South Africa Safari with Kruger, Sabi Sands, and Umgede Underground Hide

I guide you on a 10 day photographic safari in private reserves in Limpopo, South Africa and in Kruger National Park, and the Greater Kruger Reserve area with three nights in the famous Sabi Sands reserve and an exclusive stay at a small lodge with an underground photo/wildlife hide placed at a watering hole. This safari is hosted by photographer Gregory Sweeney and for part of the safari you will stay at our tree house lodge on a private reserve. This safari will highlight all of the great game viewing in the areas in and around Kruger. Photographers will also enjoy the river and wooded areas of Sabi famous for being good leopard territory. At the end of the safari you will have unstructured time to make use of the photo hide for unlimited time day or night.


Safari Basics

Country: South Africa

Where: Limpopo, Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Reserve, Umgede Hide in Greater Kruger Park

Participants: Limited to 6 - 8

Deposit: $2,000 deposit due at booking

*See What is Included/policies

Special Itinerary with Underground Hide 

2022 May / June Safaris: $5,600 (USD)

2022 Aug / Sept Safaris:  $5,795 (USD)

Single Supplement $ 430

Back to Our Classic Safari Itinerary »

2022 Dates 

May 12 - 21

May 26 - June 4

Sept 1 - 10

Sept 29 - Oct 8

 

About This Safari

Join us for 10 days of wildlife encounters and breathtaking wildlife photography. Professional wildlife photographer Gregory Sweeney is your guide while on safari to private reserves in the Limpopo area of South Africa and Kruger National Park; one of the most game-rich areas of Africa. Each day you have photographic opportunities that will get you up close to the animals including big cats, elephant, and rhino. Every activity is about seeing wildlife, learning about our subjects and their role in the ecosystem, and current conservation issues and efforts. We will be in the Kruger National Park, but also in private reserves where we are able to go off road to track animals (each has different rules). We use open safari vehicles so guests have wide views and the ability to pivot to get a shot. The Small group size and the smaller family owned lodges we visit make this safari a very personal experience and an authentic slide of life in South Africa bushveld.

For this special itinerary we start with our classic itinerary, already full of highlights such as the Sabi Sands leopards and Kruger Park, then add something very special: 2 nights in the Baluli Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger region). Here guests will be steps away from this new underground photographic and wildlife hide perched at the edge of a busy watering hole. With no limits on use, guests can visit the hide day or night to watch wildlife and get breathtaking images from a unique angle. The hide is also positioned for wonderful night sky photography. Inside there is ample space for photographers to side in office chairs and mount cameras on sturdy supports or rest them on bean bags. Wifi is available in the hide, charging points are numerous, and there is refreshment in the form of water, a refrigator, and a bench for resting. The water is 60cm from the opening of the shutters and wildlife comes incredibly close. Lights for night spotting and photos are controlled from inside the hide.

For the start of your stay we will have exclusive use of my tree house safari lodge perched on a hillside in a nature conservancy. We continue the trip with 3 nights in the famous Sabi Sands Reserve where the excellent guides find their famous leopards and other wildlife. Down time throughout the safari is spent with informal instructive discussions of digital work flow, animal behavior and how to use it in photography, learning processing techniques to store and enhance your photos - topics guided by what guests would like to learn and tailored to their skill level. You will be very busy since we pack in as much photography time as possible. You will not only return with great photos, but new friends and skills as well. We like to immerse our guests in a conservation experience with discussions about the ecosystem, poaching, and the animal and plant life the surrounds us - we may even have visits from neighbors and colleagues who are on the front line of these efforts. Guests leave with wonderful wildlife images and a new understanding of conservation in South Africa.

 

A water level photo/wildlife hide at a big 5 watering hole  

  • View of the hide from the deck
  • Inside the photo hide with chairs and power
  • photo hide has power, clamp mounts, shelves, chairs

 

  • Highlights

    Photograph and watch wildlife from one of the only underground hides in South Africa in a big 5 reserve. We will have exclusive use of the hide and lodge with no time limits as to when you can be inside (day or night)

    Game drives on private reserves and Kruger Park from an open vehicle where you will see why Limpopo is the premiere area for wildlife.

