MalaMala Lions & Leopards Photographic Safari | South Africa | 2022
US$ 15,800 Sharing
US$ 17,150 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
LOCATION: South Africa
PLACES VISITED: Jock Safari Lodge / Kruger National Park / Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
SKILL LEVEL: Any level from beginner to advanced - photo tuition and guidance is offered on this safari
This 13-day photo safari begins in Johannesburg, South Africa, and takes in three of the very best photographic locations that the Kruger area has to offer.
You will fly into Skukuza Airport where you will be met by Stu Porter. With cameras at the ready we head through the park to a private concession area along the Biyamiti River. Here we will check in to Jock Safari Lodge and head out with their guide on our first afternoon game drive.
The attraction of this private concession is that we will have access to a private area of Kruger as well as the regular tourist roads, this offers the best of both worlds. Southern Kruger is well know for African Wilddog, Lion and leopard.
After 3 nights at Jock Safari Lodge, we head north to Satara Camp for 3 nights followed by Lower Sabi Camp for 3 nights, both camps are located inside the Kruger National Park.
Along with a healthy predator population, Kruger consistently produces some of the best opportunities for photographing "general game”—Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Impala, Kudu, Elephant, Hippo, White Rhino, and Crocodiles. It also has a fantastic variety of birds. Photographing the great variety of "general game" and exploring this vast untouched wilderness will be the focus of our stay while in Kruger.
Our final destination is the Mala Mala Private Game Reserve. This is the oldest private game reserve in South Africa, and the place where numerous award-winning National Geographic wildlife documentaries have been filmed, such as "Beauty and the Beast", “Predators at War", and "Tjololo the Leopard".
Here our focus changes, as we aim to track down and spend quality time with the reserve's wild Lions and Leopards. This is one of the best places in the world to see these cats and offers unrivalled photographic opportunities. At Mala Mala, we will also have the opportunity to go in search of the predators at night. All of the skills of night photography and how to capture the nocturnal world will be explained by Stu, offering a different set of experiences and photo opportunities.
You will fly from Skukuza Airport to Johannesburg, where the tour will end.
This is our most exclusive small-group photo safari with a maximum of 3 participants in 1 private vehicle. There is plenty of space for equipment and guaranteed access to both sides of the safari vehicle.
Stu will lead the tour and offer photo tuition and guidance.
Being our most exclusive photo safari, each photographer will have the complimentary use of a professional tripod, Wimberley version 2 tripod head, and a Visual Echoes panning plate.
WILD4's specially designed photo bars will attach to the vehicle we use at Mala Mala. These bars offer a very stable shooting platform. (for more information, please see the photos in the "TRANSPORT and LODGING" tab).
Along with an impressive variety 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 Hyena, Jackal, Crocodile, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Greater Kudu, Bushbuck, Nyala, Zebra, Wildebeest, Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, and Warthog.
Day 1 Depart from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International airport (mid morning) and fly to Skukuza airport arriving around midday. Road transfer to Jock Safari Lodge where we will arrive in time for a late lunch. Depart for first afternoon game drive (overnight at Jock for 3 nights)
Day 2 Morning & Afternoon game drives at Jock
Day 3 Morning & Afternoon game drives at Jock
Day 4 Depart Jock after short morning drive and breakfast - then photograph en-route to our next camp which we will reach in the late afternoon (overnight in Kruger National Park for 3 nights at Satara Camp in central Kruger)
Day 5 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Central Kruger
Day 6 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Central Kruger
Day 7 Depart central Kruger and head towards our second camp, photographing as we go. We will arrive at our second camp in the late afternoon (overnight at second location inside Kruger National Park for 3 nights - at Lower Sabi Camp in Southern Kruger)
Day 8 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Southern Kruger
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon game drives in Southern Kruger
Day 10 Depart Kruger National Park after a short morning drive - road transfer to Mala Mala Private Game Reserve to arrive in time for lunch. First afternoon and night game drive at Mala Mala (overnight at Mala Mala for 3 nights)
Day 11 Morning & Afternoon game drives at Mala Mala
Day 12 Morning & Afternoon game drives at Mala Mala
Day 13 Final morning game drive followed by breakfast and then road transfer to Skukuza airport for your flight back to Johannesburg arriving in Johannesburg in the mid afternoon. Connect with your international flights home.
- flight from JHB to Skukuza and from Skukuza back to JHB
- all road transfers as detailed in the itinerary
- 3 nights Jock Safari Lodge (BLD)
- 6 nights Kruger National Park (BLD)
- 3 nights Mala Mala (BLD)
- all park entrance fees
- private use of photographic safari vehicles with qualified guides
- all meals
- all local drinks (water, sodas, fruit juice, beer & local wine)
- professional photographic tuition
- complimentary use of a professional tripod, wimberley version 2 tripod head and visual echoes panning plate
- tips / gratuities for camp / lodge staff and for your driver / guides at Jock & Mala Mala
- 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
TRANSPORT & LODGING - JOCK SAFARI LODGE
Accommodation will be at JOCK SAFARI LODGE which has comfortable en-suite bungalows. Local drinks and Laundry are included. We will have the exclusive use of a 4x4 TOYOTA Land Cruiser safari vehicle with only 3 photographers. Stu will be seated next to the driver / guide to offer photographic assistance.
