South Africa photographers safaris
These exclusive safaris start at Black Leopard Camp set within the magnificent Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve, followed by Rukiya Safari Camp located on the banks of the Blyde River in the Wild Rivers Private Nature Reserve. Rukiya is not only our safari base with an exclusive big five private concession within the Greater Kruger National Park, but is also a key location for our leopard research program. Following three days at Rukiya with our team, you will visit the nearby Klaserie Game Reserve, which is also in the Greater Kruger National Park, where we again have exclusive access to 25,000 acres of pristine big five country.
This safari offers superb opportunities to see and photograph the prolific variety of indigenous wildlife that are found in these area. As our guests often say “we want to see everything” and it is that ethos that has made our award winning South African safaris such a success.
Of-course we understand that photographers have a special approach to viewing wildlife, which is why our photo safaris are all about maximising time with wildlife. And for those who wish to learn more about field craft, our experienced bush experts will provide training in ‘walk and stalk’ techniques, enabling you to get even closer to wild animals, both in Africa and back at home.
Our South African safaris support local wildlife conservation projects, including our leopard research program operated by the On Track Foundation.
We cater for any specific needs you have, whether that be birding, big cats, general wildlife, hide photography, landscapes and sunsets. Whatever your speciality, we will do our utmost to offer you the best wildlife opportunities.
On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport Johannesburg guests are met and transfer by kombi (mini bus) to Black Leopard Camp arriving in time to relax and unwind before a welcome dinner.
Note: The day 1 itinerary above assumes your arrival at Johannesburg Airport before 10:00. The vast majority of international flights arrive between 07:00 - 10:00. If however your preferred flight is scheduled to arrive later in the day, then we can arrange for overnight accommodation before starting your safari.
Morning and evening bush walks or game drives within the Thaba Tholo Reserve. We can also visit the ancient rock art sites within the reserve, which are thought to have been made by the San people over two thousand years ago.
Within the Thaba Tholo reserve we have several photography hides for you to utilise as you wish. These hides were installed for film crews to use during the production of several wildlife documentaries that have been set at Thaba Tholo and facilitated by OTS founder Will Fox, including Masters of Mayhem (BBC). Brunch followed by early afternoon relaxation and a evening game drive, perhaps to watch the sun set over the magnificent mountain scene.
After breakfast we will transfer to our safari base Rukiya Safari Camp (approx 2 hours). Travelling through the mountainous area known locally as the highveld to the Greater Kruger Park area (lowveld).
Rukiya Safari Camp is an intimate, luxury tented camp situated on the confluence of the Blyde and Olifants Rivers in the heart of Wild Rivers Private Nature Reserve. The development of the camp was done with a least-impact footprint with a variety of green or eco-friendly principles employed during the construction process. A large part of the area comprises of deck and canvass that has a minimal effect in contrast to conventional brick and mortar. The operation of the camp follows the ecological-sensitive philosophy by utilizing environmentally friendly products that does not contain harmful chemicals. Up-cycled drift- and pallet wood were used to furnish and decorate the camp and were sourced from local suppliers in support of the community. Following a holistic approach to contribute to an ultimate nature experience, great care is taken to provide guests with all the special touches, pampering and comforts during their stay. Safaris and bush walks are part of the offering of all-inclusive packages. The iconic tented accommodation fortifies the African experience that allows guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the magical Lowveld. Six en-suite luxury tents have been carefully placed underneath the shade of gaint Jackalberry trees with wonderful views to the river.
Rukiya is our safari home and base for much of our work in leopard conservation. It is offers a unique and intimate wildlife experience and the opportunity to take Big Five game drives in the adjacent Balule game reserve (Kruger Park). When entering Wild Rivers Nature Reserve, expect to be immersed in the vista of endless woodland set against the back drop of the majestic Drakensberg mountains that change colour as the day walks on. This 2,600 hectare reserve is bordered by both the Blyde and Olifants Rivers and boasts a diverse landscape with rocky outcrops and savanna where plains game roam freely. Leopard wander and riverbanks are frequented by hippo and crocodiles.
Day 6 & 7
Each morning you will be woken with an invigorating cup of coffee before setting off on a morning game drive.
On your first full day at Rukiya we will include our unique bush senses experience. This is an activity that we have developed over many years and has proven to be very popular with our safari guests. In a fun way it encourages you to use all of your senses when in the bush. Not just sight, but also smell, hearing and touch. Some of our senses are dulled by modern living, but this simple and fun exercise quickly hones one’s bush senses, ideal preparation for any safari.
