African Wildlife Photography Boot Camp

August 3-12, 2010

Safari Leaders: Andy Biggs and E.J. Peiker

Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for more workshop and safari dates.

Lion Siblings, Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa

African Wildlife Photography Boot Camp

Welcome to the African Wildlife Photography Boot Camp, intended for those who would like to learn about or improve their African wildlife photography skills. This unique safari will take place in the southern African countries of Botswana and South Africa, and will emphasize maximizing great photography and learning opportunities.

This safari will be a combination of morning and afternoon game drives, mid-day lectures, evening slide shows and critiques. We will repeat the schedule each day, working one on one with all participants to foster a better understanding of wildlife photography. We will have discussion and assistance on specialized topics such as long lens technique, projection flash usage, action shooting, wildlife observation, field craft and African animal behavior. Advanced techniques will be constantly discussed, demonstrated and put into practice. The end goal is for all participants to end up with new skills to help elevate their African wildlife photography, as well as coming home with excellent photographs.

This workshop is about shooting. Lots of shooting. We will be taking over the use of two lodges, which means we will have a completely private safari where we will relax, learn, photograph by ourselves and enjoy our surroundings. We also have secured private charter aircraft for this safari, with virtually unlimited weight allowances per person, allowing us to bring all of our camera gear.

Because of the unique location of this workshop and the luxury accommodations, this workshop adventure is open to 12 photographers as well as 4 spouses. Non-photographers will find the locales visited and the wildlife viewing opportunities to be thrilling.

Safari Highlights

* We have private vehicles throughout the entire safari, with only 1 person per row of seating (except for the sharing spouses / partners - see details below).

* A very liberal amount of weight per person of up to 100 pounds. Bring as much gear as you can! Standard weight allowance is typically only 44 pounds by comparison, but we have secured extra seats on the inter-camp charters.

* This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in some of the best areas in Southern Africa.

* This itinerary focuses on a real wildlife experience from the surroundings of your premier accommodations.

* The reserves you will visit offer an insight to the fantastic wildlife in in both of the prime areas we will visit.

* Game viewing is done in open 4x4 vehicles and you will be led by some of the leading guides in Botswana and South Africa.

Yawning Lioness

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, discuss technique, and have informal lectures on many topics related to African wildlife photography. This safari is intended for those who wish to increase the quality of their photography, and will have more instruction than our standard digital safaris.

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.

The Schedule

August 3 to August 4 (1 night) Metcourt Laurel Hotel - Emperor's Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

Stay near the airport at the Metcourt Laurel Hotel. On your arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met by our local representative, who will assist you across the terminal and to check in at the hotel.

Emperors Palace is a sensational hotel, casino and convention resort that combines timeless classical elegance and sheer excitement, conveniently situated alongside Johannesburg International Airport. This 80-key, three-star select-services Metcourt Laurel hotel offers you cozy, comfortable and affordable accommodation and delightful service. All Metcourt guests enjoy breakfast at the charming Primavera Restaurant and access to all Emperors Palace’s magnificent variety of facilities.

The group will transfer back to O.R. Tambo airport the next morning, where we will be met by a representative from Swift Flite off their inbound flight, assisted with our luggage and escorted to our private charter plane for the 1-hour flight to Mashatu Game Reserve in southern Botswana.

August 4 - 8 (4 Nights) Mashatu Main Camp - Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Block, Botswana

Mashatu Game Reserve, an area of history and legend, offers some of the most exciting game viewing in Africa. It is a place of exceptional beauty where one can explore the rugged, unspoiled African landscapes either in the comfort of open 4-wheel drive vehicles, on a walking safaris, on mountain bicycles, or horse back, guided by expert rangers and experienced trackers. In addition to the game experience, Mashatu offers a view of Africa, unchanged since the days of early visitors such as Kipling, Selous and artist/explorer Sir Thomas Baines. Historic and archaeological sites abound; notable are the Motloutse Ruins and the Pitsani Koppie sites.

The excitement of Mashatu has not changed over time. It is still home to large herds of elephant, prides of lion and cheetah. Along the river courses, huge Mashatu trees provide shade for eland, impala, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra, while at night, the bat-eared fox, African Wildcat and the magnificent leopard search for prey. Some 366 species of birds may be seen. Mashatu Game Reserve proudly provides a refuge for the largest, single population of elephant on privately owned land in Africa. Known as the relic herds of Shashe, these elephants are the last living testament to the great herds that once populated the meandering Limpopo valley. Today, the population on Mashatu Game Reserve alone, is estimated to number in excess of 500.

Mashatu Main Camp is the larger and more luxurious of Mashatu's camps and our group is taking sole use of the entire camp for our 4-day stay.

Completely refurbished during 2002/3, the camp offers 14 tastefully and authentically decorated suites. Each suite is furnished with two three-quarter beds, a day bed, expansive en-suite bathroom with shower, bath, his and hers basins, and a second W.C.

