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African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project

Kruger Conservation Area, South Africa
£2,090 (4 weeks)

Ref: AV036

This Wildlife Photography and Conservation project is based in the world renowned Greater Kruger Area - famous for the Big 5 and some amazing scenery.  The region is home to a local people with a rich and vibrant culture and it is in this impressive setting that course members will have the opportunity to enhance their photographic skills whilst raising conservation awareness within the local community. For anyone who has always wanted to take amazing wildlife pictures, there is no better place in the world!

A comprehensive orientation will be followed by an intensive three-day photography course run by an award winning photographer, after which further weeks will be spent photographing Africa's Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard).  Course members will also undertake some conservation activities, and will help to raise awareness in the local community about the important of conservation.  No experience is necessary but enthusiasm for photography and African wildlife is essential.  Some photographic knowledge is helpful and the project attracts all levels of ability from complete beginners to professionals.  Course members will be taught how to edit their photos using Photoshop/Lightroom and will spend a good deal of time during their stay editing their images, and for this reason a basic level of computer literacy is required in order to participate.

Who can join: 16 years and over
Accommodation: Comfortable shared accommodation
Transfer time: approx 3 hours
Pick up Point: Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (Nelspruit)
Meals: Meals included
Volunteer numbers: approx. 14

Duration & Fees

4 weeks£2,090

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Start Dates

2017 Start Dates (Sundays):

31 Dec

2018 Start Dates:

28 Jan | 25 Feb | 25 Mar | 22 Apr | 20 May | 17 Jun | 15 Jul | 12 Aug | 9 Sep | 7 Oct | 4 Nov | 2 Dec | 30 Dec

This project remains open over the Festive Season.


£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • A contribution to the project which funds the community development projects and conservation research initiatives
  • Funding for educational materials for schools and tools for conservation work
  • Return transfers from Kruger Mpumalanga International Aiport (Nelspruit) 
  • Orientation programme including photography course administered by an experienced wildlife photographer and an induction to the project
  • All game drives/transfers that are project related during the stay
  • All accommodation including 3 meals a day at the volunteer house
  • Assistance from the project staff, volunteer co-ordinators and onsite wildlife photograper

What's not included

  • Travel insurance (to include cover for repatriation)
  • All transport by air or bus to and from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (Nelspruit)
  • Personal items eg clothes, travel goods
  • Email, internet and telephone calls
  • Soft drinks, beers, wines and spirits
  • Visas for border crossings if required
  • Any excursions undertaken other than in the planned programme
  • A small cost for laundry service
  • Airport pick ups and transfers outside of allocated times
  • A small additional cost for laundry (approximately R60 for 15 items)
  • Wifi costs of R100 oer week or R250 per month

 Reasons to be a Photography Volunteer

  • Take your photography to the next level during the intensive tutoring from a professional photographer in week one
  • Add your images to the conservation database and contribute towards ongoing awareness campaigns and research
  • Educate the local communities on the importance of conservation
  • Assist with various community projects
  • Enhance your camera skills while becoming an agent for conservation
  • Work hard with the field team and regenerate areas to encourage wildlife and plants to flourish
  • Extend your stay beyond 4 weeks * and transfer to the Research Projects - and use your photography skills to help improve and enhance the ID kits and monitoring - African Big 5 Wildlife Research and Conservation Project
  • Learn from the experienced and knowledgeable guides about the local flora and fauna
  • Diversify your portfolio by capturing images of the Big 5 and so much more!
  • History - learn about the culture of the local people and pick up a little of their lancuage
  • Be part of the international team of volunteers and make life-long friends

* Maximum photography project length before transferring to research where you can apply your photography skills to better help the research efforts.

Please note that the project is in the Greater Kruger Area in Mpumulanga, South Africa and home to Africa's Big 5!  The project is not in the Kruger National Park but is located a 30 minute drive from Hoedspruit, the nearest town where there are a number of shops including supermarkets and safari clothing outlets.  Orpen Gate is the closest entrance to the Kruger National Park which is a 30 minute drive from the lodge.

On arrival there will be a comprehensive orientation and an intensive photography course, both of which are included in the project fee.  This is facilitated by the project manager and will include:

  • A photography course taught by an award winning professional photographer
  • Overview of the aims of the project and the role of the volunteer
  • An introduction to the area and accommodation
  • A brief introdution to other projects available in the area
  • Optional basic language lessions - the chance to learn some basic words and sentences in the local language
  • An introduction to the photographic database

Throughout the placement volunteers will have the support and guidance of experienced guides and co-ordinators who will provide competent 24-hour field support and assistance.

