Tailored Safari Specialists

Art on Safari in Madikwe

Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

from $1,899 per person sharing

Art safari

Big 5

Classic Safari

Malaria free

Art on Safari in Madikwe

Indication Price (from): $1,899 per person sharing * View all prices.
Length: 6 days
Group Size: 6
Location: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Departure Dates: 15 - 20 September 2018
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Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.


We do not charge you for our services. We generate revenue from our lodge suppliers, based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

This art safari with professional wildlife artist Alison Nicholls is the perfect opportunity to learn and improve your creative skills, while enjoying the camaraderie of other wildlife lovers and the pleasure of being in the South African bush. Watch this video explaining what an art safari is all about , and this video to understand Alison’s approach to art.

The Bush House in the Big 5 and malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve has been booked exclusively for the Africa Geographic Art Safari group, so you can be assured of privacy while you sketch and enjoy the art lessons.

Regardless of your skill level and experience, Alison will add to your technique and teach you to sketch wildlife quickly and confidently.

You are enquiring about Art on Safari in Madikwe


Detailed Itinerary

Arrive at OR Tambo City Lodge, Johannesburg, and meet Alison Nicholls for dinner. Overnight at OR Tambo Citi Lodge.
Depart to Madikwe Game Reserve by road transfer (4 hours). On arrival, you will meet your hosts and check into your room. Before lunch you can acquaint yourself with the lodge, grounds, waterhole and underground hide. After lunch, Alison will give a demonstration of how she uses simple shapes to create her sketches of wildlife, then you will set off on your first game drive into the Madikwe wilderness.

Sunset drinks and snacks will be enjoyed out in the bush, and after a well-deserved shower and scrumptious dinner back at the lodge you will discuss the following day’s activities before retiring for the night.

Overnight at The Bush House on full board
The routine for each day can change depending on guest requests, weather and wildlife sightings, but the general routine is as follows:

06:00 – Wake-up call followed by tea/coffee and biscuits in the lounge.

06:30 – Morning game drive to sketch wildlife. During the drive, you will stop for tea/coffee and biscuits. Late morning return to The Bush House for brunch.

09:30 – Brunch

11:00 – 14:30 – This time will be spent at the lodge, where guests are able to watch and sketch a variety of animals that come to drink at the lodge waterhole; visit the underground hide to get close-up views; relax by the pool; or take part in an informal art workshop.

14:30 – Lunch.

15:30 – Afternoon game drive.

19:00 – Return to The Bush House for dinner.

Overnight at The Bush House

Overnight at The Bush House on full board
The morning game drive and breakfast will be at the usual time, followed by checkout and transfer by road back to Johannesburg.

If you intend to depart from Johannesburg on this day, we recommend that you choose a late evening or night departure. All Art Safari participants will be dropped at O.R Tambo International Airport or at any other airport lodging of their choice.

Africa Geographic Travel will be only too happy to arrange any extensions or pre-trip accommodation bookings/program you may need in Johannesburg (or elsewhere in Africa).

If you are a ‘first timer’ on safari, you will understandably want to take a lot of photos before settling down to sketch. This is absolutely fine, but if you want to make the most of Alison’s art tuition, we recommend that you schedule your Art Safari after other safari activities rather than as your 1stdestination.

End of services

Indication Price (from):


  per person sharing

Departure Dates: 15 - 20 September 2018

This safari is quoted in South African Rands:

Price Includes:
Full board accommodation at The Bush House, drinks (soft drinks, waters, juice, local wines and beers (but no spirits) tea and coffee), 2 game drives daily, gate entrance fees, return road transfers from OR Tambo to The Bush House, Alison Nicholls guidance, the services of an additional driver/guide and 24/7 office support.

Price excludes:
International flights, visas, items of personal nature, telephone calls, laundry, alcoholic drinks (especially spirits), travel and medical Insurance, tips, excess baggage charges, any activities not specified in the itinerary.

Suggested itineraries: We offer safaris to most accredited lodges in sub-Saharan Africa. Those appearing below are some of those on offer. Contact us to adapt these itineraries to your needs.

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.


We do not charge you for our services. We generate revenue from our lodge suppliers, based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Game drives will be conducted by one of The Bush House’s professional safari guides using an open safari vehicle with 3 rows of comfortable bench seats. As we have a maximum of 6 guests on the safari, there will be only 2 guests per row, so each guest has an outside seat and space for their materials. One seat will be next to the driver and participants will rotate seats in order to afford each and every one a different angle. Alison will sit in the middle row, allowing her to teach and talk to every guest during drives.

The main aim of the Art Safari is to teach guests to sketch wildlife quickly and confidently, so most sketching on game drives will be done in pencil, pen and other dry materials. You will stop frequently to sketch and Alison will assist you with sketching tips, instruction and advice. Her preferred media is graphite pencil or ink, but if circumstances allow, you will be able to use watercolors as well. You will also stop to look at vegetation, tracks and other interesting things that will enrich your sketches with appropriate detail.

All drives include a chance to stop and stretch your legs and enjoy refreshments.

Daytime art workshops will feature topics chosen by guests depending on their interests. You will be able to assess your sketches, add colour or more detail, practice sketching some commonly seen species, and learn many tips and techniques from Alison. Some topics which can be covered in detail are:

  • Adding colour to your sketches and how to use colour to show distance, heat, dust, light, shadows etc.
  • How to use a sketch as the basis for a studio painting.
  • Different ways of creating a field sketchbook – by species, by day etc.

