July 2020 FOCUS on the KRUGER Photo Safari - South Africa
US$ 6,300 Sharing
US$ 6,550 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
LOCATION: South Africa
PLACES VISITED: Kruger National Park
SKILL LEVEL: You need to be comfortable with your camera skills as no specific technical tuition is offered on this safari
RECOMMENDED FOCAL LENGTH: A 400mm lens on a crop sensor or a full frame sensor with a Teleconverter (1.4)
This 11 Day Photo Safari is based exclusively in South Africa's Kruger National Park.
** Please NOTE that this photo safari will be booked through our office (Justyna) and fulfilled by our partners in South Africa, LAWSON'S BIRDING, WILDLIFE and CUSTOM SAFARIS **
South Africa's flagship national park and the largest in the country at over 20 000 sq kilometres, Kruger is a photographer's heaven. The focus of this safari will be to capture the huge diversity of species found in the park with an emphasis on photographing anything that we find. We have also chosen to stay in two of the best areas to photograph Kruger's big cats, Lion, Leopard and Cheetah. The aim is not to tick species off a list, instead, you focus on taking the best photos you can, often stopping for the same species if you feel you can improve on existing images. By the end of this tour, you will have achieved a wonderful variety of landscapes, birds, herbivores, carnivores and reptiles.
From Johannesburg, you will fly east towards the Kruger and land at Skukuza Airport where you will be met by your safari guide. You will then make your way to Central Kruger, known for its more open landscapes, dotted with Marula, Leadwood and Jackalberry trees. For 5 full days, you will venture out in one of our special photographic vehicles (the only ones of their kind operating inside Kruger). You will leave camp early to take advantage of the cool mornings when the predators are still active. A packed lunch enables you to be flexible if necessary, and stay out to photograph anything of interest. You will return to camp after photographing the beautiful African sunset.
The second part of your safari will take you to the South Eastern part of Kruger, an area dominated by the open basalt plains in the east, the beautiful Sabi River in the centre and the granite areas in the west. Your camp for your final 5 nights is conveniently located close to some very photo productive rivers and dams. Here you will find Hippos, Crocodiles, animals drinking and a good variety of water birds. The Sabi River, with its massive Sausage and Mahogany trees, is the perfect home of the elusive Leopard.
At the end of the safari, you will fly from the Kruger (Skukuza) back to Johannesburg where the tour will end.
There are only 3 spaces available on this safari in 1 private photographic vehicle. This will offer you plenty of space for equipment and guaranteed access to BOTH sides of the safari vehicle.
Along with an impressive portfolio of birds, you will also have a good chance to see and photograph the following:
Lion, Leopard, African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, White Rhino, Hippo, Spotted Hyaena, Jackal, Crocodile, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Greater Kudu, Bushbuck, Nyala, Zebra, Wildebeest, Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, & Warthog.
Day 1 Depart from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport (mid-morning) and fly to Skukuza Airport arriving after midday. Meet your safari guide and vehicle and head north, photographing on your way to Central Kruger (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 2 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 3 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 4 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 5 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 6 Move to second location in Southern Kruger photographing as you go (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 7 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 8 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 10 Morning & Afternoon game drives (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 11 Short morning game drive photographing on your way to Skukuza airport to catch your flight back to Johannesburg
- Flight from JHB to Skukuza and from Skukuza back to JHB
- All road transfers as detailed in the itinerary
- 10 nights inside the Kruger National Park at 2 different camps.
- All food and local drinks included
- All park entrance fees
- Private use of photographic safari vehicle with experienced field guide
- Tips / gratuities for camp staff and for your Safari guide
- Personal medical, travel & equipment insurance
- Visa fees (if applicable)
- International flights
- Any extra nights of accommodation before or after the safari - we can arrange these for you and add it to your statement
We will be using a photographically modified open safari vehicle for the duration of this safari. The vehicle has a canvas roof to protect from the sun and possible rain. The vehicle has been modified with adjustable photographic platforms complete with beanbags. This offers a very comfortable shooting position whilst seated. The Safari Vehicles act as a perfect "mobile hide".
