Calling all aspiring photographers! Our brand new South African Photography Tour combines safari experiences with photography workshops taught by a professional photographer.
You’ll stay in some of the most luxurious and unique treehouse properties we’ve ever seen (seriously) while spending your days on safari viewing wildlife, surrounded by elephants, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, and lions. If soaking in a pool while watching elephants play nearby sounds like heaven to you: this is the trip for you! This luxury experience is limited to only 6 guests.
You will be flown in a Private Charter Cessna Caravan from Johannesburg, North to the Botswana border where you will land at Madikwe Reserve. 4 nights later you will fly due East to Hoedspruit Eastgate airport, you will have crossed South Africa and be quite close to the Mozambique border. Then after your Kruger experience, you will be flown back to Johannesburg.Check dates and availability
Em Gatland is a full-time professional photographer and adventurer with a passion for awareness and nature’s beauty through art.
Arrive at OR Tambo International airport, Johannesburg and be transported a few miles to a small private air terminal, enjoy the hospitality of the VIP Lounge where food and drinks, a gym and shower facilities are available. Once all gathered, you will board your own private charter aircraft which will fly you to your home for the next four nights, Jaci’s Tree Lodge.
The departure time will be approx. 12:00 and the flight is approximately one hour. Jaci’s Tree Lodge is made up of a series of luxury treehouses, connected by bridges and set into the natural bush and foliage, making it excellent for bird and wildlife viewing After arrival settle in and a light lunch will be served around 14:30.
Depending on how energized you feel, Em will take you on a Game Drive at 16:00 for a max of 2 hours, as we imagine you will be a little tired. A sun-downers stop will take place where you can enjoy a juice or alcoholic drinks. Traditionally the drink of this moment is a gin and tonic, two fingers deep, lots of ice and easy on that tonic.
We should arrive back at the Lodge before sunset so for guests wishing to take advantage of the sunset around the watering hole, Em will be holding a session in the Photographic Terrapin hide, submerged in a water hole and accessible via an underground tunnel. This is the opportunity to get head-on photos of animals drinking just meters away. The length of this session will be light permitting
We’ll take it easy tonight, getting to know one another while enjoying the lodge’s cozy fireplace, fully stocked bar, lounge and African curio shop.
Over the course of the next 9 days, you’ll work with Em Gatland on everything from equipment setup and orientation with camera settings and features, to lessons on lighting, composition, storytelling (how to achieve emotion in images) and Lightroom editing sessions. Every day of this tour will be slightly different, but in general, you will spend your days on safari and your evenings discussing photography and editing techniques.
After tea, coffee and rusks, you’ll set out on safari on the Madikwe Game Reserve with Em Gatland, your photographer and tour leader. Madikwe Game Reserve is the 5th largest reserve in the country, but one of the lesser-known and visited. This makes it a hidden- gem as it is regarded as one of the best conservation areas in Africa and offers the Big 5 in a 680 km2 park (750 km2 including newly incorporated privately owned land). The Big 5 is represented in the park and you are likely to spot lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo and a vast collection of antelope and plains game. During your visit, you will also have the rare privilege of possibly seeing the highly endangered African Wild Dog.
Breakfast, Lunch and. Dinner at the lodge. (Morning Coffee break and afternoon Sundowners break while on Safari)
Safari with photographer Em Gatland on Madikwe Game Reserve. It’s impossible to tell you what you’ll see today, or any day, on safari. Be camera-ready though, because you never know when you’ll see a lion capture its prey, or a giraffe running across the field! All meals provided at or by the lodge. Em is married to a well-known South African Wildlife Ranger, Luan, and they compete for depth and detail of knowledge when it comes to the wildlife.
Safari with photographer Em Gatland on Madikwe Game Reserve. All meals provided at or by the lodge. This will be the day when Em and her Ranger team try to find whatever has been elusive. Often wild dog or Leopard.
Today we’ll be moving to another reserve via a short 1.5-hour flight to Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport. All flights are in your own private aircraft, a Cessna Caravan, used all over Africa as a short-haul aircraft. It is famous for its history of Flying Doctors and is still widely used for serious medical evacuations. The flight is a marvelous experience in itself, as you will be flying at very low altitudes and be mesmerized as the African Landscape changes color, shape, and character below you. Over the next three days, you’ll be exploring the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve while staying at the Nthambo Tree Camp. The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is one of the largest privately-owned nature reserves in South Africa covering some 60 000 hectares and is part of the greater Kruger National Park. It is an entirely non-government organization involved in the full spectrum of Nature Conservation.
Nthambo Tree Camp consists of a series of chalet treehouses. We have exclusive use of the Lodge for our three days. All 5 chalets are positioned on stilts at level with the trees so game watching can be enjoyed constantly. The small size and privacy of nThambo means that activities are flexible and exciting night drives can also be conducted. All meals provided at or by the lodge.
