South Luangwa Photographic Safari 2021
20th – 30th September 2021 – 4 Places Left
Group Size: 6
Tour Leader: Tom Way
Join Tom Way on a photographic safari to one of Africa’s greatest destinations – South Luangwa National Park. The variety and density of wildlife surrounding the Luangwa River is said to be among the richest on the continent. Widely known as the ‘Valley Of The Leopard’, this particular habitat lends itself very well to arguably Africa’s most beautiful cat. You will also have the chance to experience and photograph the continents most iconic species including lion, elephant, zebra, hippo and giraffe. With a variation of different environments from the dried up river beds to the thick ebony woodlands there are endless photographic opportunities on every drive. Tom will be accompanying you on your drives along with our guides on the ground to ensure you are in the best position to capture an array of striking wildlife images.
Day 1: Depart country of origin (flights and timings will be recommended on booking).
Day 2: Arrive in Lusaka during the early afternoon where you will make your way through passport control, collect your bags and be driven to our first nights accommodation to rest and acclimatise ready for our flight into the bush the following morning.
Day 3: After an early breakfast the group will be collected from the hotel and driven to the airport to catch the morning flight into Mfuwe airstrip. A short flight into the bush where you will be collected and transferred to the first camp situated in the Southern area of South Luangwa close to the banks of the famous Luangwa river. There will be time for a late lunch along with a briefing from Tom before the first game drive that afternoon. From this very well established camp we have our own private crossing point over the river which gives you access into a less trodden area of the park. We will return to camp under the cover of darkness and finish the day with dinner and drinks under the stars.
Day 4,5,6: Your day will begin before sunrise where you will have time to have tea and coffee as a group and Tom can discuss the plan for the mornings drive. We leave camp making best use of the glorious morning light at this time of year before it becomes too harsh. As we are visiting South Luangwa at the peak of the dry season our usual plan will be to stick to the river basin where large density of game congregate which in turn brings the predators. We will be scanning the large ebony trees for leopard along with the thicker brush for lion enjoying the large variety of wildlife this area has to offer. When the light has become too harsh to continue shooting we will make our way back to camp for lunch. During the down time in camp it is a good chance to get some rest and to spend time reviewing images. Tom will be on hand throughout the afternoon to give processing sessions and 1-1 time critiquing your photographs. It is important to carefully review, taking note of which images are working well and what areas to improve on for the next drive. As the heat of the day subsides you will head back out into the bush around 4pm this time using the evening light to your advantage. Again looking for the usual iconic African species such as elephant, zebra, giraffe and hippo we will also stop at the stunning carmine bee eater colonies which gather in large numbers at this time of year. Once the sun has set we will then make our way back to camp under the night sky with a spot light searching for the nocturnal species in time for a warm shower and dinner.
Day 7: On this morning the safari continues further North to spend an additional 3 nights in a different location to enhance your portfolios. You will leave before sunrise with bags packed taking a full mornings game drive along the river line arriving in camp in time for lunch. You will be staying at the most Northerly luxury permanent camp that gives us access to a very remote area of the park. Although it is peak season in Zambia, vehicle numbers further North are at a complete minimum which gives you a great deal of flexibility in regards to photography. You will spend the afternoon drive exploring this new area searching for the resident lion pride which spends much of its time close to camp. We return to camp in time for dinner.
Day 8, 9: A similar pattern to the previous days on safari making the best use of the early morning and late evening light. You will look to improve on the images taken towards the beginning of the week whilst find new photographic opportunities further North as well.
Day 10: The last day in the bush and after a morning game drive you will begin the journey back to the Mfuwe airstrip. From here it is a short flight to Lusaka airport in plenty of time for your international departures.
Day 11: Land back in country of origin.
Guidance and Tuition
The main purpose and objective of this photographic safari is that you are given the opportunity to experience the stunning array of African wildlife in their natural environment whilst being in the right position to take fantastic photographic images. On each drive you will only ever have two other photographers in your vehicle therefore giving you a full row of seats for yourself. This extra space is essential to give you enough room to shoot out both sides of the jeep and for your equipment. Tom will divide his time equally between both vehicles so that you have plenty of advice regarding composition, settings, angles and how to handle the ever changing lighting conditions. Once we are back at our lodge Tom will run various processing sessions and be on hand to critique your images from each shoot, inviting you to ask questions to ensure you are ready to make improvements on the following day. Limited to a group of 6 this safari guarantees that each individual can benefit from in depth photographic guidance and tuition.
With the opportunity to photograph all that Zambia has to offer from small birds to very large mammals it is best to bring the longest lens you own (anything from a 300mm to 500mm) and then maybe one or two smaller lenses for more environmental images. From experience, Tom takes two camera bodies, a 400mm lens, a 70-200mm lens and a wide angle lens. This covers all the bases for the range of wildlife we are likely to see on location. It can also be useful to carry a 1.4x and 2x converter for a little extra reach and variety if needed. Although two camera bodies is not essential, it is recommended as this will not only account for loss/damage but also save you changing your lens mid action.
In terms of camera support, a bean bag is the most versatile to use from the vehicle. A monopod may come in useful if you have one, but a tripod will be too heavy to justify taking on this type of photography safari. Having said that, if you can put one in your bag you will be able to use it for sunsets and night skies in camp if you wish.
Make sure you have plenty of spare memory cards and at least two batteries for your camera. We will be able to charge items in camp but if we have a particularly active session a second battery will come in useful.
Lastly, although not essential, a laptop is a good accessory to bring. In this way you will be able to download your images on a daily basis and see how the photographs look on a larger screen. You will have the opportunity each afternoon and evening to review your images with Tom and be given advice on areas of improvement for the next drive.
Whilst on safari, it is best to wear muted clothing with nothing particularly bright. The mornings and evenings can be fresh and so a fleece is advisable over a t-shirt before the sun reaches full strength. It will be warm at this time of year in the middle of the day and light weight trousers with a long sleeved shirt can help cover up as best as possible. Although the jeeps will be equipped with a roof, they will be open sided and so exposed to the sun. With this in mind sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must.
Finally in regards to footwear, although most of our photographic time will be spent in the vehicle, there will be some opportunities to be out of the jeep. Light weight walking boots are therefore a good option to provide protection against thorns and small insects in the bush.
Price and Payment
The cost of the Zambia Photographic Safari is $10,445.
The single supplement fee is $1370.
This price includes the following:
- All transfers in Lusaka
- Domestic scheduled flights to and from Mfuwe
- Extra weight allowance – 30kgs per person
- All game drives and park fees
- A single row of seats in each jeep
- All accommodation and meals in camp
- Dinner in Lusaka on first evening
- Local brand drinks (soft and alcoholic) at all the camp
- Laundry at all the camps
This price does not include the following:
- International flights
- Staff tips
25% of the total safari cost is due at the time of booking to confirm your place and the balance is then due 8 weeks before departure.
How to book
If you would like to reserve a place on the Zambia Photographic Safari then please email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions about the safari do not hesitate to contact Tom via email or on 07876 333787.
As with all of Tom’s photographic safaris there is the option to extend the tour if you wish. Two of the most popular extensions from South Luangwa are to either make the short transfer South to Victoria Falls or to take an internal flight West to spend time in Kafue National Park, one of Africa’s last truly wild places. If you do have any questions about extending your safari please do let Tom know.