Into the Heart of the Wild

The South Africa Wildlife Photography & Conservation Workshop

ROUND 1: June 30 – July 11, 2022 SOLD OUT

ROUND 2: July 30 – August 10, 2022 SOLD OUT

Duration: 12 days / 11 nights
Language spoken: English
Places available: 10

*PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. IF PLACES BECOME AVAILABLE WE WILL OPEN THE PLACES UP ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVE BASIS. PLEASE CLICK BELOW TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Welcome my lovely students & new friends!

I am so glad you could join me on this wild adventure we are about to go on. Not only are we going to see & photograph some amazing wildlife & landscapes, but we are also going behind the scenes with some of the top conservationists in the world, supporting nonprofits, learning about conservation, & help endangered wildlife as much as we can.

This is a very special trip with several elements you can’t book on even the most exclusive trips to Africa. These are not tours we are joining. All the work we will be doing & the wildlife we will be photographing will be either out in the African bush or with non-profits in private areas closed to the public. 

With workshops I always say, you get out what you put in. With that said, please let me know what you would like to learn from me & don’t be afraid to speak up! Let’s create some beautiful photos together with some amazing memories, & learn & love along the way!

Trip highlights:

• Spend time with Charly for 12 days in the African Bush on an epic photography safari.
• Hone your photography skills up close & personal with the world’s most iconic species.
• Gain experience in wildlife & landscape photography in all lighting conditions.
• Behind the scenes access to some of South Africa’s most exclusive game reserves.
• Track Lion’s, Cheetahs, & Wild Dogs with Africa’s top predator conservationists.
 

Introduction

At the end of June 2022, we will embark on a Wildlife Photography Expedition to South Africa focusing on Endangered Carnivores.  On this 12-day trip we will spend two days at The Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary, a highly specialized Rhino care facility. The Rhino population in South Africa continues to decline due to poaching & the demand for bogus medicines made from rhino horn. Many of these devastating poaching incidents have left behind young, defenseless, orphaned calves. This center is closed to the public, so we are very lucky to be able to observe the sanctuary in action with those who work tirelessly to rehabilitate, re-wild, release, & protect rhinos.

After bidding farewell to the Rhinos, we head off on our next adventure, a 3-night camping safari in the Kruger National Park home to Africa’s iconic Big 5; Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, & Leopard. The Park covers an area of 2 million hectares of African wilderness & has a greater variety of wildlife than any other African National Park, earning it the classification as one of the world’s super-parks.  It will be all about wildlife & outdoor adventure, spending the day in open safari vehicles, where we will get up close & personal with wildlife & spending the afternoons in photography workshops in camp.

After our safari we will spend two days on the Panorama Route capturing magnificent views, canyons, rock formations, & waterfalls at Gods Window, Bourkes Luck Potholes, & The Blyde River Canyon before heading to Makalali Game Reserve. For 4 days, we will work side by side with the unsung heroes of conservation, the Carnivore experts from The Endangered Wildlife Trust, who are doing everything possible to save Wild Dog, Cheetah, & Lions from extinction in Southern Africa. We will join the EWT Carnivore team daily & go out in open safari vehicles tracking Wild Dog, Cheetah, & Lions using telemetry equipment. Carnivores are one of the most charismatic yet threatened orders & require innovative strategies to ensure their survival. I am very proud to share Our Trip will be donating 7200 USD to The Endangered Wildlife Trust to help safeguard the future of their most endangered carnivores.


Day 1: Arrive in Johannesburg & rhino sanctuary

Meet Charly & the Inspired Team at Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. We aim to depart at 10am so if you are unable to arrive before this time, we recommend you fly in a day earlier & overnight at an airport hotel, which we can arrange for you. We will load up the vehicles & travel as a group to a Rhino Sanctuary in the heart of the Mpumalanga to meet Rhino Rehabilitator Petronel Nieuwoudt.

Petronel founded Care For The Wild in 2001 due to the drastic increase in the number of rhino poaching incidents within South Africa, resulting in orphan rhinos needing a specialized sanctuary which would rehabilitate & eventually, release them back into the wild. Our home for the night at Care for Wild is in shared cabins. Each room is equipped with comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, & electrical outlets.

Dinner included.

Day 2: Rhino rehabilitation & conservation

After breakfast we join Petronel & her team for the full day get a true understanding into the effects of the rhino poaching crisis in Africa.

