6 DAY TRIP

Conservation Photography Workshop

Limpopo - South Africa

6 day wildlife conservation photography workshop

Duration
6 DAYS
Activity Level
Hosted in
ENGLISH
Includes:
Meals
Accommodation
Photography instruction
Game drives
Airport transfers

What you'll do

6 day Conservation Photography Workshop in South Africa

The workshop will cover landscape, wildlife, astro, and documentary photography. It will be suitable for anybody, from beginner to advanced, as long as you have a camera that is capable of manual mode — like a DSLR or a mirrorless camera — and a tripod.

It takes place on an active game reserve which has an abundance of wildlife, including the Near Threatened White Rhino and and the Critically Endangered Black Rhino. Because this is an active game reserve, you will get a behind the scenes look at conservation in action. Each day will be different, but every morning and evening you will travel through the reserve with Niall and I to check on the White and Black Rhinos. Before, during, and after we check on the rhinos you will be bombarded with animal sightings. Wildlife photography is not just about knowing your camera inside-out, it’s just as much about understanding the behavior of your subject — so, while I will be on hand to guide you on how to capture the animals in their best light, Níall will be there to explain their behavior so that you can predict where and how they will move.   It is our hope that you will be able to use the skills learned here to develop your own path in the photography world.

Whether you want to experience the African bushveld in a unique way, develop your skills as an amateur, begin the journey to a full-time professional photographer, or expand your professional portfolio, there is something in this workshop for you. The aim of the workshop is not just to learn to take good pictures, it will also endow you with skills, knowledge, and passion for the natural environment you they can use to your own ends e.g. lend your newly developed skills to a cause that is close to your own heart.

Workshop Highlights...

Morning and Evening landscape photography.

So. Much. Wildlife. Photography.

Extra small group excursions of 3 people to track, record and photograph some of the wildlife in the hills.

Astro-photography with a few beverages to keep you lubricated.

Documentary Photography Instruction.

Post-processing fun in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.A refreshing dip at an off-reserve waterfall followed by a long exposure photography tutorial.  

What You Experience

Some of Africa’s most iconic species up close and sometimes very personal!

Night-time game drives with the possibility of seeing civets, genets, bat-eared foxes, and (if you’re lucky) the ever elusive leopard.

You will see the White Rhinos every day. It’s pretty magical sitting with them as they feed.

The possibility of seeing the extremely skittish and dangerous Black Rhino who are classified Critically Endangered.  

Enormous Baobab trees. Some of them reaching one thousand years and beyond.

Over ten species of antelope to photograph and observe.

Tons of stunning bird species, including: Bee Eaters, Weaver Birds, and Eagles.

What's Included?

Food

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. The fridge is alway full.

Accommodation

Picture a little bush village where you will live wild in our fully equipped Baobab Conservation Centre, including hot water, electricity, and wifi.

The Baobab Conservation Centre is an open plan thatched camp where you will share communal huts (dorm rooms with up to 4 people, each with it’s own ensuite bathroom), large kitchen and open air lounge.  

Our Lapa, fire pit and braai (BBQ) area brings a family feel to our evenings allowing us to stay warm and safe while listening to the sounds of the bush and view the mesmerizing African night sky.

Transportation

Private transfer is included collecting all guests from Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport at 12pm on your start date. Our happy drivers will be there to assist you after your flight to South Africa and take you to BRCC, located 6 hours away.

Professional conservation photography instruction

Conservation photography is the application of the photographic medium to document and advertise the efforts of conservationists and conservation organisations, enabling them to reach a wider audience in the hope of affecting change and encouraging action. It encompasses a variety of genera, including, but not limited to; documentary and wildlife photography.

The types of photography needed to be applied to a specific project depend on the subject matter, the subject itself, and desired outcome.

Daily guided game drives

Morning and evening game drive. Nighttime game drives also available upon request.

Your Accommodation

FAQs

YOGA

What kind of yoga?

You will be practicing yoga in several different ways throughout your stay — vinyasa, yin, pranayama, and meditation — which will focus on self-development and self-realization, and give you the opportunity to connect with this world in a way that you may not have experienced before. In addition, we will be focusing on daily karma yoga.

What is Karma Yoga?

