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Zimanga: The Ultimate South African Photography & Film Safari

On this unique South African safari experience we are as near to guaranteed as possible to encounter all of Africa’s Big Five, plus an abundance of prey species and a dazzling array of birds. Using classic safari game vehicles, and making full creative use of a network of hides, we will create shots that simply aren't possible anywhere else.

And what's more, on this bespoke photography safari we have no crowds to contend with, as we have secured exclusive use of the entire reserve for our 12 photographers throughout our stay - no other visitors will be present. That means there are no constraints on our time with each species, allowing us to observe their way of life, explore appropriate photographic techniques and craft unique images which capture the essence of each animal, their behaviour and interactions.

We have a terrific mix of photography opportunities here, including guided walking and game drives, with the piece de resistance being exclusive access to all of the reserve’s incredible hides. These have been painstakingly designed and constructed in collaboration with Bence Máté, widely regarded as most creative wildlife photographer in the world. It is truly inspiring to benefit from the immense amount of time, effort and care that Bence puts into working out his globally award winning shots.

We have booked exclusive use of the entire 6000 hectares of pristine bushveld, fever tree forests and rolling hills for the next week – there will be no other visitors to share sightings with, or get in our way! Having Zimanga as our own private reserve means we can plan our days flexibly and use the hides whenever light conditions are optimum for each one.

During the week we will also have the chance to get up close to macro subjects, and create amazing images of the stars at night, as our tour leader and tutor Trai Anfield takes us through techniques to make the most of every photographic opportunity.

So for the next seven days we have free run to spend our time as we choose:

Creating unique images of the reserve's big cats - lion, leopard and cheetah - often on a kill
Tracking African painted wolf as the pack hunts and capers in the early mornings
Observe and capture the behaviour of all the reserve's bird, mammal and reptile species at close quarters in the hide network

Hide sessions include

Overnight hides x 2 – built for night time mammal photography, these hides offer beds and kitchen and bathroom facilities as well as the ability to light night time subjects to gain unique and stunningly beautiful shots. If the conditions are right you could even get the milky way as a background!

Lagoon hide – this is where the fish eagles, crocs and kingfishers come to feed, elephants play and drink, and water birds gather.

Reflection bird hide – smaller mammals such as mongoose, monkey and warthog drink here, alongside a kaleidoscope of colourful small birds

Woodland bird hide - dazzling colours and challenging quick flight

Bee eater hide – bag a perfect shot of this charismatic bird

Vulture / scavenger hide – mayhem and carnage for the strong of stomach

Macro photography sessions

Astro photography sessions: with no light pollution and fine weather Zimanga offers stunning opportunities for Milky Way and other night time photography

Fitness Level
- easy

Photography Level
- suitable for beginners
- excellent creative opportunities for more experienced and experimental photographers.

Safari Highlights

- 100% exclusive access to this private conservancy - no other visitors present on the reserve during our stay
- abundant wildlife, with Africa's Big Five and painted wolf possible at incredibly close range
- unlimited time to observe animal behaviour and create your shots
- unrivalled opportunities for experienced photographers looking for new possibilities
- beginner-friendly atmosphere to learn new and creative techniques with experienced tutors
- exclusive use of Africa's best network of cutting edge wildlife photography hides
- opportunity to learn DSLR videography with a BBC trained wildlife film maker
- restricted numbers to maximise space per photographer in game drive vehicles: usually 2 or 3 photographers per vehicle, occasionally 4 max by consent
- luxury en-reserve accommodation and cuisine
- no malaria medication required
- partners interested in wildlife welcome

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  1. I’d like to know more. Equipment recommendations – clothing – anything else.

    We are an older douple, ages 80 and 84, but we’re quite fit for our ages. We are experienced amateur photographers but we welcome any instruction on photography. We’ve been to Kenya and Tanzania on a photo tour 4 years ago, and it was wonderful. After reading your trip description, my main reservation about the trip would be whether there’s time allowed for rest and sleep! If the trip will involve activity from dawn until night time, it is not a trip we should take.

    • Hi Bill,

      Thank you for getting in touch about our Zimanga photographic safari. Please don’t worry – all the activities and sessions in the vehicles and hides are optional on the trip, and there is plenty of down time to rest and recover in between.

      My mum is 81 and her two photography friends are in their late 70’s/early 80’s too. They joined the trip in 2016 and returned last year as they enjoyed it so much. Of all the safaris I run I would recommend this one the most as the photographic opportunities it presents are so unique, and it is not strenuous at all.

      Our daily schedule is much like any other safari – an early start to catch the wildlife at its most active and in the best light, then some rest time during the middle part of the day – siesta time or 1-2-1 sessions may be scheduled with me. Then later on we head out again for a late afternoon/evening session.

      There will be night time activities on a few nights, but again they are optional – star sessions tend to last a coupe of hours so you may still have an early night, and in the overnight hides there are beds and even remote motion sensors which detect the animals as they approach and wake you up in time to photograph them, so you can still have a snooze as well as bagging some sensational night time shots!

      Kit-wise the usual long lens reaching around the 300mm mark will be excellent for close up work, and a wider lens will be handy too for shots of wildlife in habitat. A tripod and the widest lens you have will be best for stars – i use a 14mm but whatever you have we will make sure you get a beautiful shot. In fact we are not snobbish at all about what kit you bring – our motto is to get the absolute best out of whatever photography gear you have.

      Clothing wise, it is a great time of year in South Africa: not too hot during the day – T-shirt weather – but chilly in the mornings so do bring warm layers including a good warm coat and hat and scarf for the vehicle first thing.

      All of the trip details may be found on our web page https://www.enlightenedmedia.net/south-africa-safari
      but if you would like to have more of a chat do please call me on +44(0)1912535027 or +44(0)7763134209

      I really look forward to hearing from you, and welcoming you on this incredible safari.

      With all good wishes,


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