TRANSPORT & LODGING - KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Accommodation will be inside the park at two of the main restcamps in comfortable en-suite "Rondawels" or Bungalows. Local drinks and Laundry are included
We will have the exclusive use of one of our own WILD4 safari vehicles with only 3 photographers. Stu will be the driver / guide on this section of the safari and will also offer photographic assistance. Our WILD4 Safari Vehicle has adjustable photo bars and beanbags which allow for a comfortable shooting platform.
TRANSPORT & LODGING - MALA MALA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Accommodation will be at MALA MALA MAIN CAMP which has luxury rooms. Local drinks and Laundry are included. We will have the exclusive use of a 4x4 Landrover safari vehicle with only 3 photographers. Stu will be seated next to the driver / guide to offer photographic assistance. Our specially made WILD4 photo bars attach to the Mala Mala safari vehicle and allow for a comfortable shooting platform.
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 South African winter months run from June through to late August, it will be cold in the mornings and in the evenings, especially when travelling in the open safari vehicles. This often catches people by surprise.
The days generally warm up to a very pleasant temperature of around 25 C (or 77 F) Skies are often clear at this time of year and rain is very rare.
Warm clothing is necessary especially in the early morning and evening. I would recommend a warm fleece as well as a wind breaker jacket. Long trousers, a beanie (woollen hat) and gloves are 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.
All the accommodations you will be staying at on this safari will have electric points for recharging your batteries and laptops. A detailed Plug & Voltage document will be sent out to you at the time of registration.
We usually meet up at around 05:15 for a quick cup of coffee / tea and some cookies / rusks on the main verandah before heading out on our morning drive. We take packed breakfasts with us and will eat these at a suitable time. We then return to camp just before lunch. Lunch is optional (depending on how hungry you might be). We then meet up at 15:00 for another cup of tea / coffee & cakes on the verandah before heading out for the afternoon and evening drive. Depending on the situation, we might also stop around sunset time for a sundowner. Our night drive will then begin and we slowly make our way back towards camp arriving at around 7pm which gives us an hour to get ready for an 8pm dinner.
We could be back in the rooms by 9 pm.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Meet up at 05:30 for a small breakfast (cereals, toast, preserves, yoghurt, fruit, coffee / tea & cookies)
Depart camp at 06:00 taking our mid morning snack (fruit & cereal bar) and our packed lunches with us. Kruger is a large reserve and we do often find ourselves far from camp or sitting patiently at a waterhole watching the animals come to drink. We either eat lunch out in the reserve or return to camp for a midday break. Depart again in the afternoon and return to camp before the camp gates close - roughly around sunset.
We meet for dinner at 7 pm.
A similar schedule to Ngala
** Being a private photo safari we can be flexible with these arrangements and adjust to accommodate the needs of the group and what the wildlife sightings are like at the time of our stay.
Photo tuition such as workflow, photoshop or lightroom sessions can be squeezed in at any time that is convenient to you.
NGALA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Yes we are allowed off road but at the discretion of the ranger who will be driving our vehicle. It is not a simple case of crashing off into the bush after wildlife. The ranger has to assess each situation before going off road. Some areas are more sensitive to damage than others and some trees and bushes are more vulnerable than others. You can be assured that the ranger wants to show you the animals and get you as close as possible but on some occasions we will have to respect the rules of the reserve as well as the environment and the comfort levels of the wildlife.
MALA MALA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Similar rules exist at Mala Mala, where we are also able to drive off road at the discretion of our ranger.
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.
On all our safaris it is preferable to use a 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 8kgs 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.
The flight from Johannesburg (JNB) to Skukuza airport (SZK) takes approximately 1 hr
The flight from Skukuza airport (SZK) back to Johannesburg (JNB) takes approximately 1 hr
Road transfer from Kruger National Park to Mala Mala is approximately 1 hr 30 mins
Road transfer from Mala Mala to Skukuza airport (SZK) is approximately 45 mins
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.
I firmly believe that having a stable shooting platform on the safari vehicles is a crucial element to the success of a photo safari. 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.
At Mala Mala where the vehicles are totally open (i.e. no canvas roof) I will attach my own WILD4 photo bars. These clamp onto the vehicle and allow you to roll a small square platform (with beanbag attached), back and forth to enable comfortable shooting from both sides of the safari vehicle.