We will learn about the rescue & rehabilitation of orphaned calves, the re-wilding, & release processes. We will also meet their K9 Unit & hear about their ongoing monitoring, protection, & conservation of the rhino species & their ecosystem. We are fortunate to get a look  behind the scenes into the daily running of the rhino sanctuary & how it evolves over time as the needs & requirements change.

The sanctuary runs a structured & timetabled program that is designed to meet the needs of the rhinos under their care, however as they are a Rhino Sanctuary on call 24/7 the program may be altered at any given time. Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary operates a ‘hands off’ approach to caregiving. Their sole purpose is to rescue, rehabilitate, & re-wild rhinos so that they can be released successfully back into their natural ecosystems.

We will assist in milk preparation, bottle feeding, & boma care, participating in behavioral observations & gain completely new insights into the world of rhino care, rehabilitation, & conservation. Overnight at Care For The Wild in shared cabins.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 3: Kruger National Park!

After bidding farewell to all the Rhinos, we head off on our next adventure, a camping safari in the Kruger National Park home to Africa’s iconic Big 5, Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, & Leopard.

The Park covers an area of 2 million hectares of African wilderness and has a greater variety of wildlife than any other African national park, earning it the classification as one of the world’s super-parks. Starting our safari as soon as we enter the park gates, enjoying a 2-hour game drive in an open game drive vehicle. 

On arrival into camp, we then assist with setting up camp, before our guides prepare lunch & we have some time to explore the rest camp. Late afternoon we then head out on an afternoon drive, an exciting 3 hours in the bush as the sun starts to set. On our return to camp, we will enjoy dinner & relax around the campfire under the African night sky.

The camp is fully fenced, & it is safe to walk around, explore the different viewpoints, & attractions.

We will camp in 2-person canvas safari tents with a comfortable mattress & pillow. There are hot showers, clean toilets, camp chairs, a gazebo kitchen complete with fridge, cooker, & storage boxes, as well as charge points in camp. Tonight, we will get to fall asleep under the stars to the sounds of roaring lions, snorting hippos, & the soft croaking of frogs in the river.

 Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 4: The very best of Kruger / photography masterclass

Rising with the sun & venturing right into the heart of Kruger, we get to view the spectacular scenery, which provides a perfect backdrop for incredible wildlife sightings.

The Park has approximately 147 species of mammals, 500 species of birds, 114 species of reptiles, so there are plenty of opportunities to experience wildlife in their natural habitat. In addition to the Big 5, cheetah, hyena, wild dog, giraffe, large herds of zebra, & wildebeest, & an impressive variety of antelope are among our usual sightings.

We will spend the day in the park & enjoy breakfast & lunch at remote picnic sites, where animals roam around us.  Arriving back at camp mid-afternoon for a photography workshop hosted by Charly.

Enjoy the sunset from the camp’s wooden deck overlooking the river, followed by dinner around the campfire.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 5: Dawn to dusk wildlife photography

This camping safari is all about wildlife & outdoor adventure, so we will experience a guided adventure in an open safari vehicle, where we will get up close & personal with the park’s residents.

Our professional & passionate Kruger team will explain & interpret what is going on in the natural environment around us as we travel along the tracks with plenty of opportunity for some incredible photography at sunrise & sunset.

Our morning will start with tea, coffee, & rusks in camp, before heading out on an early morning safari. Avid bush enthusiasts love the Kruger in winter as the cooler temperatures & thinner bush make it easier for game spotting.

Animals also tend to spend more time around watering holes giving us the chance for some incredible sightings & photographic opportunities. After lunch at a remote picnic site, we will head back to camp for a photography session & enjoy our last evening in the Kruger National Park, around the campfire eating dinner and toasting s’mores.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 6: The Panoramic route!

Up early & out to enjoy a final morning safari. The drive will follow the famous Sabie River upstream towards Kruger Gate, where our Kruger safari ends.

At the gate, we will jump into a shuttle bus & transfer to Graskop, stopping for lunch in Hazyview. In the late afternoon we will arrive in Graskop, a small mountain village 1400 meters above sea level.

This quaint little town provides easy access to some of the most stunning outlooks & popular natural attractions in eastern South Africa. 

We will overnight at The Graskop Hotel which is centrally situated on the Mpumalanga Escarpment at the start of the Panorama Route. Right on our doorstep we will find the famous Pinnacle Rock, God’s Window, & the historical town of Pilgrim’s Rest. We will be surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, streams, tree ferns, & hiking trails. Overnight Graskop Hotel, a quirky & interesting boutique art hotel.

