trips after which so many people tell me “That is the best trip we have ever done! It was the trip of our lifetime!” Being able to share my favorite locations in Africa, the warm and friendly people, and to have the opportunity to photograph the wildlife leaves me in awe of the spectacular world in which we live. I am truly blessed. I hope you can join me on one of these safaris soon.

The following photos are from our August-September safari to Tanzania and Kenya along with a few photos from our gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

Baby Mountain Gorilla, Rwanda-7685

Baby Mountain Gorilla

Volcano s National Park, Rwanda

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Early one morning in the Masai Mara we found a female cheetah with five little cubs.  While mom perched on the top of the vehicle to scan the plains for gazelle, these little guys decided to have some fun climbing on the tires and discovering what this vehicle was all about.

Cheetah Cubs on Vehicle, Masai Mara, Kenya-

4X4 Road Crew

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Click on the photo above or on the link below to see my video of the cutest little cheetah cubs climbing on the tires of safari Land Cruiser.

Cheetah Cubs Climbing on Car Cheetah Cubs Climbing on Car
https://vimeo.com/114906342

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I just love pulling up to a lodge entrance and there are animals there to greet us upon arrival. At Lake Naivasha a troop of Colobus monkeys were in the trees as we drove up and fortunately didn’t mind us photographing them. They usually stay high in trees making it difficult to get close up photos of them. Nature is so interesting! Note the black and white mother and yet the baby’s fur is a curly white! With age it will change to match the handsome look of the parents.

Colobus Monkey Mother and Baby -3883

Colobus Monkey and Baby

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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I particularly enjoyed our boat ride at Lake Naivasha  through a forested area where we encountered many different species of birds. This Malachite Kingfisher was one of my favorites.

Malachite Kingfisher, Kenya-4037

Malachite Kingfisher

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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In Samburu, Kenya, on our pre-trip extension, we came across two young Reticulated giraffes sparring. They stood next to each other, side by side, but facing opposite directions. They slam their heads into a vulnerable part of the opponents body sometimes continuing the battles for hours. One can also identify a male giraffe because during these extended battles they wear the hair off of the top of their horns . Females have hair on the top of their horns.

Reticulated Giraffe Fighting, Kenya-3806

Reticulated Giraffe Fighting

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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At Lake Nakuru, one evening as the sun was about to set, I heard a driver/guide  on the radio say in swahili, that a leopard had been spotted up in a tree.  We raced to the scene. There we saw a leopard standing on a branch out in the open right next to the road!  I could tell that she was getting ready to descend from the tree so I quickly put my camera’s focusing point on her eyes and took a photo. The light was gorgeous as she started to come down from the tree immediately.  I felt lucky to get this picture and the next one. Then the light faded as she made here way through the tall grass as the sun set behind us.

Leopard in Lake Nakuru NP, Kenya-3760

Leopard at Lake Nakuru

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Leopard in Lake Nakuru NP, Kenya-3781

Leopard Descending 

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Grevy’s zebra are becoming extremely rare. There are still a number of them in the Samburu area. This one enjoyed massaging its neck on the curved trunk of an acacia tree.  The stripes on these animals are narrower and more uniform than the stripes on common zebra. They also stop short of going under the belly. The Grevy’s zebra are larger, weighing about 100 pounds more than common zebra.

Greveys Zebra Scratching, Kenya-1604

Grevy’s Zebra Scratching Neck

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Baby baboons ride on their mother’s back. It is a lot easier than making their own way through thick vegetation.

Baboon with Baby on Back-3436

Mother and Baby Olive Baboon 

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Bat eared foxes live in colonies of up to twenty animals.  They feed on small rodents and insects found by digging down into the ground. They are usually very shy so I was happy when these two stayed long enough for us to get some photos before they scampered down their nearby burrow.

Bat Eared Foxes, Tarangire NP, Tanzania-2068

Bat-Eared Foxes

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Lake Nakuru is still flooded, making it difficult for flamingos to find food. They are currently staying in other lakes in the Rift Valley so we were lucky to see these feeding along side a Cape buffalo in soft early morning light. 

