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Safari Report by Gregory Sweeney
male lion coalition

It is autumn in our area of the bushveld. The leaves have begun to brown and fall and the grass has stopped growing and turned yellow as the nights get progressively cooler. My guests have returned home from two wildlife filled safaris with many great images, fun memories, and friendships

The draught is over and the herbivores are healthy and well fed on the grass with some brand new youngsters. The predators who faired so well during the draught had young of their own but have to work harder to catch their now healthy prey.

The Wildlife Always Surprises

We shared great wildlife sightings this season and some really special encounters. On one game drive we were surprised to find a black rhino bull. This young bull had been in many fights and showed some aggression towards our vehicle. It was very special to see since they are notoriously hard to find and even more so now that their numbers have been reduced through poaching. Wild dogs are a more positive story: the population has been recovering in our area and we found a pack on two occasions. We had good luck with big cats seeing a leopard cub playing with its mother and lion cubs both at a kill and out walking with their mother. An aggressive hippo in the water in full display was also a rare treat.

Conservation and Education

Our guests are always very interested in learning about wildlife conservation and our rangers, guides, and hosts tell them the real story behind poaching in our area, wildlife rehabilitation, national parks, and how wildlife reserves operate. We want our guests to understand the animals they see and their role in a healthy environment. Also it is necessary to understand the challenges faced by wildlife in South Africa. Our guests were so moved by a lion and rhino poaching presentation that we invited the founders of Flying for Rhinos to detail the work they do to help anti-poaching efforts. The group returned with plans to have fundraisers to help this organization. They also were delighted to see several wild white rhinos in Kruger and were able to photograph a very rare encounter with a black rhino.

safari guests

It was a fantastically successful safari season with every guest getting good images of a huge variety of species: more high quality sightings than they expected. I want to thank all of the guests who made these trips so much fun with good conversation, nights on the deck watching nocturnal animals, great questions, and most of all the continuing and new friendships we made. I sincerely hope they can all return again in the future.

See more images of my Favorite Moments from May 2017 Safaris
 
Creative Ways to Photograph Elephants
elephants

Elephants are frequently our photo subjects while on safari. Their size, shape, intelligence, and trunk are just a few things that make them great subjects and very interesting. There are many opportunities for unique, beautiful, and descriptive images of elephants

Close up elephant

Getting close to capture details is one way to show off their unique shape and texture. Taking close up images of the trunk in action, tusks, skin, eyes, and ears gives your audience a chance to focus in on details and discover shapes and learn about elephants.

Other composition themes to incorporate:

Perspective and Symmetry

Interaction with other elephants

Interaction with other Species

Showing scale

Movement and behaviour

Creative front and side views

Rear view

Personality and cute babies

Read the Whole Article
Stay in a Tree House
Zebra Tree House

Our safari guests will enjoy several nights on our Nature Conservancy in our own lodge, Bona Ntaba Tree House Lodge. Here they will enjoy game viewing and wildlife activities during the day, our resident roaming plains game species while they relax at the tree houses, and delicious meals in our boma under the stars. After dinner we enjoy listening for and spotting night creatures at the watering hole just off our deck and pool. The thatched roof and wood floors give you a sense of adventure with ample protection from weather all the while catching a nice cooling breeze. At night you can hear the lions roar and the haunting sounds of wildlife all around you. Guests comment that Bona Ntaba Lodge and its food were a highlight of their stay.

During our safaris we stay at other small, special lodges. Each has characteristic South African features, fine meals, and friendly staff. Above all, we choose our lodges for the quality of their wildlife and reserves. Each has excellent rangers who are very tuned into the needs of photographers and are as commited to education and adventure as we are.

Read More about the lodges
 
Join a Safari in 2018
May Safaris
May 2018 (African Autumn)

May 9 - 18 - 4 spaces

May 28 - June 6 - 2 spaces

September Safaris
September 2018 (African Spring)

Aug 29 - Sept 7 - 4 spaces

Sept 12 - 21 - Sold Out

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What our Guests Say
Guest Comments
A special thanks from the whole group

Our first group brought us a very special gift: a beautiful book of tree houses. Each guest signed it with heartwarming messages. They thought our tree houses deserved to be in the book! We are humbled by their wonderful comments. They were great people and we very much enjoyed hosting their adventure.

Guest Comments
A Comment from Safari Guest Diane

If you want a trip to remember this is it! The tree house lodge is beautiful and the food amazing. It went beyond what I expected on my first trip to South Africa. I have pictures to keep for a lifetime and knowledge about wildlife and culture. A piece of my heart will never forget this fabulous adventure.

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Reasons to travel with Us
Small Groups

We keep our group sizes small to provide a personal experience between the guides, crew, and guests and to facilitate a learning environment. We also work with boats, lodges, and other providers who are small and focused on managing the impact on the wildlife.

Wildlife is the Reason

All of our encounters are conducted with the wildlife's best interests first. We are there to support wild spaces and give them value, but only if it does not harm them in the process. We also support locally owned businesses so as to benefit the communities who will protect the wildlife we love.

Experience

Knowing the wildlife and area is a big factor toward providing a quality and reliable encounters for our guests. We know these places and work with locals who are in tune with the land and marine animals we seek. Experience enhances the whole trip, from the best travel options, restaurants locals eat at, knowledge of our subject, and more.

Affordable

These are often "once in a lifetime" adventures for our guests, but we strive to make them affordable so they are within reach and repeatable. We want people to be able to experience these special wildlife encounters first hand. We choose comfortable and intimate lodgings, shunning unsustainable luxury which inflates costs. It is about the wildlife and magic of travel.

 
 
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