Tailored Safari Specialists

Sabi Sands Photographic Safari

Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Greater Kruger, South Africa

from per person sharing

Big 5



Classic Safari


Sabi Sands Photographic Safari

Indication Price (from): per person sharing * View all prices.
Length: 6 days
Group Size: 12 participants (only 6 per vehicle)
Location: Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Greater Kruger, South Africa
Departure Dates: to be advised
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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.

Join award-winning photographers Ernest Porter and Karen Blackwood on a private 6-day photographic safari at the luxurious Nkorho Bush Lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve. We’ve limited this safari to 12 guests, and with only 6 people per safari vehicle, Ernest and Karen will be able to provide personal attention and coach your photography to a new level.

Together they will focus on making sure that you are taking great photos and learning about every animal and bird spotted. Close encounters, approached in a manner that always ensures the best shooting angles and lighting, will guarantee your ratio of “keepers”. And the best part? In the Sabi Sands you are never competing with dozens of other vehicles vying for a sneak peek of the same sighting – only two vehicles are allowed at any sighting.

Not a photographer? We’ll take the photos and make them available to you after the safari so that you can relax in the moment.

The iconic Sabi Sands Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger is the best place to consistently watch and photograph leopards in South Africa!  With eight territories overlapping the area, leopards are regularly encountered. And of course the rest of the Big 5 are also seen regulalry (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo). Even highly sought-after species such as wild dogs, cheetah and even pangolin are seen in the area, and Nkorho’s rangers and trackers are the best at finding the wildlife you want to photograph.

Back at the lodge, your charming two-person chalet has all of the touches you require: en-suite bathroom, tasteful African decor, comfortable beds overlooking your private porch and waterhole, turndown service, and friendly, attentive staff to make your stay relaxing. Add a pool, luxurious spa, amazing meals – including candlelit three-course gourmet dinners under the stars around the fire – and a well-stocked wine cellar and top-shelf bar, and you’ve got the safari you’ve dreamed of at a price you can afford.

You are enquiring about Sabi Sands Photographic Safari


Detailed Itinerary

Whether you choose to drive yourself, catch a shuttle or fly in from Johannesburg or Cape Town to the nearest airstrip, we can arrange your transfer to Nkorho Lodge. After you have checked in, had lunch and explored your base camp, you will set off with Ernest and Karen on your first photographic game drive.

The group will set off in two different vehicles (6 guests plus one photographic guide on each). Your guides, Ernest and Karen, will rotate between vehicles every time you set off on a new drive. Prior to the start of any drive they will help you set up your cameras in order to help you get the great shots you came looking for. Throughout the drive and as light conditions vary, their commentary, suggestions and instructions will ensure you are set and ready for whatever the bush delivers on the day. Suggestions of style and composition will also be discussed once your first volley of shots are in the bag.

You will look for elephants, rhino, and buffalo cooling off in waterholes, search for cheetahs on the plains, find the lion pride where it was last seen, or per chance join a pack of wild dogs as they hunt down herds of impala and wildebeest.

Later, as the amazing red African sun slowly slips down towards the horizon, you will find a suitable pit-stop to enjoy a sunset cocktail before bringing out the spotlights and heading out for a spot of nightlife photography. Your guides will position vehicles and spotlights for dramatic backlit scenarios of lions and leopards, chameleons and perhaps even a pangolin.

Back at the lodge you will be greeted with a hot towel and refreshing drink to reset and rekindle you, as the hum and excitement of the drive wanes down. Enjoy a quick shower and join the group back at the mess areas or around the fire to discuss the game drive and the plan for the following day – drink in hand!

After a gourmet dinner, served on candlelit tables in the boma, those keen on an early night may retire to bed. A fire will be kept burning for those keen to stay a bit longer and enjoy the company of fellow guests and the sounds of the bush.
Photographers on this tour are expected to rise earlier than the average guest as the day starts well before sunrise. The meeting point will be at the boma where the Nespresso machine will be working double time.

Morning game drives are the best time to locate the big cats, as they will still be active after their nocturnal hunts. The Sabi Sands is one of the best places to view leopard and lion, and no effort will be spared to locate one of these animals for you on this photo safari. In addition to these felines, a host of other predators call the “Sands” their home. Sightings of spotted hyenas and black-backed jackals are almost guaranteed, while four species of mongoose – banded, slender, dwarf and white-tailed – may well be encountered.

