Mala Mala and Mashatu Photo Safari

This Africa photo safari in the form of a leopard photo safari combines a South Africa photo safari with Botswana. Included in this itinerary is a Mala Mala photo safari and a Mashatu photo safari.

Scroll down to see the guest testimonials at the bottom of this page. Watch a YouTube video from this workshop, made with my iPhone.

BOOK YOUR SPOT NOW by filling the form at the end of this page. Only space for 3 photographers.

The best Africa photo safari experience

This is the best Africa photo safari you can do for leopards. Add in an underground hide and you have one of the best photo safaris you can do in Africa. 

You will be hosted and mentored on this Africa photo safari by low-light predator specialist and South African wildlife photographer Greg du Toit. Push your personal photographic boundaries on this photo safari and build an entire leopard portfolio, plus achieve dynamic eye-level imagery.

This is an Africa photo safari that promises to deliver on all fronts – you will see so many leopards that you will lose count of them. Hands down, this is the ultimate leopard safari in all of Africa and you will return home not just having furthered your personal photographic skills but with an awesome portfolio, including exceptional photographs of Africa’s shyest big cat, the leopard. Cheetah and wild dog are also exciting photographic prospects, making this one of the best photo safaris you can do. Watch this YouTube video of a leopard and baboon fighting, photographed on this Africa photo safari.

We have timed this Africa photo safari the ultimate months to photograph in the locations you will be visiting. It is fall here in Africa, with wonderful orange backdrops. A very exciting inclusion of this photo safari are the three exclusive sessions of underground hide photography that you will enjoy.

Why not make this a ‘best private Africa photo safari‘ by adding any one, or combination of the following exciting extensions.

Africa photo safari details

This 9 day (8 night) Mala Mala and Mashatu photo safari itinerary has space for only 3 photographers but can also be booked as a private safari.

There are a number of exciting options to extend your big cat photography workshop including a ‘best Zimbabwe private photo safari‘ to Mana Pools, a Meerkat photo safari, a ‘best luxury African photo safari‘ to the Okavango Delta and a ‘best private Namibia wildlife photo safari‘ to the Skeleton Coast. Any one or combination of these best Africa photo safari extension options are booked on request only. Please enquire about extending your photo safari when filling in the booking form at the end of this page.

  • 2026 - Mala Mala and Mashatu
  • US$24,340
  • No Single supplement.
  • This tour can also be booked on a private basis in which case it will be re-costed based on the number of participants.
  • Make your booking now

The above Africa photo safari rate includes 4 night’s accommodation at both Mala Mala and Mashatu with exclusive use of a safari truck; 3 exclusive hide sessions at Mashatu (including an afternoon/evening session for potential predators drinking); meals; house drinks; all transfers from time of arrival in Johannesburg to time of departure from JHB; all internal flights and airport taxes; conservation fees; in-field photographic tuition and the guiding services of an internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer and safari guide.

Not included in the cost of this big cat photography workshop are visas; purchases of a personal nature; gratuities for camp staff; personal health/travel insurance; your international flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.

30% deposit confirms your booking. Only spaces available for a total of 3 photographers on this exclusive Africa photo safari. There is no single supplement but the above cost applies only if the photo safari is booked with 3 participants.

All the ‘best private Africa photo safari‘ extensions to this big cat photography workshop, including the Zimbabwe Mana Pools, Namibia Skeleton Coast, Botswana Okavango Delta and South Africa meerkat photography safari are costed separately and booked on a private basis. Enquire about doing any of these extensions, either before or after your photo safari, by filling out the form at the end of this page. We will then send you your own best Africa photo safari itinerary.

Your Africa Photo Safari Itinerary

Depart Johannesburg for the South Africa photo safari leg

Your big cat photography workshop starts by departing Johannesburg from the small and private Airlink terminal, where you can sip a cappuccino and enjoy the lounge snacks. You will be met at the start of this South Africa photo safari leg by your host, professional wildlife photographer Greg du Toit. A short one hour flight will take you to the world-renowned Mala Mala Game Reserve for your Mala Mala photo safari to begin. The airstrip is just a 5 minute drive from Mala Mala,  your home for the next 4 nights.

Mala Mala was one of the first properties in South Africa to stop hunting, converting over to photographic safaris back in the sixties. For over half a century now, Mala Mala has been a mainstay of the South Africa photo safari circuit and is an absolute photographic mecca. The campgrounds are stunning, offering wide vistas of the African bush and many antelope wonder through the grounds unperturbed. Your Big 5 photo safari sometimes starts with you spotting members of the Big 5 from the camp and leopards regularly pass through during the night. Thankfully you will be sound asleep when they do!

