Zimbabwe Photography & Film Making Safari  

Currently available as a tailor made photographic safari


 

Outstanding 9 days / 8 nights specialist photography and film making safari with optional add-ons

Small group - min 3 / max 6 photographers

Photography Tutor: Trai Anfield - wildlife photographer, film maker, travel writer and presenter of BBC's The Living World

As Zimbabwe enters a shining new era it is fast becoming Africa’s hottest safari destination 

. . . now is the time to explore before the crowds descend!

Why are we so excited to be back in Zim?  

 

Oh, just the small matters of fabulous wildlife, the most accomplished guides in Africa, unparalleled levels of service, a wonderfully diverse range of safari experiences, stunning cultural highlights, iconic World Heritage Sites and hugely competitive pricing  . . . need we say more ?!?

Zim's Back!!!

To celebrate our return, and really get the full flavour of safari in Zim, we will combine the country's two most iconic reserves: Hwange and Mana Pools National Parks, and two authentic luxury lodges, each of which offers a memorable and distinctive experience.  

 

Our visit is timed to coincide with the dry season here, which is of course the perfect time for game viewing.  As weeks pass without rain, impressive concentrations of wildlife build up around any remaining waterholes.  Leafless trees and low, dry grasses mean that wildlife is relatively easy to spot and photograph, and birding is impressive too.

Hwange National Park​

extras not usually available include

  • off-road access

  • night drives

  • bush walks

  • exclusive waterhole hides

Situated in the Western plains of Zimbabwe, and just an hour or so drive from Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is the country's biggest reserve - roughly the size of Belgium! - and its magnificent terrain ranges from desert dunes, savannah lands and mopane woodlands to rocky outcrops and sparse forests.

 

Hwange is also home to a profusion of wildlife including over 100 mammal species and nearly 400 species of birds. All of the region's big cats - lion, leopard and cheetah - are here, alongside prey species such as buffalo, giraffe and zebra as well as rarer sable antelope,  .  The elephants of Hwange are world famous and with up to 60,000 the Park’s elephant population is one of the largest in the world.  It is also a sanctuary for a population of African painted wolf thought to be among the most sizeable surviving groups on the continent.

And this is no ordinary stay in Hwange: our Lodge is set in it's own private concession so we can add off-road access, night game drives, guided bush walks and access to the camp’s unique underground hides to the usual activities available here..​

Our Lodge in Hwange: The Hide

 

Located in a prime position in Hwange National Park, The Hide offers a life-enriching safari experience, and the warm and welcoming staff will make you feel like family from the minute you arrive.  

 

Photographers in particular appreciate the fantastic game viewing right on your doorstep, plus an enhanced itinerary of photography-focussed activities including off road access and night drives within the Lodge concession, bush walks and access to the Lodge's exclusive underground photography hides and treehouse.  

Guests are accommodated in 10 beautifully-furnished deluxe tents, all boasting en-suite bathrooms and private verandas overlooking the busy waterhole - keep your cameras close at hand in camp, as elephant, lion and buffalo often visit to satisfy their thirst. 

If you're feeling adventurous, The Dove’s Nest Treehouse is available at no extra charge. Located 10 minutes away from camp, this rustic gem sleep out has the perfect vantage point from which to view and photograph wildlife from a different, elevated point of view.

After an exhilarating day of game viewing, guests can retreat to the cool refuge of the camp’s swimming pool and delectable meals are savoured al fresco or in the elegant dining room.

The images below are from the lodge website, and show the relaxation and dining areas, a range of guest tents and the photography hide.

Mana Pools National Park

  • World Heritage Site - sheer unspoilt beauty

  • Renowned for walking safaris - get closer to nature

  • Unique Zambezi water trails - explore by canoe

  • Photograph Mana Pools painted wolf packs featured in BBC One's Dynasties

Located in northern Zimbabwe, the life-giving power of the Zambezi River makes Mana Pools National Park one of Zimbabwe’s most lush and flourishing regions.  The 20 000 km² of wildlife protected land here is a World Heritage Site, awarded this status for the purity and beauty of it's wilderness.  It is home to a wide range of mammals, over 350 bird species and rich aquatic wildlife.   

Here we have the opportunity to embark on canoe safaris, a unique and memorable way to experience the area’s striking scenic beauty and diverse fauna.  

Mana Pools is also renowned for walking safaris.  The game here is generally very relaxed with people on foot, offering us perhaps the most intimate way to connect with nature.  Walking in the company of some of the worlds most talented and experienced safari guides is a privilege that also gives us the chance to connect with the Park's fascinating smaller species through our macro lens.

We will of course continue our programme of classic game drives throughout our stay here too.

The Zambezi floodplain of Mana Pools really is the place to be at this time of year, with shrinking water holes attracting ever larger, more permanent concentrations of game.  Elephant, buffalo, zebra, impala, waterbuck, warthog, kudu and eland are magnets for top predators like lions and the now-famous Mana Pools painted wolf packs, featured in BBC One's Dynasties.  Hippo are at their highest densities in the river at this time, and birding is excellent too, with specials like African skimmer and Lilian’s and Nyasa lovebirds alongside yellow-spotted nicator, white-collared pratincole and Livingstone’s flycatcher. Goliath herons, storks, brilliantly coloured bee-eaters and kingfishers are ever present, while banded snake-eagle and fish eagle haunt the riverine forest, and vultures are never far away.