Lions at MashatuA private lounge area overlooks the unfenced surrounding bush and 24-hour temperature control completes the comfort of each suite. Mashatu Main Camp is elevated around a waterhole and offers excellent game viewing opportunities from within the camp itself. The dining area, stunning day lounge and "Gin Trap" bar provide diverse lookouts from which to enjoy and appreciate the environment. Facilities within the camp include a swimming pool, an air-conditioned lounge and dining room and a lala-palm enclosed African boma, in which sumptuous dinners are savored under the magnificent African night sky and around a blazing fire. A well appointed curio shop complements the facilities.

The "pièce de résistance" at Main Camp is the Discovery Room: a base for the scientific research conducted at Mashatu and a magnifying glass though which the animals and history of Mashatu can be examined. A fascinating insight into the world that is Mashatu - the Land of the Giants.

Mashatu Main Camp offers a fully air-conditioned conference room (which we will make good use of), with seating for up to 48 delegates “Boardroom Style” and includes: VCR and TV monitors, overhead projectors, slide projectors, screens, flip charts and white boards. No additional charge is levied for the use of the conference room.

Our group will take over the entire camp and all five safari vehicles and guides will be at our disposal, as well as the entire Main Camp staff.

August 8 - 12 (4 Nights) Rattray's on Mala Mala - Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa

At nearly 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares) MalaMala Game Reserve is by far the largest piece of land within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve - the oldest conservancy of private game reserves in South Africa. Situated in the fabled Lowveld of Mpumalanga Province, MalaMala Game Reserve became the first of the tracts of privately owned game land to make the transition from hunting to photographic safaris.

But it is not just the sheer size of land that makes MalaMala so impressive. The 20 miles (32 kilometres) of open boundary, which MalaMala shares with the Kruger National Park, provides unimpeded access to animals from this world famous wildlife sanctuary. This essentially places MalaMala as part of a soon-to-be 12 or more million acres of pristine wilderness conservation area. Of constant appeal to the wildlife from the Kruger National Park is the vast array of habitat types within MalaMala - ranging from open savannahs to dense riparian zones and granite koppies. Perhaps the greatest attraction of all is the perennial Sand River – of which, approximately 36 kilometers soaks its’ way through MalaMala Game Reserve. The diversity of these habitats is the key factor behind the incredible complexity of fauna and flora for which MalaMala has become so famous, and is proven statistically by its game viewing – where it has become the exception rather than the rule for all members of the “Big 5” not to be seen on a single day on the property.

The Rattray’s camp experience is exclusive, with each of the eight comfortable suites occupying its own elevated site overlooking the Sand River. Filtered plunge pools complete each of the secluded verandahs and an outdoor dining area provides the ideal vantage point from which to enjoy bush cuisine in complete privacy. Each guest has the choice of remaining connected to the outside world from the sanctuary of their room via continuous internet connectivity (512k wireless link via sattelite connection) and satellite television.

Rattray's has a maximum capacity of 16 guests, utilizing 8 luxury suites called "khayas". Eack khaya has wooden floors with under-floor heating in the winter months and wooden ceilings. All khaya include separate his and hers luxury en-suite bathrooms and King-sized beds.

As at Mashatu, our group will take over the entire camp and all four safari vehicles and guides will be at our disposal, as well as the entire Rattray's Camp staff.

August 12

Following the early morning game drive, guests will be transferred to the MalaMala airstrip yo connect with our private charter flight to Johannesburg. The estimated time of departure depends on the guests outbound flight details from O.R. Tambo International Airport. A representative from Swift Flite will meet us at the MalaMala airstrip for the 50-minute flight to O.R. Tambo International Airport.

NOTE: Customized extensions to this safari, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and other destinations may be arranged as desired. Ask us for further information.

Lion in the Grass

The Cost

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $12,995 per person (inclusive of all airfare as described in the itinerary above). 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 intra-Africa ground and air transportation, as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals (meals in Johannesburg not included).

We also offer a 50% discount for a second spot if you would like to bring a guest who is willing to share a row on game drives with you or a safari tracker. This offer is limited to 4 slots only. The non refundable deposit for this trip 30% of the trip total.

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.

What's Included?

• Accommodation on a shared basis.

• All intra-Africa airfare and transfers as detailed in the itinerary above.

• Additional luggage allowances on all charter flights included in the itinerary.

• 5 x Private vehicles at Mashatu, 4 x Private vehicles at Rattray's.

• 1 x Professional Photographer leading the trip (Andy Biggs).

• 1 x additional Photographer / trip co-leader (James Weis).

• All safari activities.

• Sole use of the entire camp at both Mashatu and Rattray's.

• Services of the lodge guides & staff.

• Relevant park fees.

• All meals, snacks, teas and coffees.

• Daily laundry at Rattray's.

• 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.

• Visas.

• Travel Insurance.

• Bar service.

• Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)

• Optional extra activities at Mashatu (cycling, horse safari, etc.)

• Gratuities.

• Laundry service at Mashatu and in Johannesburg.

• Pre- and post- safari tours.

• Meals and drinks in Johannesburg.

• Accommodation before or after the safari.

What Do I Do Next?

Our groups are small, so space is limited. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this very unique safari, 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 info@andybiggs.com.