5-Day Big 5 Traditional Camp Safari (4 – 8 September 2023)
Start Date: 04-09-2023
End Date: 08-09-2023
8 Spot/s available
What’s on your bucket list? An affordable African safari to see lions? Leopards? Elephants? Giraffes? African Sunsets? We’ve got them covered!
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 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. 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 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…
Typical itinerary for each day:
- Day One begins with arrival at approximately 13:30, in time for High Tea and the Afternoon Game drive. On your last day, we’ll go on the morning game drive and have breakfast, with departure between 10:30-11:00
- 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
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 a viewpoint with an expansive view 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. 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 catalogue 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, coffee, tea.
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 and tea (sodas and alcohol are available, please ask in advance if you have special requests and we’ll try to ensure your drinks are on hand), gratuities (gratuities for our Ranger and Tracker are mandatory; please plan approximately R 50-100/day; all other gratuities are optional), 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 the 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 high tea 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 only; the Lodge cannot accept credit cards). 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 Luxury Safari (8 – 13 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: 28 400 ZAR
Single: 36 920 ZAR
2nd Payment: 45% – 180 days prior to Safari
Final Payment: 40% – 90 days prior to Safari
* Max Clients per vehicle
We try to have a maximum of 6 clients per vehicle on this trip so that each client has an end seat for unobstructed viewing. We may share the Lodge with other groups; if that happens, we may have up to 8 clients on the vehicle.
* Max Clients on this trip
The Traditional Lodge is small and intimate, with only 4 bungalows. There is a maximum of 8 clients, double occupancy, on this trip. Single occupancy can be accommodated, resulting in fewer guests.
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 and coaching to help you get the best photos possible. Non- photographers are welcome!
* Fitness Level:
Sedentary to Average: walking on flat paths within the Lodge premises; maximum 2-3 stair steps; possibly walking near the vehicle during game drives on uneven ground (optional); 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 colder. 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.
Double Occupancy, Single Occupancy