Brunch is followed by time to relax and enjoy the photographic opportunities from your private deck with river views, before a late lunch and your afternoon game drive, before returning home for a sumptuous dinner.
Each morning will begin with a sunrise game drive that will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park). We have exclusive access, so we the flexibility to extend game drive times if we wish and moreover as nature dictates. We can either return to the lodge for a late breakfast or take a packed breakfast.
When the heat of the day has faded a little, we will enjoy a further game dive, stopping for sun downers as the suns sets and returning to the lodge as darkness falls for drinks and dinner.
After breakfast on day five we will transfer to the near by Klaserie Game Reserve, which is an integral part of the Kruger National Park and where we have exclusive access to 25,00 acres of pristine big five bushveld. Even on bush roads it takes only 60 mins to transfer to Klaserie so you will have plenty of time to settle in and relax before your afternoon game drive. Again returning to your lodge for dinner.
Klaserie is also a key location for our leopard research program, offering an extra insight into the resident leopard population.
Daily game drives: an early morning wake-up and an invigorating cup of fresh coffee, will start your first full day in the Klaserie Reserve, followed by an escorted bush walk before returning to the lodge for breakfast. You will have plenty of time for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the African bush. After lunch your afternoon game drive will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, again returning after dark in time for dinner.
The next day will again start with an early morning bush walk. After lunch there will be an afternoon game drive before dinner. As there are no boundary fences between the Klaserie and Kruger National Park, the bush dynamics are constantly changing which means every walk or drive may offer new and exciting events. As we always say snooze and you loose.
On your last morning in Klaserie, your game drive aims to visit those parts of the concession that we haven’t had time to reach previously, offering an opportunity to get those final photographs, before returning to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast we will transfer to Johannesburg airport.
£2,635 pps, single supplements apply
Photographers safaris dates for 2019:
26th May - 4th June
15th - 24th Sept
Prices are based on a group size of six clients and include:
Accommodation on a sharing basis (twin rooms) single supplements may apply
Tea and Coffee
Guided game drives and or bush walks
Reserve conservation entry fees (approximately £27)
Tips and souvenirs
Ten day Tiger safari - Bandhavgarh and Kanha
This ten day photographers safari includes two different Tiger Reserves (National Parks) - Bandhavgarh, and Kanha, within the province of Madhya Pradesh. This unique value safari starts and ends in New Delhi and visits Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks. These parks are situated in Madhya Pradesh in Central India and are undoubtedly amongst the best places in India to see Tigers in the wild.
We are able to offer this value safari at a very competitive price, by utilising mid range accommodation rather than the five star lodges that we also have available. We have also included an overnight sleeper train journey from Delhi on day 2, together with a return domestic flight on day 9. And, as you might expect from On Track Safaris, we have not compromised on the quality of daily game viewing. So, whether your preference is for mid range accommodation (as described below), or for more luxurious lodges and hotels (details on request), your game viewing experience in the National Parks remains the same.
Day 1 Delhi
On arrival at New Delhi airport, you will be met by a member of our team and escorted to check in at your hotel.
Here we allow some time to rest and recuperate after your overnight flight, so you are free until noon the next day. Your hotel is centrally located in the heart of the city offering easy access for sight seeing. The capital city is a window to India and it's amazing diversity. For those who prefer, we can arrange for a guided tour of the city at a small additional charge.
Delhi is a vibrant city rich in culture, architecture, beautiful gardens and human diversity. Its history is reflected in its magnificent monuments, museums and galleries. The city comprises two contrasting yet harmonious parts, Old Delhi and New Delhi.
Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries, while New Delhi was created by the British Raj and replaced Calcutta as the capital in 1931.
Day 2 Delhi - Bandhavgarh
Today we leave New Delhi for Umariya by Super Fast Train in an AC Coach. This is an overnight train which reaches Umaria railhead early in the morning.
Day 3 Bandhavgarh National Park
We reach Umariya railhead and then drive to Bandhavgarh in an AC car. There will be time to settle in the resort and freshen up, before breakfast.
Later in the morning we will take a short sight seeing walk to Tala Village.
Our first game drive is in the evening.
Bandhavgarh was declared a National Park in 1968 and subsequently a Project Tiger Reserve. The white Tigers were found near the forests here.