Alison Nicholls is a professional wildlife artist who lived in Botswana and Zimbabwe for 9 years. Sketching wildlife in the bush is an essential part of her work and the inspiration for her larger studio paintings comes from these hours of observation and wildlife sketching.

Alison is a signature member of Artists For Conservation, the Society of Animal Artists, and a member of the Explorers Club and Salmagundi Club in New York City. Her work has been featured in wildlife art magazines in the USA and UK. The US Department of State used her work to promote the “Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking” initiative and her work has been exhibited at the Botswana Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan. Her Conservation Sketching Expedition program allows her to visit African conservation projects, and then use exhibitions to raise awareness and funds for the project on her return to the USA. She lectures about Africa, wildlife and conservation issues and donates a percentage from every sale to support African conservation projects.

You can see more of her work by visiting her website: Art Inspired by AfricaTo find out more about Alison’s art and travels, read the following art-related blog posts:

What it means to go on an art safari

Decisions and disasters: Materials for your art safari

The perfect time to sketch wildlife

How to sketch lions in watercolour

6 Tips to sketch a cheetah hunt

The Bush House exudes a true sense of home away from home in Big Five country. Its informal style, intimate atmosphere and caring staff never fail to make you feel part of the family. The lodge in Madikwe has six en-suite rooms, four of which have private verandahs where one can sit and contemplate the bush surrounding the lodge. One room overlooks the garden and waterhole with another room having the soothing sounds of a water feature outside the sliding door. All the rooms are part of the main lodge building.

Throughout the day, a large shaded garden provides a myriad of places to sit and observe one of the best waterholes in Madikwe, visited by a plethora of species. For incredible close-up views, you can visit the underground hide situated just feet from the waterhole, or you can lounge at the pool while the staff takes care of your needs.

There is also a private nature trail inside the lodge’s fenced grounds. This trail is ideal for those keen on focusing on smaller bush denizens such as birds, insects and butterflies, trees, grasses, flowers, etc.

Climate: For the most part it will be hot (28-35°C), and dry.

Difficulty: Walking the trails on The Bush House’s fenced property is easy and the rest of this safari is enjoyed on board a game viewing 4×4.

Booking and payment details: Once you have decided to join one of our safaris, you will need to contact us for a booking form, which will include details relating to deposit and final payments etc. As our groups are small they fill up quickly.

“My art safari experience with Alison was beyond my wildest dreams.  I learned so much about drawing the animals I saw.  We went out on two game drives a day and it was such an intimate experience.  Alison gave each of us individual attention and tips on our sketches.  It was so helpful and encouraging.  I cannot describe how wonderful it was to experience really looking at the animal when you are trying to sketch them.  We came back to the lodge to do some watercolor and more intimate instruction, as well as watch Alison work on some of her marvelous work she had done in the bush.  It was a trip of a lifetime filled with fun, learning and lot’s of laughter.  Thank you, Alison for a wonderful experience.” – Debra Singleton

“We had a wonderful experience with Alison. The opportunities to see and draw animals were abundant and it was great to be with likeminded sketchers. Alison is a great teacher and I feel my work improved because of her feedback. Thanks for organising the safari.” – Amanda & Don Scott

“Alison taught us how to really look at an animal and see things that you don’t see from photos. I was able to continue sketching on the rest of our trip in Africa and found the game drives to be more interesting than before because I was constantly trying to sketch, and by the end of our trip my sketches had much improved and I now have my own references for future paintings. Alison’s art safaris would work for any level of experience and non-participating spouses can enjoy it as well.” – Bobbi Bryson

“By the time we met, I already felt that I knew Alison well as she had taken the trouble to make contact with me on a number of occasions before the trip to outline what to expect, what was required and to make sure any questions were answered. Her artistic prowess is unquestioned but as a tutor, her quiet encouraging manner and friendly demeanour meant that a complete novice such as myself could reveal my artistic ineptitude with no fear of embarassment. I learnt a lot and was very much inspired to continue my efforts in future.” – Alastair Gibson

“Sketching in the bush with Alison was a delight, she is thorough, humorous, knowledgeable, and patient. I found it amazing that the placement of a single line transformed my house cat into a lion.” – Celia Clowe

“This trip exceeded my expectations and imagination.” – Stacy Edick

“I attended Alison Nicholls’ Africa Geographic safari as a non-participating spouse. Using my photo safari experiences as a baseline, I’ll state unequivocally that never have I experienced such professionalism, enthusiasm, organisation and warmth as I did with Alison on this safari. The photo safaris I’ve been on paled in comparison. Alison’s organisational skills are superb, and her ability to orchestrate game drives, meals and other logistics all while providing each individual enough attention and mix it with a lot of laughter is most impressive.” – Butch Mazucca

“It was amazing to have Alison right there on every game drive offering ideas and suggestions. I can’t believe in such a few short days how quickly I improved my sketching!” – Barbara Womack.

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” Make a real difference for African conservation – come on safari with us. We support sustainable, ethical tourism that benefits wildlife and communities. ” Simon Espley, Africa Geographic CEO