SAFARIS FAQ PAGE
The "BEST OF KRUGER PLUS BIG CATS" Photo Safari
runs with a maximum of 2 safari vehicles each with 3 photographers
and there is also space next to the driver for a non-photographer
partner or spouse.
Absolute maximum: 8 participants
"LIONS & LEOPARDS of MALA MALA"
will run with only 1 vehicle and only 3 photographers. Partners or spouses are welcome to join the safari at a discounted price but will have to share the bench seat with their photographer partner / spouse.
The "KRUGER & BIG CATS EXPLORER" photo safari will run with a maximum of 6 photographers in one safari vehicle with a maximum of 2 safari vehicles on the tour.
All tours to Kenya and Tanzania run with a maximum of 3
vehicles - 2 participants per vehicle - thus an absolute
maximum of 6 participants.
If your wife, husband or partner is not a photographer but
they enjoy wildlife and they enjoy joining you on your photo
trips, then they are very welcome to join you on safari.
They will only qualify for a discounted rate if they agree
to take the non-photographer seat in the vehicle. There
are 2 non-photographer seats available on the "Best
of Kruger plus Big Cats" safari and there are non
photographer seats available on the "Lions & Leopards
of MALA MALA" safari.
Your partner or spouse is welcome to join you on the Kenya
& Tanzania trips too but there is no special discounted
A non-photographer must be just as patient as the photographers
and whilst in the vehicle a non-photographer does not have
a say in where we go and how long we stay at sightings,
those decisions are only made by the photographers and guides.
YES there is always a risk and a visit to your GP will no
doubt end in him / her prescribing you malaria medication
for your trip. However the risk, although it is there, is
very minimal. Often our clients comment after the first few
days, "Wow I have not seen a single mosquito yet",
and that is usually the case. In the South African winter
months when it is cooler and dry there are very few, if any
mosquitos. (May to September). When the rains arrive in Nov
/ Dec then there are pools of water lying around and this
is where mosquitos breed. The risk increases slightly at this
time but it is still not major.
None of the WILD4 staff has yet contracted Malaria in the
Kruger area and touch wood, none of our clients over the past
7 years has either. The best thing to do is to try to prevent
getting bitten. Mosquito repellant is useful in the evenings
during the summer months and should be applied to bare skin.
The best is to cover up - wear long trousers and shirts with
sleeves in the evenings.
It is however best to go and see your doctor and take their
professional medical advice.
The same risks apply for Kenya & Tanzania
Credit cards are accepted
If using cash it is only acceptable to use ZAR (South
Credit Cards are accepted
It is also a good idea to have US$ dollars as this is
widely accepted. Small denomination notes are handy to
have and they must be no older than 2006 issue.
When using US$ dollars to pay for personal items you may
be given change in local currency
APPROXIMATE EXCHANGE RATES as
at April 2013 (please check a currency converter at the
time of your trip for a more accurate rate)
1 US$ = ZAR 8,90 South African Rands
1 US$ = KES 84.00 Kenyan Shillings
1 US$ = TZS 1615 Tanzanian Shillings
1 GB£ = ZAR 13,69 South African Rands
1 GB£ = KES 129 Kenyan Shillings
1 GB£ = TZS 2486 Tanzanian Shillings
1 EUR€ = ZAR 11,66 South African Rands
1 EUR€ = KES 110.00 Kenyan Shillings
1 EUR€ = TZS 2117 Tanzanian Shillings
short - ANY TIME is good. The Big Cats are of course impressive
to see and a highlight of anyone's safari. Due to their nature
they are less active during the day time. They can however
be seen in action during the day and it is a combination of
being in the right place at the right time and patience on
the part of the photographer which results in the best cat
None of the cats has a specific breeding season unlike a lot
of the herbivores. There is not a particular time of the year
for an abundance of young cats. ANY time of year can produce
excellent sightings of the big cats with their young.
South Africa uses a 220 - 240 volt system and wall
sockets take a 16 amp, round, 3 pin plug. All battery chargers
will be able to convert voltage correctly for you, but you
must make sure that your plug will fit the South African
system. More detailed information is available from us when
we send you your pre-tour documentation.
