Predator Safari in South Africa - November 2010
About The Photographic Safari
In November 2010, Andy Biggs will lead a private group of photographers into South Africa's Sabi Sand Game Reserve to look for and photograph predators - specifically leopards and lions. The predator densities in the Sabi Sand are some of the highest anywhere, and we have selected two camps to create a private safari geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing.
South Africa is a beautiful and diverse country with exotic culture and breathtaking wildlife. Filled with magnificent and picturesque landscapes, South Africa is truly a remarkable destination to experience an African Safari.
It's About Photography — Lots of it!
This workshop will be very informal and fun. Andy Biggs will be shooting alongside you at all times. We will have discussion and assistance on specialized topics such as, for example, long lens technique, projection flash usage, action shooting, wildlife observation, field craft and east African animal behavior. Advanced techniques will be constantly discussed, demonstrated and put into practice.
This workshop is about shooting. Lots of shooting. There will be no classroom sessions, no lectures, no slide shows, and most importantly, no unnecessary egos. We will all work closely together, sharing our knowledge and experience.
Because of the unique location of this workshop, and the luxury accommodations, this workshop adventure is open to spouses as well as photographers. Even non-photographers will find the locales visited and the wildlife viewing opportunities to be thrilling. The cost for non-photographers is the same as for active participants.
• We have private vehicles throughout the entire safari, with only 1 person per row of seating (the vehicles have 3 rows behind the driver, plus a seat next to the driver if you want to be lower down to the ground.)
• Safari is limited to 7 participants - very exclusive.
• Up to 40 kg's (88 pounds) of luggage allowance. This is twice the normal luggage allowance to account for the heavy camera equipment needed.
• Top guides at each camp will accompany us on game drives at both camps.
• This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in some of the best areas for predators in Southern Africa.
• This itinerary focuses on a real wildlife experience with predators being our main focus - all from the surroundings of your premier accommodations.
• The Sabi Sand Game Reserve - undoubtedly the best wildlife location in South Africa.
• Game viewing is done in open 4x4 vehicles, allowing for the very best photographic opportunities.
Is This Safari For You?
Here are some key points to help you decide:
1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.
2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort on safari activity and making images. We do meet daily to review images and discuss technique, but this is not a “classroom-intensive” trip. Our "classroom sessions" are optional (although the review sessions are valuable and there is not a more beautiful classroom).
3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (boating, walks, etc.) are also available at any time.
October 30 - Depart home country (or earlier if you wish to arrive early).
October 31 - November 1 (1 night) - Peermont Mondior Hotel - Emperor's Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa
Stay near the airport at the Peermont Mondior Hotel. On your arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met by our local representative, who will assist you with your baggage and transport you to check in at the hotel. Dinner will be at a nearby restaurant (own expense) with the rest of the group.
Emperor's Palace is a sensational hotel, casino and convention resort that combines timeless classical elegance and sheer excitement, conveniently situated alongside Johannesburg International Airport. This new 150-key, four-star hotel is furnished with contemporary elegance and offers wireless high-speed Internet access in all public areas, including the Business Centre and Lounge, and wired (cable) high-speed Internet connections in all the rooms.
The next morning enjoy breakfast (included) at Oriana, the delightful breakfast restaurant on the ground floor, overlooking the gardens and the Convention Centre and comprises of 148 seats in the main area as well as 72 in a separate smoking section. After breakfast the group will transfer back to O.R. Tambo airport, where we will catch our Chilli Pepper Charters flight to the Exeter airstrip in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. From the airstrip, it is a short drive to the camp.
November 1 - 5 (4 nights) - Exeter River Lodge - Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
Adjacent to the world renowned Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is famed for its intimate wildlife encounters, particularly leopard viewing. Home to a host of wildlife, including the Big Five, the Sabi Sand is part of a conservation area that covers over two million hectares (almost five million acres), an area equivalent to the state of New Jersey and larger than some independent countries.
With no boundary fences between it and the world renowned Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand enjoys an abundance of diverse wildlife. The entire Big Five is well represented, and other rare animals, such as the cheetah and hyena are often sighted. Various antelope species, from impala, waterbuck and duiker to kudu, bushbuck and nyala can also be seen. However, it is the leopard that is the real star of the show, with the area well known for some of the best leopard experiences in Africa. This shy and elusive animal, normally the most solitary of the African cats is often viewed both in daylight hours and during game drives.
Game drives traverse an area of 10 000 hectares (24 700 acres) and strict vehicle limits at sighting ensure the exclusivity of your game viewing experience. Off-road driving ensures that you have the best possible view of any exceptional sighting and rangers are constantly in touch with each other to keep track of animal movements.
