Sunday, August 17, 2014

Purpose of Blog

For those of you who know me, you know that outside of my professional passions in plastic surgery, my personal passion that I care to share is wildlife photography.  I have been to the east African country of Tanzania twice before and the experience has been life changing.

A short time ago, I experienced a prolonged, and unrelenting longing, to return, likely for the last time to my beloved Africa.  This time, I want to go to a different country on "The Dark Continent", South Africa.  It seems that I have been afflicted with what I call "Africitis", and many who go find that they too, never get Africa out of their hearts.

I will be going to South Africa in October, 2015.  The safari will be for wildlife photography purposes only.  Like my other two safaris, it will take me over a year to make arrangements for the trip.  I learned a lot from the first two trips, and I want to share the experience with all who want to join with me vicariously on this journey.

For some who read this blog, it will be exciting, while others will question why anyone would want to go to such a scary, far away place.  Others may get motivated to take the first step to follow their own wanderlust dream- I hope so.

Throughout this journey, I will be doing a lot of studying about the place, the people, and importantly, the animals.  I will discuss the selection process of this particular safari, and in time, will discuss such things as airline selection, and best time to go on safari.  I am working on going on an expedition to photograph Great White Sharks, and if this pans out, I will report on this too.

Hopefully, when I get into the bush, I can post in real time.

I will be glad to answer your questions to the best of my ability, and I invite them too, as they may lead me to explore new avenues that I did not think of.

Thank you for reading!

Here is a video of an adventure that Alex and I had on my first safari.  Alex was the cameraman so forgive the initial camerawork.  He did get the hang of it.  Nobody knows what adventure awaits around the next turn in the road in Africa!


                              Angry Charging Elephants Vs. the Kasdens!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Finalized Itinerary, and Safari Updates.

All four off the ground!
Stampeding Zebra with all four off the floor!

The photo safari details have changed over time.  Sadly, I won't be going to Botswana, so that blog will be retired eventually, and I will incorporate that text into this blog.

I will happily be going to South Africa, and visiting parks in the vicinity of Kruger National Park.  I have one partner, whom I am mentoring in photography while honing my own skills.  We will have a vehicle, a driver, a tracker to find the animals, and of course, Greg du Toit, voted #1 Wildlife photographer of the year, 2013.  The personal instruction will along with the venue will be a once in a lifetime experience and dream come true for me.  Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), I hope to greatly improve as a photographer.

Finally, I am working to make a shark tank dive happen at the end of the trip just because....

Finalized Itinerary
OryX WorldWide Photographic Expeditions

South Africa
Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition 20th October to 2nd November 2015 (14 days / 11 nights)
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
ORYX – Worldwide Photographic Expeditions and Greg du Toit are proud to present a carefully crafted expedition to one of Africa’s ultimate wildlife photographic destination: South Africa.
Your safari commences in the Timbavati Game Reserve, which is in a game rich belt where we can expect excellent sightings and photographic opportunities. This region is also part of the greater Kruger National Park conservation area, which at over 20 000km2 is around the size of Israel!
Our final destination is MalaMala Game Reserve, which lies strategically sandwiched between the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The unfenced borders between MalaMala and the Kruger National Park on the one side, and the Sabi Sands on the other, allow animals to migrate unhindered to the perennial Sand River that flows north to south through MalaMala. This well-preserved wilderness is a magnet to some of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife species, as well as a host of smaller creatures, and is acclaimed as offering the best Leopard viewing on the continent.
Join us on this photographic safari of a lifetime that promises breathtaking photographic opportunities in the wilds of South Africa and Botswana, and that guarantee the ultimate large game and predator experience in Africa!
Your photographic highlights
Timbavati, MalaMala and Londolozi Game Reserve
  • 􏰀  Tanda Tula, MalaMala and Londolozi represents the finest opportunity in Africa to photograph Leopard – these cats have for many generations grown up in the presence of game drive vehicles, and this habituation will allow you unparalleled opportunities to observe and photograph these remarkable felines
  • 􏰀  The healthy herbivore population in this area guarantees an excellent food source for a barrage of large predators – large Lion prides roam these areas, and Spotted Hyaena are common. Predator interactions, and potentially spectacular photographic opportunities thus abound
  • 􏰀  Great sightings of White Rhino, which are sadly disappearing from many former strongholds, and regular sightings of very relaxed Elephants and Cape Buffalos
  • 􏰀  This Africa photo safari is tailor-made to suite wildlife photographers and it guarantees you a portfolio of surreal images
Photographic Topics that will be covered
  • 􏰀  Principles and ethics of wildlife photography
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
  • 􏰀  Equipment choices and how they will effect your photography
  • 􏰀  Animal behaviour and anticipating ‘the shot’
  • 􏰀  Correct versus creative exposure in wildlife photography
  • 􏰀  Composition in wildlife photography
  • 􏰀  Difficult lighting situations
  • 􏰀  Working your subject and telling a visual story with your images
  • 􏰀  Processing your wildlife images
Your safari at a glance
Tour Dates
20th October to 2nd November 2015