Our first Tiger safari is an introduction to the vivid landscape and Tigers of the little reserve. In the pristine forests we also hope to see Leopard and Sloth Bear. Other animals easily seen are the spotted Deer, four horned Deer, Sambar, barking Deer and Nilgai. Langur monkeys and wild boars are also common sight in the park. Bandhavgarh is rich in bird life hence birders always keep a look out for some exciting species.
Day 4 & 5 Bandhavgarh National Park
Enjoy morning and evening game drives within the Tiger reserve. Game drives are the best way to experience wildlife and wild habitats. Safaris are conducted by qualified and experienced naturalists in open, four passenger, 4x4 Gypsy (jeeps).
Game drives leave from your lodge just after dawn and normally continue through until 10:45, stopping for a packed breakfast within the reserve. Evening game drives aim to enter the reserve at 15:30, returning to your lodge before dark and in time for dinner.
Day 6 Bandhavgarh and Kanha
We leave your Bandhavgarh lodge for Kanha National Park in the morning, reaching Kanha Tiger Reserve around lunchtime and check in at Courtyard House in time for lunch and some rest.
Later we go for an evening safari. Game drives at Kanha are full of excitement as a large number of mammal species can be seen including the Tiger. The major mammals of the preserve are Tiger, Leopard, Bison, Swamp Deer and Sambar deer. Besides on hope to see Wild Dog, Sloth bBar and Nilgai.
Kanha is one of India's largest and most remote wildlife habitats, covering 940 sq km of forest and lightly wooded grasslands. An extensive network of rivers and streams support it Sal and bamboo forests, rolling grasslands and prolific variety of flora and fauna that was designated as a National Park in 1976. Since 1955 a series of stringent conservation programmes for the protection of the park's flora and fauna has given Kanha its deserved reputation for being one of the finest, best administered, National Parks in Asia.
Day 7 & 8 Kanha National Park
Morning and Evening game drives in the Kanha Tiger Reserve. Game drives and all meals included. As well as Tigers, Kanha National Park has an excellent variety of wildlife including Leopards, Chital, Sambar, three striped palm Squirrel, common Langur and Jackal. A favourite place to view sunset in the park is known locally as (surprise, surprise) Sunset Point. This is one of the most beautiful areas, from where the dense luxuriance of Kanha's forests can be seen. Some of the animals that are often seen around Sunset Point are typical of this form of mixed forest zone: Sambar, Barking Deer, Gaur and four-horned Antelope. Kanha also has some 200 species of birds
Day 9 Kanha and Delhi
Morning game drive and then transfer to Jabalpur airport (approximately 3 hrs) to fly back to Delhi arriving in the late evening. Transfer to your airport hotel.
Day 10 Homeward bound
Transfer to Delhi airport for your return flight.
Price £1,395 pps single supplements apply
Delhi: Home@37 on B&B
Kanha: Courtyard House Kanha (with all meals) Bandhavgarh: Nature heritage or Tiger Den with all meals
1) Meals on a full board basis with the exception of Dehli hotels, which are bed and breakfast.
2) Exclusive Jeep for game drives included as detailed above.
3) Overnight sleeper train
4) Domestic flight day 9 and transfers as detailed included
5) The best months for this tour are November, February March and April.
6) May and April are hot, but are our favourite time as they offer great wildlife sightings.
7) October is available.
8) December and January are traditionally less busy, but tend to be cold in an open jeep in the morning.
9) This safari is not available during the monsoon months July to September.
On Track Safaris is a member of the TOFT Tigers conservation organisation. Your safari will be helping to fund Tiger Conservation in India
UK Safaris - Dorset
Our UK wildlife photographic safaris are based in Dorset near the picturesque market town of Wareham. Where we have private access to some of the most stunning and bio-diverse habitats in the UK away from public areas, where wildlife can be observed and photographed without hinderance.
This include some of our most special National Nature Reserves - the 'Jewels in the Crown' of UK Wildlife Sites. The mosaic of woodland and lowland heathland (a rarer habitat than rainforest) gives the Isle of Purbeck the title of being the most bio-diverse area of the UK.
Your guide will be Mark Warn who has been working as a Wildlife Ranger for thirty years and as Mark says “I still have an absolute and unconditional passion for my vocation. Dorset is one of the most magical and diverse areas of the UK and continues to deliver the magical experiences that I have been so lucky to observe throughout my career. Sharing these special moments with others gives me one of the biggest buzzes in my day to day working life, and my years of experience within the area enable us to target the wonderful species that inhabit this special place”.
