Serengeti Nature Journaling Safari, February 12-25, 2023


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Join us for this nature journaling adventure in Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara National Park

Cost: $6214 per person (see details below)

This is the trip of a lifetime. Not only will we travel to one of the most amazing natural spectacles on earth, but we have timed our visit to try to catch the peak of the Wildebeast calving season. Join John Muir Laws and Billie Jo Reid for a 12-day, 11-night Safari in Tanzania with a two-day extension to teach nature journaling at the Amani orphanage and bring the students on their first safari in Taranagarie National Park. We will explore amazing parks at a sketcher’s pace, taking time to draw and observe. Together we will search for critters from open-top Land Cruisers, observing and drawing everything we find. Lions, elephants, cheetah, hippos, giraffes, rhinos, baboons, gazelle of all types, and amazing birds will fill your sketchbook. During the safari, we will explore drawing techniques, anatomy details, and share journaling tips relevant to what we are seeing.

Our safari will be coordinated by my favorite safari company, Face of Africa Adventures. The package includes Accommodation (BB) in Arusha before and after the safari. All meals and accommodation in lodges or campsites as per itinerary. Transfer to and from the Airport. Transport and wildlife drives in modified 4WD Land Cruisers or Land Rovers with pop-up roof hatches. All park entry fees/ crater service fees. 1.5 liters of water per person per day during game drives.



Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro international airport, you will be warmly greeted by your driver-guide, after a short introduction you will be offered bottles of mineral water and driven to the Gold Crest Hotel in Arusha for an Overnight. Depending on your arrival time, you will have a good opportunity to explore the hotel`s surroundings.


In the morning at 8:30, you will be met by your driver-guide at the hotel, then you will embark to Arusha national park for a wildlife safari and nature walk. The 137 square kilometer park offers multiple terrains including open savannahs, Acacia Scrublands, Afromontane clouds, rain forests, and Afro-Alpine vegetation similar to that of Mount Kilimanjaro. In addition, there are several alkaline lakes as well as the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater. The mammal species include elephants, buffalo, various primates, giraffes, and leopards. Hiking is allowed (if accompanied by an armed guard) and the climb up Mount Meru is superb, often giving the best available views of Mount Kilimanjaro. At 4556 meters, Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain in Africa and is also situated in the heart of Arusha National Park. Lunch will be served at a picnic site in the park, later after exploration, you will exit the park and drive back to Gold Crest Hotel.


In the morning after super breakfast from the kitchen of professional Cooks, you will embark to Tarangire national park for game drives and game viewings. Tarangire is Tanzania’s third-largest national park and sanctuary for an unusually large elephant population. Majestic baobab trees are also an interesting feature of the park, dwarfing the animals that feed beneath them. Your game drives may reveal lions, giraffes, wildebeest, elephants, Zebras, wildebeests, and much more. Lunchboxes shall be served to you by your driver-guide at the picnic site inside the park with some rest before proceeding with further game drives. Later after amazing hours of exploration, you will exit the park and drive to Maramboi Tented Lodge for Dinner and Overnight.


After rewarding breakfast, leave the lodge with your packed lunches and drive to Serengeti national park via the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Your driver-guide shall be stopping in some of the beautiful views overlooking the crater floor for sightseeing. Animals like Giraffes, Elephants, Wildebeests, Gazelles, Zebras, Lions, and Buffaloes may be revealed in Ngorongoro. On your way, you can opt to visit one of the Masai Boma for a short but authentic cultural tour with the Masai People. On crossing the border, picnic lunches will be served to you followed by game drives en route to Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge for Dinner and Overnight.


We are completely flexible with your preferences and this day will be organized according to your wishes. Your guide will discuss with you the best timing for you, including the game drives and the wake-up time. For example, you may opt to do a morning game drive, return to the camp for lunch and relaxation and finish with an afternoon game drive, or you could do a full day game drive with picnic lunches. Or you can opt to lazily rest at the camp starring the beautiful horizons of the majestic Serengeti national park The Serengeti Park derived its name from Maasai Language meaning endless plain. This massive plain (14763sq km) is home to many animals including Lions, Elephants, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, Leopard, and Cheetah, baboon, warthogs, Hyena plus lots of birdlife. In many cases, migration is taking place around Serengeti and at that particular time, millions of wildebeest and zebra are mingling together followed by predators. Our professional guide will lead you on the right path making sure you have the best time to enjoy these great phenomena. Dinner and Overnight at Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge.


Every day is a new day in Serengeti with different amazing series of events. After breakfast, you will leave the camp with your packed lunches for another memorable day towards the Ngorongoro conservation area. On this day still, you will have a great opportunity to explore the Serengeti ecosystem with the great possibility to spot any other animals that you did not see in your first days. Lunchboxes shall be served to you at the picnic point followed by a further game drive to the famous Ndutu plains in the Ngorongoro conservation area for Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Heritage Tented Camp Ndutu.


