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African Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project

Kruger Conservation Area, South Africa
from £2,225 (4 weeks)

Ref: AV036

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime while learning from a professional photographer how to improve wildlife photography skills in an area known for its spectacular scenery and iconic wildlife.This project is based in the Greater Kruger Area of South Africa - famous for its breath-taking scenery and wildlife, as well as its protection efforts to save these species and preserve their natural habitats.  In this impressive setting participants will have the opportunity to enhance their photographic skills while raising awareness of conservation issues and solutions taking place around them.  For anyone who has always wanted to take amazing wildlife photographs, there is no better place in the world.Embark on the adventure of a lifetime while learning from a professional photographer how to improve wildlife photography skills in an area known for its spectacular scenery and iconic wildlife.

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
Special Offer: £100 off the project fee for new bookings made in March 2020

Duration & Fees

4 weeks£2,225
5 weeks£2,655
6 weeks£2,995
7 weeks£3,345
8 weeks£3,795

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Start Dates

2020 Start Dates:

26 Jan | 23 Feb | 22 Mar | 19 Apr | 17 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 9 Aug | 6 Sep | 4 Oct | 1 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec

This project remains open over the Festive Season.

Payment

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

What's Included

  • First week's photographic workshop and mentorship from a professional photographer
  • Shared accommodation - private accommodation upgrades are available for an extra supplement
  • Airport pick up and drop-off on selected Sundays
  • All daily project transport
  • Three meals a day freshly cooked by the great team of chefs
  • A full time housekeeping service and 24 hour on-line support
  • Wi-fi available at an additional using volunteers' owning compatible device

 

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) or Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport
  • 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
  • Airport pick ups and transfers outside of allocated times
  • Wifi costs of R350 oer twp weeks or R600 per four weeks

Highlights of this experience

  • Take your photography to the next level during this four-week programme starting with one week of intensive tutoring from a professional photographer
  • Develop your newly acquired/existing skills in the remaining 3 weeks in the disciplines of wildlife, birding, macro, landscape, experimental photography and more
  • Use your photographic skills to aid sister projects, from contributing to ID kits for research or reporting on the developments in the community projects
  • Learn how your images can make a difference through conservation support, fundraising, marketing and more
  • Camp out at the overnight camp once a week - a truly African experience that sees you spending a night in the middle of the bush, under an unimaginable number of stars
  • Assist in ongoing practical conservation initiatives, including removing invasive plant species or conducting snare sweeps.  This directly preserves the habitat and lives of the animals who call this area home
  • Live in the heart of the world-famous Greater Kruger Area, in your own private volunteer lodge surrounded by wildlife
  • During your downtime explore the Blyde River Canyon, take in the sights of the Panorama Route, go for a hike, take a swim in the pool, or put another stamp in your passport by visiting the intriguing land-locked country of Swaziland

Project Information

Week 1 -  Photographic Workshop
In the first week of the programme members will take part in an extensive workshop  held by the professional photographer, Samuel Cox.  He will teach the basics, secrets and highlights of photography, by explaining how to use camera settings and what is needed to focus on when taking pictures.  There will be assignments to capture frames, colours, movement, portraits and many more all of which should teach the course members new techniques and make them better photographers.  Samuel will also teach group members how to edit their pictures in Adobe Lightroom and how to make them stand out from the crowd.

Weeks 2, 3 and 4 - Volunteering

The remaining time on this project will be spent contributing to the wider aims and objectives here in the Greater Kruger, continuing to develop and grow your photographic skills the entire time. We aim to give you a realistic idea of what it is to be a professional photographer which includes editing and learning how best to use your photographs. Through the different activities identified in the next couple of pages, we’ll take pride in teaching you how to create National Geographic-level photographs, how to present them in context, and how to seek out opportunities for exposure. You will have assignments to complete and at the end of the four weeks, will be astonished by the end result.

Key Volunteer Work

Conservation Research
Working in conjunction with the research department, photographers will assist the research team in collecting animal identification information.  By taking clear and concise photogaphs of the wildlife while out on drives the research team are able to identify the individuals and report back on their health, movements and behaviour. These photographs are key for reserve management as they feed into identification databases that are consulted when making conservation-led decisions.

Conservation-Centred Thinking
It is very important as a wildlife photographer to work in an ethical manner when photographing animals in their natural environment.  Therefore volunteers will be taught about animal behaviour to help the become more conservation-minded in their approach to photography.  Understanding how to be a photographer in this context ensures the best possible impact on wildlife conservation as well as providing stunning imagery.

Creative Exposure
The team are always looking for opportunities to use the group members' images and gain these photographers exposure through publications, online blogs and databases.  There is a photographic database for conservation and educataional purposes so group members should bear this in mind when they are capturing photographs of the wildlife being encountered.  Images are also sold online and all proceeds go directly back into the core research projects.