Photography Project

An enthusiasm for photography and African wildlife is essential for this project and although photographic experience and knowledge is helpful, it is not necessary. The project caters for all levels of ability - from complete beginners to professionals.  Course members will be taught how to edit their photos using Photoshop and Lightroom. As a good deal of time will be spent editing the images, a basic level of computer literacy is required.  The minimum age for this project is 17 years. Volunteers are asked to take their own photographic equipment including a digital SLR camera with 18-55 mm lens, battery charger and an external hard drive with at least 100GB of storage. Tripods and laptops with photo editing software such as Lightroom is essential. There is a computer available but this will have to be shared with other volunteers so it is advisable to take your own laptop.

Photographer of the Month

Every month all pictures will be reviewed and the best picture will be selected.  The winning image will be framed and displayed at the lodge and through social media channels.

Photographic Database

A photographic database has been created for educational purposes.  In order to preserve the indigenous plant and wildlife it is essential to get the local communities involved and images are sold online and the proceeds go back into the project itself.  Every opportunity will be taken to use the photographs donated to the project help to educate the local school children about the precious environment that surrounds them.. 

Conservation Education and Activities

In partnership with local wildllife trusts and foundations, volunteers will assist in a number of exciting conservation initiatives including:

  • Conservation in Action - hands-on field work such as clearing alien invasive plants, bush encroachment, litter picking etc.
  • Conservation in the Community - visit and help educate communities on the importance of conservation in various community projects where relevant.

Conservation Research

Working in conjunction with the research department, photographers will assist the research team in collecting animal identification and other interesting and essential data.  The project provides a unique opportunity to encounter some of Africa's most iconic wildlife and people while improving photographic skills.

Please note that these projects evolve constantly so course members should be prepared to get involved in a wide spectrum of project work as things progress.  In the rainy season game drives are sometimes called off to prevent damage to the terrain, and in these cases alternative activities will be arranged.

A Day in the Life of ...

5.30 am  Get up and get ready for the morning activity
6.00 am Head off on a photography or a conservation activity
9.30 am Return for breakfast followed by a photography or conservation activity
12.30pm Lunch at the lodge or packed lunch out in the field
1.00 pm Start of the afternoon activity - game drive/conservation education etc
4.30 pm Return to the lodge to edit pictures and discuss sightings with fellow volunteers followed by a critique session with photography co-ordinator
6.30pm   Dinner - after which everyone may watch presentations or documentaries or simply relax and socialise

** Morning times and end of day times will vary depending on the time of year, area being visited and the best conditions for photography. For example, if going on a morning game drive there will be a much earlier start, say 4.30 - 5.00 am.  Some days volunteers may be out in the field for the whole day.

Please Note: This is an example of a typical day but itineraries may differ depending upon the experience and number of participants on the project at the same time. 

Please also understand that the projects are continuously evolving, so be prepared to get involved in a wide spectrum of project work as things progress.  In the rainy season game drives are sometimes called off to prevent damage to the terrain.  In these cases alternative activities will be arranged.  Volunteers however can rest assured that their work will be necessary, rewarding and exciting.

Extra Information

Please note that the project is in the Greater Kruger Area in Mpumulanga, South Africa and home to Africa's Big 5!  The project is not in the Kruger National Park but is located a 30 minute drive from Hoedspruit, the nearest town where there are a number of shops including supermarkets and safari clothing outlets.  Orpen Gate is the closest entrance to the Kruger National Park which is a 30 minute drive from the lodge.  Volunteers will be visiting and working in reserves within the range of 30 minutes to one hour from the lodge.  The area is famous for having a diversity of reserves, many of which serve as home to the African Big 5. 

Optional Excursions

It would be  real shame to be in such a beautiful part of the world and not take time to explore the surroundings!  Weekends offer plenty of free time to sightsee or embark on organised trips and tours.  The Destination Manager will be able to give more information on what trips are available. 

Getting There

Volunteers should arrange their flight to fly into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Nelspruit, South Africa.  They will need to arrive on the Sunday of their project start date and will be met at the airport and transferred directly to the accommodation lodge near Hoedspruit.  They shoud arrive by 1.00 pm.  These volunteers will be transferred back to the airport on their set departure date and will arrive at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport around 9.00 am on the Sunday of their departure.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and can make any flight arrangements required upon request.  Please ask when making your booking.