Exeter River Lodge is tucked away in a quiet corner of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve’s western sector, right on the edge of the Sand River. It consists of eight luxury suites with dramatic close up views of the River. Each air conditioned suite features generous spaces, elegant ensuite bathrooms with twin hand basins, separate w.c., bath, indoor and outdoor showers. Private plunge pools are surrounded by spacious decks that overlook the river.
River Lodge’s magnificently positioned guest sitting and dining areas overlook the Sand River, and are filled with deep sofas perfect for whiling away the hours between game drives. A giant sausage tree provides shade for long, lazy afternoon lunches. Delicious Pan African meals are shared in the open air boma or at romantic candlelit bush dinners. The Lodge has a Safari Shop.
November 5 - 9 (4 nights) - Malamala Main Camp - Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
After our morning game drive at Exeter, we will be transferred by road to MalaMala. The drive is a short one.
MalaMala promises some the finest game viewing on the African sub-continent and regularly provides the subject matter for a veritable collection of international and local wildlife documentaries (including National Geographic). Many of these documentaries have won international accolades amidst critical acclaim. Several publications are available, showcasing the treasures that make the property one of the most sought-after on any traveler's itinerary.
It is a near-impossible task to bring to life a MalaMala safari through the written word, but the annual statistics published by the property serve to prove the frequency and consistency of Big 5 sightings experienced by visitors.
Why such phenomenal viewing success? Simply put, it’s due to:
1. Size and human habitation: 33000 acres (13 500 hectares) lie undisturbed, but for two safaris which meander through the wild with no more than 6 silent observers per vehicle each day (note - our safari will have just 4 guests per vehicle). Human densities which have a direct impact on the environment have been kept to an absolute minimum. Only guests accommodated at one of the MalaMala camps enjoy this privately-owned game land.
2. MalaMala has practiced sound environmental management policies for years, well before “responsible tourism became the contemporary catch phrase.
3. Photographic safaris are conducted in open 4-wheel drive vehicles, allowing for total freedom of movement and the ability to leave the road and track down Africa's unique animals including the legendary Big Five - Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo.
Every aspect of the Main Camp is designed to appreciate and enjoy the view of the surrounding wilds. Pathways wind their way along the perimeter of the camp to reveal individual ochre colored units tucked into the greenery which flanks the Sand River. Massive trees and rolling green lawns are filled with birdsong, with the occasional antelope or elephant which seeks the succulence of greenery.
The camp comprises 18 rooms. The camp facilities include:
• The impressive lounge, air-conditioned dining room and historic bar are conducive to good companionship - safari style;
• Air-conditioned library with satellite television, internet connectivity and DVD player - affectionately referred to as the Monkey Club;
• A large wooden safari deck, in the shade of a Jackalberry Tree - the ideal vantage point from which to observe the steady flow of animal life at the Sand River's edge;
• A large filtered infinity pool with magnificent views across the river;
• A well-appointed safari boutique with quality clothing, jewellery and artefacts;
• A small fitness facility with stationary bicycle, treadmill, multigym machine, rowing machine, sit up benches, pull up bar, free weights, mats and a steam room;
• A massage service is available on request;
• A fully stocked wine-cellar houses a selection of some of South Africa's finest wines.
After our morning game drive, we will board our Chilli Pepper air charter back to Johannesburg. International flights may be scheduled to depart that evening to home destinations or an additional night hotel stay can be arranged for you upon request (recommended). See note below regarding travel extensions.
November 9 - Johannesburg & Flight Home
NOTE: Customized extensions to this safari, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and other destinations may be arranged through Eyes on Africa as desired. Ask us for further information.
The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $11,995 per person (inclusive of round-trip airfare from Johannesburg to our safari camps). The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals (except for dinner on the first night in Johanneburg).
Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then a single supplement will be charged. As long as a guest is willing to share, no single supplement will be charged, even if no match is available.
Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.
• Accommodation on a shared basis
• Round-trip airfare on Chilli Pepper Charters between Johannesburg, South Africa and the safari camps in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
• Ground transport between the two safari camps.
• 40 kg's luggage allowance on the Chilli pepper air charters.
• 2 x Private vehicles at all camps (4 participants per vehicle).
• 1 x Professional photographer leading the trip (Andy Biggs)
• All safari activities.
• Services of the lodge guides & staff.
• Relevant park fees.
• All meals, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, and refreshments on game drives at the safari camps.
• Daily laundry at the safari camps (not in Johannesburg).
• The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Taxes.
What is Not Included?
• International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Johannesburg.
• Travel Insurance.
• Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
• Pre- and post- safari tours.
• Dinner on 31-October. Note that we will plan to dine as a group on the first night (optional), but dinner is on your own account.
• Meals or accommodation before or after the safari (except as noted in the detailed itinerary).
What Do I Do Next?
Our groups are small, so space is limited to only 7 participants. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.