Today, several savvy South African game reserves and tour operators are offering specialized photographic safaris for snap happy pros and amateurs alike, guiding them in their pursuit of iconic images of the bush. Here is a list of 18 of the best photography safari operators for South Africa.
17 Best Photo Safaris to South Africa
Isak Pretorius is an expert photography guide and acclaimed professional wildlife photographer who specializes in taking guests to spectacular destinations and getting them the best shots. If you’d like to get up close with Africa and its wildlife, whether by car, boat, on foot or helicopter, Pretorius is the one who can take you there on a journey of a lifetime. Also see Isak’s photo on our Featured Pic page for Week 4 in September 2016.
CNP Safaris offers specialist photographic safaris to some of the best photographic destinations in South- and Southern Africa. With destinations like the Maasai Mara, the Serengeti, Etosha National Park, Chobe National Park, the Kgalagadi and a number of the top Game Parks in South Africa you may choose to join one of the many photo safaris with set departure dates or talk to us for a tailor made personal photo safari.
On a CNP Safari, the emphasis is on nature photography and the CNP guides led by the world renowned nature photographer Lou Coetzer, will ensure you are placed in the best possible position for the action, assist with your editing workflow if required and generally add to your knowledge of animal and bird behaviour. Combining all these elements in an photographically rich environment will leave you with unforgettable memories and world class images.
ORYX is recognized as one of the best photo tour companies whose services are geared for professional and amateur photographers alike. They work with the best pro photographers and photographic safari leaders in the industry.
Their Photography Safari Leaders are a diverse and dynamic group of individuals who hail from amongst the best in the industry. Whilst all their Photography Safari Leaders are guaranteed to possess excellent photographic skills, they also strive to be professional, personable, friendly, attentive and most of all dedicated to delivering the best photo safari experience possible for you to take home an incredible portfolio of images from your safari.
During his twelve years as guide in Botswana, Grant learned a great deal about animal behavior, as well as gaining a deep respect for the wildlife he photographs. Today Grant is based in Cape Town, and leads photo safaris to countries like Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya, Brazil and Botswana. As far as South Africa is concerned, Grant frequently leads a safari that combines Malamala and Mashatu (eastern Botswana).
Wild4 African Photographic Safaris exclusively focus on photographic tours to Africa’s most photo-productive destinations. Guests will enjoy the small group atmosphere with each photographer guaranteed a full row of seats in the vehicle. Wild4 pays attention to photography details as well as the needs of both amateur and pro nature photographers. Their scheduled tours provide quality time in the field – roughly two weeks, while the custom tours may be tailored to suit client needs.
Whether you are a pro photographer with years of experience or are just beginning your journey in the wonderful world of wildlife photography, Pangolin has the perfect safari for you. Guest can spend time with an experienced wildlife guide in a specialist workshop, learn the basics or take your camera to some of the world’s best locations. Pangolin offers a fully catered photographic safari in Chobe with custom built boats and vehicles, and state-of-the-art DSLR cameras.
Pangolin Photo Safaris currently offers a weekend safari at Jaci’s Lodge in Madikwe for a very affordable price even if measured in local South African Rands. All safari vehicles of Jaci’s Lodges are equipped with customized camera mounts, and their guides are trained to meet the particular needs of clients, including how to best position the vehicle for optimal lighting. You can select from a morning and afternoon drive, or optionally visit the Terrapin Hide. This hide can be accessed through a tunnel underground. The Hide pops up its head above the water surface in the midst of a rather deep waterhole and offers a perspective of 360 degree of the wildlife that go to drink.
Pumba Private Game Reserve, situated in the Malaria-free Eastern Cape, a mere 100km from Port Elizabeth, offers guests the opportunity to participate in Photographic Safaris while enjoying a luxury African Safari. Resident Pro Photo Guide, Neal Howarth, shares his passion for wildlife photography and shares tricks and tips on the way. Great CANON equipment is available to hire (if required), together with excellent tutorage and guidance to capture your unforgettable Safari memories. Pumba Private Game Reserve boasts an abundance of wildlife to snap, including the BIG 5, and a pride of rare white lion, in their natural environment.
Wild Eye offers a spectrum of photographic safaris both in Africa and overseas. Their range of photographic safari itineraries and destinations are crafted from the experience of their professional photographic safari guides. Destinations include Madikwe, Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Mana Pools, Okavango Delta, Hwange National Park, Amboseli, South Luangwa, Tsavo, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara, Svalbard, Serengeti, British Columbia and many more. Wild Eye photographic safaris, courses and workshops are suitable for photographers of all levels and goals.