The rooms on your South Africa photo safari all have air-conditioning and there is complimentary wireless internet connectivity. Drinks and water are supplied free of charge and there is a bar fridge in your room, which is stocked upon your request. Your room is luxurious, complete with his and hers closets, a lounge, indoor and outside showers plus a bath. Your room on this Mala Mala photo safari also has a desk and charging station for you to download and review your photographs.

Mala Mala photo safari 

On this Mala Mala photo safari you wake at 05h30 and depart camp in the dark at 06h00 (while all the other guests are still asleep). We will search for predators based on tracks and the sightings from the previous night and you will be deep in the African bush by the time the sun rises at 06h35. The first part of the morning will be spent with the predators or other members of the Big 5. Mala Mala is one of the best African photo safari destinations for leopards and it is not unusual to photograph a dozen or more different individual leopards on this big cat photo safari. Sublime predator photography is the order of the day until the light becomes too harsh. Once light levels are too high to create dramatic low-light imagery, we will move onto trying to capture birds in flight before we stop for a scrumptious bush breakfast picnic on your South Africa photo safari. Returning to camp by 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 there is wonderful bird photography to be done right in camp.

High tea is served early, especially for us, and by 3pm we are out on safari drive again tracking leopards.

This Africa photo safari will help you take your imagery to the next level as you build an entire leopard portfolio.

The safari trucks are completely open with no roof, which provides for maximum photographic freedom to photograph leopards up in trees. It is winter here in Africa so it is not hot, and there is therefore no need for the safari truck to have a roof. Having a private vehicle all to ourselves, will ensure that you are able to exercise the freedom needed to obtain exceptional imagery. With only 3 photographers on the safari truck, you will have an entire row to yourself, enabling you to shoot out both the left and the right on this big cat photo safari.

While your driver guide expertly tracks the predators for the evening shoot, there will be time to double check your camera settings and to make sure that you are ready to expertly capture the predator action to follow. With your own professional wildlife photographer in the front of the vehicle, you will receive expert and personalised tuition including exact settings and creative insights. Greg will ensure that you are best positioned for the light and wildlife action. You will of course be able to ask questions at will –  the purpose of this Africa photo safari is to ensure that you expand your personal photographic portfolio and horizons.

You will enjoy a night safari as you follow leopards and other nocturnal predators through the bush in the dark. There is also a great hyena den site which means that you have an opportunity to photograph all of Africa’s big predators.

You return to camp for dinner where we will meet in the bar for pre-dinner drinks and safari banter. From there, we will move into the ‘boma’ for dinner where you will dine alfresco under the African stars. There will of course be lots more talk about photography as we reminisce on the day’s sightings. An after dinner tea or coffee will see you turn in for the night.

best african photo safari tours - leopard in tree

This South Africa photo safari leg of this photo safari guarantees that you will return home with exceptional leopard images in the bag. Only Mala Mala vehicles traverse in the central game viewing area and this means that on most of our sightings we will be the only vehicle there and at the very most, there will only be another two vehicles on a sighting with us. You will therefore not get the clutter of vehicles at leopard sightings that you find in other parts of Africa, making this one of the best African photo safaris you can do. You will also enjoy longer periods of time on sightings. You will also enjoy spending time with Africa’s other splendid animals like giraffe, zebra, baboons, warthogs and elephants on this South Africa photo safari.

Transfer to Botswana for the Mashatu Photo Safari

On the last morning of your Mala Mala photo safari you will enjoy one more safari drive, then breakfast before your departure to Botswana. The travel time is approximately 3 hours as we need to land to clear South Africa customs before carrying on to Botswana for the Mashatu photo safari. Arriving in Mashatu, you will be met by your Mashatu guide and a 40 minute transfer will take you into the heart of Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve. This little known corner of Botswana is also her best kept secret.

big 5 photo safari - lion

Once arriving at camp you will settle in before heading out on your first Mashatu photo safari drive. This Mashatu photo safari itinerary has been carefully designed so that you do not need to miss a safari drive on this transfer day. A campfire, scrumptious dinner and cosy bed will bring an end to your first day in Botswana.