Tour Size
2 participants and Photographic Leader Greg du Toit

Day 1, 20th October Johannesburg flight to Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 2, 21st October Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 3, 22nd October Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 4, 23rd October Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 5, 24th October Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 6, 25th October Timbavati Game Reserve to MalaMala Game Reserve
Day 7, 26th October MalaMala Game Reserve
Day 8, 27th October MalaMala Game Reserve
Day 9, 28th October MalaMala Game Reserve
Day 10, 29th October MalaMala Game Reserve
Day 11, 30th October MalaMala to Londolozi Game Reserve
Day 12, 31st October Londolozi Game Reserve
Day 13, 1st November Londolozi Game Reserve
Day 14, 2nd November Londolozi to Johannesburg and Depart for Final Destination of Choice
Your safari in detail
Day 1, 20th October 2015: OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) flight to Timbavati
Upon arrival from your international flight and clearing passport control and customs a representive from ORYX and Greg du Toit will meet you and transfer you to the nearby Federal Air terminal for your scheduled light – aircraft flight to the Timbavati.
The Timbavati, which is in a game rich belt where we can expect excellent sightings and photographic opportunities.
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
This region is also part of the greater Kruger National Park conservation area, which at over 20 000km2 is around the size of Israel! Tanda Tula Safari Camp is positioned amongst enormous trees on the banks of the
Nhlaralumi Riverbed, in the
heart of Big Five country. Visitors are welcomed into this picturesque camp, which exudes “elegance with African roots”.
Tanda Tula Safari Camp is
owned and run by Don and
Nina Scott, together with their
incredible team of staff.
Guests are immediately
captivated by the down-to-
earth atmosphere of this
family home, as well as the charm and warmth of the people that live and work here. The camp is completely unfenced merging luxury with the natural environment.
The tented camp consists of just 12 secluded, luxury tents, each with a breathtaking view over the riverbed. The East African styled tents is the epitome of simple luxury, comfort and style mirroring the early-tented camps of Africa. Each luxurious tent features its own en-suite bathroom, Victorian bathtub, outdoor shower and a spacious deck overlooking the riverbed and African bush.
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
Overnight Tanda Tula
Days 2 to Day 5, 21st to 24th October 2015: Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
The Timbavati is known for its abundance and variety of African wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). With only 9 lodges in more than 120 000 acres, guests experience the African bush at its most pristine. The lodges have mutual traversing areas and co- operate with each other in animal sightings.
The bushveld varies from Acacia thornveld and Marula trees to open savannah grasslands as well as dense riverine with majestic Jackalberry and Fig trees, allowing for superb viewing of zebra, antelope, giraffe and wildebeest. The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve 20 years ago, we have enjoyed large breeding herds of buffalo, up to 1000 strong, as well as large elephant herds.
Numerous territorial Leopards call Tanda Tula home, as well as several prides of magnificent Lions. Cape Buffalo and Elephant congregate in huge numbers here and we expect to see and photograph these giants at very close range. We will explore this Big 5 country in customized, open Land Rovers in the mornings as well as in the afternoons in our quest to find and photograph our numerous photographic targets.
We also have the opportunity to view and photograph the increasingly endangered White Rhino and, if we are extremely fortunate, perhaps even a roaming pack of African Wild Dogs. Two individual packs of these mythical predators move in from the neighbouring Kruger National Park on occasion, and our local guide and tracker will most certainly follow any fresh tracks and signs that we might happen to come across.
However, the Timbavati promises far more than just a good game-viewing destination: with access to 100 square kilometres of shared wilderness, guests are also treated to an abundance of beautiful bird species – large raptors are a prominent feature in this area, and include Africa’s largest eagle, the rapacious Martial Eagle.
Overnight Tanda Tula
Day 6, 25th October 2015: Timbavati to MalaMala Game Reserve
After a final morning’s safari and a hearty breakfast we will depart from the Timbavati on a road transfer (approximately 3 hours) to MalaMala Game Reserve, which borders the enormous Kruger National Park.
Post arrival and settling in, we will embark on our first game drive in this incredible reserve. MalaMala Main Camp is a diverse place, with many facets contributing to its beauty and allure – the granite outcrops of Sithlawayise and Campbell Koppies which stand guard over this amazing wilderness area, the perennial Sand River which flows past camp, and the floodplain beyond.
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
The rooms have “His" and "hers" bathrooms, are temperature controlled 24 hours a day, have direct dial telephones, a mini-bar and mini-safe, and bathroom amenities, insect repellent and
The game viewing successes at MalaMala are a direct result of the vast area of land owned, a 19 km (approx. 12 miles) unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park and the fact that the Sand River flows through the property for approximately 19,5 km (approx. 13
miles) assuring a plentiful supply of water at all times. This well-preserved wilderness is a "honey- pot" to the most sought-after wildlife species, as well as a host of smaller creatures!
Overnight MalaMala Main Camp
Day 6 to Day 10, 26th to 29th October 2015: MalaMala Game Reserve
“Not even Tanzania’s famed Serengeti Game Reserve or the awesome Ngorongoro Crater fills your camera viewfinder faster with Africa’s legendary Big Five – at MalaMala, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant appear magically, as if on cue,” says acclaimed wildlife photojournalist Geoff Dalglish in his Sunday Times review. “Nor could Hollywood script the wide-screen wildlife encounters any more dramatically or frequently than nature does routinely in the private game reserve that is arguably South Africa’s most famous internationally.”
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
No other destination can compete with the Lowveld's pristine wilderness locations, which are legally protected from human interference. The region, larger than many independent countries, is home to a large concentration of free roaming elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo, cheetah and huge compliment of mammal and bird species. Anyone who has visited MalaMala knows that Leopards are one of the main attractions here. In fact, these cats are so accustomed to the African safari vehicles that they hardly take any notice of them. Even when hunting, a Leopard MalaMala does not seem to mind a vehicle following it, even if this means following it off-road though the bush!
MalaMala promises some of the finest game viewing on the African continent and regularly provides the subject matter for a veritable collection of international and local wildlife documentaries (including National Geographic). Many of these documentaries have won international accolades amidst critical acclaim.
Overnight MalaMala Main Camp
Day 11, 30th October 2015: MalaMala to Londolozi
After the morning’s game drive and breakfast you will depart by road transfer to Londolozi. Londolozi is one of the original pioneering Private Game Reserves of the ecotourism industry in South Africa and an unashamedly family run, stand alone operation and world renowned as one of Africa’s finest game lodges.
It was also first game reserve in the world to be accorded Relais & Châteaux status, reinforcing its commitment to luxurious accommodation, fine cuisine and exceptional service.
Overnight Londolozi Varty Camp

ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
Day 12 & Day 13, 31st October & 1st November 2015: Londolozi Private Game Reserve
The root of the word Londolozi is the Zulu word for protect and means “protector of all living things” – an ambitious conservation ethic that Londolozi embraces in its sensitivity to the natural world. World renowned as one of Africa’s finest game lodges, Londolozi is situated on the Sand River in the very heart of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve.
This reserve in turn forms part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a vast and growing area, currently covering 6 million acres and incorporating the famous Kruger National Park. Breeding herds of elephant and buffalo roam throughout the Londolozi area, while white rhino and lion concentrations are amongst the highest recorded on the African continent.
However, it is the truly remarkable relationship, which has developed over three decades between wild free ranging leopards and ranger & trackers, which makes Londolozi world famous. There is no disputing that viewing the leopards of Londolozi is one of life’s truly treasured experiences.
With over 16 000 hectares of traversing wilderness, no two game drives are ever the same. Trackers sit up at the front of the Land Rover looking for fresh animal tracks, while rangers drive with astonishing skill into ravines and through thicket in pursuit of elusive animals. An ORYX safari is about enchanting all the senses and participating in the expedition, so that you come away richer, enlightened and with a stunning collection of African wildlife images.
The campfire has burned here for over 85 years making Varty Camp the symbolic heart and soul of Londolozi. The décor echoes the same tones of the owner’s private homes and their continuing love affair with the earth.
Varty Camp is the home of an African safari holiday. All rooms have private swimming pools framed by timber decks that overlook the riverine bush. The living spaces are raised off the ground and shaded under a cathedral of trees. The camp has a pleasingly down-to-earth quality and the emphasis on family heritage means that children of all ages always have a place at Varty Camp.
Overnight Varty Camp
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
Day 14, 2nd November 2015: Londolozi and Depart for Final Destination of Choice
After breakfast and your final morning safari (time TBA) you will board your flight destined for Johannesburg, where this incredible South African safari sadly comes to an end.
This is the Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition!!!!
Your Photographic Leader & Host
Greg du Toit
The 49th Wildlife Photographer of the Year (2013), Greg is a professional safari guide and award winning wildlife photographer. He has vast experience in Africa, and is specialist in low light photography, having recently spent over 600 hours in MalaMala photographing Leopards. The results of this project formed the core of a solo exhibit titled 'Authentic Africa' hosted by the National Geographic Gallery in Singapore. He lived in Kenya's rift valley for two years during which time he photographed his internationally acclaimed 'Waterhole Story' which featured on NBC television and on the BBC World Wide Service. He has also worked extensively over the last 10 years in the Maasai Mara whereby he has recently undertaken an assignment for the National Geographic Channel on their “Great Migrations” project. Greg has also received two Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. Both his bush knowledge and skills, combined with his astute in- camera techniques, will ensure that your personal imagery breaks new ground.
Financial Arrangements
The price for this 2015 ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition is US$21, 650.00 per person in shared accomodation.
Cost Includes:
·       􏰀  Scheduled charter flights OR Tambo – Tanda Tula - MalaMala – OR Tambo
·       􏰀  All road transfers from OR Tambo to Federal Air;
·       􏰀  VIP Meet and greet at OR Tambo;
·       􏰀  All accommodation at MalaMala Main Camp;
·       􏰀  All accommodations at Tanda Tula Camp;
·       􏰀  All meals;
·       􏰀  Beverages at Tanda Tula & MalaMala (except selected premium wines);
·       􏰀  Entrance fees to National Parks;
·       􏰀  Tourism Levy’s for Game Reserves;
·       􏰀  Private Safari vehicle use at Tanda Tula & MalaMala;
·       􏰀  All game viewing activates at Tanda Tula & MalaMala;
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
·       􏰀  Costs, expert photographic advise and tutoring by Photographic Leader Greg du Toit;
·       􏰀  Service of experienced local guides; and
·       􏰀  Laundry.
Cost Excludes:
·       􏰀  All international flights;
·       􏰀  Any gratuities;
·       􏰀  Travel Insurance and Travel Visas; and
·       􏰀  Items of a personal nature e.g. curios, beauty treatments and telephone calls

