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I could write 1,000 words about each of these images. My husband and I journeyed to Arusha, Tanzania in July to attend his sister’s wedding and it was such a wonderful trip. Not only did we get to witness his baby sister tie the knot, but the our entire experience in Tanzania, with our family, was amazing.  We feel so fortunate and grateful.

Tanzania is unlike any place we have traveled before. My mother-in-law came from Bulgaria, and we spent the entire trip together, prepping for the wedding, attending the wedding, then sightseeing after the big day.  Lucky for us, my sister’s new family happens to own a safari company called Simba Safaris and they treated us to three safari adventures around Tanzania!  Seeing animals in nature, interacting and living in harmony…it’s indescribable.  We saw so many different animals, including hippos, lions, zebras, giraffes, elephants, gazelles, hyenas, wild boars (Pumbaa!!!), and more.  Everyone always asks, “How was the trip?,” but it’s impossible to succinctly describe.  I can’t wait to go back and experience even more. I’d love to see more of Arusha (our base city) and I really, really want to climb Mount Kilamanjaro! So many great adventures to come.  Although it’s difficult to have family who lives so far away, it’s also an adventure having family on three continents.

Last, but certainly not least, infinite thanks to my sister, brother-in-law and their family who graciously hosted us for the duration of our trip.  We were immediately welcomed as family, even though we had just met, and were so taken care of.  Thank you.

PS- Did you know “simba” means “lion” in Swahili?

On the left:  We went on a walking safari; one of the only ones available in the entire country.
Our guide carried a rifle and in case you are wondering, yes, he has had to use it.
The walking safari initially seemed like an excellent idea, and it’s quite exhilarating (ie frightening).
Buffalo are especially scary and aggressive.

On the right: Hippos!

On the right:  This is a random giraffe we spotted on the side of a highway.  Just an ordinary day in Arusha.

I was literally 2 feet from this lioness.

I had never heard of this animal before our trip to Tanzania, but it’s a Dik Dik.
Do yourself a favor and click this link to enjoy endless images of this incredibly adorable, small-dog-sized-mini-deer.

Random photography note, but all of these images (except for a handful of Holga or Golden Half images) were shot with a 24, 50 or 100mm lens. (The majority on a 50.) I didn’t bring my huge 70-200 telephoto lens with on this trip. I had wanted to travel as light as possible, but I regretted this decision immediately. But, this fact also illustrates how close we were to the animals in nature. I also have a new appreciation for wildlife photography. It is extremely difficult!

  • stacy a - incredible!!! I love the hand henna photos.. a journey of a lifetime!

  • kristen - awesome photos, laura!! wow, that’s a big convoy of trucks! i love your holga shots. what a wonderful experience!

  • Mo Bhimani - I love the pics! you captured the country beautifully!!! thank you!!!!

  • Trisha K. - Wow. Gorgeous!

  • David, Minneapolis - I think you did great on the wildlife photos. You showed the animals in their environment, which a lot of photographer neglect to do!

  • Kristen Drufke - These photos are beyond incredible! I can’t even imagine how amazing it was to see all these different animals and gorgeous landscapes. You are one luck lady Laura!

  • Miranda Williams - Love!!! They are gorgeous and I’m totally jealous of you being that close to those animals! The up-close giraffe & lion ones are my fave. :)

  • Irina - Wow – those are amazing Laura!!! The photos of the animals are simply magnificent! It makes me want to go to Tanzania and see them all for myself.

  • jill olson - These are absolutely breathtaking! I want to see the world!

  • color printing - I am so amazed with the photos that you took during your Safari trip in Tanzania. I think it’s really a wonderful place to visit. I remember simba in Lion King. Well, I learned it from you. Thanks for that. Those wood carvings are great and I love their formations. Great photos!

  • s h e r r y - :) These are SO amazing. I LOVE dikdiks. And can’t believe you were that close to the lion(esses)s. SO SO incredible!

  • Megan M - Great pictures Laura! Tanzania has just been added to my “places to travel” list.

  • Julia Mary - What an amazing trip!! Love all the images. I definitely have travel fever now.

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures - Amazing X a million!!! Tanzania is a dream destination for me. And now you’ve fueled my wanderlust even more!

  • Sheryl McCammon - Wow! Breathtaking!! Do you need a travel companion when you go back?? I want to go so bad!!!

  • Tiffany - Amazing! I love the giraffes and zebras! Very cool!

  • Sherri - What an amazing experience! Your pics look like they could be straight out of a National Geographic magazine – simply raw and gorgeous!!

  • Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers - Beautiful images, you do very nice work.
    Shaun David

  • Andy - Thanks for sharing pictures about our beautiful country of Tanzania.The pictures are perfect,now more people can read about Tanzania.

  • Jyllian - These are great Laura…it looks like you had an amazing journey! I too love the Holga shots!!!

  • Crystal - These are legit Laura!! What an incredible trip you must have had.

  • Melissa Oholendt - SO unbelievably gorgeous!!

  • 2011 | YEAR IN REVIEW » Laura Ivanova Photography | DESTINATION WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN MINNEAPOLIS & NEW YORK CITY - […] was busy, in a good way, and in July, my husband and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to Africa and going on not one, not two, but three safaris!! It was an incredible experience. As fun as the […]

  • BULGARIA ON FILM » Laura Ivanova Photography | FILM WEDDING & BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN MINNEAPOLIS & NEW YORK CITY - […] his parents and the rest of his family every two years, or for special occasions, like weddings in Africa! These trips are a really big deal, so I appreciate all of my clients who have been so supportive […]

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