Cape Buffalo with Flamingos-3345

Cape Buffalo and Flamingos 

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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There is a pack of wild dogs currently living in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. They are known to travel vast distances quickly but we have been able to spot them on several of our recent safaris.  
African Wild Dog, Tarangire NP, Tanzania-4164

African Wild Dogs

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Sandgrouse are often found in large flocks and in the early morning and evening can be found at watering holes. They are known to fly over thirty miles to water.  The males, when drinking, will store enough water so that upon returning to their nest, they can share it with the chicks.

Female Black-Faced Sand Grouse-1218

Female Black-faced Sandgrouse

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Male Black-Faced Sand Grouse-

Male Black-faced Sandgrouse

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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It is evident by his broken tusk this old bull has experienced at least one serious battle.

Elephant, Tanzania-3037

Textured Old Bull Elephant

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Buffalo bulls appear ominous with their massive bosses and curving horns. They have a reputation for being one of the meanest animals in Africa, but most of the time they behave like large herds of cattle. The lone bulls are chased from the herd by the young stronger bulls. These old bulls are the most dangerous because they conceal themselves in thick brush and charge out to attack without prior notice.

Cape Buffalo, Tarangire NP, Tanzania-2592

Cape Buffalo

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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In the desert areas of Samburu we found large flocks of these odd looking Vulturine Guinea fowl. Some of the flocks consisted of birds numbering in the hundreds. They are about the size of a chicken. They sound an alarm call at the sight of predators or snakes so we pay close attention when we hear them sounding an alarm.

Vulturine Guinea Fowl-0298

Vulturine Guinea Fowl

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Two Cheetah Cubs on Vehicle, Masai Mara, Kenya-6415

Safari Stowaways

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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African Photo Safaris In 2015

Feast your eyes on our upcoming 2015 safaris.

Openings have just become available on our extremely popular February safari to Tanzania and Kenya for the birthing season of the great migration. If you book now you can still join us on this amazing trip. The July 16-August 2 and the August 28 – September 13, 2015 had both been sold out for months but we have had three spaces open up on each of them. Don’t miss this opportunity to join us on one of these amazing safaris.

Leopard Eyes-0796

Botswana is a wildlife photographer’s paradise!  We have only two spaces available so I hope you will be able join us on this always spectacular photo safari  May 12-24, 2015.

Tanzania and Kenya – 18 days – Birthing Season with the Great Migration (four spaces available) Feb 1-18, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana – Photograph in four of Africa’s most exciting wildlife viewing locations. Enjoy three nights in spectacular lodges at each location.  ( 2 spaces available) May 12-24, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya-17-Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River ( 3 spaces available ) July 16 – Aug.2, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya-17-Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River ( 3 spaces available ) Aug. 28 – Sept. 13, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek (Sold Out) Sept. 13 – 17, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
South Africa Photo Safari ~ We have space available for one woman willing to share a room with a very nice woman to save the cost of the single supplement.   ( one space available ) Sept 17-Oct 3, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
 Namibia Photo Safari (Sold Out)  Oct. 3-19, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing

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You are deep in the jungle when coming face to face with a giant silverback can be a little intimidating but also extremely thrilling!  It is too bad that they have been portrayed to be such monsters. They are in fact gentle giants. When we encounter them on the steep slopes of the volcanic mountains in the rainforest, they let us come into their “living room” so to speak, and enjoy them while we take as many photos as we like without them showing any aggression toward us. For many people in my groups, visiting a family of mountain gorillas, has been one of their life’s peak experiences.

Giant Silverback Mountain Gorilla, Rwanda-7356

Giant Silverback Mountain Gorilla

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Photographing mountain gorillas can be quite challenging. I am thankful for digital cameras on which we can vary the ISO to accommodate difficult lighting situations. The photo below was taken while I was handholding the camera deep in the dark rainforest with an ISO set at 5000, f/3.2, at only 1/80th of a second as the family moved quickly through the dense bamboo forest.

