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Northern Circuit with Green Footprint Adventures


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I went for 3 weeks to Tanzania with my girlfriend, her brother and her mother.

This trip report covers the 9 day safari we did.

We went with Green Footprint Adventures and had another marvellous experience (last year was great too!)


First the highlights and the photo’s for the people who don’t want to read the full report ;)


- birds in Tarangire

- Seeing a striped hyena and a honey badger within 10 minutes in Ndutu

- Watch thousands and thousands of European storks fly out of the woodlands into the plans at the same time at sunrise.

- Watch a young striped hyena or aardwolf in daylight (see also this thread on the question whether it was a hyena or aardwolf: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect....mp;tid=34944156

- Watch Leppet faced vultures eating on a dead hyena

- Watch a pack of wild dogs hunt and kill in the loliondo area

See also my extensive stories on this here:


and here:


- Have dinner on top of a hill near the camp of Suyan in the Gol Mountains.


My pictures of the trip can be found here:



and the photo’s of the dogs here:



and here



note: all pictures are the originals. I’ll be editing and correcting them in the following weeks.



I used my Nikon D70s with my Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 with a Solligor 2x converter on it most of the time. The converter worked perfectly, and I was very happy to have it with me, as 200mm would definitely been to short.

Besides that I used a Nikkor AF-D 24-85MM/2.8-4.0 72S and I also brought my Nikkor AF-D 50MM/1.8 but didn’t use that one. I also borrowed a Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 which was very good for some landscape photography.

For storage I had 2x a 1 gig CF extreme III and one 2gig ExtremeII. Together with the Storvision 40Gig portable harddisk this worked perfectly!

I also brought a monopod, a tripod and a beanbag which I used most of the time. For people who are going to camps with a full game package (and therefor end up in an open vehicle) I highly recommend bringing a monopod.

My experiences with this gear setup, and plans for the next safari:

I’m definitely going to buy a 2nd body. I had to change lenses to frequently now, which not only lead to some stress or deciding not to take a certain picture, but also a dirty sensor.

As for the lenses; I was really happy with my current setup. The F2.8 was good enough to allow a 2x converter on it. If im adding anything to my lenses setup, I’ll think I’d go for a 500mm.

And now the trip report!

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We went on this trip with Green Footprint Adventures (www.greenfootprint.co.tz) just like we did last year.

21jan: Arusha -> Olivers Camp - Tarangire

We drove of to Tarangire, and saw our first zebras already on the way there, just after passing the turn off to Manyara. We had a lunch at the Tarangire Safari Lodge and continued our trip to Olivers Camp. We didn’t see much game except for a bunch of elephants real close and the usual impala’s and waterbucks.

We arrived at the relocated Olivers Camp and discovered we would be the only guests, which I thought was really nice. The view and the location were both excellent, and we would enjoy our stay very much.

That night we got visitors: three hyenas real close to our tent. They were walking around and fighting with each other and doing there calls and laughing. It was really great to hear them that close (although a bit frightening ;) )


22jan: Olivers Camp

Since it was off season for Tarangire, and the campmanager told us there wasn’t much game around we decided to not go on a realy early morning gamedrive, but do one from 9 – 11 instead. On the game drive we don’t see much, even hardly any elephants and impala’s. Tons of Tsetse flies made stopping almost impossible.We did see a whole lot of birds, which made it a good gamedrive after all ;)

We decided to go for a short afternoon gamedrive, to visit the Martial Eagle Young again we saw that morning.


23jan: Olivers Camp –> Plantation Lodge – Karatu

Game driving to the exit and driving to the Plantation Lodge.

In the lodge we enjoy a nice swim and an excellent diner, and go to bed early.


24jan: Plantation Lodge

We take of at 6:30 to go to the Ngorongoro crater. Last year we didn’t like it that much, and I’m curious if I will like it better this year. At around 8:15 we are at the crater floor, and all tough I really enjoy the great views, I’m already bothered by the amount of cars and people driving around.

All tough we don’t see any cats, we are extremely lucky with the rhino’s and spot 12 (!) of them. Another remarkable sighting was a hippo walking around out of the water in the middle of the day. Again I don’t like the crater that much. I can’t help but being bothered by the other cars and standing with 12 cars looking at one lion 200meters in the distance. (what’s up with people shouting ‘kitty kitty’ anywayz?!)


25jan: Plantation Lodge -> Olakira – Ndutu / Serengeti side


Once past the Crater we see a lot of giraffes, zebra’s and wildebeest. We encounter a bunch of vultures on a young wildebeest just next to the road.

On the turn off to Ndutu, we can see the migration through our binoculars in the distance, towards Loliondo. We decide not to go there at this time, since we will be heading that direction anyway in a few days.

On the way to Ndutu we see a lot of gazelle’s, hyena’s and zebra’s. At 15:30 we arrive in the camp, and the camp is great. We go for a afternoon gamedrive at 17:30 but hardly see a thing. A bit disappointed we head back to the camp. On the way back we see a striped hyena and within 5 minutes a honey badger! This turned the gamedrive suddenly in a very successful one 

We have diner outside under the stars, and go to bed early.


26jan: Olakira

We leave at 6:00 for an early morning gamedrive. We were told to go to the plains just outside of the woodland at sunrise, because all of the European Storks would fly out of the trees into the plains. When we drive on to the plains the first birds are already starting to come out of the trees, we stop the car and just enjoy the sun rise with beautiful stunning colours, and the literally thousands and thousands of storks flying into the plains. A truly amazing experience!

