South Africa - Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari - June 2023
US$ TBC Sharing
US$ TBC Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
PHOTO SAFARI LOCATION: South Africa
PLACE VISITED: Kruger National Park
PHOTO 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 you find. You will be staying 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, your focus will be 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 photo tour, you will have captured 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 rocky 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 photo 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 photo game drives (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 3 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 4 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives (overnight Central Kruger)
Day 5 Morning & Afternoon photo 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 photographic game drives (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 8 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives (overnight in Southern Kruger)
Day 10 Morning & Afternoon photographic 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. (BLD) + Drinks
- All park entrance fees
- Private small group use of photographic safari vehicle with experienced field guide
- Bottled still water on game drives
- Meals as indicated: (B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner)
- DRINKS - are included but are limited to local Beer, House Wine, soft drinks (soda) and bottled water)
- All meals & drinks not indicated
- All laundry
- Tips / gratuities for camp staff and for your driver / guide - see FAQ's
- Visa fees if applicable
- Personal medical, travel (including trip cancellation) & photographic equipment insurance
- Any extra nights of accommodation before or after the safari - we can arrange these for you and add it to your statement.
- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
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 drive and 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 before leaving 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. You might end up spending the 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 camp's 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) These are easier to pack into vehicles and planes. The normal luggage restriction as far as weight goes is 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 area for the duration of the flight. When you step off the plane at the end of the flight, your bag will be waiting for you.
Having a stable shooting platform on 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. You 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 and beanbags which ensure a comfortable shooting position.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK - NO OFF-ROAD DRIVING is allowed in any of South Africa's National Parks.
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.
This photo safari will run during the cooler South African winter months of June and July. 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. We would recommend a warm fleece as well as a windbreaker jacket. Long trousers, a beanie (woollen hat) and gloves are also necessary in the early mornings.
As far as camera equipment goes, we have a more detailed kit list which we will send out to you at the 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 is essential for successful photography in the Kruger
Yes, there is a laundry service available, please ask your guide how to get laundry done. (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. We will send you a detailed plug information document before you start your safari
Kruger National Park does not have any free wifi. The camps do offer cell / mobile phone reception, through this you can connect to the internet on your own data plan. There is limited cell phone signal away from the main camps.
Kruger National Park has strict gate opening and closing times which your guide has 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. Dinner is enjoyed in the camp's restaurant and the time is flexible, usually around 19:00
Tipping is a safari tradition in Africa. We respectfully request that you follow our guidelines regarding tipping as it helps to set a standard across all of our photo safaris.
Any form of gratuity should be earned by the recipient through excellent service and for effort beyond their job description. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable tipping then please let your tour leader know.
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.
We will send you a detailed recommended tipping policy for this photo tour 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.
The type of photo tuition or guidance on offer really depends on which safari you choose to do.
Generally speaking, photographic guidance on camera equipment, settings to be used, post-processing and DSLR Video are on offer during any of the photo safaris that I personally lead myself.
On the trips that I do not personally lead, we only use very experienced local nature guides, who not only know the reserves and where the wildlife hotspots are, but they are also good friends of mine, who I have personally worked with over many years. They have a like-minded outlook and know exactly what photographers need. They are excellent at positioning the vehicle for the best distance and angle for light. They are also very open to your own suggestions and will work hard to get you the photos that you are looking for. Specific detailed photographic tuition is not available on these safaris, so it is recommended that you do have a fairly good knowledge of your own camera and photography in general.
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, 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.
- 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
Your place on the safari is only guaranteed once we have received your completed booking form/s and deposit payment/s
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.
Cancellation Fees & Refund Policy
We must receive a formal written notification of your cancellation.
Deposits are non-refundable.
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.
Tour fees are not transferable.
All Photo Safaris:
The per person non-refundable deposit amount stated on our website is required to secure a place on one of our photo safaris. Full payment of the outstanding tour fee is due 90 days prior to the departure date. In the case of a cancellation, we must receive written notification of your cancellation, 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 the tour fee.
- We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance (including trip cancellation insurance) at the time of booking your tour with us to cover any eventualities relating to having to cancel your safari.
- 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 our policy above will apply. Or, with the client's permission and consent, we could look into modifying or postponing the itinerary, which may also mean having to modify the price. Please note that in this case, your deposit would still be non-refundable and non-transferable.
US$ TBC Sharing
US$ TBC Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
13th - 23rd Jun 2023
3 places available
- 13th - 23rd Jun 2023
- 10 nights / 11 days
Tour Led By
This was my third photographic trip to Africa, and I have to say the best! Stu has great knowledge & passion for wildlife and photography that he is willing to share: I certainly learnt a lot. The setup for photography in the vehicles is extremely well thought out. There was an amazing variety of great photographic opportunities and I really enjoyed time spent with the animals, but the unexpected bonus for me was the day spent at the reptile centre (part of the extension). I am very pleased with the results! After coming away with the renewed enthusiasm for photography, I am planning to do another trip with them soon."
Helen Clarke, AUSTRALIA
The wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm Stu shared was priceless, from identifying birds and pointing out animal behaviors, to stories about Kruger Park past, and of course, answering photography questions day in and day out. You were so patient! I really appreciated the custom photo safari vehicle and thoughtful design and extra space it afforded, and the advantage and flexibility of traveling with such a small number of people. I learnt so much, and I look forward to sorting through the images and enjoying remembering all the things we did during our busy photo safari.
Helen Cruickshank, Australia