Breakfast & Dinner included.

Day 7: Blyde River Canyon

After breakfast depart Graskop Hotel & drive the Panorama Route stopping at God’s Window & Bourke’s Luck Potholes. With magnificent views, canyons, rock formations, & waterfalls, God’s Window is truly an area of breath-taking scenic splendor.

It is no wonder that Mpumalanga is known as Paradise Country. God’s Window is so called for the panoramic view of the Lowveld more than 900 meters down into lush indigenous forest clad ravine.

The majestic cliffs plunge over 700 meters to the Lowveld & the private game reserves which have made the area one of South Africa’s main wildlife destinations. God’s Window is a small part of a 250km long earthwork of sheer cliffs & extravagant beauty. One can observe the hills & forests as far as the eye can see.

In fact, it seems as if one can see forever! Bourke’s Luck Potholes is without doubt a major icon. This natural water feature marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. Through countless eons the swirling whirlpools caused waterborne sand & rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river. Overnight Blyde Canyon Resort.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 8: Makalali Game Reserve with the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Blyde River Canyon is the largest green canyon in the world with a dam at the bottom. We will head out early to catch the Canyon at sunrise in search of the perfect shot. After catching our sunrise panoramic shots, it is time head over to Makalali Game Reserve, which is a 25000 private reserve, registered as a Protected Area by the government.

The reserve is home to the Big Five, smaller mammal species, the endangered ground hornbill, & many threatened & endangered raptor species. In the afternoon we will join the conservation experts from The Endangered Wildlife Trust, a team dedicated to conserving threatened species & ecosystems across East and Southern Africa.

We will spend the next 4 days with these unsung heroes. After a welcome presentation by the EWT team, we will enjoy a dinner in a boma. Overnight at Main Lodge. Makalali Main Lodge is a 5-star private lodge which overlooks a waterhole. We will indulge in an array of African cuisine & enjoy extraordinary views of the wildlife in the reserve.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 9: Wild Dog Tracking with Africa’s top researchers

Today we will meet carnivore expert Grant Beverley, a senior member of the EWT Carnivore Conservation Program. We will head out into the reserve to track packs of collared Wild Dogs., which are one of the most Endangered carnivores in Africa second to the Ethiopian Wolf.

We will discover the unique, effervescent behavior these close-knit pack animals, who use strength in numbers & seamless collaboration to make them a force to be reckoned with. Each Wild Dog has a unique coat pattern, like human fingerprints, & many of the individuals within the packs monitored are known to Grant.

As a result, he has the most fascinating & intimate insights into the dogs that cannot be found in a book or online. We will search for the dogs using radio telemetry to confirm the health of all pack members, to update identifications, update pack composition, & structure. Wild Dogs are regularly caught in snares, hit by cars, affected by disease outbreaks, & face competition with other predators. They are now the most endangered carnivore in South Africa, with just 200 left in the Kruger National Park & between 450-500 in the whole of southern Africa.

Throughout the day we will learn from Grant about their unique hunting & feeding behavior, how they share meals between the pack, & even regurgitate their food for their pups! After tracking Wild Dogs for the day, we will return to our lodge for a well-earned dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 10: Cheetah Tracking

Today we head into the bush with Grant Beverly in search of Cheetahs. While not as fearsome or ferocious as the mighty Lion or the stealthy Leopard, Cheetahs are built for speed & are widely known as the planet’s fastest land animal. Their light, streamlined build, long tail, & legs, & aerodynamic shape allow them to run at speeds of up to 93 km/h, making them highly successful hunters.

Cheetahs are often solitary & hunt alone, but while sub-adults learn to hunt, they will assist their mother, & males will sometimes form coalitions to bring down larger prey as a team. However, while they are successful hunters, threats such as habitat destruction, conflict with farmers over livestock losses, & interspecies competition have caused significant population declines. With only an estimated 7,100 Cheetah left in the wild, their future is far from certain. We will track & monitor Cheetah movements, hunting activity, & learn more about this sleek, mysterious creature & the grave threats it faces. We will also see first-hand the mammoth conservation efforts underway to maintain the species’ vital place in our ecosystems.

