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WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY & CONSERVATION

Quick Facts

from $3,295

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY & CONSERVATION

Guided and tutored by a professional photographer, gain practical experience in wildlife photography while contributing to the conservation of South Africa’s wildlife. Using your new skills, you will support NGO’s and help raise awareness of environmental and conservation issues in the Greater Kruger Area. 

The photography program is a 4-week placement (with optional extension) which begins with an intensive induction from our on-site professional photographer. Under guidance and in the impressive setting of the Greater Kruger Region in South Africa, photographers have the opportunity to enhance their photographic skills, encounter some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife and most importantly, contribute to on-going research, community and environmental initiatives. 


Project Highlights

Develop your existing skills for the next step in your career with one on one guidance and mentorship from a professional wildlife photographer
Improve and refine your camera skills and knowledge of photography with a focus on wildlife landscape, and night photography
Learn how to interact with nature responsibly and gain a deeper understanding of ethical wildlife photography and its role in conservation
Contribute to research by capturing photos that can be used for I.D. kits and monitoring the health of the animals and reserve
Embark on adventures through game reserves adjacent to the Kruger National Park as a part of your photographic experience
Learn how your new skills and photos can be used to make a difference through conservation support, marketing, and fundraising
Gain a competitive edge by getting practical experience in the field and encountering wild animals in their natural habitat
Immerse yourself in the African bush and famous experiences such as night drives and overnighting in an African Big 5 reserve

the destination

The Greater Kruger Area is a sprawling expanse of about 20 private game reserves to the west of the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Fences were dropped between the reserves in the Greater Kruger Area and the Kruger National Park in recent years to allow wildlife to roam more freely. The entire area now stretches across over 5.5 million acres of untamed African wilderness.

Situated away from the city lights, on the doorstep of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, you will be in the best position to photograph giant African elephants, elusive predators, beautiful birds, strange insects, and the great starry skies. The Greater Kruger Area is a dreamscape for wildlife photographers wanting to capture the immense wonder and beauty of the natural world.

During your volunteer placement, you will stay at our program-base in the Greater Kruger Area of South Africa, a wildlife hotspot situated just 90-minutes from the world-famous Kruger National Park. Surrounded by game reserves, the spacious thatched safari-style lodge boasts a swimming pool, viewing deck, Wifi, hot showers, and an outdoor area for star gazing and socialising.
2 cooked meals a day and a help-yourself breakfast
At the lodge there is free WiFi to enable you to make contact with home through WhatsApp, Zoom etc. It is also easy to purchase a sim and add data credit to allow you to use your own phone to stay in touch.
Bushriver Lodge is situated in the Lowveld - a semi–arid region. We are blessed with good weather all year round. Summer season (October to March) can be wet and hot. The hottest months are usually December, January and February. Winter Season (April to September) is dry and sunny. The coolest months being June and July when it does get cold at night and early mornings.

PROJECT IMPACT AREAS

PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOP

In the first week of this program, you will take part in an extensive workshop alongside our professional photographer. You will learn the basics, secrets, and highlights of photography, learn how to use your camera settings and what you need to focus on when taking pictures. You will get assignments to capture frames, colors, movement, portraits, and much more, all of which should teach you new techniques and make you a better photographer. Lastly, you will be taught how to edit your photographs in Adobe Lightroom – helping them stand out from the crowd.

PRACTICAL VOLUNTEERING

Your remaining time on this project will be spent contributing to our wider aims and objectives here in the Greater Kruger, continuing to develop and grow your photographic skills the entire time. We aim to give you a realistic idea of what it is to be a professional photographer which includes editing and learning how best to use your photographs. Through the different activities identified in the next couple of tabs, we’ll take pride in teaching you how to create National Geographic-level photographs, how to present them in context, and how to seek out opportunities for exposure. You will have assignments to complete and at the end of the four weeks, will be astonished by the end result.

PHOTOGRAPHERS IN ACTION

Working in conjunction with our research department, photographers will assist the research team in collecting animal identification information. By taking clear and concise photographs of the wildlife we encounter on game drives, the research team is able to identify the individuals and report back on their health, movements, and behavior. These photographs are key for reserve management as they feed into identification databases that are consulted when making conservation-led decisions

Use your camera to transport people into the world beneath their feet with Macro Photography. As a photography volunteer, you’ll develop your understanding and appreciation of the smaller aspects of the wildlife environment and learn how to best portray their immense beauty. You will soon be in awe of the amazing creatures we so often overlook, such as the dung beetle, the dragonflies, and many more.

It is very important as a wildlife photographer to work in an ethical manner when photographing animals in their natural environment. Therefore, we will teach you about animal behavior and help you become more conservation-minded in your approach to photography. Understanding how to be a photographer in this context ensures the best possible impact on wildlife conservation, as well as provides you with stunning imagery.

Overnight camping in the bush to practice your low-light photography.

Educational presentations.

Recent Reviews

Other Activities

Back at the lodge after a day’s excitement and hard work, you can relax at the pool, watch a movie, or enjoy a games night with other volunteers. Often, we have presentations by guides and other staff members giving you an extra opportunity to learn more about the African environment and its inhabitants, both animal and human. Dinner is served on the viewing deck, with a nice big fire, often followed by marshmallows! You can also have fun by getting involved in some fundraising events such as games and quiz nights.
In your time off (Saturdays and Sundays), you can go on exciting excursions to beautiful locations. You’ll be staying on the doorstep of the Blyde River Canyon and can visit the Kruger National Park, go on a microlight flight or white river rafting, jump into waterholes while extreme hiking, or why not visit another country whilst here and head to Eswatini for the weekend! No matter which you chose you will find lots of amazing photo opportunities!
Photography volunteers can enter a Cover-Shot competition, join a ‘Painting with Light’ and/or night sky photo practice, and feature in a photography showcase (to mention only a couple).

dates and rates

Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Manager will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.

Clear

project fee includes

  • Accommodation throughout your entire stay at our African Impact home in the African bush – a lodge surrounded by wilderness and shared by our volunteers, interns and staff
  • 2 deliciously cooked meals and help yourself breakfast
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by the African Impact team
  • Experienced international and local staff members who live and work alongside you every day
  • Guidance and support throughout from our on-site professional photographer

project fee excludes

  • Camera equipment and laptop
  • Flights to your chosen destination, but we can guide you on this
  • Medical or travel insurance
  • Visa-related costs
  • Weekend trips or tours, or any other non-project activity
  • Snacks, soft drinks, gifts or souvenirs
  • Laundry

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