We run our UK safaris from spring to Autumn, with each month bringing its own special events in nature.
Spring (April/May/June) Deer viewing is ever popular with our guests, but later in May/June there will be the chance of seeing newly borns. Spring is also good time for emerging reptiles particularly the chance to see the 'Big Six', all GB reptiles.
Birdlife is great with options for seeing/hearing the three key heathland birds....Woodlark, Dartford Warbler and Nightjar.
Also Badger watching is another ver popular possibility.
Summer (June/July/August) Continuing great deer viewing chances, particularly wonderful early am outings before the rest of the country wake up! Better chances to see young at foot out and about with Mum.....and of course the Roe deer Rut at the end of July and beginning of August, when calling the excited bucks to come to us, offers another amazing experience. This is also a really special time fo year to enjoy Nightjar/Bat evenings experiences.
Autumn (September/October) The principal target will be viewing opportunities for the Sika Rut, hopefully seeing the dramatic clashes as stags face off against each other.
Viewing of late reptiles and the abundant birdlife makes Autumn a magical time.
Day 1: Friday PM
Our local guide will meet you at your accommodation to brief you about your weekends activities and the local habitat and associated wildlife conservation projects. During each activity we aim to get you close to wildlife (without affecting behaviour), allowing you opportunities to get unique wildlife shots.
Day 2: Saturday
Today you will be able to enjoy a dawn (and later) and dusk nature walk in private forests, accompanied by your guide. Each walk will be approximately two hours, of easy walking and stalking in the forest. Your guide will stop frequently to let you know more about the flora and fauna, tracks of animals and their behaviour, as you search for the forests abundant wildlife species. A key element for wildlife photographers is to learn more about the walk and stalk skills that are essential for getting closer to wildlife. The professional craft that you will learn on this safari aims to enhance your ability to stealthy approach wildlife animals without affecting their behaviour and get those unique shots. As with any safari, no two nature walks are the same, different conditions apply at dawn and dusk which affect animals behaviour, but rest assured that you are in the hands of very experienced guides who know every nook and crook of the forest and aim to find you as many animals to watch as possible.
You are likely to see and photograph Sika Deer, Roe Deer, Foxes, Badgers, smaller mammals and a multitude of seasonal birdlife.
During the middle of the day you have free time to visit the numerous visitor attractions in the area, perhaps enjoy a country pub lunch, or visit to a farmers market.
Day 3: Sunday AM
On your final morning, you can once again enjoy a two hour guided nature walk at dawn as the sun rises over the forest. A truly magical time to be in the forest away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
Our Photography Training Partners
Photography training safaris to Africa, India and the UK in partnership with Appleton Photo Training. In addition to amazing wildlife opportunities, these safaris offer daily tuition and 1-2-1 workshops, with an experienced wildlife photography tutor. We cater for a maximum of six photographers plus tutor on each safari.
Appleton Photo Training has developed over the last eight years to provide high quality photography tuition across the UK. Further afield, European and South African workshops attract delegates from around the world. APT online tuition and one-to-one mentoring are fast expanding methods of delivery which complement our popular workshops, courses and seminars.
Although our courses already cover a broad sphere of photographic genres, 2016 witnessed the start of our collaboration with other trainers. The aim is to develop new courses which combine the expertise of more than one trainer, providing an even more exciting and comprehensive programme of events. Teaming up with Claire Elliott, award-winning trainer and photographer of children and newborns, resulted in a series of fine art children's photography workshops. We will continue to expand our alliances with other trainers to meet the needs of photographers everywhere.
A panel member with The Guild of Photographers, trainer and proprietor Andrew Appleton is continually developing ways to connect with photographers and make training accessible to all. To date, he has trained individuals who have gone on to win prestigious national awards including Photographer of the Year and Overall Photographer of the Year.
In addition to training, we maintain a strong profile at industry events. Andrew regularly speaks at the NEC's annual Photography Show and is one of the international speakers at Photo and Film Expo, Johannesburg, where he has appeared every year since 2013.
Safaris are available now for 2019 (early booking recommended):
India Ten day safari - March 2019
South Africa Ten day safari - October 2019
Dorset, UK Weekend safari - March through November 2019
Contact Appleton Photo Training for more details using the reference On Track Safaris