5-Day Big 5 Luxury Safari (8 – 13 September 2023)
Start Date: 08-09-2023
End Date: 13-09-2023
6 Spot/s available
What’s on your bucket list? The chance to get an outstanding close-up photo of a wild leopard? This Sabi Sands safari is for you—right in the middle of the Reserve known for its high concentration of leopards! Join an affordable African safari to see lions, elephants, giraffes, African Sunsets, and more. We’ve got you covered!
Join award-winning Africa Geographic and NatGeo Daily Dozen published photography guides Ernest Porter or Karen Blackwood–or both–on our Luxury African Wildlife Safari in iconic Sabi Sands in the Greater Kruger, world renowned for legendary leopard sightings. It’s home to the Big 5: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. You’ll also find hippo, crocodile, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, kudu, cheetah, mongoose, wild dogs, dozens of bird species, and so much more–just browse our photos on our website or on Facebook to see what we see on our safaris. Most of our award-winning photos have been taken on game drives!
Our small group, intimate safaris are designed to watch and photograph wildlife. We will coach your photography skills to help you achieve your goals in any way we can. Everyone is welcome, from absolute beginners to advanced photographers to non-photographers who just want to watch the animals while the others click away. Our private vehicle has a dedicated ranger and an experienced tracker to ensure the best possibility of seeing the widest variety of birds and wildlife—and to get into position for dramatic, one-of-a-kind photographs.
We start every morning with coffee or tea and a snack, then set out on a 3-hour game drive to see what happened in the wild while we were sleeping. Lions and leopards are usually still active, so we’ll see if they’ve hunted overnight. Elephants are just starting their day, and perhaps we’ll see a hippo out of the water—they travel long distances at night. We’ll stop after sunrise for coffee and another snack…ok, we always PLAN to, but we usually have such amazing sightings that we don’t get our coffee until after the game drive!
After we return to the Lodge, we’ll go on a leisurely bush walk, where you’ll learn about the ecosystem, the local culture, and how to track animal footprints. Our delicious buffet and made-to-order breakfast and lunch are on the covered deck overlooking the waterhole. You can relax by the pool or get a massage before lunch or join us for our complimentary photography and Lightroom/Photoshop workshops.
We will head back out for our evening game drive around 15:30, when the big cats start getting active after the heat of the day. If we’re lucky, we’ll watch lions or leopards hunt! Elephants will be at the waterhole, giraffe should be browsing the tops of the trees, and maybe some wild dogs or cheetah will pass by. We usually stop for a sundown cocktail…ok, again, we always PLAN to, but there’s usually something exciting happening so we’ll often have that cocktail on the vehicle.
After we return to the Lodge, we’ll socialize and talk about our day before moving to the boma for our mouth-watering candlelit 3-course dinner on white linen tables set up around the fire. We might set up for some night-sky photography, or just sip an after-dinner drink before bedtime.
Typical itinerary for each day:
- Day One begins with arrival at approximately 13:30, in time for lunch and the Afternoon Game Drive.
- Morning Game Drive between 5:30-6 through 9-9:30 am
- Breakfast upon return to the lodge around 10:00 am
- Bush/nature walk of about 45-60 minutes–easy to moderate hike
- Free Time or Optional Photography/Lightroom/Photoshop CC workshop (see itinerary below)
- Lunch around 14:00
- Afternoon/sunset Game Drive from 15:30-18:30, including a Sundowner Stop (cocktails)
- Pre-dinner Cocktails and Socializing
- Dinner at 19:30
- On your last day, we’ll go on the morning game drive and have breakfast, with departure between 10:30-11:00
Wildlife & Photography Highlights:
Mammals: This safari is outstanding for quality leopard sightings, the shyest of the Big 5 and hardest to spot. The number of leopards in Sabi Sands means we are almost guaranteed to see leopards daily in photographic settings. We can also see: cats including lions, cheetah, african wild cats, caracal, serval; hyena, elephants; buffalo; white rhino; zebra; giraffe; antelope including wildebeest, impala, kudu, waterbuck; bushbuck; steenbok, duiker, nyala, grysbok; hippo; mongoose including dwarf, slender, white-tailed, and banded; wild dogs; honey badger; civet; scrub hare; bush babies-Greater and Lesser; Large-spotted and Small-spotted genets; warthogs; porcupine; Black-backed and Side-striped Jackals; Vervet Monkeys; Baboons; and more.
