South Africa & Botswana Photo Safari
This exclusive photographic safari combines three of the most spectacular wildlife destinations in South Africa & Botswana with one of the seven natural wonders of the world: Victoria Falls.
Take your photography to the next level on an amazing adventure!
Create images that capture the way you felt when you were there taking the photo
Travel to locations that few will ever reach and create exceptional landscape art
Find and create your own visual voice
“Everything was taken care of from our shooting locations to our time in the field to the classroom. John had everything scoped out ahead of time.”
“While photographing the Big Five up close was the thrill of a lifetime, the time spent with the indigenous tribes really transformed my world view.”
This thirteen-day all-inclusive South Africa & Botswana Photo Safari will take you to three of the most stunning and exclusive wildlife destinations in South Africa & Botswana (the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, and the Makuleke Contractual Park in northern Kruger National Park) and one of the world’s seven natural wonders – Victoria Falls. The itinerary and accommodations of this photographic tour have been designed to meet the specific needs and interests of photographers.
Not only will we be based in private conservancies where we will have to freedom to go off-road as much as we like, but we’ll also be able to stay at sightings as long as we want and pursue our photography in the comfort of spacious open game drive vehicles at the optimum shooting times of the day. We’ll have exclusive use of our camps and lodges, creating the opportunity to build the entire experience around our photography. It’s unlikely that we’ll see any other vehicles during the safari portion of this trip.
The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is a large private reserve bordering the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Nowhere else in Africa are you able to photograph the Big Five with such ease. In addition to large herds of elephant and buffalo, the reserve is famous for its large lion population including the two famous white lions (first seen here in the mid-1970s) and large prides of tawny lions. The name “Timbavati” refers to the two white lions and it means the place where something sacred came down to earth from the heavens.
The Northern Tuli Game Reserve is one of Southern Africa’s largest privately-owned natural reserves. This impressive expanse of protected wilderness features extraordinary scenic landscapes characterized by bushland and marshland dotted with dramatic sandstone cliffs. Expect to photograph lions, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, zebra, eland, warthogs, hippos, hyena, wild dogs, and an impressive variety of bird species against striking landscapes, vast moon-like rocky plains, and large riverbeds lined with giant trees.
The Makuleke Contractual Park is situated between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers in the northern sector of Kruger National Park. This region is recognized as one of the most diverse and scenically attractive areas in the Kruger National Park and it’s also the ancestral home of the Makuleke people. In addition to large prides of lions, elephants, buffalo, and wild dogs, Pafuri is one of the best birding destinations in Southern Africa.
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls is 1,708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world as it drops 100 meters into the Zambezi Gorge at an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water every minute. Our time in Victoria Falls will include a boat cruise on the Zambezi River, a game drive in the national park, as well as a hike down to one of the more active and photogenic waterholes at sunset.
Take your photography to the next level on an amazing adventure with this South Africa Botswana Photo Safari.
Itinerary and General Information
Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is a large private reserve bordering Kruger National Park. The reserve is famous for its large herds of lions, buffalo, and lion populations including the famous white lions and tawny lions. This portion of our trip will be all about photographing Big Five animals.
- Day 1 – Arrival at Hoedspruit Airport and transfer to the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Arrive in time for an afternoon game drive.
- Day 2 – Morning and afternoon game drives.
- Day 3 – Morning and afternoon game drive.
Northern Tuli Game Reserve
Expect to photograph lions, herds of elephants, cheetahs, hippos, hyena, wild dogs, and an impressive variety of bird species against striking landscapes, vast moon-like rocky plains, and large riverbeds lined with giant trees.
- Day 4 – Leave Timbavati (no morning game drive) for Tuli. Arrive in time for an afternoon game drive.
- Day 5 – Morning and afternoon game drives.
- Day 6 – Morning and afternoon game drives.
Makuleke Contractual Park
Recognized as one of the most diverse and scenically attractive areas in the Kruger National Park, the Makuleke Contractual Park is one of the best birding destinations in Southern Africa, and we will also spend a day learning the traditions and culture of the Makuleke people.
- Day 7 – Morning game drive. Drive to Makuleke. Arrive in time for an afternoon game drive.
- Day 8 – Cultural Experience with the Makuleke people. Class time instruction & post-production time.
- Day 9 – Morning game drive. Class time instruction & post-production time.
Johannesburg is one of Africa’s biggest and most vibrant cities. It is the economic capital of Africa and the gateway to Southern Africa. The old city is a multi-cultural mixture of traditional medicine shops, Chinese restaurants, taxi ranks and ultra-modern skyscrapers. There are excellent museums, art galleries and organised tours of historical and political interest.
- Day 10 – Leave Makuleke for the drive to Johannesburg airport. Class time instruction & post-production time. Dinner & overnight stay in Johannesburg.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Experience one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Our time in Victoria Falls will include a boat cruise on the Zambezi River, a game drive in the national park, and a hike down to one of the more active and photogenic waterholes at sunset.
- Day 11 – Early morning flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls. Afternoon photography and hike down to one of the more active and photogenic waterholes at sunset.
- Day 12 – Morning game drive in the national park. Class time instruction & post-production time. Boat cruise on the Zambezi River.
- Day 13 – Flight back to Johannesburg airport for connections for return flights back home, for the Cape Town Add-on, or another destination.