Other Activities

Macro Photography
Photography volunteers will use their cameras to transport people into the world beneath their feet with Macro Photogrphy.  They will be taught to develop their understanding and appreciation of the smaller aspects of the wildlife environment and learn how to best portray their immense beauty.  They will soon be in awe of the amazing creatures that are often overlooked such as the dung beetle, the dragonflies and many more.

Reptile Centre
During their time at the project volunteers will get involved in different and exciting activities.  Partnering with a local reptile centre, they will have the chance to photograph several species such as snakes spiders, crocodiles and many more reptiles.  This is an opportunity to photograph them in a way that is not possible in the wild but still in the reptiles' natural environment.

Overnight Camping in the Bush
For anyone who has ever fancied camping under the stars, this is their opportuniity!  No sleeping bag required!  In a Big 5 Game Reserve there will be the chance to see a variety of wildlife, take stunning pictures of them and just simply enjoy what the bush has to offer during the day.  After sunset, night drives offer the opportunity to work on lowlight photography skills - learning to work with light instead of against it.  Finishing off the night with stargazing around the campfire, this is a definite highlight!

Educational Presentations
The knowledgeable Field Guides and on-site staff will hold presentations to enhance volunteers' understanding on topics such as:  rhino poaching, giraffes, lion conservation, bio indicators, beetles and bugs and many more.

Photographer of the Month
Every month we have a photography competition. Our photographers submit five of their favorite images with the hope of this image being voted the best by our staff and volunteers.  The winning image takes pride of place as our Facebook cover shot for the month! 

A Week in the Life of a Photography Volunteer (Guide Only)

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
AM Photography- Waterfalls/Landscapes Conservation - Invasive Plant Removal Photography - Game Drive Photography - Sunrise Shoot Photography - Game Drive
Mid - Morning Project Meeting Rhino Poaching Presentation followed by photo editing Break up camp and return to Lodge Photo Editing Photo Critique
PM Photography - Macro Bush Walk Photography - Game Drive Photo editing Community Reading Club Photo Editing or Optional Town Trip
Evening   Overnight Camp/Astral Photography Light Painting Sundowners Quiz Braai Night

 

Sat Sun
Weekend Trips - Panorama Trip Weekend Trips - Kruger National Park

This is a rough example of how a week as a photography volunteer cold look.  However, due to the nature of the project, these activities may change on a daily basis.

What to do in Freetime

Although volunteers will be working hard during the day, below are just a few ideas of what to do during evenings and weekends

  • Go on the famous Panorama Route, a scenic route along the Mpumalanga Escarpment with Blyde River Canyon, Africa's second largest canyon
  • Go on an adventure in Blyde River Canyon that includes extreme hiking or microlight flying
  • Go on a day safari or overnight trip with an experienced guide in the famous Kruger National Park, South Africa's largest game reserve
  • Enjoy a fantastic day learning about the Shangaan culture, language and history through dance and music
  • Go on an afternoon town trip to Hoedspruit, grab an ice cream, do some souvenir shopping or pick up some snacks for the next week
  • Get an extra stamp in the passport and explore Swaziland, in the wonderful Millwane Game Reserve filled with numerous animal species and stunning flowers
  • Relax by the pool, watch a movie or challenge fellow volunteers and staff to a game of touch rugby

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.  It is about a 3 hour drive from the airport to the accommodation lodge.

Alternatively, volunteers can fly into Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport - again on their Sunday start date.  This airport is a short 30 minute drive from the accommodation lodge.  Please note that the cost to this airport can be higher than to Nelspruit.

Volunteers will be transferred back to the airport at approximately 10.00 am on the Sunday of their departure. Departure flights should be booked to leave after 1.00 pm that day.

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.  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. 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 ProjectVolunteers will stay at a lodge within the Greater Kruger Area - a spacious lodge boasting a large swimming pool, and all situated on 18 hectares of land.  This beautiful landscape is hoe to impala, warthog bush pig, nyala and a great diversity of bird life.  Here volunteers will dine relax and socialise - there is no better place to sit around a camp fire and admire the stars!. 

The world famous Kruger National Park is just 45 minutes from the lodge and the nearest town is Hoedspruit which is a 30 minute drive from the lodge.  It is a great place to spend some relaxing downtime.  There is an optional weekly town trip on Fridays, giving volunteers the chance to visit supermarkets, sourvenir shops or simply spend time relaxing with a coffee or an ice cream.

A full time housekeeping service is provided and 24 hour onsite support.  All daily transport to project sites is provided.

Wi-fi is available at a cost of R350 for two weeks or R600 for four weeks but volunteers will need to take their own compatible device.  

Three meals a day are provided by the team of great chefs.

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.

Climate

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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