In the evening we will be joined by lion expert Marnus Roodbol whose passion & drive is as steadfast & strong as Lions themselves. He will host a presentation on the work EWT is doing with Lions in Southern Africa.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 11: Lion tracking & photography

In the past 25 years Africa has lost half of its Lion population & there are currently more Rhinos in Africa than Lions!  Today we will join Marnus, who has dedicated his life to safeguarding the future of this iconic, yet highly endangered species.

In 2020, EWT added conserving Lions to their portfolio addressing the increasing threat of poisoning & illegal wildlife trade. The main challenge facing Lions is habitat loss & reduction of the diversity of prey due to human expansion & encroachment. Lions too are symbols of strength and bravery in many societies, which has unfortunately led to the belief that humans can take on a Lions strength & power by consuming or using Lions parts. As demand has grown, poaching has decimated Lions populations across their range.

Marnus will share fascinating insights into the conservation efforts that the EWT is implementing to save the Prides of Africa. We will learn all about the EWT’s Lion project, how & why they use specific tracking methods & telemetry equipment.

We will spend the morning tracking & learning about the animal’s behavior, their most significant threats, & what the EWT is doing to conserve.

In the evening we will have an epic farewell dinner, African style, under the African stars with local drinks to toast the end of an adventure you’ll never forget!

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner included.

Day 12: Farewell

After breakfast we will start shuttles to Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) where you can fly directly to Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Airlink Airline or onto your next adventure.

If you are planning to stay on in South Africa, the Inspired team would be happy to make arrangements for you. Email Ali@inspiredventures.co.uk to chat about your next adventure!

What’s included

• 11 nights accommodation on twin basis
• Meals as indicated on Itinerary 
• All game drive in Kruger National Park & Makalali Game Reserve
• Airport Pickup at Johannesburg International Airport
• Private transfers throughout tour
• Guide & hosting services during the course of the tour
• Entrance & conservation fees to the reserves where applicable
• Donation to The Endangered Wildlife Trust for their ongoing conservation of Africa’s most at risk wildlife.
• Airport drop-off at Hoedspruit Airport

What’s not included?

• All items of a personal nature
• Gratuities
• All Meals & beverages not mentioned in Itinerary
• International flights & Travel Insurance
• Visa 

Our charity partners

CARE FOR THE WILD: Save Rhinos, To Save People, To Save Tomorrow…..

Care for Wild is the largest orphan rhino sanctuary in the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, re-wild, release, & protect rhinos, but we also do so much more.  Africa was fast becoming the center of the rhino poaching crisis. Rhinos were being brutally murdered daily in National Parks, Provincial Parks & on private property to meet the demand for bogus medicines made from rhino horn.

The illegal rhino horn trade catapulted the status of the White Rhino to ‘Near Threatened’ & the Black Rhino to ‘Critically Endangered’. Many of these devastating poaching incidents left behind young, defenseless, orphaned calves. As the effects of the escalating poaching crisis became evident, so too did the need for a highly specialized care facility that could support the conservation efforts to save this iconic, key stone species from extinction. Founded by Petronel Nieuwoudt, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary holds an official MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) with South African National Parks in our joint effort to safeguard the future of the species & South Africa’s heritage.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust

A warm, African welcome from the Team at The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in South Africa. Our purpose is to boldly prevent carnivore extinction in southern Africa. Carnivores are one of the most charismatic yet threatened orders & require innovative strategies to ensure their survival. We boldly implement large-scale, collaborative, field-based projects to increase the range, numbers, & status of Africa’s threatened carnivores. We achieve this by re-establishing, maintaining, & expanding safe space for carnivores, actively reducing threats to carnivore survival & persistence, ensuring positive changes in human-based values to carnivores, & supporting legislation to protect carnivores. We should, we can, we do save carnivores. We are proud to have partnered with Charly to host you on this behind-the-scenes expedition. Our highly skilled field staff are looking forward to hosting you in South Africa. Your trip will directly help to safeguard the future of our most endangered carnivores, Lions, Cheetahs, & Wild Dogs. Thank you for your support – The Carnivore Conservation Team


Book your place now

To book your place on this trip please click on the link below.

The price of the trip is USD 4995.
A deposit of USD$750 will be due upfront, followed by two installments:
The first installment of USD$1500 due on the 1st January 2022.
A final installment of of $2745, which will be due 90 days before the trip departs.

This trip will be operated in partnership with Inspired Ventures who will be the principal for the trip. The booking conditions can be found at https://www.inspiredventures.co.uk/booking-terms-and-conditions/