5-Day Big 5 Traditional Camp Safari (26 – 30 September 2023)
- Home to the Big 5: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo.
- Find hippo, crocodile, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, kudu, cheetah, mongoose, wild dogs, dozens of bird species.
- Intimate safaris are designed to watch and photograph wildlife.
Typical itinerary for each day:
- Day One begins with arrival at approximately 13:30, in time for High Tea and the Afternoon Game drive.
- Light breakfast and morning game drive, including coffee stop, from about 6:30-9 am. We’ll come back later if we are on a good sighting!
- Breakfast starts upon return to the Lodge
- Free Time, or join us for our Lightroom/Photoshop/Photography course
- High Tea (light lunch) 15:00
- Afternoon game drive, including a Sundowner Cocktail stop, from 15:30-18:30 or later, depending on sightings
- Pre-dinner Cocktails
- Dinner 19:30
- On your last day, we’ll go on the morning game drive and have breakfast, with departure between 10:30-11:00
Expanded itinerary Details
Join award-winning Africa Geographic and NatGeo Daily Dozen published photography guides Ernest Porter or Karen Blackwood–or both–on our Traditional African Wildlife Safari in the vast Manyeleti Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger. Manyeleti is mostly undeveloped with a limited number of Lodges, so we have sightings to ourselves most of the time. 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. Many 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 overnight. If we find something fascinating, we can always stay longer! 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!
When we return to the Lodge, we’ll have a delicious filling breakfast. If you want, you can join us for our complimentary photography and Lightroom/Photoshop workshops, or just relax until High Tea around 14:30. You have a soaking tub in your bungalow; how about a luxurious afternoon bath? Or you can grab a drink and sit on your porch and watch the small creatures of the bush go by…and sometimes big ones, as elephants often move through in the afternoon.
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 our mouth-watering candlelit 3-course dinner on white linen tables set up around the fire. We might be joined by hyenas or elephants as they move through camp. Then it’s bedtime in your comfortable 4-post bed under a traditional thatch roof, lulled to sleep by the night sounds of the bush…
Wildlife & Photography Highlights
Mammals: This safari is outstanding for the time we can spend with wildlife. We can see: cats including lions, leopards, 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; Greater and Lesser Bush Babies; 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: We may go to viewpoints with expansive views of the veld.
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. We will continually coach you on the vehicle. By the end of the safari, you’ll know how to choose your own settings confidently.
On Day Two, we will begin to teach our basic wildlife workflow and editing skills in Lightroom during the day. We’ll add Photoshop if there’s time. You must bring a laptop loaded with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC for this workshop (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.
- Importing photos and backup strategies.
- Renaming multiple photos and creating standard templates for renaming photos.
- Finding and filtering: keywords, text, attributes, and metadata.
- Setting up presets.
- The Library module overview
- Basic wildlife workflow editing in the Develop module.
- Introduction to Map, Book, Slideshow, Print and Web modules.
- Collections: smart collections and hierarchies.
- Sizing and Exporting photos for social media or print.
- Editing in Photoshop through Lightroom.
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
Ground Transportation Package Logistics
For those purchasing our Ground Transportation Package, you must arrive 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. We can assist you in choosing flights and timing your arrival into Johannesburg or Cape Town. You may use your night in Johannesburg before or after the safari.
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 a fantastic made-to-order breakfast 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.
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 questions to info@EagleEyeSafaris.com
Max Clients per vehicle
Max Clients on this trip
7-8 Clients: Ernest and Karen
Price to be determined, 15% refundable deposit required at booking
- Double-occupancy accommodations (Single Occupancy available at a small premium)
- All meals while at the Lodge
- Morning and evening game drives
- Personal photography and LR/PS instruction
- Coffee, tea, water
- Airfare and transportation to/from the lodge (see our Ground Transportation Package)
- Beverages other than coffee, tea, and water (honor bar and sodas are available)
- Gratuities (gratuities for our Ranger and Tracker are mandatory; please plan approximately R 50-100/day; all other gratuities are optional)
- Personal expenses (gifts)
- Anything not mentioned specifically as “included.”
***THIS LODGE IS CASH ONLY*** Please budget enough cash for drinks, gratuities, and items from the gift selection
How are you getting to the Lodge?
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
- Tour of Dr. Jane Goodall’s rescue/rehab facility, Chimp Eden
- Round-trip ground transportation between the airport, hotels, and Lodge
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.
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! Photo vehicles need the best vantage points, so everyone benefits! If you want to play “Pro Photographer,” let us know! We can help you arrange rental of a camera and zoom lens, and teach you to use it.
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.
Health Considerations: Malaria area, please consult your doctor about prevention.