Birds: (Migration dependent) Lilac-breasted Rollers; European Rollers, Hoopoes; Shrikes; Red-billed and Yellow-billed Hornbills and Oxpeckers; Ground Hornbills; Violet-backed starlings; Cape Starlings; Burchell’s Starlings; Brown-headed parrot; Bee-eaters such as Little and White-fronted; Grey Loeries (Go-Away birds); Swainson’s Spurfowl; Helmeted Guineafowl; White-browed and Burchell’s Coucal; Kingfishers such as Giant, Woodland, Pied, and Gray-headed; Lapwings; Raptors such as Fish Eagles, Snake Eagles, Walberg’s, Martial Eagles, Tawny Eagles, African Hawk-Eagle, Goshawks, Sparrowhawks, Amur Falcons, Giant Eagle Owls, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Barn Owls, Vultures including White-backed, Lappet-faced, White-headed; water birds including Saddle-billed Storks, Green-backed Herons, Egrets, Egyptian Geese, Whistling Ducks, Goliath Herons; and more.
Landscape: There are a few spots that have beautiful landscapes; night-sky photography possible upon request
Lightroom and Photoshop Course:
We feature a building block approach to photography and editing. On the first day, we’ll teach you how to use your camera, from focusing to metering, from Manual Mode to Aperture Priority, and every function in between. On Day Two, we will begin basic workflow and editing skills workshops in Lightroom and Photoshop CC during the day: how to download, organize, and accomplish basic editing of your images so that they are ready for sharing, printing and framing. You must bring a laptop loaded with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC for this additional instruction (Do NOT download Lightroom CC!) Please check the Adobe website for their $9.99/month package. The Lightroom and Photoshop course is limited by the length of your safari.
In Lightroom we will look at the following, but not limited to:
- An introduction to Lightroom: how to improve your photo management and processing.
- Setting up Lightroom to keep things simple yet effective: files and folders.
- The basic concept of Lightroom. The catalog vs your photo files; important settings in Lightroom.
- The Library module overview.
- The Develop module overview.
- Introduction to Map, Book, Slideshow, Print and Web modules.
- Importing photos and backup strategies.
- Finding and filtering: keywords, text, attributes and metadata.
- The typical workflow for an outdoor photographer: import, render previews, star rating, flagging, and deleting.
- Setting up presets.
- Basic editing in the Develop module.
- Collections: smart collections and hierarchies.
- Exporting photos.
- Extras: virtual copies.
- Editing in Photoshop through Lightroom.
- Renaming multiple photos and creating standard templates for renaming photos.
In Photoshop we will look at the following, but not limited to:
- Important settings in Photoshop
- Selective Sharpening and Noise Reduction
- Multiple methods of Sharpening
- Basic color and lighting adjustments.
- Using the Tool Pallet for editing wildlife photographs.
- Color spaces, and 8-bit vs 16-bit processing.
- Cloning and using Content Aware.
- Image Sizing, DPI and how to use these tools to determine print size and quality of your photos.
- Creating Actions and Batch Processing
- Using Lens Correction
- Photo Merging
- Explaining Layers and how they can be used in Photoshop
Included in the safari package:
Double-occupancy accommodations (Single Occupancy available at a small premium), all meals, morning and evening game drives, personal photography and LR/PS instruction, Sundowner drinks from the list, coffee, tea, guided nature walk.
A 15% deposit is due at time of booking, and you can book securely with a credit card. Prices are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is available at an additional reasonable cost; contact us for pricing.
We are always quick to answer questions and to help you plan your dream vacation. Ernest is South African, and Karen is a whiz at logistics, and together we can help make your planning easy and stress-free.
Not included in the safari package:
Airfare and transportation to/from the lodge (Round-trip airfare from JNB to Nelspruit is approximately $250. You can also rent a car and drive from Nelspruit—approximately 3 hours, or from Johannesburg—8 hours), beverages other than coffee, tea, and Sundowner drinks from the list (full bar service and a wine cellar are available), gratuities (gratuities for our Ranger and Tracker are mandatory; please plan approximately R 50-100/day; all other gratuities are optional), laundry service, visas, conservation/entrance fees, any other personal expenses, anything not mentioned specifically as “included.”
To make it easy for you, we offer an add-on Ground Transportation Package that includes 1 night B&B accommodation in Johannesburg for your arrival or departure night, 1 night B&B accommodation in Nelspruit the night before safari, and round trip ground transportation between Nelspruit and Nkorho Bush Lodge, plus a tour of Dr. Jane Goodall’s rescue and rehab facility, Chimp Eden. Why choose this? It takes away the stress of driving in a foreign country, on the opposite side of the road, on the back side of the clock, in areas where GPS doesn’t work. Our package is designed to make your trip stress-free. We will tell you which flights to book, and you can easily join from Cape Town or Johannesburg.
For those purchasing our Ground Transportation Package, you’ll need to plan to arrive in Nelspruit (airline code MQP) prior to noon the day before your safari starts. You’ll be picked up curb-side upon arrival at the airport. Please look for someone holding a sign with your name or Eagle Eye Safaris.
You’ll be transported to Loerie’s Call Guest House. After checking in and refreshing, the van will depart at 13:15 for your tour of Chimp Eden (included in GTP). You’ll return around 16:30.
