Mashatu and MalaMala Signature Safari 2021
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Intermediate Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs, Professionals
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: You need to be experienced with your camera to make suggested setting changes in the field without hands-on assistance and comprehend the rationale behind the recommended settings (including exposure mode, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, focus mode, white balance, assessing histogram and highlight information, and making corresponding exposure compensation changes). This safari is not an opportunity to learn how to use your camera.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Participants must be in good health. You must be able to carry your gear without assistance. There will be no exceptions to these requirements.
Participants will be required to sign the Kathleen Reeder Wildlife Photography Risk Waiver.
This is an exclusive 9-night/8-day wildlife photography safari in Botswana’s Tuli Game Reserve and South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve with professional wildlife photographer, instructor and author Kathleen Reeder. MalaMala and Mashatu offer the most concentrated geographic opportunities to photograph the BIG SEVEN (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, rhino, cheetah and wild dog) in a non-touristy way in all of Africa. This safari caters to 6 photographers only. It includes exclusive use of two open vehicles, providing each photographer with a full vehicle row for viewing, equipment and set up. At Mashatu, it also includes exclusive use of an underground photographic hide for 2 sunrise sessions, designed and built especially for photographers, offering eye level photography while wildlife visits the waterhole. This will be Kathleen’s 7th year in a row leading a group on an Africa safari and 4th year in a row going to Mashatu and MalaMala. References from previous clients are available upon request.
- 1 Night Johannesburg (South Africa)
- 3 nights Mashatu Main Camp (Botswana)
- 5 nights MalaMala Camp (South Africa)
- All internal and international Africa continent flights JNB > Mashatu > MalaMala > JNB
- 2 Private vehicles throughout the safari
- 2 Morning Photographic Hide Sessions in Mashatu – An entire hide has been sunk into the ground right next to a waterhole that is in prime elephant habitat. Inside, seating is arranged so that viewers’ heads are at ground level.
- Morning and evening game drives. Both reserves allow our vehicles to off-road
- Opportunities during night drives to shoot dynamic back-lit and side-lit images
- Some of Africa’s highest concentration of predators
- Combines two of the best game viewing areas in southern Africa
- Fantastic opportunities to photograph The Big 5, Wild Dog and Cheetah
- Additional cabin space on all Africa continent flights for camera bags, over and above the standard weight limits for checked and carry-on luggage
- All lodging, meals and ground transportation
- Additional aircraft cabin space for camera bags on air transfers
- Air continent transfers to/from Mashatu and MalaMala
- All game drives and private use of the photographic hide
- Exclusive private vehicles at Mashatu and MalaMala giving each participant a full vehicle row
- Two sunrise sessions – exclusive access to the Matebole underground photographic hide at Mashatu
- Kathleen’s instruction and guidance
- Introduction letter with information about recommended travel insurance and vaccinations.
- Online webinar approximately 6 months prior to departure to review safari destinations and air travel, schedule, expected weather, daily itinerary, lodging locations and phone numbers, what to pack, essential and optional photography equipment, health and safety, photography etiquette and useful links. The webinar will be recorded and a link provided for ongoing access and will include a 10-page PDF document outlining all information reviewed.
- Online webinar approximately 60 days prior to departure to review camera settings and share a collection of photos taken at Mashatu and MalaMala with each photo’s corresponding settings. Recommended settings for various lighting and wildlife situations will be provided, including exposure mode, metering mode, auto focus modes, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, motor drive and exposure compensation. The webinar will be recorded and a link, along with the presentation document, provided for ongoing access.
- Kathleen’s instruction and guidance during the safari in adjusting camera settings for various situations, using flash and reviewing images on the back of the camera.
- Kathleen’s e-Training Post Processing course. In this training, Kathleen explains each step as she processes out-of-camera RAW images to be ready for publishing to her website and social media.
- International air transportation to/from Johannesburg JNB Airport
- Air transfers to Africa destinations not included in safari (i.e., Cape Town)
- Trip Insurance (recommend Allianz or Travel Guard). Note that it is essential to purchase trip insurance within 14 days of making the first payment of the trip.
- Tips/Gratuities ($50 per day is recommended for tipping)
Day 1-Oct 26, 2021: Meet-n-Greet at Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport; Overnight lodging at Tsago Garden Court
Day 2-Oct 27, 2021: Flight from Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport to Mashatu
Day 2-4- Oct 27 – 29, 2021: 3 days/nights at Mashatu Private Game Reserve
Day 5 – Oct 30, 2021: Charter Flight from Mashatu to MalaMala
Day 5-9 – Oct 30 – Nov 3, 2021: 5 days/nights at MalaMala Private Game Reserve
Day 10 – Nov 4, 2021: Flight from MalaMala to Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport
$13,995 per person, based on double occupancy
Payment #1: $4,000 due upon registration
Payment #2: $3,000 due Jan 31, 2021
Payment #3: $3,000 due April 30, 2021
Payment #4: $3,995 (estimated) due August 30, 2021
- All payments are non-refundable
- Single supplement lodging is not available
- Trip insurance with Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) is the best protection
Tsogo Garden Court International OR Tambo
Stay close to the airport at the Tsogo Sun Garden Court. On your arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport, and after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met by a hotel representative, who will transfer you by road to the Tsogo Sun Garden Court.