LODGING - KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Accommodation will be inside the park at the main rest camps in comfortable en-suite Bungalows and Guest Houses. These offer 24-hour electricity and are serviced daily.
The flight from Johannesburg to Skukuza is approx 1hr 15 mins
The flight from Skukuza Airport back to Johannesburg is approx 1hr 15 mins
The safari begins with a flight from Johannesburg to Skukuza Airport. This is a 1 hr flight
You will photograph on your way to central Kruger and arrive in the late afternoon
When you depart from Skukuza airport your flight back to Johannesburg will be 1 hr.
All food and drinks are included, breakfasts and lunches are participational.
You begin the morning with a quick breakfast of cereal, yoghurt, toast with tea / coffee. This we have before we leave camp. You will each be allocated a small cooler bag into which you pack food that you will prepare at breakfast. This can include a sandwich, fruit and snacks. We often spend the entire day out in the field so you would need to take along enough food to keep you going. Bottled still water is provided by us. Dinners are enjoyed in the camps restaurant. Dinner drinks are included (local wine / beer, sodas and water)
On all our safaris it is preferable to use a soft duffel type bag for your main luggage (not hard suitcases) as these are easier to pack into vehicles and planes. The normal luggage restriction as far as weight goes are 20 kgs for hold luggage and 8 kgs for Cabin Luggage. We all know that as photographers 8 kgs for camera equipment is not enough ! However you will find that the size of the bag is more important. A normal Think Tank type camera bag (airport accelerator) should carry the amount of equipment you need for your safari. When checking in, politely explain that it is expensive camera equipment and cannot go in the luggage hold.
Usually they allow you on with no problem as long as the bag can fit either in the overhead locker or under the seat in front of you. If for any reason you are refused to board with your camera bag (this seldom happens) then they will ask you to "sky check" your bag. Here you take your bag to the plane and leave it at the bottom of the stairs where it will be taken to a special storage space (not in the hold) for the duration of the flight. When you disembark at the end of the flight, your bag will be waiting for you.
YES, we do have these items for hire:
1 x Canon 500mm f4 IS version 1 lens
1 x Canon 7DMK2 Camera Body
1 x Canon 100-400 version 2 lens
Please ask us for the latest hire rates.
On this specific photo safari each participant will have the complimentary use of a Visual Echoes Panning Plate.
Having a stable shooting platform on the safari vehicles is a crucial element to successfully achieve good images. You need to be comfortable when shooting so that you can concentrate on the image and not how to balance a telephoto lens on a wobbly monopod or your knees ! We will often sit and wait patiently for long periods of time for a shot to present itself - being comfortable is paramount.
In the Kruger National Park we make use of our own WILD4 safari vehicle which has been modified with adjustable plates on either side of the vehicle (with beanbags attached) on which you can rest your lens and shoot from a comfortable position. The Visual Echoes Panning plate, when used on a beanbag, allows a smooth panning motion from left to right and it lifts the focus ring of the lens off the bean bag, allowing you to focus manually if necessary.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK - NO OFF ROAD DRIVING is allowed in any of South Africa's National Parks. Personally I never find that this has a negative impact on the photographic experience, in fact it makes one appreciate wildlife even more and how we should have a respect for it. Despite not being allowed off road, you will be pleasantly surprised at what the Kruger produces in terms of different photographic opportunities, and how close you can be to the animals.
We have planned this safari to coincide with our cooler Autumn, Winter and Spring months. This time of year offers mostly clear skies, pleasant days, cool evenings and very little rain
Warm clothing is useful in the early mornings and evenings. I would recommend a warm fleece as well as a wind breaker jacket. Long trousers, a beanie (woollen hat) is remarkably useful too.
As far as camera equipment goes, we have a more detailed kit list which we will send out to you at time of registration. A long telephoto lens with a minimum of 400mm on a crop factor body or a Teleconverter on a full frame body are essential for successful photography in the Kruger
Yes there is a laundry service available for a nominal fee. (Laundry is for your own account)
All the accommodations you will be staying at on this safari will have electric points for recharging your batteries and laptops
Kruger National Park does not have any internet or wifi access. The camps do offer cell / mobile phone reception.
