South Africa/Botswana Photographic Safari

July 2015 (8 nights) (2 openings available)

GrantAtkinson-Mashatu-2013_0084In July 2015 Grant Atkinson and Steve Carr will lead a private group of photographers into South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Botswana’s Tuli Game Reserve.  This safari and workshop combines some of the finest wildlife photography anywhere, with extensive photographic and digital workflow instruction, together with high-quality accommodation.

Predators occur at high densities thoughout the Sabi Sands.  Malamala, our camp, is perfectly situated within the Sabi Sands reserve with game drive tracks on both sides of the Sand River, which is prime leopard habitat.

For the second part of this safari, we focus on the Tuli Game Reserve, located in the east of Botswana.  We will base ourselves out of Mashatu Main camp.  Game viewing around Mashatu is excellent with a high density of elephants just one of the highlights.  The terrain, which is a mixture of dry riverbeds, rocky outcrops and plains, provide superb habitat for leopards.  Other predators present here include lion, cheetah and spotted hyaena.

Safari Highlights

  • Prime lion and leopard viewing and all of Africa’s Big Five.
  • Game drives in open-sided 4×4 vehicles at MalaMala and Mashatu.
  • Safari is limited to 12 participants.
  • Grant Atkinson and Steve Carr will lead the group throughout.
  • This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in the Sabi Sand Reserve (world’s best leopard viewing) and Mashatu (great elephants and cats).
  • This safari is for enthusiasts who want to spend a maximum amount of their time out in the wildlife areas – we work hard to get great photos!
  • This itinerary focuses on up-close and real wildlife experiences from the surroundings of high-quality accommodations.

Is this Safari for You?

Here are some key points to help you decide:

  1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels.  The safari will be conducive to learning and will include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs.  No question is off limits, no enquiry too basic.
  2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most of our time and effort on safari activity and making images.  However we do meet daily to review images and discuss techniques.  This includes camera techniques as well as processing techniques.  This is not a ‘classroom-intensive’ trip.  Our ‘classroom’ sessions are entirely optional, though the review sessions are valuable.  During non-safari times I will be available to share my own workflow procedures, and to assist photographers with all aspects of image processing.  I work with Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Lightroom 5.
  3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses/traveling companions will enjoy these trips too.  All the safari activities are led by well-qualified guides, and the excursions into these pristine areas will be enjoyed regardless of whether one has a camera or not!

Itinerary

10-11 July 2015: (1 night)

D’Oreale Grande – Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

Stay close to the airport at the D’Oreale Grande at Emperor’s Palace.  On your arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport, and after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met by an Eyes On Africa representative, who will transfer you by road to the D’Oreale Grande.  The D’Oreale Grande at Emperor’s Palace is a five-star hotel, luxuriously adorned with hand-painted murals and frescos, marble floors, plush carpets and intricate mosaics.  The hotel features 196 beautifully designed and impeccably appointed rooms and suites that supremely comfortable.  All rooms incorporate air-conditioning, multi-channel satellite TV, complimentary wireless internet access (Wi-fi) and the convenience of 24-hour room service.  Guests can dine at the elegant, conservatory-styled Aurelia’s restaurant, or meet and relax in the private enclaves of the reception area as well as the lounge and cocktail bar.

Next morning, after breakfast (included) our group will transfer back to OR Tambo airport where we will catch our scheduled Federal Air flight to Malamala airstrip.  From the airstrip it is just a short drive through the reserve to our camp for the next four days.

11-15 July 2015 (4 Nights)

Malamala Main Camp – Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Malamala regularly provides some of the finest game viewing in Southern Africa.  It has been the location for a large number of acclaimed international and local wildlife documentaries (including National Geographic).  Aside from buffalo, elephant and rhino, we can expect to see lion and leopard.  Other large carnivores like spotted hyaena, cheetah and African wild dogs are also sometimes encountered here.

We will spend 4 nights at Malamala Main Camp and enjoy private game drives with our own guide/drivers and vehicles throughout out stay.

Some of the reasons for Malamala phenomenal wildlife sightings are:

  1. Size and human habitation: 33,000 acres (13500 hectares) lie undisturbed, apart from the game drive that meander through each day.  Our vehicles will have just 4 guests per vehicle.  There is a very low number of people actually living within the reserve.  Only guests staying at one of the Malamala camps can enjoy this land.
  2. Wildlife is free to roam between the Greater Kruger Park and private reserves like Malamala that share an boundary with the park.
  3. Sound environmental management policies have long been practiced at Malamala.
  4. 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 lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.