Family of Mountain Gorillas-7596

Family of Mountain Gorillas

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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There is something soothing about giraffes. They are calm and gentle creatures, minding their own business but also constantly on the lookout for dangerous predators. Other animals are often found grazing in close proximity to giraffe.  Giraffe’s keen eyesight from a high vantage point helps them to spot predators that shorter animals have difficulty seeing. It is fascinating to see how the different animals warn each other upon discovering predators. Giraffe don’t have vocal cords so are silent but it is easy to see when they have spotted a predator because they stand very still while staring at the hidden danger.

Rothchild's Giraffe-3655

Rothchild’s Giraffe

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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On safari I always caution people to “be aware of what is around you”.   Sometimes the animals get a little close.  This elephant was enjoying a branch from an acacia tree while  parking himself right next to the pathway leading to some of the rooms.

Elephant Eating Acacia Branch, Tarangire NP, Tanzania-

Elephant Enjoying Lunch at Tarangire Safari Lodge

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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When the games are over and the worn out cheetah cubs need to catch their breath, mom makes a comfortable pillow for her young. Mom, however, must constantly be alert and keep a watchful eye for lions, hyenas or any other dangers that might present themselves.

Cheetah and Cub, Masai Mara, Kenya-6240

Tender Moment

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Eland are the largest of the antelope. The bulls can weigh just over a ton.  Even though they are large, heavy animals, they are capable of leaping over each other or even over a  ten foot high bush.  They are shy animals and are usually seen out in the open plains where they can spot danger from great distances.

Eland, Masai Mara, Kenya-5068

Common Eland

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Gerenuk, sometimes called the giraffe gazelle, are well adapted to living in dry, arid thorn bush areas. They are commonly seen standing erect on the hind legs while browsing foliage.  They eat green leaves to receive the moisture necessary for their survival. They rarely, if ever, need to drink water.

Gerenuk and Fawn-

Gerenuk Nursing

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Gerenuk Eating Acacia Leaves-0940

Gerenuk Eating Acacia Shrubs

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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In Africa, the most sought after bird by photographers is the Lilac Breasted Roller.  Photographers are drawn to the striking, bold colors and strive to photograph them in flight. I was fortunate to capture this one shortly after its takeoff.

Lilac Breasted Roller, Masai Mara, Kenya-6880

Lilac Breasted Roller

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Vultures are not at the beautiful end of the spectrum, but watching these huge birds in flight is intriguing.  They are adept at soaring high above the plains and seemingly float effortlessly through the air, only flapping their huge wings when necessary. When they spot carrion, they drop from the sky, landing much like airplanes only to begin squabbling with each other over the scraps of meat left on the carcass.

Griffon Vulture, Masai Mara, Kenya-4870

Rupell’s Griffon Vulture

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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This handsome Side-striped Jackal was the first one that I have ever seen in the Masai Mara. They are distinguishable by the white tip of the tail.

Side Striped Jackal, Masai Mara, Kenya-6208

Side-striped Jackal

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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A lioness resting with two of her cubs.

Lioness and Cubs, Masai Mara, Kenya-5105

Lioness and Cubs

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Medium sized birds called Yellow-necked Spurfowl scratching and digging in the nearby red earth certainly had the curious attention of this young lion.

Adolescent Lion Cub-1510

Cub Watching Birds

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

“Yep! I believe she is curious about us.  If you need to move, move slowly and carefully.”

Lioness, Lake Nakuru, Kenya-3176

Lioness at Lake Nakuru 

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Zebras at Sunset, Masai Mara, Kenya-6775

Zebras Grazing at Sunset

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Watching a Secretary Bird hunt is fascinating. When one finds something it wants to eat, it gives chase and kills it by stomping it to death with powerful blows from its legs.

Secretary Bird-0627

Secretary Bird Hunting Snakes

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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A lion that is awake is usually a good subject for photography.  I like photographing them in the beautiful light of early morning or late evening. However nice portraits can be captured on cloudy days as well.

