Ultimate Africa Photo Safari 2021
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Intermediate Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs, Professionals
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: You need to be experienced with your camera to make suggested setting changes in the field without hands-on assistance and comprehend the rationale behind the recommended settings (including exposure mode, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, focus mode, white balance, assessing histogram and highlight information, and making corresponding exposure compensation changes). This safari is not an opportunity to learn how to use your camera.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Participants must be in good health. You must be able to carry your gear without assistance. There will be no exceptions to these requirements.
Participants will be required to sign the Kathleen Reeder Wildlife Photography Risk Waiver.
Join me for an exclusive African 16 day/14 night safari in South Africa and Botswana. The safari caters to 6 photographers only.
If you’ve always wanted to go on a photo safari, you should seriously consider this adventure. This will be 7th trip to Africa. I’ve scouted a lot of locations in Africa and this line up is the best! This may be my last safari in Africa, because I want to scout new destinations on North America.
Botswana’s Tuli Game Reserve and South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve with professional wildlife photographer, instructor and author Kathleen Reeder. MalaMala and Mashatu offer the most concentrated geographic opportunities to photograph the BIG SEVEN (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, rhino, cheetah and wild dog) in a non-touristy way in all of Africa. This safari caters to 6 photographers only. It includes exclusive use of two open vehicles, providing each photographer with a full vehicle row for viewing, equipment and set up. At Mashatu, it also includes exclusive use of an underground photographic hide for 2 sunrise sessions, designed and built especially for photographers, offering eye level photography while wildlife visits the waterhole. References from previous clients are available upon request.
- 1 night Johannesburg upon arrival and an additional night mid-safari (South Africa)
- 2 nights at Ukutula Lion Conservation Center (South Africa)
- 3 nights at Mashatu Main Camp Private Reserve (Botswana)
- 5 nights at MalaMala Main Camp Private Reserve (South Africa)
- 3 nights at Tiger Canyon (South Africa) – the only population of wild tigers outside of Asia
- Charter flights JNB > Mashatu > MalaMala > JNB with additional cabin space for each photographer’s camera bag, over and above the standard weight limits for checked and carry-on bags
- All lodging, meals and ground transportation
- 2 private vehicles throughout the safari giving each photographer a full row in the vehicle
- 2 Morning Photographic Hide Sessions – An entire hide has been sunk into the ground right next to a waterhole that is in prime elephant habitat. Inside, seating is arranged so that viewers’ heads are at ground level.
- Morning and evening game drives. Reserves allow our vehicles to go off-road, critical to following predators
- 3 exclusive early morning and late afternoon walks with African lions – photograph at eye level
- Opportunities after dark to capture dynamic back-lit and side-lit predator images
- Some of Africa’s highest concentration of predators offering fantastic opportunities to photograph the Big 7 plus tigers
- Kathleen’s instruction and guidance
- Comprehensive preparation materials upon registration.
- Online webinar 6 months prior to departure to review all preparation materials.
- Online webinar 60 days prior to departure to review recommended camera settings for various lighting and wildlife situations and to share a collection of photos taken at each destination.
- Guidance during the safari in adjusting camera settings for various situations, using flash and reviewing images on the back of the camera.
- International air transportation to/from Johannesburg JNB Airport
- South African Airways RT flight to Bloemfontein (**each of us would book our own flight with direction from Kathleen) – approximate: $250 for main cabin
- Trip Insurance (recommend Allianz or Travel Guard). Note that it is essential to purchase trip insurance within 14 days of making the first payment of the trip.
