who is this trip for?
Aspiring Photographers and Filmmakers of all levels! Whether you are just barely starting out your visual storytelling journey or Lightroom is your second language, there is something deeply authentic for you to learn from this once in a lifetime adventure. Don’t worry if you don’t have a pro-looking camera - the skills you will acquire on this trip are beyond what equipment you have.
December 2nd to 17th 2019
August 5th to 20th 2020
Spot the Big 5 game and a whole range of other wild animals in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest unbroken caldera.
Live with the Maasai in their village and get an insider’s view into the lifestyles of one of the most unique tribes of Africa.
Learn to make mandazi with the Chaga tribe at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Hike through local villages of the lush teeming rainforest and swim in the glorious waterfalls of the Usambara Mountains.
Venture through the alleyways of Stone Town, enjoying this UNESCO World Heritage site on foot. Then sail on a traditional dhow through the pristine waters off the island of Zanzibar.
Join the largest tribe in Tanzania, the Sukuma in enlivening your senses with their traditional Ngoma dance.
Become a better visual storyteller by learning technical skills from aerial photography and hyperlapse to more nuanced skills like interviewing and story refining.
Day 1, Dar es Salaam: Welcome to Bongo
You will arrive in the biggest city of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, where you will be picked up at the airport by Jigar and transferred to the city centre where we will be staying. You will get a snapshot of urban Tanzania in all its chaotic glory as you meet up with your fellow storytellers for your first of many local meals amidst the energetic city. We know you’ll be excited to hit the ground running, but today we will mainly just focus on recovering from jetlag.
Day 2-3, Mwanza: Ngoma with the Sukuma
Don’t get too comfortable! In the morning we will catch a flight out of Dar to Mwanza, Jigar’s hometown. This small city is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, surrounded by beautiful hills. Planning and structure is key when it comes to creating impactful narratives, so we will spend time visualising the storyboards for the stories that we will come across in the weeks ahead. Then, our first encounter with the largest tribe in Tanzania, the Sukuma, known for their traditional medicine, witchcraft, and ngoma dances. We will learn about their culture and worldview before continuing on to visit the wild savannah in their backyard.
Day 4-6, Serengeti & Ngorongoro: The Big 5 in the Great Rift
On our fourth day we’ll rise at dawn to drive through the endless savannah plains of Serengeti National Park and into the eighth wonder of the world, the Ngorongoro Crater where we will spot the big 5 and more! We will be guided by our local safari expert who will teach us about wildlife behaviour, conservation, human-wildlife interactions, and anything else we ask them! As night falls, we will camp among the animals under the carpet of the glimmering African sky and share stories as we break bread and discuss what we have learned so far. And ofcourse, we will get a crash course on night photography and timelapse by Jigar.
Day 6-8, Engaruka Village: Makande with the Maasai
After we load up our SD cards with pictures and videos of lions and elephants, we will travel to the outskirts of the national park to visit the Maasai, the people who once lived in Ngorongoro and Serengeti before they were removed by British colonial policy makers in 1951. We will spend two nights with them, experiencing their daily lifestyle in a village bordering the crater, where very few outsiders have ever been. Here we will learn all about the interviewing process, the power of storytelling to preserve and appreciate cultural heritage, and get into deep discussions with the Maasai about a variety of subjects ranging from art, polyamory, cattle, religion, food, and other aspects of life in this remote and beautiful location.
Day 8, Arusha: Artsy Africa
Already halfway through the program, we will take a little break from the more rugged travelling that we have been doing to treat ourselves to a day in Arusha. Walking through the streets of this bustling city, with Mt. Meru looming in the distance, we will get a picture of modern Swahili culture and practice our Swahili as we interact with locals in the market. We will test our bargaining skills in the handicraft markets and see all the beautiful art, from the tinga tinga paintings, ebony sculptures, shanga jewelry and so much more.
Day 9-10, Mweka Village: The Chagas of Kilimanjaro
Now we embark on an experience that you will tell your grandkids about. We will be welcomed to the Chaga community by the mamas of Mweka village with their songs and dance. We will cook with them, and stay in their homes where we will sample homemade mandazi, and the delicious Chaga cuisine. You will be paired up with a local buddy from Jane Goodall’s Roots&Shoots club who will help you communicate with your homestay families and plant some trees with you, so that we can offset our carbon footprint for our flights to Tanzania.
Day 11-12, Lushoto: The Chameleons of Usambara
The Usambara Mountains are a hidden gem of Tanzania. Inhabited by the Sambaa people, and countless two-horned chameleons, it is a place filled with the magic of nature and culture. We will spend our time here hiking through the lush rainforest to beautiful viewpoints and waterfalls, crossing through villages, interviewing locals, and hearing the voices behind the gorgeous landscapes. We will learn from our guides about the Sambaa culture, their beliefs, and the German colonial history of Lushoto.
Day 13, Dar es Salaam: back to Bongo
Our program so far has been spent criss-crossing Tanzania, sharing incredible experiences and seeing this culture through the eyes of many different tribes. Now it is time to hop on a local bus and go back to where the journey began to see Dar es Salaam, one of East Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities, with our newly acquired lens. We will learn about the subculture of Tanzanian-Indians, which includes your guide Jigar and the late Freddie Mercury! We will revisit the city centre, and watch the sunset at the fish market.
Day 14 - 16: Zanzibar: The Spice Paradise
To complete our journey with a bang, we’ll hop on a ferry to the island paradise of Zanzibar. From the narrow alleys and famous bazaars of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Stone Town, to the turquoise waters of the iconic coastline, we will interact with the mix of African, Indian, and Arab culture of the island. We will sample some fruits and spices from far away lands, cruise the ocean on a traditional Zanzibari dhow, and reflect upon our entire trip, sharing the lessons learned while making plans to collaborate on our future projects. Then we’re back to Dar airport for some fond farewells.
Early Bird: USD $2900 (Full payment before October 20th)
Regular: USD $3400
Comprehensive Program Itinerary
Experienced Program Mentor with you 24 hours a day
All Lodging & Accommodation throughout the program
Three local meals a day
All in-country group transportation
All excursions, tours and activities planned in itinerary
Halisia Storytelling Curriculum with study materials
A 60 seconds behind the scenes demo reel of you in action edited by Jigar Ganatra
Lifetime Membership to online Halisia Creative Community
Contribution to the Halisia Developing Storytellers Grant
Get to know your mentor
Jigar Ganatra is an award-winning travel filmmaker passionate about giving voices to the people on the ground and coupling their philosophy with impactful cinematic storytelling. Amongst other locations, he has made films in the Peruvian Amazon, Indian Himalayas, and Tanzanian Savannah. He is also the winner of the 2017 World Nomads Travel film scholarship where he worked side by side with professional filmmaker Brian Rapsey. Learn more about Jigar.