Mashatu Photo Safari

Mashatu Game Reserve is an enchanting wilderness in south eastern Botswana. Situated at the confluence of Kipling’s ‘great grey green greasy‘ Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, this area is unlike any other in Africa. If you are looking for a different and exciting part of Africa to explore on an Africa photo safari, then look no further:

The ample plains on this Mashatu photo safari range from arid savannah, to riverine forests and sandstone outcrops. Dubbed the Land of Giants, Mashatu takes its name from the locally-sacrosanct Mashatu tree and the giants that roam the terrain. As one of the largest private game reserves in Southern Africa, Mashatu is a fitting setting for the world’s largest land mammal, the elephant. Mashatu is home to the largest herds of elephant on privately owned land on earth and it also provides sanctuary to the world’s tallest mammal (the giraffe); the world’s largest antelope (the eland); the world’s largest bird (the ostrich) and the world’s heaviest flying bird (the kori bustard). Add the lion, the king of the beasts, and the iconic baobab as well as a thriving population of leopard, and you have a spectacular location for the best African photo safari.

This extraordinary place possesses an ecological diversity that is uncommon in other reserves. Mashatu is not just a great location for big cat photography but it is also home to the more uncommon and smaller predators including the honey badger, bat-eared fox, African wild cat, genet, porcupine and black-backed jackal. That’s right, this Mashatu photo safari does not just include Africa’s large predators but its smaller ones too.

Mashatu is also a bird paradise and plays host to more than 350 bird species. The photographic opportunities at the drying river pools are splendid. There is also a large breeding colony of bee-eaters that will challenge the reflexes of even the most experienced photographers.

Mashatu photo safari - leopard

Your Mashatu photo safari routine takes the same shape and form as it did in Mala Mala, except that the scenery and photo opportunities will be totally different as you explore the wilderness in an open Toyota safari truck. With the dry season starting to take effect, the colours of Mashatu have changed to orange, interspersed with soft greens, which all makes for excellent backgrounds to your photographs. Along the rivers it remains very green and it is not uncommon to find a leopard reclining in one of the large Mashatu trees. This is an awesome photo to add to your portfolio. Predator viewing is at its best at this time of year and the soft sun’s rays of the winter make lion, leopard and cheetah really glow.

jackal photographed from an underground hide in Mashatu Game Reserve Botswana.

On this Mashatu photo safari there is an underground hide, designed and built especially for photographers. From this hide you will get a low angle perspective on your subjects and, combined with your regular safari drives, you will assemble a dynamic collection of incredible photographs. The hide offers incredible elephant viewing and some of the best elephant photography in Africa. If you have not photographed an elephant’s toenails yet, you have not lived!

It also offers a plethora of other photographic opportunities like having the world’s largest antelope, the eland, drinking at eye-level. Shots of a leopard drinking at the hide are also a possibility on this big cat photography workshop and to help you get this shot, we have booked an evening hide session. This underground and eye-level hide makes this Mashatu photo safari an even more unique and incredible photographic experience. Elephants and a host of other animal species are also drinking and this is great news for your photographic portfolio.

Mashatu photo safari - elephant swimming

Depart for home or continue with an exciting extension…

After a last morning safari drive on your Mashatu photo safari, you return to camp for brunch, after which you will catch a 90 minute flight back to Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg, for your onward travel home. Transfers and overnight hotel bookings can be arranged depending on your travel schedule. This is the official end of this Africa photo safari.

For those wanting to continue on with your Africa photo safari there are these exciting extensions on offer to make your safari the ‘best Africa photo safari‘. These extensions include the Okavango Delta, Mana Pools, Skeleton Coast and a Meerkat photo safari. Add any one or combination of these extensions to your safari and make this the best private Africa photo safari experience!

Please note that we only get back into Johannesburg after the Mashatu photo safari leg in the evening, so if your homeward flight is before 9pm, it will be necessary for you to overnight in Johannesburg and these arrangements can be made for you when booking.

Browse the portfolio of photographs below, all taken at Mala Mala and Mashatu on this Big 5 photo safari. Click own any image to enlarge.

Your photographic possibilities on this Big Cat Photography Workshop

Why this is the Best Africa Photo Safari

best africa photo safari - leopard cub– Exclusivity. This Africa photo safari caters for only 3 photographers, giving you personalised photographic tuition that larger scheduled tours do not. For every safari drive you take, you will benefit by having the same professional African wildlife photographer on-board, teaching and sharing with you his own unique recipe for photographing Africa’s wildlife. You will also have your own row in the vehicle on every safari drive to place your camera bag and other gear next to you. You will be able to shoot out the left and the right.

– For the best African photo safaris timing is everything. This is why this photo safari runs at the very best time of year. You have the benefit of fall colours in the background of your shot and it is the dry season in Africa, which means the rivers and waterholes are attracting wildlife.