Both make use of a 220 volt system and the plug type is
exactly the same as the plugs used in the United Kingdom
(a 13 amp, square, 3 pin plug)
More detailed information is available from us when we send
you your pre-tour documentation.
WILD4 Photo Safaris offers a range of
comfortable accommodation - nothing overpriced and flashy
and nothing cheap and uncomfortable. We believe that it
is more important to be in the best locations to photograph
wildlife as this is where we spend the majority of our
time. All accommodation offers great food, comfortable
beds and electricity for recharging batteries. If you
want a PHOTO SAFARI with excellent photo
opportunities and comfortable accommodation then come
with us, if you want a luxury 5 star holiday then we suggest
you book with someone else.
can cater for special medical dietary requirements - please let us know at the time of booking. A small
surcharge may be necessary depending on your requirements.
On all other photo safaris, the catering is done by lodge
staff and we can inform them of your requirements. They
may or may not be able to cater for you specifically, in
which case you would need to select the food intems you
are permitted to eat from the menu provided.
served on the photo safaris is based on a western style diet.
There will be a mix of home cooked meals, packed breakfasts
with fruit & yoghurt; lunches with sandwiches; restaurant
meals and buffet style catering. The food on safari is always
Yes it is possible to drink the tap water at most locations
in South Africa - the best is to ask first.
NO - all water is off limits. Bottled water is readily available
and it is recommended that you only drink bottled water.
tipping guidelines will be sent to you along with your pre-tour
documentation. Tipping is a safari tradition but it is by
no means compulsory, and a tip should only be given if you
feel you have been given excellent service.
If you are happy with the service of the lodge staff and your
guide then they will very much welcome a tip.
Private Lodge staff: (kitchen staff & housekeeping) approx
ZAR 200 to ZAR 400
House Keeper in Kruger National Park: approx ZAR 100 per camp
Private Lodge Ranger & Kruger Guide: approx ZAR 100 per
participant per day
Tips are best paid in ZAR (South African Rand) or any major
Lodge / camp staff approx US$ 20 per person per lodge / camp
Driver Guide approx US$ 250 - $300 per person for duration
Tips are best paid in US$ (US dollars) or any major currency.
this will not be a problem at all. We use a very professional
company to do all of our extensions to other South African
or African destinations. Let us know what you would like to
do - preferably at the time of booking your safari with us,
so that we can match up internal connecting flights etc.,
does not really matter, feedback from previous clients shows
that they were very happy to do it at the beginning or at
the end. If you do it first then you will get a good warm
up before we head into the Kruger Park, and if you do it last
then we will concentrate a little harder on technique etc
during the first few days in the Kruger. The Big Cats will
be a nice way to finish off your safari.
National Park - NO
Big Cat Reserve - YES
Mala Mala Game Reserve - YES
Kenya & Tanzania - YES but only in some areas, otherwise
Does this matter ?
In some situations YES - especially to get a better sightings of the cats, but in the overwhelming majority
of situations where general game is concerned - NO
it is but it is a very delicate situation - ALWAYS ask permission
first, if your guide is with you - ask him first if it will
be possible. If you are on your own - please ask the person
politely if they would mind you taking a photo of them. In
Kenya & Tanzania it is regarded as very rude to point
a camera at a person without having their permission. On the
Kenya & Tanzania safaris there are opportunities to photograph
the local Masai people, but this is a very organized activity
and you will need to pay extra for the experience.
- all the vehicles we make use of are linked to other vehicles
via radio. This not only helps to broaden the search area,
but it is also important from a safety point of view, and
if we have a breakdown.
The owner of WILD4 - Stu Porter (a qualified nature guide and photographer) personally leads all of the safaris EXCEPT for the "KRUGER & BIG CATS EXPLORER" photo safari which is our budget friendly photo safari. This safari will be led by a freelance nature guide who knows how to look after the specific needs of photographers and who has worked with Stu before. He will have a good understanding of photographic concepts and will be able to help with these on a basic level.
photography, animal behaviour is extremely important to know as you can
learn to predict what the animal may do next. When you are
out in the field, your guides will point out animal behaviour and
interpret it for you so that you are better prepared and you
will begin to predict behaviour for yourself.
