Trip Report: The Sabi Sabi and MalaMala Wildlife Photography Seminar

I know, many of you probably wonder about the difference between our Photo Safaris and this Wildlife Photography Seminar and/or workshop offerings.

Whilst all of our standard photo safaris emphasise teaching and provide extensive guidance on capturing and editing stunning wildlife images, the Sabi Sand Wildlife Photography Seminar elevates the learning experience to new heights.

This seminar, through its structured daily presentations and focused sessions, went deeper into advanced topics and creative techniques. These dedicated seminars offer a more comprehensive and structured educational approach, helping photographers not only refine their technical skills but also develop their artistic vision and storytelling abilities.

The seminar’s personalized attention and intensive curriculum are designed to push participants beyond their current capabilities, ensuring significant growth in their photographic journey - something that both Gerry and I absolutely love doing.

It was great to be back in the field alongside Gerry to host this trip and I think it's safe to say that the success of this most recent seminar has definitely got us thinking about running another one of these together in the not-too-distant future.

For now, though, here's a brief rundown of the 1o nights that we enjoyed sharing with a very special group of guests from around the world.

The Locations

The Sabi Sabi Game Reserve and MalaMala Game Reserve offer exceptional game viewing and reduced vehicle pressure in sightings due to their extensive size and unique features. Sabi Sabi spans around 6 000 hectares, providing diverse habitats that support a wide variety of wildlife. MalaMala, covering 13,300 hectares, is renowned for its access to the Sand River, a crucial water source that attracts numerous animals, especially during the dry season.

Both reserves allow night drives and off-roading, enhancing the wildlife viewing experience and providing the ideal opportunity for our guests to try their hand at photographing wildlife with the aid of a spotlight. Night drives offer the opportunity to see nocturnal species and observe different animal behaviours, while off-roading allows vehicles to get closer to the wildlife, providing unparalleled photographic opportunities. The combination of vast landscapes, prime water sources, and flexible safari practices ensures a rich and immersive game viewing experience in both reserves.

Sabi Sabi's Little Bush Lodge

The first five nights of the seminar were spent at Sabi Sabi's Little Bush Lodge, a secluded and luxurious camp nestled in the heart of the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve. This intimate lodge offers exclusive use to the seminar group, ensuring a private and immersive experience. The lodge features six suites, each with an en-suite bathroom, outdoor shower, and private deck overlooking the bushveld.

We took exclusive use of this little gem of a camp in order to provide our group with the ultimate flexibility and exclusivity.

MalaMala Main Camp

The seminar continued at the renowned MalaMala Main Camp, located in the MalaMala Game Reserve. This camp is known for its prime wildlife viewing opportunities and luxurious amenities. Accommodations include spacious air-conditioned suites with en-suite bathrooms, private decks, and spectacular views of the Sand River. The camp also offers a range of facilities, including a dining room, bar, library, and pool, providing a comfortable and relaxing environment for guests. With its rich history and exceptional service, MalaMala Main Camp offers a quintessential safari experience, perfectly complementing the seminar’s focus on advanced wildlife photography.

Sabi Sabi Little Bush Lodge
MalaMala Main Camp Suite

The Presentations

The daily seminar presentations that we delivered in between game drives are what really sets this Seminar or Workshop apart from our standard safaris. Whilst teaching is in our DNA and forms the basis for every safari that we run, having dedicated and structured presentations in between drives takes this learning and teaching to the next level.

The seminar presentation topics for the Sabi Sabi and MalaMala Wildlife Photography Seminar were meticulously formulated to stretch the guests' creative vision and elevate their wildlife photography skills. Designed by myself and Gerry, these topics go beyond technical proficiency, focusing on artistic expression and advanced editing techniques. Each day's presentation aimed to inspire participants to think differently about their approach to wildlife photography, whether through innovative use of light, mastering complex editing skills, or developing compelling visual narratives. This fairly comprehensive curriculum intended to help photographers refine their craft and achieve new levels of creativity and storytelling in their work.

The presentation titles were as follows:

  • Photographing wildlife with a spotlight & editing spotlight images
  • A balanced approach to composition and visual storytelling
  • Creative use of aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation
  • Composition from wildlife to landscapes and back
  • Eye Mapping for powerful storytelling
  • Advanced masking in Lightroom
  • Deep, dark, and dramatic photography techniques
  • Essential Photoshop tools for nature photography

Gerry and I caught up and recorded a brief podcast of what we felt were the 5 Key Messages that were conveyed throughout these presentations, give it a listen below.

Guest Feedback

The trip was very intense (in a positive way) and it made me think a lot, so in that sense I was very busy during the entire two weeks just with my own thoughts and trying to process everything I heard and experienced. And this is exactly what I had hoped for. I really feel that I look at images differently now, and also approach a situation in a different way. Hopefully I can practice that even more during the upcoming trip to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

From a learning perspective, this was definitely my best trip ever! Gerry and Andrew put together presentations that led us through a journey aimed at improving and using all the tools we have and applying them to what we see in the field. I have come away with new skills and a new energy and approach to my photography. Thanks for an amazing safari!

wildlife photography seminar
wildlife photography seminar
wildlife photography seminar
wildlife photography seminar

The Next Wildlife Photography Seminar

If you'd like to be the first to know about our next seminar or workshop opportunity r have any bright ideas on destinations that lend themselves to this sort of structured learning, we would love to hear about it! Pop us email and lets hear what you have in mind.

Predators of Sabi Sabi and MalaMala Safari

Join our team for a dedicated photo safari that combines 4 nights at Sabi Sabi with 4 nights at MalaMala for what is arguably some of the best predator viewing in southern Africa. Limited to just 4 guests and costed on a single basis, this is an exclusive safari focussed on the big cats of the region.

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