LIFE

The Elgorts in Africa: Exclusive Images From Sophie, Ansel and Arthur’s Breathtaking Safari

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Sophie Elgort

Nearly twenty five years after Arthur Elgort photographed Christy Turlington in a now-iconic shoot set in Africa, the legendary lensman returned to the continent with his extended family, including son Ansel Elgort, an actor, and Sophie, a photographer in her own right who documented their breathtaking safari in Tanzania and Rwanda earlier this month, with dad sometimes taking a turn behind the camera. “As it turns out, the guide my dad worked with 25 years ago, George Mavroudis, had since opened his own safari company in Tanzania and he and they kept in touch,” Sophie said. “So, 25 years later, my whole family went to Tanzania and Rwanda for gorilla trekking for two weeks.” Here, with cameos by mom, brothers Eric and Ansel, and husband Eric Von Stroh, Sophie’s wanderlust-inducing photo diary.

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Sophie Elgort

“Visiting a Barabaig family. They had us over to one of their houses and eventually sang for us and then we all went around and sang for them as well. Warren started us off singing Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Pancho & Lefty’, then I sang Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’ and Ansel sang Jimmy Durante’s ‘Make Someone Happy’.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Dad looking cool in the bamboo forrest on our gorilla trek.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Mom and Ansel on our first day out in Tarangire National Park.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Tarangire National Park. It’s very rare to see a leopard and especially one up this close. She sat there for quite a while before getting up and running down the other side of the tree.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Tarangire National Park by night. I still can’t get over the skies at sunset. And the shapes of the trees. This moment was particularly nice because of the the buffalo gathered underneath them as well. If you look closely, there are birds sitting on many of them.”

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Sophie Elgort

“After a morning of bow and arrow hunting with the Hadza men, they showed off their archery skills by aiming for a target on a far away tree. One hit it right away, but when I tried afterwards, I can assure you I did not hit the target and should probably stick to shooting with a camera.”

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Arthur Elgort

“The Elgorts, just a bunch of paparazzi – my husband Eric became one too on this trip. I took a snap of this image on the back of my dad’s camera screen.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Male lions in the grass at Tarangire National Park. Even though I was using a long lens, we were still up pretty close.”

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Sophie Elgort

“I love the shape of this tree with all the birds on it. Looks like a sculpture.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Talk about a long neck.”

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Sophie Elgort

“You looking at me?”

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Sophie Elgort

“Our travels continued to the Manyara Ranch Conservancy. I’ve never seen a sunset like this before.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Manyara Ranch Conservancy. Another really rare animal to see – a cheetah! Even more rare, we saw it chasing, taking down and then yes, eating, an impala.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Kisima Ngeda permanent tented camp at Lake Eyasi.”

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Sophie Elgort

“These are a few of the Barabaig women who we visited outside their home. Their dresses were works of art, handmade from cowhide and then slowly decorated over time with beads.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Baobab tree at sunset.”

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Sophie Elgort

“We spent one day visiting the Hadza tribe and staying in a minimal fly camp in the Yaida Escarpment for the night under the stars with just this mosquito netting. My mom took this of me in the morning brushing my teeth in bed.”

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Sophie Elgort

“My dad taking a portrait of Macalanga, one of the Hadza men with his Rolleiflex.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Warren and his Bolex while we were out hunting with the Hadza.”

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Sophie Elgort

“George added on a quick trip up to the Northern Serengeti to our itinerary to see the migration. After a morning drive, we pulled over what seemed like in the middle of nowhere with no one else to be seen and they had set up this place for us to have lunch. Absolutely beautiful.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Mama and baby elephants on the horizon in Northern Serengeti.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Herds of elephants in the Northern Serengeti.”

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Sophie Elgort

“The Serengeti – the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot and Ansel stepped in as my subject. As it turns out, our guide, George Mavroudis had been my dad’s guide 25 years ago when he was on safari for a Vogue shoot with Christy Turlington. They kept in touch and 25 years later the whole family went.”

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Sophie Elgort

“The head of security on George’s team is a Masai named Taiko. At the mobile tented camps, he would keep watch all night and make sure we didn’t have any run-ins with the surrounding animals when we left our tents to go to and from the camp fire. He also had great fashion sense. This is one of his bracelets.”

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Arthur Elgort

“My husband Eric and I in the Serengeti. If you’re on our holiday card list, you might see this image again in a couple months.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Up close and personal with Agashya the silverback, leader of his family who we visited on day one of our gorilla trek in Parc National des Volcans. Rwanda was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Mom and me gorilla trekking in Rwanda. You can see Warren there too, snapping away.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Ansel climbing trees on our hike up to see the gorillas.”

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Sophie Elgort

“Gorilla selfie – it’s incredible how human-like the mountain Gorillas are. Gorilla trekking was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.”