Morning drives generally last 3+ hours, or even longer – depending on sightings.

The Greater Kruger is a wonderfully diverse area and the range of photographic subjects are endless. Large raptors still roost on exposed branches as the day heats up, and a slow approach may result in very striking take-off images. Everything from dwarf mongoose to white rhinoceros lives here, each presenting unique and exciting photographic opportunities.

After the morning drive, you will return to the lodge and at a convened time regroup for a short nature walk to learn about the plants, tracks, and pay some attention to the finer details of the African bush.

You will return to a wonderful, well-earned, made-to-order breakfast before taking a break. You may nap, swim, browse the gift shop or wine cellar, enjoy a massage, or join Ernest and Karen for an optional Lightroom class to learn a few tricks on how to process your photos. Difficult lighting, such as the previous night’s game drive, will be explained, and settings will be sharpened for the next attempt.

Lunch is an abundant spread, and afterwards there will still be ample time to photograph flora and fauna around the lodge, or enjoy a little quiet time before the afternoon game drive.

Tea will be served again at mid-afternoon, after which you will embark on an afternoon game drive. African wild dogs are not uncommon in the area and, should there be any sightings or trails to follow, you will start your search for these endangered carnivores. A wide variety of colourful birds, two dozen species of antelope, giraffe and zebra will also help to set the stage for great wildlife photography.

As safaris progress it is interesting to note how people’s photographic view shifts. At first it is the exciting predators that take their fancy, but as those images slowly mount, we find that people tend to start taking a greater interest in more technical shots. Provided it is a cloudless and moonless night, a night safari can be a great chance to experiment with Milky Way images. The high ISO capabilities of today’s cameras can capture beautiful images with only the moon as illumination.

Night drives always offer the possibility to photograph predators, but you can also try your hand at photographing smaller creatures, such as flap-necked chameleons or one of the five species of owls residing in the Greater Kruger.

Dinner will be served upon your return.

An image processing class using Lightroom class will include but not be limited to:

• An introduction to Lightroom 6/CC and 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 versus your photo files and 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
• Stacking
• Editing in Photoshop through Lightroom
• Renaming multiple photos and creating standard templates for renaming photos
On your last day at Nkorho you will certainly be encouraged not too miss out on the morning game drive. After braving the early rise for a final time, you will set out again in search of wildlife.

After your last game drive and breakfast, you will then say goodbye to your fellow photo safari guests and guide before your departure.

Indication Price (from):

  per person sharing

Departure Dates: to be advised

Departure Dates
13 – 17 July 2018 FULLY BOOKED
29 August  – 02 September 2018 LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE


Price Includes:

Accommodation, all meals starting with lunch on arrival day, and ending with breakfast on departure day. Morning and evening game drives, personal photography and Lightroom instruction from Ernest Porter and Karen Blackwood, all transport in the reserve and guided game viewing and walking activities, pro-photographer guiding fees and informal photo processing sessions, tea and coffee, wi-fi, conservancy levies and gate fees and 24/7 office support.

Price Excludes:

International and domestic flights, transportation to/from the lodge, visas (should your country require one), excess baggage charges, sodas and alcoholic beverages (full bar service available), gratuities (gratuities for the ranger and tracker are mandatory; please plan approximately R151-20/R130-260 per day]); all other gratuities are optional), spa services, laundry service, travel and medical insurance, personal calls, gate fees if self-driving, and any other personal expenses or 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.

Ernest Porter is an award-winning and well renowned bird and wildlife photographer from South Africa. His achievements include: 2017 Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year Top 5 finalist, 2015 and 2016 Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year Top 15 finalist, winner of the July 2016 Tamron South Africa photography contest, Best of Africa featured photographer, prominently featured in Yahoo’s “Animals in Flight” Photo Gallery, and multiple VotoArt wins.