Cape Town Add-On to South Africa Photo Safari (4 Days & 3 Nights)
Positioned at the intersection of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, and sandwiched between the iconic slopes of Table Mountain and the sapphire waters of Table Bay, the city of Cape Town is in a class of its own. Some cities boast rich culture, vibrant nightlife, and extraordinary architecture, while others boast breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders. Cape Town has been blessed with all of these and much more. Trip highlights include:
- Table Mountain – a ride on the Table Mountain Cableway to the peak of Table Mountain is quite rightly one of the first things visitors want to do in Cape Town. Enjoy a spectacular 360 view of the city from the top of mountain, and a stunning photo shoot of Table Bay at sunset.
- Cape of Good Hope – often mistaken for being the southernmost point of Africa and the spot where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, it is not. However, the Cape is the most southwestern point of Africa. The Cape of Good Hope is a narrow peninsula jutting out into the ocean and with this landscape comes lots of wind and unpredictable weather. The best thing to do is to just enjoy the natural wild beauty of the place with a possible hike up to the New Cape Point Lighthouse.
- Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach – this picturesque area with enormous boulders dividing small sandy coves, is home to a colony of some 3000 delightful African penguins.
- Chapmans Peak – is the name of a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula between Hout Bay and Noordhoek in Cape Town. The western flank of the mountain falls sharply for hundreds of meters into the Atlantic Ocean, and a spectacular road, known as Chapman’s Peak Drive, hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain.
- Street Photography – experience the rich street culture and eclectic neighborhoods of Cape Town first-hand with local street artists.
Our home base in Cape Town will be the Maartens guesthouse located in the luxurious residential area of Fresnaye between Camps Bay and the city bowl on the slopes of Lions Head. Enjoy the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and sights of glorious villas that charming Fresnaye offers.
Tuition & Payment Terms
What’s Included in Your Tuition:
- Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
- All meals during the workshop including a formal celebration dinner our last evening in Victoria Falls
- Your ground transportation from Hoedspruit Airport, South Africa (HDS) to Timbavati upon your arrival in South Africa
- Your round trip flight from Johannesburg (JNB) to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (VFA)
- All transportation during the workshop
- Workshop course materials
- In-the-field photographic guidance and instruction
- Image reviews and post-production classes
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required)
What’s Not Included in Your Tuition:
- Your (air) travel to and from South Africa
- Passport and visa fees
- Travel/Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended)
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Anything not listed specifically as included
- The group size for both the South Africa Botswana Photo Safari and the Cape Town Add-On Excursion is limited from 4 to 6 students ensuring a high level of personal interaction, planning, and guidance with your photographic leader.
- Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Your space in the workshop is not confirmed until your deposit has been received: a $4,000 non-refundable deposit for the photo safari and/or a $500 non-refundable deposit for the Cape Town Add-On Excursion. You may enroll and pay your tuition online or by phone at (800) 211-4208. We accept check, Paypal, and most credit cards.
- Full tuition must be paid a minimum of 90 days before the start of your workshop. Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just contact us.
- These payments are non-refundable under any circumstances which is why we recommend that you get trip cancellation insurance. Our workshops take place on Federal, State, and muncipal lands which require substantial planning, insurance, investment, and permits. If you wish to protect your investment in the workshop and travel costs, you may wish to investigate travel insurance with a carrier such as Travelex. All of our other standard Terms and Conditions apply.
- Registrations made 90 days or less prior to the start of the workshop must be paid in full and are subject to the same cancellation policies stated herein.
- Please do not make air travel arrangements for a workshop until checking with us first.
- If we need to cancel a workshop for some reason you will be given a 60-day notice and receive a full refund of all payments.
- If you are on a waiting list, you will not be charged a deposit fee or tuition until space becomes available for you and you confirm your desire to register.
African Photo Safari – What to Expect
Our days will start early, before sunrise. After a quick cup of coffee or tea, we’ll be off for our first game drive of the day when the animals are just starting to stir in the best light of the day. We’ll stay out for several hours depending on the sightings. After a mid-drive coffee break, we’ll continue on until mid-to-late morning. We’ll typically have breakfast in the field to maximize our game-viewing and photographing time. We’ll explore different approaches to scene visualization, ground/sky/sea compositions, and how to manage complex highlight and shadow scenes using techniques such as dynamic bracketing, focus stacking, framing, and neutral density filters.
Back in camp, we’ll have time for off-loading memory cards, one-on-one instruction, or time to relax. We’ll spend time developing your post-production workflow – learning when Lightroom is enough and when you need to move your work into Photoshop – using techniques such as luminosity masks to create and solve contrast, color, and blending issues. Then, in the mid-to-late afternoon, we’ll head out again for another game drive, chasing the best sightings. After a full day of shooting, it will be time to enjoy a hot shower, share drinks with the group by a campfire, and have dinner.
We’ll have the same private guides, drivers, and vehicles throughout our entire safari. Each photographer will have their own “row” in the vehicle (a center aisle in between the two bucket seats by each window) so you’ll have plenty of personal space to stow your gear and shoot the action from any angle – both while seated inside the vehicle and when standing through the sky roof.
Our accommodations have been selected for comfort, knowledgeable and friendly staff, great food, and convenience to our locations for photographing animals in the African wild. We’ve also placed a major premium on exclusivity. You won’t find this workshop in areas where there are dozens of other vehicles at a sighting – you’ll feel like you own the reserves and that the animals are there just for you! Typical accommodations feature twin beds or queen bed, high thread-count linens, storage for clothing, sitting area, verandah, and en-suite bathrooms with toilets, hot water, and showers. Food in the camps is superb – you’ll enjoy both foods you are familiar with as well as local specialties. Special dietary needs can be accommodated.