    Expert photographer host who is with you to help you learn in the field and one on one or group Photoshop / work flow mentoring. Sessions are informal and optional and can be tailored to the guests' interests

    Great Accommodations : Exclusive use of the tree house lodge while we use it as our base. Our favorite lodges in Sabi Sands are small and comfortable with excellent service and dedicated guides. Our group will stay together for drives and activities. More About Accommodations

    Search for leopards and other big cats (day and after dark) in the famous Sabi Sands Reserve.

    Learning Adventures such as an up-close elephant educational encounter with rescued elephants, canyon boat ride to see hippos and crocs, animal rehabilitation center with rapters, and a lion conservation presentation with a walk with white lions.

    Photographers of all levels welcome. Non-photographers will enjoy this safari if they want an active, wildlife adventure filled trip, we welcome everyone with a camera: you can get great images with any camera and we can teach you some things so you can get the most out of what you have. Large Lens welcome too!


  • Our Safari Itinerary

    (this is a sample itinerary - the order of events may be different due to availability on a certain day, weather,and the like)

    First Day - Departing from Hoedspruit

    You will either arrive into Johannesburg this day or have arrived the afternoon before. You will take a short flight to the town of Hoedspruit where we will meet the group in the afternoon and transfer you to the tree house lodge about 45 minutes away. We make a brief stop in town then onto the lodge. We will get you checked into your rooms and after a brief orientation you will have time to unpack before our first dinner under the stars. Enjoy a great sleep listening to the sounds of the bush and lions in the distance.

    Day 2 - Day 4

    We start big in the world's biggest national park. In Kruger we will ride in our private open vehicle the short drive to the Orpen Gate entrance. This day we are in the park all day exploring active areas. We will have stops at the camp grounds and tourist plazas. Kruger closes at sundown so we will return in the early evening.

    After a day in Kruger we schedule a later start to the day where we take a boat into the Blyde Canyon with hippos and crocs. After we have an educational visit to an wildlife rehabilitation center. Photographic opportunities are not missing this day: the open canyon vistas are beautiful and you will have the chance to get really close to raptors, hyenas, and center residents who are being readied for re-release into the wild.

    The elephant encounter is a favorite of the guests. We learn about elephants and their conservation while getting up close to a herd of rescued individuals. We often do a zipline canopy tour on the same day for an exhilarating, active diversion.

    Day 5 - Day 8

    Today we transfer to the Sabi reserve south of us. We arrive in time for a mid day meal, checking and then head out on a game drive. We enjoy a nice meal on the deck overlooking the watering hole or in their boma.

    Days are busy here: early morning game drive, breakfast, optional bushwalk, afternoon wildlife drive, dinner. On the last morning we will depart for the Hoedspruit airport and flights back to Johannesburg, but we have one more morning game drive or walk planned and breakfast. We head back to Hoedspruit and onto the Balule Reserve.

    Day 8 - Day 10

    This afternoon we settle into our accommodations and enjoy unstructured time to watch and photograph wildlife at the hide a few steps away from our rooms. When not in the hide guests will have time to review photos, receive some digial processing help, or just relax.

    On the final morning will have breakfast and depart to Hoedspruit (1.25 hour drive) for afternoon flights. Most people will have evening flights out Johannesburg so you will arrive there in time to get food and shop for gifts. Please plan to use the afternoon flight back JNB or the afternoon direct flight to Cape Town.

  • small group safari for photographers in South Africa
    What is the Next Step?

    We only take a maximum of 6 -8 people per trip in order to provide a personal and uncrowded experience (and our small family lodge only holds 8!). If you want to take part in this trip of a lifetime, do not hesitate because spaces will fill. We are happy to talk to you and answer your questions.

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About Us

Africa Wild Safaris is owned by photographer Gregory Sweeney and his wife Karen. Together they own a small lodge on a nature conservancy which becomes the home base for their photography safaris. While on safari Gregory is a teacher ans well as a host and guide. Guests are return with memories of once in a lifetime wildlife encounters.

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