Karma Yoga is the practice of selflessness. It differs to the other limbs of yoga which are practiced more typically in a classroom setting or on your own, where the focus is turned inwards to isolate the mind and provide meditative introspection. It’s basically doing work for the sake of work, for the world and those around you, and most importantly, doing so without looking for any acknowledgement or thanks in return. Boring, amiright?

Turns out it’s actually a really important and necessary practice — although not often emphasized. Giving back to the world and those around you without seeking reward will give lightness to the heart — the kind that also brings calmness to the mind — and a feeling of connection and of being part of something much bigger.

What does yoga have to do with conservation anyway?

Karma yoga is alive and well in the world of conservation, although most conservationists may not even realize that this is the case.  Tracking, monitoring and learning how to protect white and black rhinos will be part of your daily routine, as much as the other practices of yoga.  You will see the white rhinos every day – and if you’re lucky you may see the black.  Guaranteed the rhinos will not thank you for your efforts, although I promise you will never forget the feeling of their presence and never want more than their continued existence.
You will also play an important role in managing camp life, while learning about the wonders of the African Bush.

I’ve never done yoga, can I still join?

Yes. However a basic level of fitness is required! If you are happy to try yoga for the first time with us, you are very welcome. If yoga isn’t really your thing and you just want to come to the Baobab Rhino Conservation Centre, you can also come as a volunteer – contact Niall directly @naturebeddy – or come on a photography and conservation workshop with Mike @greengrafphotography

Who is the yoga instructor?

Vanessa Boehm has been practicing varying styles of yoga for over 10 years. She believes that yoga is for everyone (even the most inflexible! Yes you!) and that you may start your yoga journey for the asanas but you’ll stay for the piece of mind.  She currently teaches classes in Ireland. You can find her @vanessasvinyasas. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

I’ve never done yoga, can I still join?

Yes. However a basic level of fitness is required! If you are happy to try yoga for the first time with us, you are very welcome. If yoga isn’t really your thing and you just want to come to the Baobab Rhino Conservation Centre, you can also come as a volunteer – contact Niall directly @naturebeddy – or come on a photography and conservation workshop with Mike @greengrafphotography

CONSERVATION

How will I be involved in conservation?

You will be part of a day/night monitoring and tracking team dedicated to finding and documenting our black and white rhino populations within the reserve where information is collected and made available to the reserve managers.

Determine rhino territory and home range activity using territorial midden sites and GPS technology in an effort to understand seasonal movements. This assists with improved protection procedures and the development of management plans for the future success of the reserves priority population.

Monitoring rhino behaviour and interactions to achieve an understanding of the population structure.

Learn to track using GPS technology to mark the location of these priority animals daily, to create movement and range maps.Learn to recognise priority species individuals, their tracks, signs, and assess their condition.

Assist and learn about anti-poaching protection procedures.Learn about management planning and population structures through information collected.

You will assist and be part of the reserves routine and any science/monitoring programs that BRCC is involved with. The Mutogomeli project is not on an ecotourism reserve so students will be given a completely personal and unique African experience while having the opportunity to live remotely at our bush camp.

Note – Our guests need to be mindful that they are in the bush, all our work is seasonal, weather dependant and while we have our routine, project life can change regularly in accordance with the reserves own routine. So be prepared, you will have a real adventure!

Who will be our field guide?

Níall Beddy is a conservation officer with over eight years experience in the bush. Not only is he an expert in animal behavior and an avid wildlife photographer, he also happens to be a long time karma yoga practitioner – for him it’s the only yoga worth doing. Follow him on instagram @naturebeddy to see what he’s up to today.   

What does yoga have to do with conservation anyway?

Karma yoga is alive and well in the world of conservation, although most conservationists may not even realize that this is the case.  Tracking, monitoring and learning how to protect white and black rhinos will be part of your daily routine, as much as the other practices of yoga.  You will see the white rhinos every day – and if you’re lucky you may see the black.  Guaranteed the rhinos will not thank you for your efforts, although I promise you will never forget the feeling of their presence and never want more than their continued existence.
You will also play an important role in managing camp life, while learning about the wonders of the African Bush.

I don’t know anything about conservation, can I still join?

