Experiences | Apr 2024


The summer months on Tswalu Kalahari Reserve are a photographic safari delight. It’s when the region is often referred to as the Green Kalahari as rainfall transforms the vast landscapes rolling away to the horizon below dramatic skies. Clouds soften the light, the days are longer and there is less dust. For high-drama wildlife photography, the dry, winter months yield incredible, often up-close sightings as the animals are drawn to water sources. With less vegetation, visibility increases too. Whatever the season, Tswalu is always a wonderful place to get creative with a camera.


Photographic guide, Trevor Kleyn

In-house photographic guide, Trevor Kleyn, provides expert advice and hands-on tuition. Image by Marcus Westberg


Given the size of Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, taking the shot of a lifetime requires patience and time whether photographing bold landscapes or the diverse wildlife. While we guarantee a private vehicle, guide and tracker with every booking, those who are serious about improving their wildlife photography skills are advised to book the undivided attention of the resident photographic guide and benefit from the use of a modified, fully equipped photographic safari vehicle. Our resident guide combines a deep understanding of animal behaviour with advanced photography skills. Regardless of their level of skill, every photographer will benefit. Those new to wildlife photography will benefit from some guidance on the basics, while experienced photographers will benefit from spending one-on-one time with a guide who is not only experienced in photographing animals but knows the reserve intimately.


Photographic guide and specialised photographic safari vehicle

Tswalu’s modified safari vehicle is fully equipped to make photography easy and comfortable. Image by Marcus Westberg


Photographic vehicle specifications

Like all Tswalu’s safari vehicles, the modified vehicle is a Land Rover. It’s geared to meet the needs of a solo photographer, but has plenty of space for a second guest. A rotating swivel seat allows for an uninterrupted, 270-degree arc and can be locked into position. The seat is fitted with a stabilising arm and platform for taking sharp, steady images, even with a long lense. There are also brackets, slings and bean bags to assist with stability and sharpness. Hatches cut into the sides of the Land Rover afford the photographer the opportunity to lie flat on a firm mattress to photograph animals at eye level.


Photographic lenses to hire

There is no need to rush out and buy a zoom lens before your trip. The photographic studio has 150 – 600mm ‘Sigma Contemporary’ zoom lenses to hire that are compatible with Nikon or Canon mounts. On advance request, a choice of lenses can be arranged.


Perfecting the art of wildlife photography

Those new to wildlife photography can learn the basics of photography, such as exposure, composition, selecting a suitable shutter speed, and depth of field, and then put their new skills to work shooting in different conditions. There is no limit to the length of drives on Tswalu, so guests can stay out for as long as they want. Experienced photographers will appreciate the opportunity to spend as long as it takes to get a great shot. There is no queuing for sightings at Tswalu, so a patient photographer can wait for either the best light or to catch the animal behaviour they are after.


Cheetah sighting on photographic safari

Experienced photographers will appreciate the opportunity to spend as long as it takes to get a great shot. Image by Don Heyneke


The Motse’s photographic studio

Guests can learn to edit, tweak and print their best images in The Motse’s Photographic Studio. Editing is done in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, and printing is available up to A1 size on either paper or canvas.


Borrow our binos

For those who don’t travel with binoculars, all our safari vehicles have a pair of Zeiss Terra ED 10X42 binos on board for the use of guests. A range of the finest Zeiss binos are also available to purchase from the studio at the Motse.


How to book a photographic safari

Booking a personal photographic safari with the resident guide is subject to availability and must be confirmed when making an accommodation reservation to avoid disappointment. The daily rate of ZAR 9,500 includes the undivided attention of the guide assisted by a dedicated, experienced tracker, and the use of the photographic safari vehicle. Read more.


Rhino in the buses

There is no queuing for sightings at Tswalu. Guests have all the time in the world to wait for the best light or animal behaviour. Image by Trevor Kleyn