– Another reason why this is one of the best African photo safaris is due to the mode of travel between destinations. You fly direct into Mala Mala’s own airstrip, which is a 5 minute drive to your camp. You then take charter flights to Botswana and back, making the travel as direct and as short as possible – no time is wasted or safari drives missed.

– This photo safari offers a veritable feast of wildlife photography. We therefore cannot expect you to leave any of your equipment at home so we have arranged an extra luggage allowance for all flights.

– 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 wildlife ecosystems, in excess of 20 000 square kilometers/ 7700 square miles (almost the size of the country of Holland). The predators we will photograph are carrying out a free and wild existence in an area larger than the Serengeti National Park. This is one reason why this is one of the best African photo safaris

– Another reason is because this photo safari is run on private land only, it offers you an exclusive wildlife and photography experience. Nobody wants to see loads of vehicles and masses of tourists when on safari. Sadly at leopard sightings in other parts of Africa, this is often the case.

– Your host and private safari guide, Greg du Toit, is a specialist in low-light photography and he has been commissioned by both the BBC and Geo magazines to assemble portfolios on leopards. On this photo safari you will learn his secret recipe for photographing predators. Greg won the most coveted title in world wildlife photography from a shot he took in the exact same hide you will be visiting on this photo safari, when he was named the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2013. He has been visiting both reserves for the past 25 years and he knows how to extract the very best photographically from both locations, making this one of the best African photo safaris.

– 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 you photograph predators in exceptionally low-light conditions.

– Off road driving is another critical factor on any African photo safari and off road driving is allowed throughout on this safari. Not only will you see Africa’s big predators up close and in person, but you 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 documentaries at Mala Mala and Mashatu.

– While the focus of this safari is on predators, you will also enjoy regular other big and small game sightings. Mala Mala is also one of the best places in all of Africa to view the rhinoceros. Mashatu on the other hand offers some of the best elephant viewing in all of Africa. The two locations combined make this one of the best African photo safaris.

africa photo safari - baby elephant– We are allocated our own private vehicle for this photo safari allowing you to spend quality time at each sighting.

– Photographers of all levels are welcome and you will receive expert tuition based on your level of experience.

– What makes this one of the best African photo safaris is the use of the underground hide at Mashatu which has been especially built for photographers. This low angle view is exactly what photographers are looking for.

– Leopards are now regular visitors to the hide and there is a chance of getting an eye-level shot of predators drinking. For this reason your photo safari includes an exclusive afternoon/evening session in the hide as this is when the predators are most likely to drink, making this one of the best big cats photography safaris.

– This photo safari includes a total of 3 exclusive sessions in the hide. Without other photographers sharing the hide, you will have ample space to lay out all your cameras and  lenses next to you, so that you are ready to capture any shot that presents itself.

– Mala Mala also offers one of the best chances you have in Africa of seeing and photographing wild dogs. Mashatu is an excellent location for cheetah – making this combination one of the best African photo safaris.

– This is a ‘Big 5’ safari so you can 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 and take place immediately after the sunset when the nocturnal creatures are stirring. The diversity of wildlife is another factor contributing to this being one of the best African photo safaris you can do.

– This big cat photography safari offers you a well rounded African safari experience. Zebra, giraffe, baboons, warthog and birds are all a part of the experience as are baobab trees and other iconic elements of Africa.

– The safari trucks used throughout this big cat photography safari 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.

– Extend your stay in Africa with a 3 or 4 night Meerkat photo safari.

– Make this a ‘best luxury African photo safari‘ by continuing on to the Okavango Delta, offered as an ‘easy to do’ extension to this photo safari  (3, 6 or 9 nights).

– Make this a ‘best private Namibia wildlife photo safari‘ by adding the 5 night Namibia Hoanib Skeleton Coast extension to your predator workshop.

– Add a 7 night Mana Pools extension to your workshop and make this a ‘best Zimbabwe private photo safari’.

– Book your place now by filling in the form at the bottom of the page. Space for only 3 photographers. All extensions booked on a ‘per request’ basis. Enquire about any extension when filling in the form below. This exact itinerary can also be booked on a private basis in which case it will be re-costed.

* Still got questions? See the FAQ I wrote about African photographic safaris.