Yes. However it is important to come with an open mind, as conservation is more than just keeping an eye on our wild African friends. The BRCC is located on a an active game reserve, which means you will see conservation from all perspectives. Remember that a mind is like a parachute, it works best when open.

LOCATION & ACCOMMODATION

Baobab Rhino Conservation Centre

The Baobab Rhino Conservation Centre (BRCC) has been established to assist in the monitoring and protection of privately owned wildlife in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The Baobab Rhino Monitoring Program has prioritised its focus to provide a much needed presence around threaten species on private reserves such as rhino, elephant and leopard in an area where organised poaching is continually a high risk. We run a conservation initiative using the assistance of guest students to improve the knowledge of the reserve, increase the understanding and protection of its flora and fauna while educating students about the real life challenges facing wildlife conservation today.

Additionally BRCC is examining wildlife in a research capacity outlining different populations of indigenous unmanaged species, defining the population numbers of these unknown animals, contributing to the regions knowledge of its indigenous wildlife. Project students will gain from an experience that not only offers you the opportunity to view the beauty of African nature and a unique environment, we also educate students on the processes needed to manage privately owned reserves, preserving diversity of species and genetic quality whereas, still maintaining the animals natural habitat. Students will not only leave with an African working wildlife experience, you will go away with a greater knowledge of how a country like South Africa strives to maintain their natural heritage through a well managed and regulated Wildlife Industry.

We are dedicated to teaching people about practical conservation giving people the tools to understand South Africa model of conservation. You will certainly leave with a clear cut understanding of how people and wildlife coexist in a populated country like SA.

Where is Baobab Rhino Conservation Centre located?

Situated in the beautiful northern foothills of the Soutpansberg Mountains in the Limpopo Province, the Baobab Rhino Conservation Centre is based in one of the truly wildest and remotest parts of South Africa. Combined with the extreme seasonal changes and the striking sandstone landscapes of this area of the savannah biome, the reserve creates a diverse platform from which to demonstrate and educate aspiring conservationists on wildlife monitoring and management. Therefore, students will gain a broad understanding on how to conserve wildlife in healthy managed numbers through a wide variety of game ranching and conservation techniques.

What is the accommodation like?

Picture a little bush village where you will live wild in our fully equipped Baobab Conservation Centre, including hot water, electricity, and wifi. The Baobab Conservation Centre is an open plan thatched camp where you will share communal huts (dorm rooms with up to 4 people, each with it’s own ensuite bathroom), large kitchen and open air lounge.  Our Lapa, fire pit and braai (BBQ) area brings a family feel to our evenings allowing us to stay warm and safe while listening to the sounds of the bush and view the mesmerizing African night sky.

Will be be visiting any local towns?

Trips to local towns happen once a week, however, the main function of these trips serve to restock the Centre and to carry out essential routine maintenance. It is not crucial that students leave the project while staying with us but we ensure that you will get everything that you need. At present we will be using Musina for town trips approximately 30km from the the conservancy

RHINOS, ELEPHANTS & LEOPARDS - OH MY!

Why rhinos?

There are 5 species of rhino left in the world, 2 of which are endemic to Africa. 70-80% of the global rhino population now reside within Southern Africa. This number continues to come under increasing pressure, placing rhino protection at the forefront of African Wildlife Conservation. As the national parks take the brunt of the rhino poaching and the media attention, it is important to be aware populations on private reserves (25% of the overall population) face complete elimination from areas that historically have always supported these animals. This is where support and awareness is now needed.

What types of animals are on the reserve?

Alongside the native species of antelope other non native species occur as well as some of Africa’s largest endangered herbivores, like rhino and elephant. Red listed predators like leopard naturally reside on the property and a healthy population of hyena both spotted and brown roam freely. Some of South Africa’s other endangered predators like wild dogs, lions and cheetah move through the property and are spotted yearly, also there are a wide variety of small mammals that occur naturally here.

Our conservation initiative has been designed to track and monitor priority specie groups, like Black/White Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard. We collect field data on these priority species groups while teaching our guests how to be wildlife monitors. You will gain invaluable experience in the field of wildlife conservation. You will also, have the opportunity to contribute to the preservation and understanding of South Africa’s largest herbivores at a critical time, as these species are under constant threat from organised poaching.

