From the Field
Greg du Toit
Africa Photo Workshop
Botswana and South Africa Predator Workshop|
This 9 day Africa photo workshop takes you to two of the best safari locations in Southern Africa, and to the best place in all of Africa to photograph the elusive and beautiful African leopard. Learn to skillfully photograph in low light conditions, to master your flash and to photograph wildlife in action on this exceptional Botswana and South Africa photo workshop. Accommodation is comfortable and the travel is easy going. This safari promises to deliver a world class predator and photographic experience...
This is a 9 day (8 night) Botswana and South Africa photo workshop itinerary that has space for only 3 photographers.
There are a number of exciting options to extend your workshop including photographing meerkats. These extension options are listed at the end of this itinerary but are booked only upon request. Please enquire about them when booking to receive more information.2019 Tour Dates:
19-27 June FULLY BOOKED!7-15 August FULLY BOOKED!
2020 Tour Dates:
26 August - 3 Sep FULLY BOOKED!
9 - 17 Sep 3 spaces available
2020 tour price: US$20,950 per single photographer. US$18,500 per sharing photographer.
The above rates includes all accommodation; meals; all transfers; all three internal flights including meet/greet and airport drop off; park fees; private safari drives; photographic tuition, guiding services of an internationally acclaimed professional African wildlife photographer; use of photographic hides. Not included in the cost are visas; purchases of a personal nature; alcoholic drinks; personal health and travel insurance; your international flights.
30% deposit confirms your booking. Only spaces available for a total of 3 photographers on this exclusive workshop. The above cost only applies if the tour is fully booked with 3 participants.
This tour can be booked on a private basis in which case it will be re-costed based on the number of participants.
Why this is the workshop for you...
- The entire workshop caters for only 3 photographers
. This affords you personalized photographic tuition that regular scheduled tours are unable to. For every single safari drive you take, you will benefit by having a professional African wildlife photographer on board who will share with you his own unique recipe for photographing Africa's wildlife.
- This workshop offers a feast of unique and spectacular photographic opportunities. As such, we cannot expect you to leave any of your equipment at home so we have arranged an extra luggage allowance
- Mala Mala Game Reserve is not only one of Africa's finest game reserves but it also forms part of one of Africa's largest ecosystems, in excess of 30 000 square kilometers (almost the size of the country of Holland). The predators we will photograph are carrying out a free and wild existence
in an area double the size of the Serengeti National Park. This is where the 1st leg of our South Africa photo workshop
- No one wants to see loads of vehicles and hordes of tourists when on safari! On this exclusive safari, the only other vehicles you will see, will be vehicles from our own camps
. This workshop is run on private land and is therefore as exclusive as it gets.
- Your host and expert safari guide, Greg du Toit, is a specialist in low-light photography
. He has been commissioned by both the BBC
magazines to assemble portfolios on leopards in the same locations where this workshop is hosted. On this workshop you will learn his secret recipe for photographing predators
at night. You will not only learn how to use your flash but also how to shoot in low light conditions without your flash. See a leopard portfolio here
. All the images that appear in this portfolio where taken on the same locations as this workshop.
- You will not only broaden your personal photographic horizons on this trip, but you will also push the boundaries of modern day digital photography
as we photograph predator action in exceptionally low light conditions.
- If your flash has remained a mystery, then don't miss this workshop as you will learn how to use your flash skillfully
- Off road driving allows us maximum freedom on this safari. Not only will we see Africa's big predators up close and in person, but we will follow them through the bush as they go about their business of hunting, patrolling, mating and roaring.
- This part of Africa also offers you the very best opportunities to witness predator interaction. World famous National Geographic documentary filmmaker Kim Wolhuter filmed his leopard and hyena interactions at Mala Mala and Mashatu is where he made his hyena documentary.
- While the focus of this safari is on predators, you will also enjoy regular big game sightings as Mala Mala is also one of the best places in all of Africa to view the prehistoric looking rhinoceros. Mashatu on the other hand offers some of the best elephant viewing in all of Africa.
- We are allocated our own private vehicle for these workshops allowing us to spend quality time at each sighting and also allowing us maximum freedom to ensure that we capture exceptional wildlife images.
- Our lodgings for this workshop lie right in the heart of predator action which means that the action happens in close proximity to the camp, so we do not spend hours traveling to photographic locations.
- This exclusive workshop caters for a maximum of only 3 photographers per vehicle. This means that your photography will be unhindered, more creative and will yield better results. You are able to shoot out of the left or the right side of the vehicle with plenty of space for your gear.
- Photographers of all levels are welcome
and you will receive expert tuition based on your level of experience.