Main Camp is built in such a way that views of the surrounding wilds can be fully appreciated.  Pathways wind their way along the perimeter of the camp to reveal individual ochre-coloured rooms tucked into the greenery which flanks the Sand River. Ancient trees are filled with bird song, and the occasional antelope or elephant makes its appearance from from to time.

Main Camp comprises 18 rooms.  Camp facilities include:

  • The 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 called the Monkey Club.
  • A large wooden deck, in the shade of an ebony 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 artifacts.
  • A small fitness facility with stationary bicycle, treadmill, multi-gym machine, sit-up benches, pull-up bar, free weights 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.

15-18 July 2015 (3 nights)

Mashatu Main Camp – Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Block

After our morning game drive at MalaMala we depart by air from Mala Mala and land at Polokwane Airport (approx. 55-min flight). Here we will clear customs and immigration out of South Africa. Thereafter we depart by air from Polokwane and land at Limpopo Valley Airstrip near Mashatu (approx. 45-min flight). Here we clear customs and immigration into Botswana.

We will spend the next three nights at Mashatu Main camp with private game drives and our own driver/guides and vehicles for the duration of our stay.

Mashatu Game Reserve is a place rich in history and legend, and 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.

The excitement of Mashatu has not changed over time. It is still home to large herds of elephant,  giraffe, eland and wildebeest.  There are leopard, prides of lion, packs of spotted hyaena and sometimes cheetah.  Along the river courses, huge Mashatu trees dominate the ribbon of forest and provide shade and shelter for wildlife.

Mashatu provides a refuge for the largest single population of elephant on privately-owned land.  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 600.

Mashatu Main Camp is the larger and more luxurious of Mashatu’s camps. The camp offers 14 spacious and tastefully 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.

18 July 2015

Safari Ends

Today after our final morning at Mashatu, we will be transferred by road to Pont Drift (approx. 1 hour drive).  Here we clear customs and immigration out of Botswana and cross the Limpopo River into South Africa.  After crossing the river we clear customs and immigration into South Africa.  Next we transfer by road back to Polokwane (approx.. 2.5 hour drive).  Upon reaching Polokwane we board our scheduled flight (approximately 45 mins) flight to OR Tambo Airport and Johannesburg

NOTE:

Customized extensions to this safari, including any additional nights on safari or in Johannesburg and/or add-on days in Botswana, Victoria Falls and other destinations may be arranged.  Ask for further information.

Costs

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $8,900 per person. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals (except as noted above and in exclusions below). Single rooms are available in Johannesburg and possibly available at MalaMala and Mashatu, each at extra cost; please inquire if you are interested.

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.

NOTES

  • This safari starts in Johannesburg (July 10) and ends in Johannesburg (July 18).
  • Gratuities for guides, staff and trip leader are recommended to be paid in cash.
  • Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Johannesburg and the safari camps for any optional expenditures during the trip as needed.

 

Inclusions and Exclusions

What is included

  • Accommodation on a shared basis (singles are available in Johannesburg and possibly available at MalaMala and Mashatu, each at extra cost).
  • 2x trip leaders/photography guides (Steve and Grant).
  • Private safari vehicles and all private/exclusive safari activities at MalaMala and Mashatu.
  • Air transfers from Johannesburg to MalaMala, MalaMala to Polokwane and Polokwane to Johannesburg.
  • Private road transfers between Polokwane and Mashatu.
    (Luggage allowance for Johannesburg to MalaMala and MalaMala to Polokwane: 25 kgs.)
  • Scheduled flight from Polokwane to Johannesburg-ORT.
    (Luggage allowance on commercial flight from Polokwane to JNB-ORT: 20 kgs. Extra luggage should be allowable but at extra cost to guest at check-in.)
  • Private transfers to/from the airports and the hotel in Johannesburg.
  • All meals (drinks extra) at MalaMala and Mashatu.
  • Daily laundry at MalaMala and Mashatu.
  • Breakfast in Johannesburg on Day 2.
  • Meet & Assist service on arrival in Johannesburg.
  • The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Tax.

 

What is not included

  • International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Johannesburg.
  • All meals and drinks in Johannesburg (except as noted in Inclusions above).
  • Drinks at both safari camps.
  • Laundry and extras at Johannesburg hotel.
  • All gratuities (i.e., safari camp guides and staff, trip leader).
  • Visas.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
  • Pre- and post- safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari.

Please read our Safari Code of Ethics and Conduct.

 

How do I signup?

The group size is small (maximum of 12 participants), so space is limited. If this exciting safari has your name on it and you’re excited by the thought of joining on this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this trip and when the spots are spoken for, that’s it. If you have any questions before registering,  please send me an e-mail with any inquiries.

Gallery

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