Kruger National Park has strict gate opening and closing times which we have to adhere to.
Gate times change throughout the year, but usually they open at around 06:00 and close between 17:30 and 18:00
Meet at 05:30 for a small breakfast (cereals, toast, preserves, yoghurt, fruit, coffee / tea & cookies)
Depart camp at 06:00 taking packed snacks and lunch with you. The itinerary for each day is very flexible on this safari. You can choose to stay out the entire day or return to camp for a midday break. The Camp gates close at between 17:30 and 18:00. We normally meet for dinner between 18:30 and 19:00
Tipping is a safari tradition in Africa and it is expected in some form or other. You are welcome to stick to your regular personal tipping policies but we politely recommend you try to follow our guidelines regarding tipping as it helps to set a standard. Firstly, even though it is expected, it is not compulsory. If you feel that you have not been given excellent service then you do not have to tip. If you feel that somebody goes above and beyond their job description then it is polite to tip them.
Please ask us to send you our detailed recommended tipping policy for this specific photo safari. It will also be in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo safari.
YES, any level from total beginner to experienced wildlife photographers can enjoy our photo safaris. Having a small group allows me to accommodate the different levels very easily. The amount of tuition and approach is tailored to the needs of individual clients on each trip.
As far as equipment goes, this can make a difference in your overall enjoyment of the safari. If you are concerned you might not have the appropriate equipment then please contact me to discuss this in more detail.
It is best to contact the embassy of the country you will be travelling to; to double check and see what their latest policies are with regards to Visas and whether you should apply for them before you travel or if you can obtain them at the port of entry.
Smoking is not allowed in the safari vehicle and generally it is not a very good idea to smoke in the bush as the grass is often tinder dry and bush fires can start easily. We do not take specific breaks for smoking either, but we will stop at relevant times for everyone to have a break and stretch their legs or have a cup of coffee. This would be your opportunity to have a smoke break. We ask you to respect the environment and carry your cigarette ends away with you.
Spending long hours in the safari vehicles will inevitably end up in folks needed a bathroom stop. We have to respect the rules of the different parks when it comes to this and these rules will be explained before the start of each safari. Generally the safari saying of "any tree is a lavatree (lavatory)" goes. We will make sure we stop in a safe location for the comfort break.
The Kruger National Park is the only location that has proper washroom facilities at designated picnic sites or in the camps, and as per the rules of the park we are required to stop at these specific places, not anywhere in the bush. Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania do not have such facilities, and stopping at an appropriate place in the bush is allowed.
All of our safaris have emergency procedures in place. We will have contact with the office via either radio, cell phone or satellite phone. The office would then dispatch the relevant help - be it medical or otherwise. In the case of medical assistance, the initial recovery from the field to the most relevant medical facility would be covered by our safari insurance. Your medical insurance would need to cover you for all other expenses.
From a photo tuition perspective, we have two options available to potential clients.
When I personally lead any photo safari, there will be photo tuition and guidance available. On some of our extensions and Bespoke Photo Safaris we really hit the photo tuition hard and work through as many elements of nature photography as we can in a "workshop" style. This is because it is at the request of the particular clients who have asked for a high level of tuition and because we have a good deal of time available to focus specifically on certain aspects.
On our scheduled photo safaris you will soon find that the days are long and tiring, we get up early, return late and barely have time to download the days images before getting to bed at a sensible time only to do it all over again on the following day. The tuition format is therefore very informal, I like to approach topics as they become relevant and we will do these in the field in front of real live situations - this is the best way to learn. There will be times when we are waiting patiently at a sighting and can discuss any topic that you feel you would like help with. Siesta times at midday are usually well used for that exact reason, but I am personally available at any time of day or night. I have sat up until midnight on many occasions running through workflow, camera technique and doing night photography with those who are keen.
I am on the safari so that you can pick my brain, ask questions, watch my workflow and teach me a new technique that you might like or find useful yourself !- there is always room to learn and I always learn a lot on each trip myself.