Today we’ll be moving to another reserve via a short 1.5 hour flight to Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport. Over the next three days, you’ll be exploring the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve while staying at the Nthambo Tree Camp. The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (KPNR) is one of the largest privately-owned nature reserves in South Africa covering some 60 000 hectares and is part of the greater Kruger National Park. It is an entirely non-government organization involved in the full spectrum of Nature Conservation.
Nthambo Tree Camp consists of a series of chalet treehouses. All 5 chalets are positioned on stilts at level with the trees so game watching can be enjoyed constantly. The small size and privacy of nThambo means that activities are flexible and exciting night drives can also be conducted. All meals provided at or by the lodge.
Safari in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve with photographer Em Gatland. Your game drives today could reveal the Big 5 all in one! Or perhaps you’ll be rewarded by viewing a family of sleeping cheetahs. You just never know what a safari drive will show you — and that’s the best part! Should the Big 5 be elusive, don’t worry Em will introduce you to the Little 5. A secret yet to be unfolded.
All meals provided at or by the lodge.
Safari in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve with photographer Em Gatland. All meals provided at or by the lodge.
After breakfast, we’ll be driving on today to our final accommodation, the Honeyguide Khoka Moya Tented Camp. Khoka Moya is situated on both sides of a riverbed offering an authentic environmentally pleasing African bush experience without sacrificing luxury, safety, or comfort. The 15 tents on the Camp are furnished in a contemporary minimalistic style with an en-suite bathroom. The 60 square meters tent can comfortably accommodate a family of 4, all protected by a mosquito net.
Khoka Moya Camp has a reception area made from recycled wood and thatch. It also houses a locally crafted curio outlet/shop. The main dining, lounge, and bar area is designed to resemble and recalling the pioneer-dwellings of the early gold prospectors. Outside lies a newly built pool set amidst lush lawns, a renovated bird hide, and 15 large, free-standing tents. Each has canopied king or twin beds (with cotton sheets and down duvets), a large sofa, a writing desk, and a fan with an outside deck for relaxation. Behind a screen is an over-sized ‘wet-room’ with twin showers, twin basins, and a flush toilet. There’s plenty of space – each tent is 10 x 5m; and plenty of privacy – the doors and window flaps roll down at night.
This incredible property was chosen to give you a unique and authentic experience of camping (in luxury) in the bush near Kruger National Park. Expect incredible wildlife viewing, relaxing accommodations, and delicious meals! All meals provided at or by the lodge.
Safari with Em Gatland in Kruger National Park. This unique property offers guests early morning and late afternoon/evening drives. Locations will be chosen by your ranger and Em. In between meals and game drives, watch the animals and birdlife by relaxing at the pool. Or, join a walking safari through the wild with an experienced ranger.
We may also be able to take a group tour to the nearby village of Welverdiend, to learn about the relationship between traditional and contemporary living. All meals provided at or by the lodge.
Today’s the day we pack up and head out. We’re sad to see you go, but we know you had the most incredible experience, viewing and photographing wildlife from a variety of vantage points, all while guided by our amazing photographer. Today we’ll fly back to Johannesburg. Please schedule your return flights home for later in the evening or the following day.
Click here for more info about Jaci’s Tree Lodge.
More information about Nthambo Tree Lodge.
More info on Honeyguide Khoka Moya Tented Camp.
Due to scarcity of rooms in our lodges, no private rooms will be available and all accommodation will be shared. Each room will have two queen size beds.
You will be flown in a Private Charter Cesna Caravan from Johannesburg, North to the Botswana border where you will land at Madikwe Reserve. 4 nights later you will fly due East to Hoedspruit Eastgate airport, you will have crossed South Africa and be quite close to the Mozambique border. Then after your Kruger experience you will be flown back to Johannesburg.
In principle, the structure of the days at all the Game Lodges are similar. We wake up around 5, Coffee, tea, juice, and rusks, maybe yogurt or fruit, then we depart in our own private game-drive vehicle just before sunrise. The morning Drive is about 3 hours and Em, and your Game Ranger and Tracker will do their utmost to find the animals and position the vehicle correctly for that once in a lifetime photo. A coffee and tea break will take place before we return to the Lodge at around 9am for a freshen up and full hearty breakfast.
Around 11am Em Gatland will start a workshop where you should have your camera, Laptop with lightroom installed and if you have had time, recent photos downloaded.
Lunch is normally between 13:30 and 14:30 and is always a sumptuous affair. After lunch, there is time to relax or engage with Em on a more personal level as she will be available to those die-hards wanting to get just that last tip, leading them on their photographic journey.
The afternoon Game Drive departs at 16:00 and takes approximately 3 hours.