OUR TOP PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI LODGES
Africa, with its strikingly diverse landscapes, incredible wildlife and myriads of unique local cultures, makes it the perfect backdrop for aspiring and professional photographers alike.
Africa is a continent full of magical moments. No two days are the same and you will find yourself witnessing scenes that occur nowhere else. One of the best ways to capture these life-changing moments is on a photographic safari.
There are a number of safari lodges that cater specifically to creating the perfect photographic safari experiences for amateur and professional photographers. Here are our top 4 photographic safari lodges.
1. Pangolin Chobe Hotel
The Pangolin Chobe Hotel is a part of the Pangolin Photo Safaris group. As a result of this, it is fully equipped to give you the best and most rewarding photographic safari experience. The Pangolin Chobe Hotel sits on a plateau overlooking Botswana’s iconic Chobe River and Namibia’s Caprivi floodplains stretching out to the distant horizon.
The hotel provides each guest with a Canon DSLR camera, telephoto lenses, memory cards and photo tuition by the photo host. This is included in the room rate.
The safari activities are solely dedicated to creating the perfect photographic opportunities. The activities take place mainly on the Chobe River – this offers a new perspective for wildlife photography. The hotel has three 8-seater shallow hulled photo boats with customised gimbals and 360 rotational seats. Taken out the river for 3 to 4 hours, you’ll watch the magic of the Chobe play out before your eyes with the added excitement of capturing it on camera. The game drives are as special – you are taken into the Chobe National Park in an 8-seater vehicle with bean bag camera mounts and a window seat for all. The hotel’s close proximity to the park means you are likely to be the first game vehicle through the gates.
The hotels editing suite allows you to edit your photographs onsite.
What makes the Pangolin Hotel so special is that the centrepiece of the building is a wildlife photography gallery, off which all 14 rooms lead. The gallery features images from resident photographic guides and famous wildlife photographers who have visited. The gallery serves to inspire guests to think differently about how they photograph.
2. Jaci’s Safari Lodges
Mentioned in our top child-friendly safari lodges blog, not only does Jaci’s Safari Lodges have a wonderful children’s programme, they also have an incredible photographic safari offering. Jaci’s is located in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. Home to rare and beautiful game sightings, emotive landscapes and breathtaking vistas, it is the ideal photographic safari destination.
Jaci’s has professional photographic equipment to hire. This equipment includes a Canon 7dii camera, 100-400ii lens and a gimpro game viewer mount.
During photographic game drives, you’ll received photographic advice and guidance to help you perfectly capture that wildlife shot. What makes a photographic safari at Jaci’s so wonderful is the Terrapin Hide. The water-level Terrapin Hide offers the opportunity to capture priceless images of wildlife from the centre of the waterhole. The hide was carefully designed to ensure the position and functionality work towards creating truly unique game-viewing and photography opportunities. The hide is accessible via an underwater tunnel and is open 24 hours a day to all guests of Jaci’s Lodges.
As with Pangolin Chobe Hotel, there is also an onsite editing and printing room where you can see the products of your photographic safari materialise before your eyes.
3. MalaMala Game Reserve
Sandwiched between the Kruger and Sabi Sand Reserve, MalaMala Game Reserve has gained massive tract as one of safari’s leading luxury photographic safari destinations. It is one of the largest private Big Five game reserves in South Africa, covering 13 300ha (33 000 acres), making it home to an abundance of wildlife photography opportunities.
MalaMala has a dedicated photographic vehicle that can be reserved for families, small groups travelling together, or individuals. It is the ideal option for both aspiring photographers and seasoned professional. The vehilce includes 3 rows of two bucket seats, a sliding camera mount per row, bean bags for camera stability, storage boxes for camera equipment and under-seat lighting. Your photographic safari game drive will also be accompanied by a dedicated photographic ranger.
4. Zimanga Private Game Reserve
Situated in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province, Zimanga is the first game reserve in Africa designed to meet the needs of modern wildlife photographers of any level. Spread over nearly 7000ha (17 000 acres) of pristine Zululand bushveld, fever tree forest and rolling hills, and bisected by the Mkuze River, Zimanga is home to an incredible diversity of bird species and wildlife, including elephant, lion, leopard and cheetah.
The game reserve offers exclusive wildlife viewing experiences and innovative photographic opportunities. There are currently nine photographic hides on Zimanga, catering multiple wildlife photography styles and specialties, from bird photography to large mammal photography. The hides were designed and built by Zimanga in collaboration with Bence Mate – a winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year award and world authority in hide design, construction and photography. The hides were designed following a rigorous process of testing placement to ensure the perfect lighting, focal lengths, background and animal behaviour for original and striking wildlife photographs.
Comfortable, executive-style chairs that glide quietly and effortlessly across the hides’ floors are provided. The hides are spacious, soundproofed and equipped with Benro GH2 Heads and tripods (guests are welcome to bring their own equipment). Arca Swizz plates can also be provided at no additional charge.
Zimanga recently introduced a custom-built photo boat to allow for water-based wildlife photography opportunities from the Mkuze River. The boat has a spotlight socket for the opportunity to photograph drinking lions should you be lucky enough to see them in close proximity of the lake at sunset.
The reserve also offers the chance for late night astro- and landscape photography.