1.     Payment of the balance of the safari fee is due 4 months before departure and to be made as per the details on the booking form which will be sent to you in order to sign up for the expedition. An ORYX invoice will be issued to you before full payment is due.
o   􏰀  Costs are subject to major foreign exchange fluctuations and unforeseen increases in expedition related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result.
o   􏰀  Furthermore, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware, however, that we will attempt to stick as close to the original program as possible.
o   􏰀  Domestic flights are subject to availability at the time of booking.
o   􏰀  Fitness and health: This photographic safari does not require a high level of fitness, but
participants should nevertheless be in good general health.
o   􏰀  Accommodation throughout the trip is of a high standard.
o   􏰀  Due to the presence of potentially dangerous game we will be spending much of this safari
in photographic vehicles.
o   􏰀  This photographic safari will be run in malaria areas and prophylaxis is recommended. Please
consult your travel physician for more information.
o   􏰀  It is highly recommended to purchase travel / medical insurance for this trip.
o   􏰀  Our intended subjects are wild and free and they are not called, fed or otherwise lured or
attracted to our camps or vehicles. Despite every effort by our trackers, guides and expert
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________
photographic safari leader, there may be a chance that desired subjects may not be present for photographic opportunities - the only guarantee of a specific subject is that we will do our very best to make this the photographic safari of your lifetime!
As noted above, gratuities for local guides, trackers, lodge staff, butlers etc. are NOT included on this tour. However, if you feel that your any staff has given you exceptional service, it is entirely appropriate to tip them. We emphasize that such tips should be at your own discretion and based solely on the level of your service satisfaction.
Luggage & Flights
South Africa
Internal Flights OR TAMBO – Tanda Tula - MalaMala – OR Tambo
On Federal Air, each passenger is only allowed 20 kg/ 44 lbs of luggage in a soft duffle bag.
However, you can book an extra seat on all internal flights if you so choose, which grants you an additional allowance of 20 kg/ 44 lbs for your camera gear.
As our guests come from all over the planet we do not include international flights to and from your home in our tour prices. IMPORTANT: DO NOT book your international flights until you have consulted the ORYX office for confirmation on the status of the tour.
If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance or advice in this regard, kindly contact the ORYX office.
Worldwide Photographic Expeditions
Division of Rockjumper Birding Tours CC reg 2001/059480/23 PO Box 13972, Cascades, Pietermaritzburg, 3202, South Africa Tel: +27 33 394 0225
Fax: +27 88 033 394 0225
ORYX – Kasden South Africa: Ultimate Predator Photographic Expedition ____________________________________________________________________