Male Lion,Tanzania-1989

Resting Male Lion

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Mating lions is a popular sighting on safari. It is not too difficult to find a mating pair but can be difficult to photograph because they often get up and change position just prior to mating. Planning and luck are involved in getting to the correct location for a clear view and to photograph them at the best angle in good light. Then it is all about their action! Mating Lions, Masai Mara, Kenya-5152

Mating Lions

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Mid-day is a tough time for photographers.  The light is harsh, the shadows over pronounced, and there is usually not too much action from the animals. Sometimes, though, it is just good to see the animals and try to create an interesting photograph.

Elephants in Tarangire N.P.,Tanzania-1804

Elephants Resting in the Shade of an Acacia Tree

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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The long straight horns on the Beisa Oryx were instrumental in the creation of the story of the unicorn. When viewed from the side it appears as if they have only one horn. Beisa Oryx, Samburu, Kenya-1125

Beisa Oryx

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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In the Masai Mara, Kingfishers can be found fishing for minnows in even the smallest of streams. I try to photograph flying birds at a shutter speed higher than 1/1250th of a second to stop the movement of their wings.  This one I made the mistake of using a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second and the wings are slightly blurred. A faster shutter speed would have been better.

Pied Kingfisher Hovering, Masai Mara, Kenya-5602

Pied Kingfisher Hovering

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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By working quickly, I was able to get a photo of this woodpecker with a nicely blurred background. It quickly flew up into the higher branches of the tree offering me a cluttered background of dense branches. I prefer this background.

Nubian Woodpecker in Tarangire N.P.,Tanzania-1865

Nubian Woodpecker

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Many of the birds in Africa are beautiful photo subjects. They are often moving quickly but photographing them is great practice and helps me to hone my photography skills. I find it’s a great way to learn about finding and using the correct exposure.

Superb Starling-0602

Superb Starling

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Wattled Plover, Masai Mara, Kenya-6160

Wattled Plover or Lapwing

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Big herds are interesting to see but difficult to photograph. It often seems impossible to isolate a definitive subject. We watched as this herd of wildebeest ran away from us toward the edge of the Mara River. There trees along the river bank blocking our view of them if they crossed there. Our driver stopped before we reached the river’s edge. He said, “The river bank is too steep and dangerous here so they will come back toward us in search of a better crossing place. Moments later the herd came stampeding back giving us the rare opportunity to photograph them running toward us. I like the effect of dust stirred up by thousands of hooves.

Wildebeest Running, Masai Mara, Kenya-5893

Wildebeest Running to the Mara River

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Zebra and Wildebeest, Masai Mara, Kenya-5956

Zebras with the Migration

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Important information about our safaris:

Prices for our safaris to Kenya & Tanzania, and South Africa include international airfare from LAX – most other companies do not include airfare.
We have only three passengers per nine passenger 4×4 safari Land Cruiser so 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.

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.  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! As we leave the lodges on our game drives to hunt for animals, the vehicles separate and spread out. This allows us to have up to six guides each looking for wildlife. They each have radios to share what they find so no one misses out. 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 am happy 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 ———————————————————————————————

When we stay in permanent tented camps, on our safaris, they are very nice accommodations. Each unit includes an attached bathroom with hot and cold running water, sink and tub or shower. The tents are set in beautiful locations often along rivers or overlooking scenic valleys.  Tented Camp-1020877

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Thrilling Experiences Create Lifelong Memories

Masai Mara, Kenya

Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM 

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2013

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 Baobab Tree at Sunset,Tarangire NP, Tanzania-2023Baobab Tree at Sunset

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Each of our safaris has been a tremendous photographic experience!  I can hardly wait to go back in again in February!  Why not join us on one of our safaris for the excitement of taking your own photos in the wilds of Africa!

Please feel free to forward the newsletter on to friends that might enjoy it.

For more safari information, prices and itineraries click here.

I hope that you will be able to join us on one of our safaris in the not so distant future. It will be your trip of a lifetime! Enjoy each day. Paul Renner, paulrenner3@cox.net www.rennersafaris.com (949) 295-3136 Read more about what our clients have to say about our safaris

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