Mashatu Private Game Reserve
Mashatu Game Reserve comprises 72,000 acres of privately owned land in the conserved wilderness area known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. The reserve lies in the eastern extremity of Botswana where the great Limpopo and Shashe Rivers converge. This exceptionally diverse landscape includes wide open plains, grassland, riverine forests, rocky hills, marshland and majestic sandstone ridges.
Mashatu, “Land of Giants”, takes its name from the locally sacrosanct Mashatu or Nyala berry tree and the giants that roam its terrain. These magnificent dark green trees, which are found along the rivers in the reserve, provide refuge, shade and food to a myriad of wildlife. Mashatu, which is one of the largest privately owned game reserves in southern Africa, avails a sanctuary to the largest herds of elephant on privately owned land on the continent. In addition to that, the world’s tallest mammal, the giraffe, the world’s largest antelope, the eland, the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, and the world’s heaviest flying bird, the kori- bustard are all part of the game drive experience on Mashatu. Add the king of the beasts, the lion and the iconic baobab tree…and you have Africa’s big seven land based giants.
Because of the exceptional diversity of landscapes of the reserve, Mashatu enjoys an ecological biodiversity uncommon in other game reserves. Three members of the Big Five, namely the leopard, the lion and the elephant are complimented by many other interesting species, in. For bird photographers, Mashatu is home to more than 350 bird species, including the enchanting lilac-breasted roller. The lilac breasted roller is Botswana’s national bird and has striking plumage made up of eight different colors.
Photographic hides are sunk into the ground right next to a waterhole that is in prime elephant habitat. It is located on a major elephant thoroughfare on route to shade on the banks of the Rivers where the elephant wait out the heat of the midday sun. Shortly after sunrise, when the mornings heat up, the elephant herds pass the hide and drink. Inside, seating is arranged so that photographers’ heads are at ground level. Elephants tower above photographers as they splash and drink in the water as close as 10 feet away. The hide is a strong metal structure and totally elephant-proof allowing for total peace of mind. Many other species also visit the water hole.
Mammals and reptile on Mashatu Private Game Reserve include Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Blue Wildebeest, Bushbuck, Common Duiker, Eland, Impala, Klipspringer, Kudu, Steenbok, Waterbuck, Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Cape Fox, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Zebra, African Wild Cat, Caracal, Serval, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Aardwolf, Spotted Hyena, Brown Hyena, Porcupine, Thick-tailed Bushbaby, Lesser Bushbaby, Cape Clawless Otter, Honey Badger, Striped Polecat, Sprinhare, Tree Squirrel, Bushpig, Warthog, African Civet, Large / Small-spotted Genet, Banded Mongoose, Selous Mongoose, Slender Mongoose, White-tailed Mongoose, Antbear, Pangolin, Rock Dassie, Yellow-spotted Rock Dassie, Scrub Hare, Common African Python, Leopard Tortoise, Nile Crocodile, Tree Monitor, Water Monitor.
Our accommodations at Mashatu will be at the Mashatu Main Camp. For the client who is accustomed to luxury, this camp will meet every expectation. 14 luxury suites lie along the camp’s perimeter and are designed to allow absolute privacy and a communion with the bush and its inhabitants. Watch elephants splashing at the waterhole, listen to the lyrical melody of the woodlands kingfisher on a branch overhead, smell the grassy scent of the bushveld, and touch the bark of an ancient tree and inhale a breath of air so pure, it’s intoxicating. Each of the air-conditioned suites at Mashatu Main Camp is tastefully decorated and includes impressive black and white prints of Africa’s most beautiful animals.
MalaMala Private Game Reserve
MalaMala Game Reserve is the first commercial private game reserve in South Africa and is the model on which all other private game reserves now operate. MalaMala’s river frontage running north to south is the lifeblood of the reserve, especially in the dry winter months. It is also an important boundary between the areas of human habitation on the western bank of the river and the pristine wilderness area of MalaMala on the eastern side between the river and the Kruger National Park. When animals move it is often due to water. Wildlife moves from the 4 million acres east of the Sand River, through MalaMala to the river and back again resulting in two way traffic across the reserve.
MalaMala is the oldest and largest private game reserve in the area. Due to the superior environmental policies of MalaMala over a long period of time, the land has remained fairly undisturbed resulting in prolific abundance of tertiary grasses. This attracts the herbivores which in turn attracts the predators.
