MASHATU PHOTO SAFARIS.

Presented by
Heinrich van den Berg

Mashatu Safari 1

1 - 5 June 2024
(4 Nights)

  • Accommodation in a Luxury Lodge – 4 nights Mashatu Lodge
  • 8 Game Drives
  • Vehicle with a Maximum of Five Photographers
  • Photography Advice
  • Post-production Advice
  • All Meals and drinks
  • Some of the best Predator Sightings in Botswana
  • One underground hide session included

For the safari to happen, we need a minimum of five people in total.

I'm South African and Interested!
I'm not South African and Interested!

Mashatu Safari 2

9 - 15 July 2024
(6 Nights)

  • Accommodation in a Luxury Lodge – 2 nights Tuli Safari Lodge, and 4 nights Mashatu Lodge
  • 12 Game Drives
  • Vehicle with a Maximum of Five Photographers
  • Photography Advice
  • Post-production Advice
  • All Meals and drinks
  • Some of the best Predator Sightings in Botswana
  • One underground hide session included

For the safari to happen, we need a minimum of five people in total.

About Mashatu.

  • Mashatu is one of the best places on earth to view and photograph wildlife.
  • Mashatu is fantastic all year round.
  • The clean backgrounds, dramatic inter-species interactions and dramatic scenery is what photographers' dreams are made of.
  • On a typical safari, we would have the opportunity to photograph at least 7 different leopards.

SPECIAL OFFER

Join us on a photo safari to one of the best photography destinations in Africa.

Learn from a pro. Take brilliant wildlife photos.

Previous participants’ feedback:

"Heinrich van den Berg provided invaluable mentorship and guidance in wildlife photography, fostering both technical skill and a deeper appreciation for the art form. Heinrich’s emphasis on the importance of positioning of the object relative to the light source helped me to understand how it can dramatically affect the composition, mood, and overall impact of photographs. Experimenting with different positions, with Heinrich guiding the ranger to position the safari vehicle at different angles to the animals, allowed us to find the most effective way to capture the desired lightning and highlight the subject’s features. Not only the subject but also the backdrop play an important role in the success of a photograph.

To master wildlife photography is challenging but under Heinrich’s expert guidance, his technical knowledge of hardware and software, with his endless patience, we experienced real growth. We all came from the trip excited and motivated to pursue the learning curve Heinrich started with us. We had our ‘Aha’ moments with special photographs that are incredibly rewarding and serve as milestones in our journey as amateur photographers! Magical moments for sure!"

"Thanks for the most amazing 3 day safari. We joined as casual photographers but have been inspired by Heinrich and the other participants to pursue wildlife photography with renewed enthusiasm and vigour. It was an absolute privilege to spend time with a genius and master in the field of wildlife photographer.”

“It was a fabulous trip, one of our best ever so far, sightings, lodge and all the staff were excellent.”

“Heinrich knows the destination and personally knows the lodge managers, guides and he knows what his customers want - lots of good subjects. That makes for a successful photo tour.”

“A truly memorable experience…”

GREAT RATES.

The rates for these safaris are lower than most other similar safaris.

Notes from Heinrich van den Berg about the safaris

Thanks for your interest in the Mashatu photographic safari! Mashatu is one of the best places to photograph wildlife in Africa and is good all year round. The grass never gets very tall. In the summer, it’s green, creating beautiful backdrops for the images. If we're lucky, we'll get lions lying amongst yellow flowers...

I have led many, many photographic safaris to Mashatu over the years, taking avid wildlife photographers on safari and teaching them photography. I have also spent time there filming for a Natural History documentary on cats in the rain for Nat Geo Wild with Kim Wolhuter and Adrian Bailey. The documentary was called Storm Cats. https://www.natgeotv.com/za/shows/nationalgeographicwild/storm-cats. And I love the place.

The plan with the upcoming safaris is to offer you unrivalled photographic opportunities, placing you in the perfect spot to capture those award-winning images we all dream of. We'll do this with the help of the best guides in Mashatu – I hand-pick the guides we use and plan the safaris around the availability of these guides – a good guide/driver is critical to getting great images. 