Your chance to see the wildebeest migration across the Ndutu plain is high. This season, the wildebeest migration is on its move around the Ndutu plains and in the north of the Ngorongoro Conservation area. In January – February, and March the plains are fully occupied by millions of wildebeest and zebra cows with their new calves born in a short window around February. Gradually, they spread across these plains to the west, and then around April, they begin their long northward migration to Maasai Mara in Kenya through central and western Serengeti. As long as you keep your eyes open, it is uncommon to spot a pride of Lions feeding on buffalo kill or Cheetah demonstrating hunting techniques to her cubs and Vultures competing on a wildebeest carcass. Other animals inhabiting this paradise are Impala, Giraffes, Hyenas, Warthogs, and hundreds of bird species. Dinner and Overnight at Serengeti Heritage Tented Camp Ndutu.


Early in the morning and after breakfast, leave the Camp with your packed lunches ready for another exciting day. Today your expert safari guide will lead you into the Ngorongoro crater for a wonderful game drive. The Ngorongoro crater is the 8th wonder of the Natural World, spreading over 102 sq. miles and has 2.000 ft high walls, it is inhabited by almost every species of wildlife that is indigenous to East Africa including the rare and endangered black rhinos, other animals that can be revealed on your game drives are Elands, Lions, Waterbucks, Wildebeests, Hyenas, jackals, African Elephants, Buffaloes, Secretive leopards, Cheetahs, hippos and many more alongside hundreds of bird species eg. Maasai Ostrich, Kori bustard, Ibis, Starlings, etc. Lunchboxes shall be served to you at the picnic point inside the crater. Later ascend the crater walls and drive back to Karatu for Dinner and Overnight at The Retreat at Ngorongoro.


In the morning after breakfast at the Lodge, you will drive across the floor of the Great Rift Valley to Lake Manyara National Park for a game drive. This beautiful park with its lush vegetation and tropical forests of giant figs took its name from the Maasai word for “euphorbia tirucalli”, a bush that is used to make a thorny hedge to protect their cattle. Elephant, giraffe, buffalo, a large population of hippos, zebras even the tree climbing lions can be spotted lazily resting on the branches of an “Acacia tortilis” tree. The birdlife is also abundant, with flamingoes, pelicans, hornbills, and plenty of forest species. Lunch boxes will be provided to you at the picnic site. Later after amazing hours of exploration, you will exit the park and drive to the Ngorongoro Manera Mountain View Lodge for the night.


Spend a full day teaching nature journaling to the youth at the Amani Orphanage. We will divide the young people into small groups and share techniques for nature journaling and sketching African wildlife in preparation for their first safari (the next day). In the evening, return to the Ngorongoro Manera Mountain View Lodge for the night.


Share what you have learned about nature journaling with the youth from the orphanage as we return to Tarangire National Park. We will look for lion, giraffe, wildebeest, elephants, Zebras, wildebeests, and much more. We have arranged for special group busses for the children. You may ride in your usual vehicles or with the children. Lunchboxes shall be served for the whole group. Later after amazing hours of exploration, you will exit the park and drive to Arusha for an overnight at the Gold Crest Hotel.


Morning at leisure until departure time, transfer to the Airport for your flight back home or for your extension flight to Zanzibar or anywhere else.

Cost and Payment Schedule

Deposit to hold your place

  • $1000.00 to John Muir Laws, paid through this site
  • $ 1936.80 to Face of Africa Adventures, contact them here for wire transfer instructions (plus a 3.9% wire transfer fee or a 5% online transfer fee depending on the payment method you choose )

Final Payment, paid by December 1, 2022

  • $3,277.20 to Face of Africa Adventures, contact them here for wire transfer instructions (plus a 3.9% wire transfer fee or a 5% online transfer fee) This includes $372.00 for accommodations while doing service at the orphanage.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Donations

If you would like to join us on this adventure but can not afford to go, there may be financial help available. Send me a private email and I will notify you if funds become available. I can not guarantee financial support but I will do my best to help you. If you are able to help fund a fellow nature journaler on this trip, please donate to the Tanzania Scholarship Fund. If no one requests the support I will return your donation before the trip. Thank you.

Additional Costs

Evacuation Insurance Each of us is responsible for the cost of our own evacuation. We all must have evacuation insurance. I recommend getting it through the Divers Alert Network (DAN), a low-cost reliable provider. All you need to do is join DAN and your membership covers evacuation insurance anywhere in the world for a year. It is a great deal. Should you be incapacitated I will need your evacuation insurance information. Once you join, you can print copies of your DAN membership card from the website (click on the icon of your card). Bring two copies of your DAN membership card (or plan and access information if you have other evacuation insurance) I will keep one copy on file.