When the sun is up and the birds are out in the plains, we continue to the lake, where we find a big pride of lions lying around. We count 4 females and 9 little ones. The remarkable thing is that the little ones are (very) different of age. We just stop the car and watch the lions on the one side and the flamingo’s in the lake on the other.

After half an hour or so we get company from another car from Kido safaris. I have to complain a bit here about their behaviour. Not only the tourists in the car were very loud and trying to get the lions attention, also the guide was really noisy and shouting etc.

And we weren’t the only ones to be bothered by this; the lions one by one took of because of them.

After that we took of again and returned to the camp for breakfast.

That day we relax and read and go on another gamedrive at 16:00. Not all of us felt like going, so I went with my girlfriend and we agreed to pick up the others at 17:30 to go watch the birds return at the lake.

Only after 5 minutes on our way we spot another striped hyena. A very small one this time, and in daylight so I could take some nice pictures of it. We weren’t sure at the time whether it was aardwolf or striped hyena, due to it’s size. (see also: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect....mp;tid=34944156 )

Back onto the plains we spotted a cheetah lying in the grass. After a while it got up, clearly to go hunting. We follow the cheetah for a while, but then it spots a hyena in the distance, and gives up to go further in that direction. In the meanwhile it is time for us to go back to get the others, but clearly we weren’t happy to leave a hunting cheetah!

(safarilesson: never split up and make agreements like this, cause you never know what you’ll encounter!)

After following it going back into the other direction, we thought it might give up cause there were hyena’s in that direction as well. But we’ll never know, cause we went back to the camp to pick up the others. We went to the lake and watched all the European storks and marabous go to the lake, and fly into the trees from there. There we also see the pride of lions from that morning again, this time with two males among them.


27jan Olakira -> Suyan – Gol Mountains

We leave at 6 again to watch the birds fly out of the woodlands into the plains. They are a little later than the day before, and the sun doesn’t rise in the beautiful colors from the day before. Still it’s a great experience to stand there and watch all the birds, no sounds but the wings going up and down.

On the way back to camp we stumble upon the 4 lionesses from the pride we watched the day before. We follow them for a while but they are heading back to the rest of their group, so we decide it’s time to go back and have breakfast.

At 8:30 we leave Olakira, to go to the Gol Gate where we are going to split up; me and my girlfriend are heading to Suyan, while her mother and brother go back to Arusha. At Gol Gate there is a car waiting for them.

While driving on the plains towards the gate, we stumble upon vultures eating on a carcass. When we approach the carcass we can see that it’s a hyena; scavengers eating the scavenger.

At the Gol gate we decide to go along the loliondo track for a bit with 2 cars, so the others can see the migration before they head back to Arusha.

After an hour or so we see the thousands and thousands of wildebeest. We get out on the plains to have lunch, which is truly a remarkable spot to eat I must say…

After that we continue to Suyan, while the others head back.

We drive through the herds of wildebeest for something like 2 hours, it’s really amazing to see that many of them. Along the way we also see quite some Elands, and hyena’s are everywhere.

After a long and beautiful drive, on which we didn’t see any other cars, we arrive at the camp at 15:30. I was there last year as well, and this is really my favourite area. Mainly because of the remoteness, and the abundance of other camps/lodges and safarivehicles; just you, the masai and the wildlife.

We are tired and decide to take a shower and relax a little, and skip the afternoon gamedrive. After the shower, we feel restless though that we are missing a chance of seeing wild dogs (we heard they were seen frequently around the camp) and we decide to ask if we could go on a gamedrive after all. I’m glad we did, because we actually saw the pack of wild dogs. And not only that, we saw them chase and kill a wildebeest, feed their pups and chase away a hyena!

You can read the whole story about this event here:



That night we have diner up on a nearby hill, which is great to be out of the camp and into nature like that.


28jan: Suyan

We leave at 6:00 for an early morning gamedrive. I’m hoping to see the dogs, all though I know they don’t see the pack in the mornings that often.

We drive around and don’t see the dogs, we do see a nice cheetah though trying to catch some bat eared foxes. After failing, the cheetah walks further up the hill, while being followed by some wildebeests who grouped together. Such a difference with the dogs yesterday! Then every animal in the neighbourhood was fleeing, now they are mocking the cheetah. We go back to the camp to have some breakfast and relax the rest of the day. At 16:30 we are going out again, to see if we can spot the dogs one more time.

While we drive around, we see that the wildebeest, zebra’s and gazelles are more scattered than yesterday. So it would be more easy to miss the action, if it takes place just at the other side of a hill. We go up to the highest hill in the area, where we have a good overview. As the sun sets we feel like we won’t going to be lucky today, but then suddenly we hear the alarm calls of the zebra’s and see the dogs again. We would see them attempt 3 hunts and fail them all. Detailed story can be found here:



29jan: Suyan – Arusha

Today we drive back to Arusha. It’s a really long drive, but especially the first part is beautiful with lots of game. We pass by the shifting sands, which was a disappointment to be honest; I imagined it to be much bigger ;)

After a long day of driving we arrive in Arusha, exhausted but really satisfied about the whole safari.

After the safari we went to Zanzibar for 6 days; 1 day in Stonetown and 5 in Matemwe Bungalows.

Thx to Green Footprint again for a great trip, and Asilia for the great service in the beautiful camps!

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  • 10 months later...

The wild dog and wildebeest drama is something to behold. What a set of pictures!

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