Zambia Photo Safari in Lower Zambezi National Park and Luangwa River Valley
Zambia offers all the incredible wildlife that you'd expect from places like Botswana, Kenya, and Tanzania. It's safe, well equipped with a modern international airport and luxury accommodations. There are wild dogs, leopard, lion, elephants, and over 400 species of birds, not to mention the crocodiles, hippos, and nocturnal animals. The Lower Zambezi National Park is over 1500 square miles and lies on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. This safari is handcrafted to capture some of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa in the Lower Zambezi National Park and Luangwa River Valley.
We'll be staying in camps on the shore of the Zambezi river, just across from the well known Mana Pools region. Both of our camps give us the option to photograph all the wildlife along the river banks, including hippo, crocodile, and elephants from the water level.
South Luangwa National Park is known for its savannah woodlands, filled with elephant herds, puku antelope, and home to the very rare Thornicroft's giraffes. Typically, lions, leopards, and wild dogs hunt in this same area.
We'll be visiting the region in early spring with cool nights and warm afternoons. All the camps offer night drives, allowing for exciting photography of many of the nocturnal wildlife. The guides use red lights to keep the impact to a minimum while we capture unique and dramatic black and white scenes of the wildlife.
All three of our camps are among the very best and most luxurious in Zambia, offering exceptional accommodations, food, service, and world-class guiding.
Come experience this small group wildlife photography safari in one of Africas most unusual locations, Zambia. The camps are all small and very well appointed. Marc has worked with the camps to offer privately scheduled meals, allowing us to take full advantage of our time, especially for the night game drives. Our three camps are located within the concentrated wildlife, so the photography begins only moments after the game drive starts.
July 16–26, 2021
Itinerary and General Information
About the Wildlife: This workshop offers significant opportunities for photographing wildlife, and while we do our best to maximize our wildlife encounters—based on past experiences, local knowledge, and the current conditions—we need to impress upon you that the wildlife really is wild and that we don’t control it.
July 16, 2021: Fly into Johannesburg South Africa, to be met at the airport by one of our representatives for transfer to your hotel just 15 minutes away. Everyone will meet for a group orientation dinner, time TBD.
July 17–19, 2021: We’ll begin our journey by flying up to Zambia and clearing customs in Lusaka. Then we’ll all make a quick connection to a smaller plane to our first camp, Tena Tena, in South Luangwa Valley. We’ll arrive into camp in the afternoon on this day, giving us time to unpack, have a hot meal in the camp then head out on our first night game drive. Marc will be instructing you on all the best settings to capture the excitement in the dark.
The South Luangwa National Park marks the end of the Great Rift Valley, one of the last remaining unspoiled wilderness areas and possibly the finest wildlife sanctuary in Africa. It is through this 9,050 square kilometer National Park that the meandering Luangwa River runs, with its oxbow lagoons, tributaries, riverine supported woodlands, and vast plains, all of which play host to huge concentrations of game including elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, giraffe, hippo and over 450 species of birds. Situated in the exclusive Nsefu Sector, Tena Tena sits nestled under a magnificent and thick grove of mahogany trees. On a double tiered river bank, each room enjoys its own private view of the river. Enjoy outdoor bathrooms and well-appointed safari tents. The tents are well-spaced on either side of the camp's communal structure, and each boasts a private veranda with a couple of comfy chairs, a table, and lovely vistas across the river! Entering your tent through a zippered canvas door, you'll find a double bed or twin beds, bedside lighting, a comfortable chair, and storage furniture. Every tent feels spacious, due in no small part to light concrete flooring and cream-colored canvas. En-suite facilities are accessed through another zippered door to the side of the bedroom space. Occupying a walled space under netting, they comprise a flush toilet with a view, twin washbasins, and open-air shower. A few toiletries are provided for you.
Each morning will start early with a light breakfast, coffee, or tea. We'll load into our safari vehicles, one photographer per row, and head out for several hours of photography. We'll return to camp in time for lunch in the shade overlooking the river. You'll have time to download images, shower, or just relax until we meet again at 3:30 PM for our afternoon and evening game drive. We'll plan on staying out after sunset to capture nocturnal wildlife, such as lions, leopards, spotted hyena, porcupine, and the occasional honey badger.
On our last morning, we'll have one final game drive before packing up and heading to the Mfuwe airport and flying to our next camp along the Zambezi River.
July 20–22, 2021: After an early morning game drive and breakfast, we’ll take a short trip to the little Mfuwe airport, for a scenic bush-plane flight over the mountains above the Rift Valley and into the Zambezi River basin. Upon landing, we’ll be greeted by our new guides who will take us to our second camp, Old Mandoro. This camp is located right on the river and is generally surrounded by large herds of elephant, Cape buffalo, impala and baboons. You’ll never be so close to the wildlife in a camp than here.
We’ll make our home here for the next three nights, so everyone can unpack and relax before a gourmet dinner and possible night game drive. Again we’ll be making most of our game drives, capturing the warm early light as it streams into the forest and highlights the wildlife in the morning. We’ll stay out for hours to look for the many species of birds that frequent the lagoons. We may have a “bush” breakfast that allows for a beautiful view along with our meal. The days will be the same as in the other camps, each day will consist of morning game drives with a bush breakfast, lunch, and downtime back at camp. Then we’re off again by 3:30 PM for our afternoon game drive or a boat ride on the river until dusk, when we begin a night drive. Following the night drive, we’ll return for an enjoyable gourmet dinner in camp, then a drink by the fireside and/or sleep.
July 23–25, 2021: After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll pack up and board our small motorboat for an hour ride up the Zambezi River to our final camp. We’ll be greeted at Chiawa Camp just before lunch, where we’ll have time to unpack and relax. The communal area is a fantastic wooden two-tiered structure that affords excellent views over the river. All of the rooms at Chiawa are luxurious suites, complete with roll-top baths, four-poster beds, and comfy sofas. Everything is of the highest standard here, from the quality of guiding, to the conservation ethos, the fine dining, and the cotton bedsheets.
We’ll plan our days similar to the other camps, and have early morning, afternoon, and night game drives. Each drive will be in regions very close to the camps since all the wildlife is minutes away. We have planned a night shoot here at Chiawa, to capture the sizeable ancient Baobab Trees against the Milky Way. This will be coordinated along with the nightly game drives based on weather conditions to maximize our photographic options.
All our drivers and guides are experienced professionals that Marc has worked with in the past. They are trained in placing you and the vehicle in the best possible position to obtain great wildlife photographs. Marc will be sharing his time between the two vehicles to instruct and teach photography skills and techniques.
July 26, 2021: On this final day, we’ll have our last game drive, enjoy a hearty breakfast before packing up and heading to the airstrip. We have a short 30 minute flight to Lusaka, where everyone can make their connections home.
What To Bring
Please see our What to Bring page now for guidelines on packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.
Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
All meals and drinks (soft drinks, beer, wine, local spirits)
All transportation (including private row in the vehicles)
Gratuities for local guides and camp staff
Photographic guiding and instruction from Marc Muench
Image reviews and post-processing instruction
Fun, inspiration, and a great time!
What’s Not Included?
Your deposit of $4,995 will hold your place in this safari workshop. Further payment of $7,000 is due on December 1, 2020. The balance will be due not later than April 1, 2021. All payments are non-refundable which is why you should have Trip Cancellation Insurance. All of our other normal Terms and Conditions apply.
This is a great way to experience photographing leopards, lions, elephants and much much more, even in the dark of night. Click the SIGN ME UP! button and we’ll see you in Zambia!