Travel insurance: All participants must have fully comprehensive travel insurance. Make sure your coverage allows you to cancel for any reason including Covid-19. Here is a link to travel insurance plans recommended by Forbes. The policy should be valid from the date that the initial order is placed so as to provide cover for any cancellation prior to departure. During travel, the insurance needs to provide comprehensive medical, evacuation, and repatriation cover. If you would like a recommend a broker,  please let me know. Some of the safari partners on the ground may well ask for your policy details during travel, so please make sure you at least know the insurance company, policy number, and the 24hr contact details. If you are unable to provide these then they reserve the right to refuse to take you on that portion of the trip and any alternative arrangements will be made at your expense.

To get an insurance plan that allows you to cancel for any reason, you will need to buy the insurance right after you make your first payment for the trip. These plans allow you to cancel without any conditions and usually reimburse up to 75% of unused, non-refundable, prepaid trip costs For instance, the Diver’s Alert Network Insurance has cancel for any reason as an optional upgrade on the Elite plan if purchased within 24 hours of initial deposit.  Travelx Insurance also has a plan that can be purchased with the base plan within 15 days of initial payment or deposit. With Seven Corners RoundTrip Trip Cancelation Insurance, you have a 20-day window to apply.

Airfare: Air travel to Kilimanjaro International Airport and back is not included.

Visa  $100 to be paid in cash upon arrival (bring US dollars, the ATM at the airport is not reliable)

Tips. Our guides earn the majority of their income through tips, so it is important that each satisfied customer provide a tip to their driver at the end of the trip. Tipping is discretionary of course, but those who are happy with their experience may use the following guidelines: Drivers/guides: $15 USD per day (per person). Also, bring some cash for tips for lodge staff.

Drinks. Additional alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are not included and may be purchased

Vaccinations and Covid-19 Medical Tests All participants must be fully vaccinated and boosted for Covid-19 and have the appropriate vaccinations for travel to Tanzania. See the CDC website for recommended and required vaccinations. All participants should visit a travel clinic at least two months before departure. You must also have a negative Covid-19 test no more than one day before travel. Bring official written documentation of your negative test result.

Selected meals at the Gold Crest Hotel Day 1 lunch and dinner, Day 2 dinner, Day 13 dinner, and Day 14 lunch and dinner not included.

Return Policy

If you need to cancel your reservation, let me know by e-mail as soon as possible. I will issue a full refund if I can fill your spot from the waiting list. The closer we get to the date of the safari, the more difficult it will be to add someone from the waiting list because people will have made other plans. If there is no one who will take your spot from the wait-list, the following scale of cancellation charges will apply, depending on the day before the departure of the tour when the cancellation notice is received.

  • 25% if canceled before January 1st 2023 (30-day notice)
  • 50% if canceled between January 1st 2023 and  January 17th 2023 (30 to 15 days’ notice)
  • 100% if canceled after January 15th 2023 or no show

Who should apply and group norms

This adventure is going to be fun, amazing, and will blow your mind. The trip is for folks who really want to explore Africa at a sketcher’s pace within a community of like-minded naturalists. If you are not into nature journaling, this is not the trip for you. The trip is open to all skill levels, you just really need to love it. For most of the trip you will be observing and sketching from an 8 seat Toyota Land Cruiser with 7 other people and a driver. We stay inside the vehicle most of the day because Lions eat you. This means we need to cooperate with and accommodate everyone else in the vehicle. A big part of the success and enjoyment of the trip will depend on how we work and play together. We want people who get along well with others and are flexible and kind, even when tired. Our guiding principles are respect and kindness, for each other, for our guides and drivers, for staff and community people we meet, and for the places and animals, we will encounter.

Other Logistics

You can find a suggested packing list here.

Here are some terrific ideas about how to prepare for a nature journaling adventure from the amazing Marley Peifer.

About Your Leaders

John (Jack) Muir Laws is a principal leader and innovator of the worldwide nature journaling movement. Jack is a scientist, educator, and author, who helps people forge a deeper and more personal connection with nature through keeping illustrated nature journals and understanding science. His work intersects science, art, and mindfulness. Trained as a wildlife biologist and an associate of the California Academy of Sciences, he observes the world with rigorous attention. He looks for mysteries, plays with ideas, and seeks connections in all he sees. Attention, observation, curiosity, and creative thinking are not gifts, but skills that grow with training and deliberate practice. As an educator and author, Jack teaches techniques and supports routines that develop these skills to make them a part of everyday life.

Billie Jo Reid Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Billie Jo has spent much of her career outdoors.  Beginning her career as a wilderness canoe guide and instructor, Billie Jo’s passion for the environment and education has been evident from the beginning.  Billie Jo is a graduate of the Parks and Recreation and Adventure Tourism Management programs at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario. Billie Jo is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys helping others explore the natural environment around them.  Currently, Billie Jo is an outdoor educator with a public-school board in southern Ontario, her enthusiasm for outdoor learning, and exploration of the natural environment is contagious!


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