On all dual vehicle safaris Stu will alternate between the
vehicles each day to offer tuition and photo tips.
On the tours that Stu leads, tuition can include some or all of the following
key points of wildlife photography, such as digital histograms,
raw vs jpeg, composition, cropping, digital workflow, photoshop, night photography, timelapse
There are times when you may be in camp, for a midday
break - these times are also excellent
opportunities to have a one to one with Stu or to run through
any other aspect of wildlife photography, as a group. Stu
is there to guide you and to help you improve your photography
- take advantage of your time on safari - ask as many questions
as you like !
we can organize a hotel near the airport for you to stay at.
We recommend the EMPERORS PALACE which is a group of hotels
very close to the airport and it offers a range of rooms for
different budgets. There is also a great choice of restaurants
as well as a convenient shuttle bus to and from the airport.
You are welcome to book this yourself or we can do it for
it is possible to use your own sky miles for the internal
flights but it is important that you book on the same flight
as the other participants so that we can collect all the participants
at the same time from the airport. We will credit you the
amount the flight would have cost us on the day we would have
booked the flight for you ourselves. (usually straight after
we receive your tour deposit)
there are a few equipment items for hire - but these are only
available for the South African Photo Safaris. If you need
to hire equipment for the Kenyan or Tanzanian Photo Safaris then you will
have to arrange this yourself. Only CANON equipment is available.
Prices quoted above are per item PER DAY (Including your final day as a full day)
To secure the hire of any equipment items 50% of the total hire price must be paid along with your tour deposit.
IF YOU HAVE SIGNED UP FOR A SCHEDULED PHOTO SAFARI THEN YOU NEED TO HIRE THE EQUIPMENT FOR THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE SAFARI
eg: if you wanted to hire the 500mm f4 lens for a 13 day safari (Best of Kruger plus Big Cats) then you would need to pay US$ 60 x 13 = US$ 780
|NB** EQUIPMENT HIRE IS ONLY AVAILABLE FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN PHOTO SAFARIS
this is possible but only on the "Best of Kruger &
Big Cats" photo safari. The surcharge allows you exclusive
use of the safari vehicle in the Kruger National Park and
at the Big Cat Reserve.
The surcharge is based on either a couple wanting their own
private vehicle or a single photographer wanting his or her
own private vehicle.
PRICES can be found on the TOUR PAGE
are 4 main factors influencing your choice.
1) First is your budget. Safaris to Kenya & Tanzania are
more expensive than the ones to Kruger National Park. Different
style & standard of accommodation is used and park entrance
fees vary significantly.
2) Specific natural phenomena - is there something you just
have to see ? if so choose the best time to coincide with
3) Heat - do you enjoy the heat or do you prefer it to be
4) Thickness of the bush - if it is too thick it will be more
difficult to see & photograph the animals.
Broadly described, the Kruger area in South Africa has the
November to March - hot summer & the rainy season
April to October - milder and quite cold during mid winter
(June July) with very little rain. Progressively getting drier
& warmer in the build up to the first rains in late Oct
/ early Nov.
There is no specific migration season in the Kruger Park and
so a visit at any time will produce great photos. Migrant
birds are in bigger numbers at the end of the year - Nov &
Dec when the rains have begun. Vegetation in late September
is very dry and bare except for the lush greenery along the
The time to avoid if any, is Jan to March as this is when
the vegetation is at its thickest and animals are more difficult
to see, although the birds are excellent at this time of year.
More temparate throughout the year and milder. A distinctive
short rainy season in late Oct / Nov and Dec. The long rains
fall between late Feb and May. Migration season in the Masai
Mara - usually between July and late October. The massive
herds of wildebeest and zebra move into the Mara to eat the
thick grass that has grown up during the long rains. This
is the time to see the great migration, but it is also the
busiest tourist season & therefore the most expensive
time to visit Kenya. Visiting in Nov / Dec & Jan is also
very good as the grass is not yet tall and thick, the reserves
are quieter and there are still many resident animals to photograph.
The time to avoid would be March through to late June when
the grass is tall and thick.
