Project Description

Zimanga – a nature photographers paradise in South Africa

19th – 30th May 2018 FULLY BOOKED


Some of the tour highlights:

  • Probably the best reserve in the whole of Africa catered for photographers, with custom-built hides and ”off-road” driving.
  • We will be the only group on the reserve. No other photo groups or jeeps to compete for space.
  • Opportunities for great images of the big cats – Lions, Cheetahs and Leopards, without crowdingwith other photo groups.
  • Chances to photograph Elephants, Lions, Leopards and Rhinoceros as well as other animals at water-level by special water-holes both by day and night.
  • Opportunities to photograph the threatened and timid African Wild Dog.
  • Lots of big game provides the chance to see and photograph the interactions, maybe even chases, between these animals and the big predators.
  • Custom-built hides for photographing the rich birdlife. Most hides are constructed to enable photography from water-level.
  • Night-photography with Elephants, Lions and Rhinoceros at the water-holes, hopefully with star-lit skies as a background. Hides built so that you can sit in comfort for a whole night.
  • Only three photographers per vehicle on safaris. Each photographer normally gets their own seat row.
  • Excellent accommodation and food, with the chance to rest and recuperate between demanding photo sessions.
  • The tour guides will show you the bests sites and provide photographic advice in this small, like-minded group.

This twelve-day photo tour goes to the first South African reserve that is entirely dedicated to photographers. Zimanga is over 10 km long and covers 10000 ha of land (and is about to be expanded) in the south-western part of Zululand. Zimanga provides excellent opportunities for unique images of everything from Lions to Elephants, Cheetahs and Leopards as well as several hundred species of birds.

Many reserves have been created to profit from hunters looking to come home with big game trophies. Zimanga is the opposite, having been created with the interests of photographers and nature-lovers in mind. The reserve puts a lot of effort into saving the threatened population of African Wild Dogs, and has introduced eight new flocks in National Parks and other large reserves since 2009. This is important action, as there are only about 300 adult wild dogs in 30 flocks in South African parks and reserves (there are between 3000 and 5500 wild dogs in Africa). The reserves are necessary as many wild dogs are killed by traffic when looking for new territory.

Savanna means grassland, and the savanna in South Africa is mainly shrub savanna. Zimanga is a characteristic shrub savanna with a river and several natural water-holes that attract large numbers of animals, from Elephants to big game, birds and predators.

Zimanga offers fantastic photo opportunities for many of the South African mammals. In the reserve we encounter Elephants, Hippos, Rhinoceros, Water Buffalo and antelopes. There are also Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards and African Wild Dogs. We will be able to photograph many of these animals during ”classical” game-drives. Zimanga provides the advantage of being able to do ”off-road” driving in order to get the best photo angles.

Apart from photography from jeeps, there are a number of hides, ingeniously constructed by the Hungarian photographer Bencé Màte. Most of the hides are by water-holes. During wintertime, water is plentiful, but during the dry season, that starts in March, water decreases. By May, the water-holes are full of mammals and birds. To date, there are eight hides, mostly built for 4-5 photographers each. In some of the hides you can spend the night, using artificial lighting. There is room for four photographers, with beds right next to the photo seats. Further back in the hide there is a kitchen and bathroom (yes, it’s true!). During the dry season the water-holes are visited by everything from Wart-hogs, Rhinos, Water buffalo to Lions, Leopards and Elephants. There is a chance to get images of these animals that you have only dreamt of. We will have excellent opportunities to get images of birds at the water-holes. There are different hides with different specialities, some focusing on small birds, some on herons, storks and waders.

Days will combine hide sessions with ”classical” game-drives. The jeeps are built with four rows of seats, so each photographer should be able to get their own row. With a rotating schedule everyone will get the opportunity to test each hide and go on the safaris. Because this is not a National Park we can go off-road when necessary for the best photo opportunities. We will also try to prepare photo opportunities in the open bush in order to get unique images.

We have booked the whole reserve exclusively for us, meaning that we will be the only group present at the time.

Travel facts

19th-30th May 2018

4 855 € (Euro)
(Registration fee 970 €)*

Tour leader
Brutus Östling
Henrik Karlsson

Number of participants
Min 14
Max 16

Last date to register
31 March 2018

The tour will include daily safaris. Safaris are by open safari vehicle. On Jeep safaris there will only be 3 photographers in each jeep.
** Safari is a trip in a natural area such as a National Park or other protected area.

Price includes
Share in double room and meals according to itinerary. All safaris and access to hides accordingly to schedule, local guides, photo workshops, transfer to and from Durban airport. Accommodation in hotels and lodges in high class.

Single room fee
Limited availability of single rooms. Please contact us for more information.

Price does not include
Flights in and out of Durban airport, tips, insurance, cancellation insurance, beverages, meals that are not specified in itinerary, phone and internet charges, personal items.

Durbans internationella airport. The tour starts and ends here.

Photo equipment
The main focus on this tour is to photograph mammals and birds. Since we will be photographic from both jeeps and custom made hides it is good to bring everything from wide-angle to telephoto lenses. In several of the hides will we get really close to the animals and will be able to photograph with wide-angel lenses.

On safari, lenses from 70-200 mm up to 500 mm are excellent. To increase focal length you can use a teleconverter.
In May it will be very dry so dust protection is important on safaris. If you have two camera bodies, bring both in order not to have to change lenses as much. Tripods are not so useful in safari vehicles, where a bean-bag comes in more handy.

Mornings can be “cool” so bring a fleece sweater together with proper field clothes. Bring a hat or head protection from the sun. Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes are best for the feet, together with some sandals for midday use.

Group and language
Our tours are open to all nationalities, so the group may be international. Our tour leaders speak Swedish and English.

*Terms of payment
Registration fee to be paid on registration. Remaining fees to be paid latest 60 days before the tour starts.

Additional information
Contact your insurance company about insurance, including cancellation insurance. Contact your doctor about vaccination requirements.

Terms and conditions


Day 1 (19/5) (Dinner)
Arrive at Durban International airport. Spend night in Durban.

Day 2 (20/5) (Breakfast  – Lunch  Dinner)
Morning transfer from Durban to Zimanga. First photo session during the afternoon.

Day 3-11 (21-29/5) (Breakfast  – Lunch  Dinner)
During these nine days we will be photographing from various hides and jeeps. There will be morning and afternoon sessions. Hide and jeep designation will be according to a schedule, in order to give everyone the same number of sessions. Some evenings, photo workshops will be arranged.

Day 12 (30/5) (Breakfast  – Lunch)
Our last photo session is in the morning and after lunch we leave for Durban international airport for the trip home.


This tour is fully booked!