In the Kruger National Park we make use of our own WILD4 safari vehicle which I have modified to have plates on either side of the vehicle (again with beanbags attached) on which you rest your lens and shoot in a comfortable position. I personally like to use the Visual Echoes Panning plate with a beanbag as it 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. (for more info please see photos in the "TRANSPORT & LODGING" tab)
At Jock and Mala Mala we have a bit of flexibility with our departure times and we will also be able to do night drives. We normally arrive back at camp with some time to prepare for dinner, which is normally around 19:30
Kruger National Park has strict gate opening and gate closing times which we will have to adhere to.
The gates open at 6:00 am.
In July they close at 17:30
In August & September they close at 18:00
Yes there is a laundry service available at all locations. Jock and Mala Mala offer a complimentary laundry service. Laundry can be done in the Kruger National Park by your room attendant - please ask us for more details.
There is free wifi internet at both Jock and Mala Mala although it is not high speed.
Cell phone / Mobile reception at both these locations is very patchy with not very good coverage.
Kruger National Park does not have any wifi access. The camps do offer cell / mobile phone reception on which you can access the internet on your own data package.
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 / lodges 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 this photo safari if you would like more details. It will also be in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo safari.
It is best to contact the embassy of the country you will be travelling to, and double-check to 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 have limited 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.
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$ in their economy.
** 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 are 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 and ask them for their opinion based on the most up to date and relevant information regarding malaria as well as any other potential diseases.
This is a topic 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.
We highly recommend that you contact your doctor or clinic as soon as you can after registering to do a photo safari with us.
Yes, we do spend time photographing birds.
On our photo safaris, we will be stopping for "the large and colourful birds". If you would like to try and cover the birds in more 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 do 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 and you will miss out on other sightings and photo opportunities. Also be aware that if you are sharing a vehicle with other photographers that you do not know, they may not be as interested in stopping for every single bird.
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.
Our local guides are also excellent at acquiring any relevant pieces of information from their colleagues and friends. In Kenya, our guides do make use of cell phones to relay relevant information when radio comms are weak.
Each country has its own electrical and plug system. After you have registered to do a photo safari with us, we will send you our "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.
Alternatively, you can also request a specific extension that you might like to do and we will gladly set this up for you.
Yes this is possible to arrange for you - please ask us 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" Photographic 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 up to 3 photographers per safari vehicle.
Our full booking terms and conditions are found at this link on our website:
Authentic photographic safaris, by their very nature, have to be flexible. We do our utmost to accommodate our client's needs and requests which are very different from regular safari clients. 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.
For example, 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 will stay out. It is always a good idea to bring along some extra snack bars for these situations.
However, If there is nothing worthwhile waiting for and no particular need for us to stay out the whole day, we will return to the camp/lodge for lunch and a short break before heading out again once the animals start to become more active and the photographic light improves.
- Get in touch with us to confirm that there are still spaces available on the photo safari that you are interested in. Please fill out the “ENQUIRE” form on this page
- Once we confirm with you that there is space available, and you would like to join the safari, we will send you a direct link via email. This will allow you to sign up to our CLIENT AREA
- After you have registered with your name, email address and a password of your choice, you will then be able to complete our online booking form
To SUBMIT the booking form, you will need to have read, understood and agree to our booking terms and conditions.
If you would like to read our booking terms & conditions, they can be found here: BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS
Please note that each participant must complete their own booking form.
- Once your booking form has been submitted, you will then be required to make the deposit payment.
We offer two options for payment of the deposits:
- International Bank Transfer
Please note that ALL bank fees are for your account.
Bank fees for a Bank Transfer vary depending on your own bank but are usually in the region of US$ 50 to US$ 80
Payments through PayPal carry a 4% handling fee
- Your place/s on the safari will only be confirmed once we have received your completed booking form/s and deposit payment/s
- As soon as your booking form/s and deposit/s are with us, we will update your CLIENT AREA to display the outstanding balance amount, which will be due 90 days before the start date of the safari.
"Lions & Leopards of Kruger" Photo Safari Highlights
A few video highlights from previous "Lions & Leopards of Kruger" photo safaris.
Safari Vehicle Camera supports
A video of the WILD4 camera supports that we attach to the safari vehicles we use at private lodges on our photo safaris in South Africa
US$ 15,800 Sharing
US$ 17,150 Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
19th - 27th Aug 2022
- 19th - 27th Aug 2022
- 08 nights / 09 days
Tour Led By
Stu - just wanted to say a huge thank you to both you and Justyna for putting on such a fantastic safari tour for us. It was truly amazing! Your endless patience with me and your generosity of knowledge was very much appreciated. Thanks to your help and guidance I am now much more competent with my camera and may even have a few photos to show you, at a later date, to prove that I did listen to everything you told me! Justyna - the travel arrangements were impeccable. All flights and transfers went smoothly and without a hitch, and the accommodation was amazing - both in the camps and at the lodges. I even managed to squeeze in a swim and a massage (which I highly recommend) at the lodge in Chobe. It was a real treat! Thank you both once again for a fantastic trip and I am sure that we will meet again in the future!
Kim Tattersall, UK
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