He is Canon-sponsored, and published in numerous magazines and wildlife books and guides including Animals of the Greater Kruger. Ernest is a staff photographer for the Black Eagle Project Roodekrans based in Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in South Africa and has documented the development of four fledglings at the gardens, from hatching to training to departure. Ernest offers privately guided photo tours to the gardens and the black eagles’ nest. He is a sought-after speaker in the avian and wildlife photography community. Ernest is an expert instructor in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Karen Blackwood is a USA-based airline pilot, wildlife photographer, and world traveller. She volunteers as a Bald Eagle monitor for the Raptor Education Foundation in Colorado, tutors children through Reading Partners, teaches young equestrians basic horsemanship, and has coached many people in the effective use of their camera.

Karen’s photography credits include: January 2018 NOW Photo Awad, published in the 2017 Africa Geographic Yearbook, 2nd-runner-up in Nature’s Best Photography Africa 2017 contest and published in the coffee-table book, April 2017 Best Photo in Nature Photographers, finalist in Best of Africa’s 2017 contest, finalist in Kodak Moments contest, multiple times featured photographer in Naturalist’s Notebook and in NatureGraphy, 1st Honorable Mention in the Kodak National Photo Contest, multiple winners in the Amigo Airshow Photo Contest, gallery showings in Colorado including selection for the exclusive year-long Healing Arts exhibition and fund-raising cards, and the use of her photos in promotional videos and specialised publications.

This photographic safari will be based at the top-rated, luxurious yet affordable Nkorho Bush Lodge. Nkorho is located in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with the iconic Kruger National Park. On safari, Nkorho’s rangers and trackers regularly locate the Big 5, and with a high concentration of leopards, we routinely see leopards on almost every game drive.

Your private thatched chalet overlooks the waterhole set in an open plain with unobstructed views of the visiting wildlife. A massage at the spa, a dip in the pool, or a glass of wine from its well-stocked wine cellar will ensure that your down-time is relaxing. After your scrumptious, candlelit dinner in the traditional leadwood boma, you’ll retire to a comfortable bed with turn-down service for a night’s sleep lulled by the gentle sounds of the bush. With only seven chalets, including a romantic Honeymoon suite, guests receive personal attention in a quiet, intimate setting.

To make travelling easier for you, we recommend that you spend the night before the safari begins in Nelspruit so that you can arrive at the lodge relaxed and well-rested the following day. We can offer you an add-on package that includes B&B accommodations in Johannesburg and Nelspruit, and round-trip ground transportation including gate fees with a professional driver between Nelspruit and Nkorho Bush Lodge, plus a tour of Chimp Eden – Dr. Jane Goodall’s rescue and rehab facility.

Transportation between Johannesburg and Nelspruit is not included but we can recommend flights.

Round-trip airfare from Johannesburg to Nelspruit is approximately R4,000 to R4,500 and varies with the number of guests choosing this option (contact us for more details). You can also rent a car and drive to the lodge from Nelspruit (approximately 3 hours), or from Johannesburg (approximately 7-8 hours).

Climate: July is mid-winter and the dry season in South Africa. You will find the weather to be mild in Sabi Sands. Mornings can be chilly (9°C/48°F), so bring along warm clothing, such as a hat, hoodie, and jacket for the morning game drives (there will be blankets available). Afternoons are generally sunny and temperatures will be pleasant – around 25°C/77°F.  We offer a comprehensive packing list on our website, and are happy to help you make decisions about what clothing and camera equipment to bring.

Difficulty: You will be on the safari vehicle during game drives. We offer an optional nature walk that lasts 30-45 minutes and is on mostly level ground. Access to chalets and the deck is via 3-5 steps. Pathways are gravel and lit at night.

Group size: Limited to a maximum of 12 guests (6 in each safari vehicle). Solo guests can be accommodated at an additional cost; please enquire. Ernest and Karen will rotate between the vehicles daily.

Booking and payment: Once you have decided to join this safari, 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. We accept credit card payments and direct bank transfers. This tour is priced in South African Rands; please check the conversion rate for your currency for your cost.

Exchange rates fluctuate daily, so your final price may vary should you choose to carry a balance during the booking period.

We are happy to answer any questions you have, make recommendations about your travel plans, and help make your dream vacation as easy and relaxing as possible!  We will also create a private Facebook group for every safari. It’s a great way to get to know each other before the safari, to share suggestions and recommendations prior to your trip, and to share photos and memories after the trip.

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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