Dinner is on your own. Orange Restaurant is on the property. It is one of the top restaurants in Nelspruit. You can also use UBER safely if you’d like to eat somewhere else.
Please be sure your camera batteries are fully charged before leaving Nelspruit.
On the morning your safari starts, you’ll have time for breakfast, which is made-to-order, as well as a substantial buffet. Please settle your personal bill with Loerie’s Call before 10:00.
The van will depart for the safari Lodge at 10:30. The drive is approximately 3 hours. At the halfway point, you’ll stop at Perry Bridge Reptile Park, which includes a coffee shop, patisserie, wine shop, curio shop, craft shop, and more. If you would like to stop at the Craft Shop outside of the game reserve, please limit your time at Perry’s, so you can have time to stop for local crafts (usually closed Sundays).
You’ll arrive at the Safari Lodge in time for lunch and the afternoon game drive.
If you are arranging your own transportation to the Lodge, please plan to arrive between 13:00-14:00. Keep in mind that it is an 8-hour drive from Johannesburg, and a 3-hour drive from Nelspruit. GPS is NOT reliable or accurate for travel to the Lodges. Please be sure that you have directions and a map.
On the last day of safari, please settle your bill the night before or right after the morning game drive (cash or credit card). We will have breakfast, and the van will depart around 10:30. Check-out time is 11:00 if you are arranging your own transportation.
Please email us with questions at info@EagleEyeSafaris.com
This safari tags perfectly with our 5-Day Big 5 Traditional Camp Safari (4 – 8 September 2023). Ask about our double-booking discount.
Safari in Style! Be sure to order your Eagle Eye Safaris T-shirt and hoodie prior to this trip by clicking HERE. We have a selection of fun images from which to choose.
Double: 44 000 ZAR
Single: 57 200 ZAR
2nd Payment: 45% – 180 days prior to Safari
Final Payment: 40% – 90 days prior to Safari
* Max Clients per vehicle
We will always try our best to have a max of 6 clients per vehicle so that all our clients have end seats. We may share the Lodge with another group; if that happens, we may not be able to guarantee 6 per vehicle.
* Max Clients on this trip
12 clients are our maximum for this trip.
1-6 Clients: Ernest
7-12 Clients: Ernest and Karen
* Photographic skills level:
Beginner to pro. Ernest Porter or Karen Blackwood will offer personal attention in the vehicle to help you get the best photos possible. Non- photographers are welcome, because we are looking for the best vantage points!
* Fitness Level:
Sedentary to Average: walking on flat paths within the Lodge premises; maximum 6 stair steps; optional 45-60 minute slow-paced bush walk on paths, through small gullies, varied terrain and uneven ground; climb in and out of game vehicle.
Our safaris are scheduled during the best times of year for wildlife viewing and comfort.
Dry season –May to September – Winter
There is virtually no rainfall during the whole of winter, and the humidity is very low. Animals are attracted to permanent water sources as water becomes scarce in the bush.
*May – This is a transitional month and marks the end of summer. Temperatures are cooling down to typically 12°C/54°F in the morning and 27°C/81°F in the afternoon.
*June, July & August – Morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold, so it’s recommended to pack warm winter clothing. The average morning temperature is 10°C/50°F. Afternoons will be pleasant with temperatures around 26°C/79°F and cloudless skies.
*September – The heat gradually builds to about 29°C/84°F in the afternoon, and the first rains bring relief from very dry conditions. Mornings are less cold with temperatures around 14°C/57°F.
Wet season –October to April – Summer
It can be uncomfortably hot and humid in summer. Peak temperatures frequently reach well over 40°C/104°F, although average daytime temperatures reach 32°C/90°F with high humidity. It seldom rains all day, but the pattern is afternoon storms.
*October & November – It gets warmer and starts to rain more often, mostly in the afternoon. Temperatures are between 18°C/64°F in the morning and 31°C/88°F in the afternoon.
*December, January & February – These are the wettest and hottest months, characterized by torrential downpours in the afternoon and high humidity. Afternoon temperatures are usually around 32°C/90°F but can soar up to an unbearable 40°C/104°F.
*March & April – Rainfall decreases, and it slowly gets cooler. April has lovely, clear weather and few clouds. The nights get a bit chillier but are still pleasant at about 18°C/61°F. Daytime temperatures are around 30°C/64°F and the humidity drops.
Malaria area, please consult your doctor about prevention.
* Safety Concerns:
We take every precaution to keep you safe, but you are in an area with dangerous wildlife that can be unpredictable. We employ highly experienced, licensed Rangers and Trackers who live at the Lodge. We do not ever pressure wildlife in order to get a sighting or a photograph; if an animal appears uncomfortable or pressured by our presence, we leave the area and find something else to watch.
Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information.
Nkorho Bush Lodge
Infinity Pool and Deck
Massage and Boma
Bar and Wine Cellar
Double Occupancy, Single Occupancy