- Tips/Gratuities ($50 per day is recommended for tipping)
- Day 1 Meet-n-Greet at Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport, South Africa
- Day 2-3 Ground transport to Ukutula Lion Conservation Center
- Day 4-6 Charter flight to Mashatu Private Game Reserve, Botswana
- Day 7-11 Charter flight to MalaMala Private Game Reserve, South Africa
- Day 12 Charter flight to Johannesburg
- Day 13-15 Flight to Tiger Canyon, South Africa
- Day 16 Flight to Johannesburg – Departures
$16,215 per person, based on double occupancy
Payment #1: $4,815 due upon registration
Payment #2: $3,000 due Jan 30, 2021
Payment #3: $3,000 due April 30, 2021
Payment #4: $5,400 due July 30, 2021
- All payments are non-refundable
- Single supplement lodging is not available
- Trip insurance with Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) is the best protection
Tsogo Garden Court International OR Tambo
Stay close to the airport at the Tsogo Sun Garden Court. On your arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport, and after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met by a hotel representative, who will transfer you by road to the Tsogo Sun Garden Court.
Mashatu Private Game Reserve
Mashatu Game Reserve comprises 72,000 acres of privately owned land in the conserved wilderness area known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. The reserve lies in the eastern extremity of Botswana where the great Limpopo and Shashe Rivers converge. This exceptionally diverse landscape includes wide open plains, grassland, riverine forests, rocky hills, marshland and majestic sandstone ridges.
Mashatu, “Land of Giants”, takes its name from the locally sacrosanct Mashatu or Nyala berry tree and the giants that roam its terrain. These magnificent dark green trees, which are found along the rivers in the reserve, provide refuge, shade and food to a myriad of wildlife. Mashatu, which is one of the largest privately owned game reserves in southern Africa, avails a sanctuary to the largest herds of elephant on privately owned land on the continent. In addition to that, the world’s tallest mammal, the giraffe, the world’s largest antelope, the eland, the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, and the world’s heaviest flying bird, the kori- bustard are all part of the game drive experience on Mashatu. Add the king of the beasts, the lion and the iconic baobab tree…and you have Africa’s big seven land based giants.
Because of the exceptional diversity of landscapes of the reserve, Mashatu enjoys an ecological biodiversity uncommon in other game reserves. Three members of the Big Five, namely the leopard, the lion and the elephant are complimented by many other interesting species, in. For bird photographers, Mashatu is home to more than 350 bird species, including the enchanting lilac-breasted roller. The lilac breasted roller is Botswana’s national bird and has striking plumage made up of eight different colors.
Photographic hides are sunk into the ground right next to a waterhole that is in prime elephant habitat. It is located on a major elephant thoroughfare on route to shade on the banks of the Rivers where the elephant wait out the heat of the midday sun. Shortly after sunrise, when the mornings heat up, the elephant herds pass the hide and drink. Inside, seating is arranged so that photographers’ heads are at ground level. Elephants tower above photographers as they splash and drink in the water as close as 10 feet away. The hide is a strong metal structure and totally elephant-proof allowing for total peace of mind. Many other species also visit the water hole.
Mammals and reptile on Mashatu Private Game Reserve include Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Blue Wildebeest, Bushbuck, Common Duiker, Eland, Impala, Klipspringer, Kudu, Steenbok, Waterbuck, Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Cape Fox, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Zebra, African Wild Cat, Caracal, Serval, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Aardwolf, Spotted Hyena, Brown Hyena, Porcupine, Thick-tailed Bushbaby, Lesser Bushbaby, Cape Clawless Otter, Honey Badger, Striped Polecat, Sprinhare, Tree Squirrel, Bushpig, Warthog, African Civet, Large / Small-spotted Genet, Banded Mongoose, Selous Mongoose, Slender Mongoose, White-tailed Mongoose, Antbear, Pangolin, Rock Dassie, Yellow-spotted Rock Dassie, Scrub Hare, Common African Python, Leopard Tortoise, Nile Crocodile, Tree Monitor, Water Monitor.
Our accommodations at Mashatu will be at the Mashatu Main Camp. For the client who is accustomed to luxury, this camp will meet every expectation. 14 luxury suites lie along the camp’s perimeter and are designed to allow absolute privacy and a communion with the bush and its inhabitants. Watch elephants splashing at the waterhole, listen to the lyrical melody of the woodlands kingfisher on a branch overhead, smell the grassy scent of the bushveld, and touch the bark of an ancient tree and inhale a breath of air so pure, it’s intoxicating. Each of the air-conditioned suites at Mashatu Main Camp is tastefully decorated and includes impressive black and white prints of Africa’s most beautiful animals.