When grass and ground is disturbed the resultant grass species to first grow up are known as pioneering species. Due to these grasses having to grow in tough areas they tend to be bitter to taste and not very palatable. If left undisturbed several grass species will grow in that area until the tertiary species finally grow through. Animals enjoy this sweet grass the best and will therefore stay in an area which has the most tertiary species of grasses. There is no time limit on sightings which is an ideal scenario for photographers – no ‘queue to view’ as this enormous tract of land has a low density of vehicles traversing the area.
Our accommodations at MalaMala will be the MalaMala Main Camp that has ten luxury rooms. Camp facilities include:
- Mobile phone coverage (MTN) and complimentary wireless internet connectivity
- An impressive lounge, air-conditioned dining room and historic bar
- Library with satellite television and complimentary internet connectivity
- Large safari deck, in the shade of a Jackalberry tree at the Sand River’s edge
- Safari boutique with quality clothing, jewelry and artifacts
Add-On Excursion to visit Ukutula Conservation Center
Safari participants have the option of spending 2 nights/2 days at Ukutula Conservation Center prior to beginning the Signature Safari. Ukutula is known worldwide for its conservation through research and education. It is the first private facility in South Africa to be certified to collect blood, semen and hair samples from lions, cheetahs, elephant and rhino for the purpose of storing the samples in a BioBank on its property for genetic research and to ensure the future of these species.
Ukutula owners Willi and Gill Jacobs host more than two thousand school children each year who participate in their educational program. Ukutula has hosted several research projects including the white gene project that was published in Nature Communications.
This is the exclusive destination where you have the opportunity to be close to lions of all ages, including interacting with young lions and walking with lions up to 3 years of age. The photography opportunity is fantastic. Predator residents include lion, cheetah, hyena, tiger, serval and caracal. In addition, the unspoiled bushveld has giraffe, zebra, a variety of antelope, crocodile and more than 130 different bird species. Ukutula will lift your spirits and enable you to create your best up-close lion and cheetah photos ever. Each person/couple will lodge in a private chalet on Ukutula’s property.
This is an opportunity not to be missed! Kathleen has been visiting Ukutula since 2014.
- Price: $795. Deposit of $250 due at time of registration. Balance due with final safari payment.
- Includes ground transportation, 2 nights lodging, all meals, 3 guided walks with lions, all interactions with Ukutula’s animals
- Dates: Safari participants arrive in Johannesburg on Oct 24, 2021 and stay at the Tsogo Garden Court. The following morning ground transportation is arranged to Ukutula where we will stay for 2 nights. On Oct 27, after breakfast, participants will be transported to JNB Airport for the flight to Mashatu.
Add-On Excursion to visit Tiger Canyon
Safari participants have the option of spending 2 nights/3 days at Tiger Canyon in South Africa at the end of the Signature Safari. Tiger Canyon (also referred to as Tiger Canyons) is an hour plane ride from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein in South Africa, then a 2.5 hr drive to Philippolis. It’s purpose is to create awareness about the tiger’s struggle to survive. John Varty established Tiger Canyons. Varty is now permanently at Londolozi (which borders MalaMala).
Tiger Canyon has 17 tigers (e.g., 3 white tigers) and 7 cheetahs. There are serval (medium size nocturnal cat) and prey species (e.g., wildebeest, antelope, zebra, etc). The tigers and cheetahs are in different areas of the property, and both hunt for their own food. The property offers photographs of all of these animals during game drives, including tigers swimming and tigers on stunning rock formations.
Guests stay at Tigress Julie Lodge at Tiger Canyon. Lodging includes all meals and morning and afternoon game drives. There are 3 guest rooms, so a small remote lodge. As a group, we will be fully occupying the lodge.
- Deposit $565
- Balance due 90 days prior to safari $1,425 estimate (based on current South African Rand conversion, may change)
Tiger Canyon Highlights
- Nov 4 – Fly from MalaMala to Johannesburg; stay one night at the Tsago Garden Court Hotel
- Nov 5 – Fly early AM flight from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein on South African Airways.
- Nov 5 – The lodge will meet us at the airport and bring us to the lodge. Check in to the lodge. Lunch. We’ll do an afternoon game drive.
- Nov 6 – 2 game drives
- Nov 7 – 2 game drives
- Nov 8 – morning game drive, breakfast, drive back to Bloemfontein. Fly to Joburg, arriving at 4:30 PM
- Nov 8 – Johannesburg departures back to the US, departing in the evening on Nov 8 for arrival back in the US on Nov 9
- 1 night lodging at Tsago Garden Court in JNB Airport (includes breakfast)
- Road transfer Bloemfontein <-> Philippolis
- 3 nights lodging at Tigress Julie Lodge at Tiger Canyons
- All meals while at Lodge
- Game drives using 2 vehicles for 3 days
- ZAR -> US currency conversions (Tiger Canyon fees are charged in ZAR)
- South African Airways RT flight to Bloemfontein (**each of us would book our own flight with direction from Kathleen) – approximate: $250 for main cabin
- Dinner on Nov 4
- Gratuities at Tiger Canyon and for road transfers