Trip report: South Africa Photo Journey (September 2015) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Scott Watson. This was a set-departure tour.

With an incredible combination of stunning landscapes, beautiful birds, and world famous wildlife, South Africa is simply an incredible destination for photography. This tour aims to get you onto as many unique and interesting photographic opportunities as possible, while getting a true feel for this amazingly diverse country. Of course we visit the world-famous Kruger National Park and its huge bird and mammal diversity, but the most scenically beautiful and endemic-rich regions of the country are the other-worldly Fynbos of the Cape region, the floristically gobsmacking succulent Karoo and Namaqualand, along with rich and rugged coastlines. On this tour we both maximize the number of photographic experiences, yet still spend the time needed to get amazing shots of the most unique photo subjects.

South Africa does not have the extensive feeder and blind set-ups like one would see in other photographic destinations, rather here we use our field skills and knowledge to visit the right locations at the right time to get shots of our target species. That being said, on this tour we visited an African Penguin colony, a Cape Gannet colony, Kruger waterhole blinds, and scenic scenarios where we can set up for photography, compared to many other times where we track our photo subjects to get the truly “wild” shot.

Although this is a relatively short tour, we did very well with 301 species of birds photographed by at least one member of the group, out of 322 species seen or heard. And of these, 161 species were photographed well (see trip list below for details). We also came away with 25 species of mammals photographed well out of the 41 species we saw. Although, this is still only scratching the surface. Add to this the incredible shots of wildflowers, insects, reptiles, and stunning scenery, and this really is a photographers paradise.

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format (10MB file)