MalaMala Private Game Reserve
MalaMala Game Reserve is the first commercial private game reserve in South Africa and is the model on which all other private game reserves now operate. MalaMala’s river frontage running north to south is the lifeblood of the reserve, especially in the dry winter months. It is also an important boundary between the areas of human habitation on the western bank of the river and the pristine wilderness area of MalaMala on the eastern side between the river and the Kruger National Park. When animals move it is often due to water. Wildlife moves from the 4 million acres east of the Sand River, through MalaMala to the river and back again resulting in two way traffic across the reserve.
MalaMala is the oldest and largest private game reserve in the area. Due to the superior environmental policies of MalaMala over a long period of time, the land has remained fairly undisturbed resulting in prolific abundance of tertiary grasses. This attracts the herbivores which in turn attracts the predators.
When grass and ground is disturbed the resultant grass species to first grow up are known as pioneering species. Due to these grasses having to grow in tough areas they tend to be bitter to taste and not very palatable. If left undisturbed several grass species will grow in that area until the tertiary species finally grow through. Animals enjoy this sweet grass the best and will therefore stay in an area which has the most tertiary species of grasses. There is no time limit on sightings which is an ideal scenario for photographers – no ‘queue to view’ as this enormous tract of land has a low density of vehicles traversing the area.
Our accommodations at MalaMala will be the MalaMala Main Camp that has ten luxury rooms. Camp facilities include:
- Mobile phone coverage (MTN) and complimentary wireless internet connectivity
- An impressive lounge, air-conditioned dining room and historic bar
- Library with satellite television and complimentary internet connectivity
- Large safari deck, in the shade of a Jackalberry tree at the Sand River’s edge
- Safari boutique with quality clothing, jewelry and artifacts
Ukutula Conservation Center
Ukutula is known worldwide for its conservation through research and education. It is the first private facility in South Africa to be certified to collect blood, semen and hair samples from lions, cheetahs, elephant and rhino for the purpose of storing the samples in a BioBank on its property for genetic research and to ensure the future of these species.
Ukutula owners Willi and Gill Jacobs host more than two thousand school children each year who participate in their educational program. Ukutula has hosted several research projects including the white gene project that was published in Nature Communications.
This is the exclusive destination where you have the opportunity to be close to lions of all ages, including interacting with young lions and walking with lions up to 3 years of age. The photography opportunity is fantastic. Predator residents include lion, cheetah, hyena, tiger, serval and caracal. In addition, the unspoiled bushveld has giraffe, zebra, a variety of antelope, crocodile and more than 130 different bird species. Ukutula will lift your spirits and enable you to create your best up-close lion and cheetah photos ever. Each person/couple will lodge in a private chalet on Ukutula’s property.
Tiger Canyon (also referred to as Tiger Canyons) is an hour plane ride from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein in South Africa, then a 2.5 hr drive to Philippolis. It’s purpose is to create awareness about the tiger’s struggle to survive. John Varty established Tiger Canyons. Varty is now permanently at Londolozi (which borders MalaMala).
Tiger Canyon has 17 tigers (e.g., 3 white tigers) and 7 cheetahs. There are serval (medium size nocturnal cat) and prey species (e.g., wildebeest, antelope, zebra, etc). The tigers and cheetahs are in different areas of the property, and both hunt for their own food. The property offers photographs of all of these animals during game drives, including tigers swimming and tigers on stunning rock formations.
Guests stay at Tigress Julie Lodge at Tiger Canyon. Lodging includes all meals and morning and afternoon game drives. There are 3 guest rooms, so a small remote lodge. As a group, we will be fully occupying the lodge.