I like to pick up on elements that would be relevant to each photographer. I adjust the level of tuition to the needs of each individual, again this is the beauty of having a small group. I like to talk my way through scenarios as they unfold in front of us and let you know what I am trying to achieve.
If you are a more experienced wildlife photographer, this option would suit you better. During the past 14 years I have met and worked with many excellent safari guides who are not necessarily professional photographers. However they know what the needs of photographers are and how to position the vehicle and predict animal behaviour. They are also very keen photographers themselves and I can highly recommend them as specialist photographic guides. If you are a confident & experienced photographer you can confidently book a safari with one of our specialist guides in the knowledge that they will always be looking out for photographic opportunities, and not simply trying to show you african wildlife, which would be the case on a regular safari with a regular safari guide.
In this option you would then not receive any specialist photo tuition or assistance with setting up your camera or which settings to use etc.., but you will be in very capable hands as far as getting photographs would be concerned. These safaris are also better priced compared with the scheduled trips that I personally lead as I do not have to build my own accommodation, travel and personal costs into the safari.
Regardless of which safari you register for, I will also send you my own set of PDF Photo Tuition Documents which include a pre-safari Camera Set-up guide and my "Seven Top Tips". Reading these before the safari begins will help to prepare you for the types of things you will be doing on safari.
Yes, myself and the guides I use do take photos and I feel that it is important for us to do this. We are constantly looking for the best angle for a good photograph. We have many years of experience in the African bush and can predict a lot of animal behaviour. Getting the vehicle into position where we feel it would make a good photo often helps others who are unsure of where to park, which lens to use, how to compose, which settings to use and what behaviour might follow.
We all have an interest in photography but our passion is our business; which is guiding people on a photo safari. We want to make sure you achieve the best photos possible.
Our main aim is not to sell our portfolios, it is to sell our photo safaris. We do need good photos of animals to do this, but more importantly we want our clients to go home with the best portfolio possible.
Yes we can cater for special medical dietary requirements, but you need to inform us of these requirements when you register. We will then be able to inform the lodges / camps we will be staying at about your requests well in advance.
Depending on what your special requirements are there may be a surcharge for this service.
Your time on safari is YOURS, you can feel free to use it as you wish. However I can confidently say that very few people have ever opted to sleep in or spend time at the pool. This is a photo safari after all. Our main reason for being on the safari is to spend every possible minute doing photography so leisure time is not something people normally request.
On occasion people have wanted to sleep in on one day or skip an afternoon game drive, this is entirely up to you. However please note that we will not change our usual schedule to accommodate "leisure time" If for example you decided to sleep in, you would not have the right to request the vehicle to come back and collect you at a more convenient time.
The photographers who go out with the vehicle can decide when to return. If you have a private vehicle to yourself then you can do as you please.
Credit Cards are by far the most convenient 90% of the time. Bringing along some cash as a backup is also a good idea. US$ are readily accepted in most African Countries and can also be used in some local shops (**Please note that there are some exceptions like South Africa and Namibia - both of these countries DO NOT ALLOW the use of US$
** If you are unsure please ASK us about which option is most suitable for the safari you are doing.
As far as tipping goes (more on the tipping section) you could separate it into the following two scenarios:
1) Your Local Driver / Guide / Ranger: - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
2) Lodge / Camp staff
> Kenya - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD
> Tanzania - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
> Botswana - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
> South Africa - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD ** this depends on the actual accommodation used - please ask us for clarity **
> Namibia - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD ** this depends on the actual accommodation used - please ask us for clarity **
Any other major foreign currency will also be readily accepted (EURO, GBP)
If you have any concerns please contact us and we will clarify it for you further.
All of our scheduled photo safaris (except for Namibia) are vehicle based for the majority of the time. You will need to be in reasonable health but we will not undergo any long walks or hikes unless you personally choose to do so, or unless it is detailed in the safari description. Our extensions and custom safaris might warrant a different fitness level - please ask us for more details about the fitness level required for your specific custom photo safari or chosen extension.