Kariega Game Reserve operates a few photo safaris each year. They offer a good photographic location to work in, along with two of the best South African photo guides, Brendon Jennings and Jacques Matthyssen. Their photographic tours are especially good for photographers seeking great shots of elephant, lions and game in general.
Mhondoro Game Lodge is a new, luxurious lodge within Welgevonden that is a hotspot among photographers. The Lodge has a state-of-the-art Hide which can be accessed safely through a tunnel underground. The Hide rests in the midst of the waterhole affording photographers amazing low angled shots of the animals that come to drink. Mhondoro is also famous for its “resident” herd of elephants that go to drink at the Lodge swimming pool, thereby providing a shot that’s highly sought-after. Breathtaking landscape shots can also be taken from the raised deck of the Lodge, which offers expansive panoramas across the game reserve area.
Gregory Sweeney is a wildlife photographer who hosts photo safaris for photographers and animal lovers, in conjunction with Africa Wild Safaris. Sweeney enables guests to combine the thrill of safari with a passion for photography to enjoy an exciting photographic safari adventure. The photo safari allows guest to maximize time with wildlife subjects while giving you a personalized adventure. Groups of four to six get to explore the Kruger National Park and top notch private reserves through their lenses.
C4 Photo Safaris is a photographic safari company that is operated by wildlife photographers for photographers. Their aim is to get clients into the best wildlife destinations during the best season with the best photography guides to enable you to take the best shots. They only travel to locations when wildlife is at its optimum to ensure that clients enjoy the best wildlife sightings possible. C4 currently operates in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Chad, Madagascar, Iceland, Svalbard, South America and the Arctic.
Zimanga Reserve is South Africa’s pioneer game reserve to be specifically designed with the needs of wildlife photographers at heart. The exclusive and pristine photographic reserve offers 5 state-of-the-art, luxuriously furnished Hides. Each Hide provides unique photography perspectives designed with particular animals in mind. One overnight Hide is equipped with beds, coffee station and toilet facilities. Zimanga is popular among birders armed with bazooka lenses to photograph its more than four hundred bird species. There’s also a good population of cheetah, leopard, elephant, wild dog, crocodiles and more.
The friendly people at Cape Town Photo Tours will design a private tour for clients who are in need of a more customized and personal experience. Their tours are all led by qualified photo guides, and driven in private vehicles. With in-depth knowledge of Cape Town, the guides will ensure you get to all the great photographic spots. It makes no difference you are a experienced pro or a novice with a camera, Cape Town Photo Tours will design your perfect day trip, or extended tour, to ensure you leave with tons of stunning images and memories of Cape Town and it’s surrounding areas.
Simbavati Photographic Safaris, in conjunction with Africa Photographic Travel, offers a four-night tour of the Timbavati Nature Reserve which is famous for its animal diversity and density. Guests can enjoy photo opportunities of leopards, wild dogs, elephant, rhino, buffalo, giraffe and zebra. Experience South African wildlife through your camera lens as you capture perfect moments. You may even encounter an opportunity of photographing the elusive white lion.
Camp Shemu, a rustic private lodge, is the base point for Kruger’s photographic safari. The Camp’s dam, waterhole and nearby river attract diverse big game, which includes a thirty-strong resident lion pride, buffalo and elephants that visit the waterhole daily. This safari will cost might not be the most affordable , but is well worth it.
Photography Tours guides guests through some of Africa’s most beautiful destinations. Their photographic guides focus on the best light hours of sunrise or sunset while assisting clients with in field techniques and tips. Their photographic tours are open to all – from the serious pros and amateurs to the click-and-shoot holiday snappers, as well as their non-photographer traveling partners. Itineraries are flexible enough to change even on the very day of the tour.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is famous for its spectacular wildlife encounters. The Reserve employs a quiet approach and respect in conducting its safaris to ensure their guests get up close with amazing African animals and take breathtaking photos. Sabi Sabi’s photographic safaris offer clients a unique experience in being guided by a pro photographer through the intricacies of getting the best out of their camera, as well as how to take the perfect, once in a lifetime, animal shot.
MalaMala Game Reserve provides the safari industry’s epitome of a luxury photographic safari. Its enormous tract of land offers opportunities for unequaled viewing of wildlife. Not even the Serengeti or Ngorongoro of Tanzania can fill your camera with Africa’s Big 5 as fast as at MalaMala. Here, the elephant, leopard, buffalo, rhino and lions seem to appear magically. Malamala now offers a dedicated photography vehicle equipped with all amenities a photographer could desire, as well as some expert assistance by a dedicated photography ranger.
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