- We use hides on this workshop that have been especially built for photographers. This low angle view is exactly what photographers are looking for
and in 2013, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year's winning shot came from the same hide that you will visit on this workshop. Click here
to see a short documentary on how the winning shot was captured. Leopards are now regular visitors to these hides and there is a chance of getting eye-level shots of predators drinking.
- Mala Mala offers one of the best chances you have in Africa of seeing and photographing wild dogs
while Mashatu is currently an excellent location for cheetah
with 7 resident cheetah in the area.
- This is a 'Big Five' workshop
so you will see Africa's iconic lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino but without seeing other vehicle traffic.
- Mashatu is an excellent place to see Africa's smaller and rarer creatures like civets, genets, owls etc. Night safari drives are conducted throughout this workshop
and take place immediately after the sunset when the nocturnal creatures are stirring.
- This workshop offers you a well rounded African safari experience and zebra, giraffe, hippo, baboons, warthog and birds
are all a part of the experience as are baobab trees and other iconic elements of Africa.
- The vehicles used throughout this workshop are all open style safari trucks
which means you are not shooting from a top down angle. There are no bars, windows or roofs to get in your way.
- For those of you wanting to experience real Africa
there is an option of sleeping out on this workshop and photographing an ancient Baobab tree
, plus having the opportunity to listen to roaring lions and the other African night sounds. Ask about the sleep-out option when booking, it is highly recommended.
Day 1 - Arrive Johannesburg and on to Mala Mala Game Reserve
You will be met at Johannesburg international airport by your host and guide Greg du Toit. A short one hour flight will take you to Mala Mala, South Africa's original safari camp.
This was one of the first properties in South Africa to stop hunting, converting over to photographic safaris back in the sixties. The camp has been on the same location for the last 50 plus years and as a result the wildlife has relaxed, making this a photographers' mecca. The campgrounds are stunning, offering wide vistas of the African bush and many antelope wonder through the grounds unperturbed. You can enjoy Big Five sightings from the camp as you gaze across the Sand River.
The rooms all have air-conditioning and there is complimentary wireless internet connectivity (albeit a bit slow). Bottled water is supplied free of charge and there are bar fridges, which are stocked upon your request. Your accommodation comes complete with a his and hers bathroom and a lounge area. The lodge has a beautiful pool, gym and their is even room service, but this is not why you are here of course, keep reading...
Day 2, 3, 4 - Mala Mala Predator and Big 5 Photography
At Mala Mala we wake at 05h30am and depart camp in the dark at 06h00 (while all the other guests are still asleep). We then track down predators based on tracks and the sightings from the previous night. We will be deep in the African bush by the time the sun rises at 06h45 and we will enjoy sublime photography until the light becomes too harsh. The first part of the morning will be spent with the predators or other members of the BIG FIVE and once light levels are too high to create dramatic low light imagery, we will move onto trying to capture birds in flight. We will stop for a scrumptious bush breakfast picnic, before returning to camp at midday. You will then have time to download your images. For those avid photographers with big memory cards, the aloe flowers in the camp are flowering this time of year, and their is wonderful bird photography to be down right in camp.
Lunch will commence at 13h00 and the lunch buffet really is the finest in Africa. After lunch, I will present a talk on various pertinent photographic topics (non photographing partners can enjoy some more downtime). I travel with an entire workshop on my macbook and depending on your needs and wants, I will present a course that is relevant to your personal photography. The subjects I will talk about, using my own imagery as examples, will range from camera settings (aperture, shutter, ISO, white balance, exposure comp, metering, histograms) through to how to use your flash skillfully and how to shoot wildlife action in low light. Topics I will address will also include 'elements of composition' and how to achieve correct focus on still or moving subjects. I will also process a few images for you so that you can glean from my post processing skills. There will of course be ample time for you to ask questions and to address areas of your own concern as well as to ask for a critic on a few of your own images. This way you can learn from your own experiences and develop your own unique style. This infield workshop will help you take your imagery to the next level. A masterclass on how to photograph leopards at night as well as an advanced auto focus lesson are a highlight of the workshop component of this trip. You can read guest testimonials here...
Our afternoon safari drives will commence each afternoon at 15h30 whereby we will meet at 15h00 before, for a cup of tea or coffee according to old safari tradition, and to set up our equipment and settings. Our safari drives will be conducted in the Land Rover Puma safari trucks. These vehicles offer the most comfortable safari drive with coiled suspension in the front and the rear. The vehicles are open with no roof, which allows for maximum photographic freedom and which also allows us to photograph leopards up in trees. Having a private vehicle all to ourselves, will ensure that you are able to exercise the freedom needed to obtain exceptional images. With only 3 photographers on the vehicle, you will have an entire row to yourself, enabling you to shoot out both the left and the right.