Our Landscape tours of Namibia do require a fairly good level of fitness to get the most out of them. There is a lot of sand in Namibia and walking in this sand and up sand dunes is part of the trip. If you have more questions about fitness levels PLEASE ask us before signing up on any of our safaris.
On any trip to Africa there is a risk of getting Malaria. Some areas have a higher risk than others. As we are not medical doctors we cannot advise you about whether or not you should take malaria medication. Our advice is to consult your local doctor or travel clinic.
This is also a question you would need to consult a doctor or travel clinic about as details of these change on an ongoing basis. Be sure to ask your doctor or clinic about YELLOW FEVER as it is relevant in some of the countries we visit.
Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs do not have a specific birthing season and give birth at anytime. The short answer to this question is "anytime" it really depends on your luck at the time of your visit.
Yes we do spend time on photographing birds but we have two safaris which are truly dedicated to bird photography - the "BIRDS of KRUGER" photo safari and the "BIRDS of KENYA" photo safari, both of these usually run every November.
On our other scheduled photo safaris we will be stopping for "the large and colourful birds". If you would like to try and cover the birds and the mammals in detail then we recommend you travel with a like minded photographer or that you book out a private safari vehicle so that you can go entirely at your own pace.
The pace of a regular photo safari compared with a bird photo safari is very different. If you want to stop for every single bird no matter the distance or size, you will fall far behind the other vehicles who might find other sightings that you might not be able to get to in time. You would need to understand this and know that you cannot be everywhere at the same time.
In general we would recommend that you stick to bottled drinking water on all the safaris. In Kenya and Tanzania this also includes brushing your teeth with bottled water. In South Africa it is possible to drink the local water and brush your teeth with it, so the risk of getting ill is small, however we still recommend you drink bottled water.
Yes the vehicles in our group are in radio contact with each other and we do pass on relevant information about photo opportunities to each other.
Each country has its own electrical and plug system. After you have registered to do a safari with us, we will send out the "PLUG & VOLTAGE" document which will explain this topic in more detail
YES it is possible to add on an extension to any of our safaris if you wanted to stay longer or visit a different place. There are some extension suggestions on the photo safari pages under the "EXTENSIONS" tab. Please ask us if you need help with this or if you would like to tailor a specific extension.
Yes this is possible to arrange for you - please ask at the time of registration
Yes this is possible to arrange, there will of course be a surcharge for the exclusive use of the safari vehicle, please ask us what this would be for the safari you are interested in.
Having worked with many different guides in different locations I have found that it is always nice and refreshing to have a guide with new ideas and suggestions and work together to achieve new images. It is also important though that the basics are understood by all the guides we use on our photo safaris which is why my training manual came to be.
The manual covers the basics of how to guide photographers, looking at the light, the distance from the subject and parking in a position to predict the animals next move. The manual also illustrates "in the field examples" so that guides know what we photographers are talking about when we say "can we move 1 meter forward, my background is not good from this position, etc etc..." !!
The manual has a big section on communication - this is the key to a successful safari. both guides and photographers need to know what is going on so that they can prepare for potential situations, never assume, always ask, it will allow you to achieve more successful images.
We secure the use of "Private Safari Vehicles" on all of our safaris. This is a very important element of a successful photographic safari. Essentially it means that you will not share the vehicle with other guests staying at the lodge / camp who are not part of our group. Regular safari clients and nature photographers do not mix very well. You will want to stay for extended periods at a sighting waiting for the best photo opportunities.
Many regular safari clients just want to see an animal, take one picture and leave to go and look for more animals to tick off their list. We avoid this by securing private safari vehicles at all locations. Understandably there is a surcharge to hire these vehicles as the lodge or camp has to issue a specific vehicle and guide for our group and the vehicle is not filled with up to 9 people as it often is on regular safaris. In our case there will only be a maximum of 3 photographers per vehicle.
We must receive a formal written notification of your cancellation.
Deposits are non-refundable.