A perfect way to explore more of Africa

Before heading straight back home, why not take an Overland Journey through Africa to explore more of the wonderful sights and experiences that this beautiful continent has to offer.  You can take a trip that starts and finishes in the same city (eg Windhoek to Windhoek) or you can use it as an opportunity to get your from one city to another (eg Cape Town to Nairobi).

“This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ... brilliant. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. The overland trip was excellent - really well run”
Southern Sun 21 days, Cape Town to Victoria Falls - Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, aged 32 and 34.

“I didn’t know I could become such close friends with people in just a week. The trip attracts a great group of people who are so easy to get along with. My group ranged from 20 to 70 and we all sat down with a drink, played cards together and just gathered around the campfire.  It was an experience of a lifetime and I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family”
Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar, 10 Days and Masai Mara Safari, 3 Days - Sara, Canada/Malaysia, aged 20.

 From 3 days to 56 days, take a look at the exciting Overland Trips here.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Kruger Conservation Area, South Africa , African Wildlife Photography and Conservation ProjectKruger Conservation Area, South Africa , African Wildlife Photography and Conservation ProjectKruger Conservation Area, South Africa , African Wildlife Photography and Conservation ProjectKruger Conservation Area, South Africa , African Wildlife Photography and Conservation ProjectKruger Conservation Area, South Africa , African Wildlife Photography and Conservation ProjectCourse members will be accommodated in comfortable shared accommodation within the Greater Kruger Area.  Standard rooms are spaceious with four people sharing, sleeping in bunk beds.  The rooms have glass sliding doors leading out onto a balcony where volunteers can sit and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings of the lodge.  Some rooms can be booked for single occupancy but these are limited and at an additional charge.  Such rooms would house a single or double bed as required.  All rooms are ensuite with toilet, sink, bath and/or shower. 

On arrival volunteers and staff will meet for an induction and research update in the main Dumela Lodge - a spacious thatched area with a large swimming pool amidst 18 hectares of land which is home to impala, warthog, bush pig, nyala and many different birds.  Here volunteers and course members dine, relax and socialise.  The lodge is staffed with cooks and cleaners and all bed linen and towels are provided.  Evenings are spent around the fire under the stunning African night sky, or relaxing on the balcony or in the lounge or bar and everyone is made to feel very welcome. 

Wi-fi is available at a cost of R350/$28/£18 for two weeks or R600/$47/£30 per month but volunteers will need to take their own laptop.  A laundry service is also available.

Three meals a day are provided.  Breakfast is on a self-service basis and consists of cereals, toast, tea and coffee.  Lunch and dinner are full meals and will be prepared by one of the chefs at the reserve.  If leaving early for the photography project, which is often the best time for good pictures, a packed breakfast/lunch will be provided. The Boma (BBQ) is sometimes used for dining and events which provides an ideal atmosphere of a typical African experience surrounding by a crackling fire.

Click here to view the full interactive mapSouth Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started

Why visit South Africa?

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.

Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.

The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.

Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.

Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.

Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.

Highlights of South Africa

  • Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
  • Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
  • Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
  • See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
  • Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
  • Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
  • Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.


For Johannesburg:

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 25 °C 10 °C
Winter (May - August) 19 °C 4 °C
Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest

South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.

In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception -  the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).

Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.

Key Facts

Population – 50 million

Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)

Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours

Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00

African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project

Thank you. I had such an amazing time I didn't want to leave by the end. It was an incredible experience. Would definitely recommend Amanzi Travel to anyone.

Harriet, UK, aged 26 (African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project, Kruger Big 5 Wildlife Research Volunteer)

African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project

I want to thank you and your staff once more for your kindness and wish everybody a Great, wonderful and exceptional 2013!

I went to South Africa eighteen years ago and when I left I promised myself I would have come back one day because I fell for this beautiful, incredible, immense country. Amanzi Travel gave me the opportunity to appreciate once more the beauty of its breathtaking landscapes and the friendliness and warmth of its people, not like a mere tourist but in a deeper way.

Manuela, Switzerland, aged 54 (African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project)

African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project

30 strangers from all over the world (placed in what can only be described as something like the big brother house), meshed immediately and we all had an incredible time helping out on various local projects. My skills as a photographer have increased enormously and I leave South Africa with huge respect for those involved in the Conservation and preservance of its natural beauty. I very much look forward to returning as soon as possible.

William, UK, aged 47 (African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project)

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