The richness of the forest trees and plants not only supports this diversity of wildlife, it forms a picturesque and photogenic landscape for which this park is famous: a timeless wilderness considered by many to be 'the Jewel of Zimbabwe and a Treasure for Africa.'

Our Lodge in Mana Pools: Kavinga Safari Camp

 

Kavinga is perfectly sited above the banks of the Rukomechi river in the heart of Mana Pools, close to the famous Chitake Springs.  The camp is frequently visited by mighty predators; lion, wild dog, and leopard as well as smaller characters like civet and serval, mongeese and honey badgers.  Plains and forest game alike come to drink from the waterhole as they cross the wide dry Rukomechi riverbed.  Elephant spend a lot of time here, and in the dry season they dig into the riverbed to get to fresh water running metres below the surface in the underground river.  The bird life is varied with numerous local specials like the elusive African pitta, carmine bee-eaters, honey guides, marshal eagles, and many other raptors.

This exclusive camp consists of 5 comfortable raised tents, built on the edge of the cliff, facing east, with a view of the rising sun above the magnificent Zambezi Valley floor.

Each tent has been designed with an emphasis on privacy and is surrounded by insect repellent gauze, allowing the air to circulate, contributing to maximum coolness.  Inside each tent are 2 comfortable beds in flexible arrangements, to cater for everyone’s needs, as well as an ensuite bathroom.  Out front, your private verandah looks directly over the edge of the cliff, giving a feeling of infinite space.

The central dining and lounge area has two decks, providing a magnificent vista across the dry riverbed to the waterhole below.  There is a firepit to relax by at night, reviewing our shots, gazing at the stars and looking out for nocturnal visitors.  We will enjoy our delicious dinners here with a glass of wine and the sounds of lions calling and hyena whooping.

Kavinga's termite mound shaped hide allows photographers to get right amongst the wildlife.  It has been very creatively designed to keep us cool while we photograph, and gives an astonishing 180 degree view of the water hole from elephant-foot level.  During the day herds of game and beautiful rare birds can be photographed from this unique vantage point.  After the sun sets, you may watch predators approach, and catch a glimpse of those elusive nocturnal animals such as porcupine, leopards, honey badgers or if you're especially lucky even an occasional aardvark!

The images below are from the lodge website, and show the relaxation and dining areas, a range of guest tents and the photography hide.

Recommended Equipment

 

Trai recommends the following photographic gear:

  • Camera body (and a spare of some description – even just a smartphone!)

  • A variety of lenses* that suit both wildlife photography (telephoto) and landscape photography    (wider angle).   The wider end of the spectrum (anything from 10mm – 50mm) will give great shots that include some habitat context as well as your subject, and may also come in handy for night time astro photography if conditions allow.   For closer detail 300mm – 400mm is ideal.   You may also have the chance to use a macro lens, for instance on flora and insects.

    * Please note: if you would like to hire a lens for the trip we can recommend some reliable providers

  • Plenty of spare batteries and your charger

  • Plenty of spare cleared memory cards

  • Hard drive and a laptop/external drive to download, process and store your photographs. . . you will almost certainly fill your memory cards more than once!  If you wish to receive advice on editing your own photographs on the trip please bring a laptop loaded with the software you use – Trai is happy to demonstrate both Photoshop and Lightroom on her laptop but cannot upload client photographs.

  • A water & dust proof covering for your camera and lens – doesn’t have to be expensive,  We use cheap transparent plastic ones from the internet – they do the job fine and have the bonus of being really light.  

  • A photographic bean bag is extremely useful for support and stabilisation when shooting from the safari vehicles.  A good range is available online..

  • A tripod is necessary if you wish to participate in landscape and astro photography sessions.

  • A head torch is also advisable for night sessions (one with a red light option if possible).

  • If you are bringing a new camera we recommend uploading the user manual to your smartphone.

Dates and Rates

Currently available as a tailor made photographic safari

Includes

4 nights at The Hide - fully inclusive (local brand spirits)

4 nights at Kavinga - fully inclusive (local brand spirits)

Road transfer to Hwange 

Charter flight onward to Mana Pools

Charter flight return to Harare

All photography tuition

All guiding and activities as set out in the itinerary

Conservation fees, National Park fees, tourist

 

Usually 3 max photographers per vehicle

Suggested add-ons

Victoria Falls

The World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls needs no introduction,: it is quite simply one of the most spectacular natural sights in the world.  Witnessing the beauty of the Falls first hand is enough reason to visit, but the combination of photography opportunities,, adrenaline-filled and more leisurely activities and gracious hospitality make for an irresistible add-on to our Zimbabwe safari.  

Our partner agent is based right here in Victoria Falls and will be happy to handle your onward travel plans, ensuring you have the most wonderful experience whatever you choose to do during your stay.