This South Africa Photography Trip post may be one of the most exciting personal blogs we have ever shared with your Hayes & Fisk Family. This was truly a magical experience and a bucket list trip.
We embarked on this journey, along with 22 other professional photographers and great friends, in hopes of expanding our photography skills. Neither of us had ever visited South Africa, so we jumped at the chance to do this with other like-minded colleagues and friends.
In this post, we will share some details of our adventure, as well as some of the amazing images that we were able to capture. One thing that makes these images so special is that they could only be taken in Africa. It was truly magical.
We landed in Johannesburg after our direct 16-hour flight from Atlanta, where we stayed overnight. The following day, we went to Lesedi Cultural Village.
This village is one of the best tourist attractions in South Africa, allowing visitors to really explore the glorious diversity of the people of this land. Set amid rocky hills and bushveld less than one hour’s drive from Johannesburg, and on the way to Sun City, Lesedi Cultural Village offers visitors a chance to encounter people of Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Ndebele and Basotho origin.
Our Reserve and Camp
After our visit to Lesedi, we left for the Safari Camp, where we stayed for a full 7 days. We will not mention the name of our reserve and camp because there are endangered animals there. Animals like, Rhinos, African Wild Dogs and Elephants, are sought after by poachers. While we were there, poachers actually broke through the electric fence one night and kill two Rhinos, for their horns. This is so devastating to their dwindling population. The forest rangers explained that unfortunately, this happens too often and the locals that they get to kill these amazing animals are given what is equivalent to $300 or $400 U.S. dollars. However, the people that bankroll it get up to $300,000 to $500,000 for the horns. It was very sad.
While we will not mention the name we can say that it was a beautiful and expansive reserve with over 175,00 acres of protected reserve. The River Camp is set within the canopy of the riverine forest on the banks of the Marico River, in the Eastern portion of the beautiful Game Reserve. This treetop lodge has been built to blend in with the nature that surrounds it and allows guests to truly unwind and enjoy their peaceful surroundings. The main lodge consists of an open plan lounge, dining and reception area with a pool and bar area close by. Enjoy the panoramic views from the traditional Lapa that is set in the forest glade.
The River Camp is a wholly-owned, community-based tented safari camp. It is an ecotourism partnership between the Molathedi Community, aha Hotels and Lodges and the North-West Parks Board. The concept is unique in South Africa with substantial benefits accruing to the community itself.
One day we visited a local village school that has grades 1 – 8. The school building is actually very new. Many of the past groups that have toured, with the tour leaders, have made donations to help build the school. Many of us gave monetary donations and brought them, socks, pencils, hard candy, and other treats. There were 185 total students.
During our day, we would get up every morning and go to the lodge for coffee and a light breakfast. Then be on our jeeps, with our certified guides, by 5:30 am. We would ride all over the reserve and stop around 10:30 am for a coffee and tea break. They would fold down the grill of the jeep and serve french press coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, and muffins. It was such a unique experience. We would head back to the lodge around 1:00 pm for a late brunch/lunch and then rest, download cards, charge batteries. At 3:00 pm we had after high tea and then we were back in the jeeps until sundown. They have sundowners in the evening which is a time we would all gather somewhere together and have a snack and cocktail. We would head back to the lodge for dinner and then usually in bed by 9:00 pm. It was amazing and everyone was so incredibly knowledgeable and hospitable.
It is truly hard to put into words what a unique and amazing experience this was. We hope the images below help give you a glimpse into our special time in Africa. We are seriously considering hosting a trip next year and if any clients are interested please let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Africa Photography Trip
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