Elephants – Monitoring and Tracking

You will have the chance to track and monitor the local elephant population in an effort to habituate the herd to reserve vehicles for improved data collection, creation of identification kits and viewing. It is of particular importance to understand the population structure, their movements and understand how they are impacting the reserve to assist with management decisions.

- Track elephant populations in the reserve and record GPS locations
- Map out population structure for optimum management of the herds.
- Record elephant behavioural data, movement and feeding patterns to create seasonal range maps.
- All data recorded will be - made available to the scientific community for scientific studies.

Large Predator Observation

You will learn to use and fit camera traps out in the field, to record data to map out unmanaged large predator species on the reserve. You will recover information, either while on bush walks or in the course of our tracking and monitoring routine.

All data will be made available to the scientific community for better understanding of these species and for scientific studies.

WHAT TO BRING?

We have two seasons, The Wet Season and The Dry Season. The intermediate change from one to the other is brief effectively giving us a summer and a winter, something which students should consider when embarking on any African wildlife Experience.
While a lot of items in your kit list will overlap in each season. We have put together a Summer pack list and Winter extras pack list. Don’t underestimate the African climate it is a wonder to behold and a combination of extremes.

Summer Pack list – Oct To April

Here is a list of what you need to bring with you:

- When in the bush, bush clothing is essential (dull colours, e.g. olive green/grey/brown/khaki/beige – NOT white or bright colours. White is a very unsuitable colour in the wild and you become extremely obvious.  It is often times these colours that are used as an advertisement in nature.
*In your free time and during yoga, you are free to wear what you wish.
- Hat/peak cap (dull colour).
- Lightweight waterproof jacket or poncho (again dull colours).
- Long-sleeved tops and long trousers – your skin is not used to the African bush and can get irritated easily. It also helps with biting insects because let’s face it, they are part of the African bush.
- Comfortable walking/hiking shoes – waterproof if possible.  Closed toed shoes are mandatory when out in the field but will only be required when out in the field.
- Light Outdoor Jacket or Hoodie as it will get cool in the evenings.
- Sports bra, ladies!!
- Swimwear. Yes, we are lucky enough to have a small swimming pool.
- A water bottle to take with you during the day is a smart choice – 2ltr. Water is essential part of your day, remember you are dealing with the African sun and all year round it can cause dehydration.
- A small kit bag or rucksack to take with you each day on the vehicle to hold your essentials while out in the bush.
- A good quality camera is ideal (NOT Essential) for taking quality wildlife pictures and also helping assists us with pictorial data, however, it is not an essential and some experiences are better enjoyed the old fashioned way. Don’t forget to pack a large memory card!
- Binoculars, this is also not essential but if you are someone who really likes to observe, binoculars will help you get you up close and personal.
- Flashlight/headlamp is essential.
- Plug adaptors/converters for South Africa. Our plugs here have 3 rounded prongs, 220-230V 50Hz.
- There are no mosquito nets provided at the project. If you have space, you are welcome to bring one with you.
- Light bed linens are provided in the accommodation, however you are welcome to bring a sleeping bag.
- If you have an unlocked mobile phone, we recommend you go to the Vodacom store and pick up a Vodacom SIM (AT AIRPORT). Believe it or not we have good signal.
- Sunscreen lotion (factor 30 or higher) and a lip balm with SPF – Even for winter!
- Sunglasses with UVA protection.
- Mosquito repellent.
- Lotion to soothe mosquito and insect bites (e.g. Anthisan or any mepyramine cream).
- A basic personal supply of first aid items (such as painkillers, eye drops, plasters for blisters, cold capsules, allergy meds, diarrhoea tablets, etc and anything else that you may need.)
- Your personal toiletries (shampoo/shower gel/toothpaste etc), and any chronic / long-term medications you may require (enough to last you while you are with us). If you wear contact lenses or glasses, it is smart to bring spare/back-up options.

Winter Extras – May to September

- T shirts/tops, long sleeved shirts,  jumper/jersey/hoodie, Windbreaker or light thermal jacket.
- Leggings (for under trousers), Trousers (hiking) Scarf, hat, gloves and buff Socks (skiing/hiking)
- Sunglasses, sun cream and lip balm
- Walking boots/ hiking shoes
- Hot water bottle *Sleeping Bags are also very essential in winter time.