All Photo Safaris:
In the case of a cancellation, we must receive written notification, at which time the following fees will apply:
* Deposit is non-refundable
* 89 to 60 days before departure: 75% of tour fee
* 59 or fewer days before departure: 100% of tour fee.
We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance at the time of booking your tour with us to cover any eventualities relating to having to cancel your safari.
Authentic photo safaris, by their very nature have to be flexible. We do our utmost to accommodate our clients needs and requests which are often very different from a regular safari. We take each day as it comes and yes we are able to be flexible and stay out all day if a particular situation warrants it.
If we are far from camp and are patiently waiting for a Leopard to descend a tree, a Cheetah to hunt or a group of Wildebeest to cross the Mara River then we most certainly stay out. It is always a good idea to bring along some snack bars or take a piece of fruit with you in case we do not return for lunch. On most occasions our packed breakfasts have enough food in them to last the full day anyway.
If there is nothing to wait for and the day is particularly hot with animals resting in the shade, it would not be sensible to stay out and so we do return to camp on such occasions for a midday break, some lunch and then we head out again when the temperature drops and the animals become more active.
Tipping is a safari tradition in Africa. You are welcome to stick to your regular personal tipping policies but we politely recommend you try to follow our guidelines regarding tipping as it helps to set a standard.
Firstly, even though it is expected, it is not compulsory. If you feel that you have not been given excellent service then you do not have to tip. I personally feel that if somebody goes above and beyond their job description then it is polite to tip them and I am more than happy to do so.
We do our utmost to source quality safari companies and guides who have a similar work ethic and passion to us. The staff and guides work extremely hard to make sure we have a good time and they are incredibly patient and flexible.
Please ask us to send you our detailed recommended tipping policy for the specific photo safari you are interested in joining. It will also be in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo safari.
- First contact us to confirm that there are spaces available on the photo safari that you are interested in - (please use the enquiry form on this page)
- Once we confirm with you that there is space available, and you would like to make a booking, these are the steps you would follow:
We will send you a link that will take you to the photo safari that you want to join. Along with the link we will send a detailed PDF document that will guide you though the booking process.
We only accept International Bank Transfer as method of payment / or PayPal **
** PayPal - please note that an additional 4% handling fee will be added to all payments made through PayPal
Please note that ALL bank charges are for your account
Once this is complete, will update your "outstanding balance" amount which will be due 90 days before the start date of the safari.
Please note that it is recommended that you take out your own travel insurance to cover unexpected trip cancellation, medical, personal and photographic equipment. WILD4 will not be held responsible in any way for the loss of or damage to any photographic equipment or personal belongings, nor for any medical expenses. Our medical insurance will only cover you for evacuation from the field to the closest most appropriate medical facility, at which point your medical insurance would take over.
- We must receive a formal written notification of your cancellation
- Deposits are non-refundable.
- Tour fees are not transferable.
- If for any reason a participant ends a tour early or does not make use of a service that has been included in the price of any scheduled tour, tailor-made tour or tour extension, no refund for this unused portion or service will be made.
- Full payment of the tour fee is due 90 days prior to the departure date. We must receive written notification of your cancellation, at which time the following cancellation fees apply:
- 89 to 60 days before departure: 75% of tour fee
- 59 or fewer days before departure: 100% of tour fee
- If due to circumstances out of our control, we are not able to run the photo safari, we are entitled to either cancel the trip, in which case clients will be entitled to a full re-fund. Or, with the clients permission and consent, we might modify the itinerary, which could also mean modifications to the price.
US$ 6,300 Sharing
US$ 6,550 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
14th - 24th Jul 2020
3 places available
- 14th - 24th Jul 2020
- 10 nights / 11 days
Tour Led By
Dear WILD4 Team, thanks a lot for making our anniversary holiday so special. The sightings were superb and your company was very enjoyable. We cannot wait for the next trip to arrive. All the best. Graham & Caroline
Graham & Caroline, UK
Stu ... Cannot say enough great things about Wild4. The entire Porter family is #1 in my book. I shall recommend you to friends as often as possible. You made my trip the very best and one that I'll always remember. Thanks again
Dan Dimaggio, USA