We'll have only 6 guests on the game drive vehicle, meaning there will be more than enough space for your camera bags etc. During the game drives, I'll advise on how to set your camera, what to look out for and how to photograph. I'm not a traditional wildlife photographer, and I like to push the boundaries of creativity of wildlife photography. Yet, although I'm not traditional, I believe you first have to get the cliché images and then move on to the creative stuff. For example, when we arrive at a sighting, I would typically first photograph the 'photo club' image, i.e., front lighting, animal filling the frame, etc. But then, when we have gotten the cliché out of your system, it is essential to move on in your mind to the more creative stuff by perhaps moving around the subject to photograph with back-lighting or side-lighting, or using a wide-angle lens instead of a telephoto, to get the subject in its environment. Only then can we start with the magic… 

These days, wildlife photography is exceptionally competitive, and because the cameras and lenses are so user-friendly, a normal portrait of an animal is not enough to excite a viewer. You need to be daring and original. You need to blow the socks off your viewers with creativity.

Photography is not only about taking photographs but about how you present the photographs to the viewer. Ansel Adams wasn't only a good photographer. His primary skill was in the darkroom, where he created his masterpieces. Post-production is as essential as the act of pressing the shutter. When I started as a professional wildlife photographer in 1998, we still shot with film, and post-production wasn't part of the photography process. The photo lab developed the slides in chemicals and gave us the final image to use. Now, it is our job to develop the image. We have to use the chemicals of our minds to replicate what we saw when we took the photograph, because what we saw weren't the raw pixels captured by our camera. We must develop the pixels with our minds. We must develop a vision of what we experience to show it to the world. This is a beautiful thing because we don't see with our eyes only. Being involved in image processing allows us to convey what we felt when we took the image. As the National Geographic wildlife photographers always say, '"You don't take pictures. You make them."

Malcolm Gladwell said you need to spend 10,000 hours to become a master in anything. I'm one of the fortunate ones who has spent much more than that on what I love: wildlife photography and photo editing. I founded HPH Publishing (www.hphpublishing.co.za) and have done the image post-production of every single image ever published by HPH Publishing. We have published over 60 photographic coffee-table books, so I have spent more than 10 000 hours just on preparing images for our books! 

There are not many things I love more than working with wildlife images. To see a flat image transformed into a masterpiece is an incredible experience. I believe many award-winning photos are lost inside wildlife photographers' Lightroom libraries that will never see the light of day just because the photographer doesn't recognise their beauty when they are in their undeveloped form. It takes a good eye to see what images have potential. 

So, I'll guide you in developing your vision during the safari. I have discovered over the years that the best way to do that is to ask you every day to choose a few of the best images you took during the day's game drives, develop them as you would, and give them to me to critique. I would then show you how I would have worked on them and how I would have colour-corrected them. It will be much more valuable to you than if I just gave you boring lectures on photography and camera settings. 

I've photographed and published several black-and-white artistic wildlife photography books, including Shades of Nature, Reflection and Moods of Nature, which gave me ample experience in black-and-white wildlife photography post-production. It took me a long time to develop the skills of not only converting wildlife images to black and white, but to learn which images should be in black and white. Some images are born for black and white, and we'll learn to recognise which images would be good to be converted. I'll then take you through creating incredible black-and-white images. Black and white photography is a great passion of mine, so forgive me if I get too carried away!

So we'll learn about all of this during the safari. But the most essential part of a photographic safari is to have fun and enjoy being in these incredible wildlife places. To sit on the back of a game drive vehicle, driving through unspoilt wilderness, does something to the mind. I always have my best ideas on game drive vehicles...

The safari comprises 4 nights in Mashatu Lodge and two nights in Tuli Safari Lodge Mashatu. It is an expensive destination, and the lodges are pricey. The accommodation is brilliant, and the food and service are incredible. But the most significant advantage of these lodges is their location. Mashatu Lodge (the more expensive and luxurious of the two) is slap bang in the middle of one of Africa's best wildlife photography areas. Tuli Safari Lodge Mashatu is more intimate and private. So, the combination of the two works well.

People who haven't been to these lodges often wonder why others would pay seemingly extraordinary amounts of money to go there. But it all makes sense once you've visited these places and experienced the wildlife sightings. During a typical 6-day photographic safari, you'll get more high-quality opportunities to photograph animals in incredible environments, doing incredible things, than what you would experience by spending months in Kruger National Park. I love Kruger, but if you have to pay per award-winning image, Kruger will be ten times more expensive than Mashatu!

If you want to find out more about me, you can visit www.heinrichvandenberg.com. 

To find out more about Mashatu, visit www.mashatu.com

Join me on a photographic experience of a lifetime. Book now as space is limited.