Very similar weather to Kenya and there are specific times
to visit to see wildlife spectacles and to visit different
The Ngorongoro Crater is worth a visit at any time of the
There are distinct seasons to maximize your visit in the Serengeti.
Jan and Feb are excellent months to view the 1000's of wildebeest
and zebra as they graze on the open short grass plains. This
is the time of year when the give birth so baby animals and
births are quite common to see. Predators are of course attracted
to this and sightings of the big cats are regular.
As the herds move northwards towards the Masai Mara, it is
also a good time to visit the Serengeti in August / September
as they cross the Mara River on tha Tanzanian side.
- Field Guides Association of Southern Africa.
Guides who qualify through this organization have taken an
extra step over and above the minimum requirement for guiding
and have been examined and assessed to a higher level of competence
when it comes to wildlife knowledge and guiding in general.
KPSGA - Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association.
This is the equivalent guiding qualification sought after
by guides in Kenya.
the photo safaris can be classed as general wildlife photo
safaris - we tend to stop for anything and all subjects are
of interest and importance, so YES we do take time to photograph
birds - mostly the big and the colourful ! If you are wanting
to photograph birds in particular, then it may be best to
request a private vehicle or bring friends with the same keen
interest. There is a big difference between just shooting
birds and a shooting general wildlife.
is best to check with the relevant embassy in your country
to be 100% certain. At the moment no visas are required to
visit South Africa if you are from the USA or the UK, if you
are staying less than 60 days.
Visas are required by everyone if visiting KENYA & TANZANIA.
Visas can be obtained at the airport upon arrival and the
fee at the end of 2010 was US$50 per person. This can however
change at anytime. If possible, it is best to obtain a visa
for Kenya before arrival, from the Kenyan Embassy in your
country. This will avoid having to fill in extra forms and
stand in extra queues at the airport upon arrival.
Also check with the airline you are flying with as they sometimes
require you to have a visa before entering the country.
smoking is allowed in the safari vehicles at anytime. We will
make periodic unscheduled stops throughout the day but we
do not stop specifically for smoke breaks.
YES there is limited internet access whilst on safari in
In the KRUGER PARK there are internet cafe's at two of the
bigger camps - Skukuza and Lower Sabie
There is wireless internet access at the Private Big Cat
Reserve - available in the dining area.
There is internet access at the Forest Lodge.
There is wireless internat available at MALA MALA
YES there is limited internet access whilst on safari.
There are internet cafe's at the bigger lodges we stay at,
the smaller camps do not have internet access but do have
cell/ mobile phone reception
There is cell / mobile phone reception in Kenya & Tanzania
We do provide professional heavy beanbags for the duration
of the safari. Each photographer will be issued with 3 beanbags.
You are welcome to bring your own and fill them on arrival
- there is rice available at the camp shop.
We do provide
professional heavy beanbags for the duration of the safari.
Each photographer will be issued with 1 beanbag.
You are welcome to bring your own and fill them on arrival
- beans can be ordered prior to the start of the safari at
Officially, the allowance is 20kgs per person for checked
baggage and 7kgs for carry on.
7kgs as we all know is not enough for camera equipment.
The airlines are generally very relaxed with regards to
camera equipment. Some clients have had no problems at all,
others have had some hassle but have always stuck to their
guns and refused for equipment to go in the hold and that
It would also depend on how much equipment you bring.
If you are able to fit most of what you need in a single
bag such as a think tank, plus a laptop as carry on you
should be ok. My general set up for travel, which can all
fit in a think tank airport accelerator is as follows:
500mm f4 canon
70-200mm f 2.8
2 x bodies
This selection will cover all general photo opportunities.
If you are planning on bringing more I would recommend wearing
a photo jacket into which you can pack extra equipment if
flights in are more strict on luggage allowance.
The same limits apply - 20kg for checked baggage and 7kgs
for hand luggage. They are more likely to enforce
this in Kenya, but having said that, we have been able to
take all our equipment on board for the flight back from
the Mara to Nairobi on every safari we have done so far.
If there is a problem then our driver will drive the luggage
back to Nairobi / or Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and it will
catch up with us in time for our evening international flight
It is still recommended though that you bring a medium
sized soft bag for luggage and one camera bag (Think Tank)
or the like. This will avoid almost all potential