Join wildlife photographer Carole Deschuymere for a 14-day photographic tour of Zimbabwe’s magnificent Zambezi Valley.
Camp in our luxury mobile safari set up with large twin bed tents with En-suite facilities. Be amazed at the African night sky with no light pollution you feel truly secluded looking up at the trillions of stars, which line the sky. Enjoy our talented chiefs 3 course meals daily. All meals are from a custom menu meaning we can cater for all dietary requirements. Camps are open to nature and have no boundaries so be prepared to share your space with a host of wildlife, which call the riverbanks home.
Be surprised during this photography trip to Zimbabwe by all the wildlife, attracted by a unique ecosystem of numerous habitats. From different types of forests, to waterholes and open savannas. During the dry season, Mana Pools is one of the richest natural areas of Zimbabwe. Besides the Big Five, there will be many other wild animals such as wild dogs and hyenas if you’re lucky even cheetahs. Not to mention all the colourful birds! Lake Kariba will give you a unique perspective to photograph animals from the boat and of course the Victoria waterfalls are an absolute must!
Mana Pools: a magical place
Mana Pools National Park bathes in a special atmosphere. You can often hear grunting and hissing of Hippopotami in the water. From the camp, you look out on the grasslands where you can admire the Cape buffalos and families of Warthogs. African elephants walk by quietly and you can enjoy the chirping of Cicadas and the scream of the African fish eagle.
Guided walk in a World Heritage Site
Only in Mana Pools National Park can you experience African nature in its full glory. The park has been declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations! Walking safaris allow you to get so much closer to the animals and you will come back home with the best photo results. You smell the elephants, you hear the purr of leopards. The park also has an immense diversity of flora. From large mahogany trees to the magical atmosphere of the forest with Acacia Albida where light seeps through. The wood has a special blue hue which we try to capture with preferably an elephant in the foreground.
Unprecedented photographic opportunities
The fact that you can get out of the car, makes Mana Pools so special for photographers! You step closer towards the animals, you can take lower positions by lying on your stomach or you can follow tracks leading to hunting wild dogs. As a photographer, this is the closest you will ever get to African nature ... Register now for this unique experience!
The construction of a dam on the Zambezi river in the 1950s near the Kariba village did not only create the largest artificial lake, it is also the most inhospitable. With a length of more than 280 km and a width of approximately 30 km, this humongous body of water harbours countless unique safari experiences along banks full of wild animals. We will be visiting Matusadona National Park from the water. The many dead trees along the banks make the landscape incredibly photogenic, certainly if there happen to be some elephants passing by
The Victoria Waterfalls are the widest waterfalls in Africa. They create a wall of water of 1,708 m wide and 100 m high, with a maximum fall of 128 m. Per minute, 500 million litres of water fall over the rocks. The local name is Mosi-oa-Tunya: thundering smoke. We will be photographing this majestic waterfall and also going on a boat trip on the Zambezi.
Experienced travel guide
This photo trip is guided by nature and wildlife photographer Carole Deschuymere. Carole knows Mana Pools like no other and will take you to the best spots at the right time and in the best light. Our small group will also be accompanied by a top local guide. The local guides in Zimbabwe are among the best in Africa!
We stay in large "canvas tents” in a private camp, located along the Zambezi. The single option is included as standard here. The supplement is for the single option in the hotels. Each tent has an en suite bush toilet. The showers are separate. We will have very tasty meals served at a long table in the bush. Do not be scared when an elephant comes along to take a look ...
During our stay on the Kariba lake we sleep on a houseboat and at Victoria Falls we stay in the Ilala lodge, where we can reminisce on the day’s events of the safari.
The international flight is not included in the price, but we can recommend which flight to book that best meets up with the trip, and if you like, we can book it for you. Transport from and to Mana Pools will be done in a van. In the Mana Pools park we use a safari jeep, which is spacious but which we will have to leave at regular intervals to go and take photographs on foot. The domestic flight from Kariba to Victoria Falls and the flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg are included.
Climate, clothing and equipment
This time of year can be very hot. Appropriate clothing is recommended. Sturdy walking shoes are a must, because we will walk a lot in the park. A light pair of trousers is essential because we often sit on the floor or lie down, which is not always so comfortable. Light shirts or tops, and a light sweater for the evenings, or at least a shirt with long sleeves! Be sure to bring your DSLR camera, wide angle and telephoto zoom lens, tripod or monopod with you. A beanbag is always useful when taking pictures at ground level. More information will follow one month before departure.
We arrive in Harare on 2 October, and we will stay in the comfortable Armadale Lodge. The next morning we will leave early for Mana Pools. The drive through Zimbabwe will be quite the adventure. We will arrive at the camp just in time for our first lunch in the bush!
We will be sleeping in a comfortable tent camp along the Zambezi river for the next 7 nights. We will get up early every morning and after some coffee and a biscuit we will head out to try and find something to photograph in the beautiful morning light. And this is when the fun begins! We get out of the car, and head into the landscape on foot to capture the best images. This way we can choose our own point of view, according to the light. Our guide will safely take us to get closer to the animals. We will return to the camp for brunch at about 10 – 11 am . Afterwards there will be time to discuss our photographs and to rest. At about 4 pm we will head out again in search of new adventures. After sundown we will drink a sundowner around the camp fire while the cook prepares our evening meal.
On 10 October we will drive to Lake Kariba, where we will be taken to our houseboat by motorboat. We have exclusive use of the houseboat for this trip. The rooms have air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. This is where we will sleep for the next 3 nights, while we explore Lake Kariba. We will travel by motorboat along the banks and into the canals of Matusadona National Park, where we can photograph the wildlife! The dead trees which are in the water near the banks provide the backdrop for some splendid pictures. The view from the water is completely different. Sometimes we can get really close to some animals as they react completely differently if they see you on a boat. From time to time we will also disembark for a walking safari. This will give us completely different images from what we did in Mana Pools.
On the morning of 13 October we will be dropped off at Kariba, where we will catch the flight to Victoria Falls.
We will stay there for two nights in the Llala Lodge, close to the Falls. We can take some time here to recover and to explore the village. There are different activities which you can book: a helicopter flight over the falls, bungee jumping, wild water rafting etc. This is optional of course. In the afternoon we will go to the falls for the first time. We will be accompanied by a local guide who will show us the best locations in order to photograph the falls. It is advisable to bring some protective gear for your camera as the spray creates a fine mist. On the other hand, that same mist could be the cause of some fantastic rainbows, depending on the light.
The next day we will return to the falls to capture it in the morning light. We will have our lunch in the famous Lookout Café and after some relaxation time we will go to Siduli Hide in the late afternoon. With a bit of luck we will be able to take some magnificent pictures of elephants taking a mud bath.
The morning of 15 October you are free to do what you want. Those who want to can go back to the falls, or just spend an hour or two sunbathing near the pool. At about noon we will be taking the flight to Johannesburg, from where we will be flying home.