Southern Africa Extensions

If you would like to continue your Africa photo safari in the Okavango Delta, Mana Pools or the Hoanib Skeleton Coast, we now offer these exciting extensions

Guest Testimonials

Hi Greg, From the bottom of my heart, thank you for creating such an amazing experience and for being so kind and thoughtful on the trip. Thank you also for sharing your knowledge so generously and elevating my photography practices, it was so exciting when I took a good photo! I hope to continue with an upwards trend and put it all to good use and improve much more in the future. I loved every minute of being back in Africa, learning from you about the flora and fauna and it brought great joy to me. Thank you so much again. Kate Jenvey

Kate Jenvey (Australia)
'Hi Greg! I wanted to tell you that I had the most incredible time on our African safari. I have such a hard time explaining the experience to my friends, since no words ever seem to do it justice. It was far beyond terrific! I am in the process of writing a review for you, which I hope to have done sometime soon. I have the same problem with the review, as I do describing the trip: no words ever seem fantastic enough.'

Adrienne Waltman (USA)
'I had a hard time writing this review. After having spent almost two full weeks with Greg, he has become a friend. And as much as it sounds odd to say, I expected to grow as a photographer, but did not expect to grow as a person like I did as well. Greg was able to take my photography to the next level in more ways than I can express. My understanding of both camera mechanics as well as animal behavior, from start to finish, was incredibly improved. He is beyond knowledgeable in both and it made the game drives interesting, and exciting. Getting to a good sighting, and being able to ask what settings we needed, or what to look for, made the whole process seamless. There was little guessing, shots just started to look good. Then, after a day or two, they started to look very good. I was almost always in the right position! We are already planning future trips with Greg, and I can see this becoming an annual destination. I can not recommend him enough!'

Chris Fischer (USA)
'Greg, Thank you for making possible an unending number of opportunities for us to be part of African nature and wildlife experiences that have have changed our lives and touched our souls. We anxiously await our next adventure with you. With our sincere and heartfelt thanks, Clinton and Rae-Anne Jammer.'

Rae-Anne Jammer (Canada)
'Hi Greg, At last we found time to send you a message! We're so busy editing photo's! Thank you very, very, very much for sharing these amazing two places with us! That was the best safari we did, EVER. And I'll never forget the baobab, still makes me cry when I think of it, sooooo beautiful! And of course thanks for all the foto lessons and your patience, explaining and setting my camera. Please let us know when your book is on the market, as said, we'll take about 5 copies! Bye for know, we'll be in touch, have fun on your next trip!'

Astrid & Jurg Bluemel (Switzerland)
'Our safari exceeded our expectations! Greg's companionship, leadership & instruction was outstanding. It was clear that he engaged the best drivers in Bashi & Roan. They amazed us in their ability to find wildlife & the lengths to which they go to ensure we were in the right spot. We appreciated his "bush school" where he reiterated basic photography techniques. His reminders of the starting point settings while on location was also very helpful. We also had great fun photographing predators by spotlight & flash. He even taught us to photograph the night sky. Greg, I hope we can travel with you again in East Africa. Words cannot express how happy & excited we are with you, your team & our images!'

Tom and Pam Holmes (USA)
'Having done several photo safari's in East Africa en Botswana this was by far the best photo safari. It was outstanding! Being in the midst of the predators actions was thrilling. Greg's coaching during the game drives results in my best images I ever shot. Your personality and knowledge of the African bush was amazing. It makes an unforgettable experience.'

Arthur Lim (The Netherlands)
'I have done numerous safaris in Africa, in fact this was my twentieth over a period of about 15 years. And it was absolutely one of the very best. The quality of the sightings and the photographic opportunities they gave us was superb. Greg was the perfect guide, host and tutor, having time for everyone, his tutorials in the middle of the day were very well presented. In particular his special use of flash in certain situations was a revelation to me. All in all a fantastic experience, and for wildlife photographers a must-do safari.' (See a gallery of photos that Richard took on his safari here...)

Richard Barrett (England)
'I think we had forgotten just what a great guide Greg is. His wildlife and photographic expertise are without question, but its the fact that he devotes his time and efforts to us as clients, and give as much information and help as you want. He is also so good at directing the drivers to the ideal photographic spot for each sighting. His seminars during the day, may theoretically be stuff we should know, but there is always something to learn, and he explains and talks very well.'

Michael and Lisa Parker (England and France)
'Hi Greg, It was a great pleasure to again share a photo safari with you. I saw some great things and picked up a few more tips on how to improve the technical aspects of my photography. While I aspire to take photos that are as good as yours, it would probably take a miracle to achieve it!! Hopefully I will be able to join you on more safaris in the future and continue my Canon education. Warm regards, Graham'

Graham Adkins (Australia)