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Photography

Wales, UK
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21 posts
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Photography

Have been doing initial planning for this August & we are looking to stay in one location within Sabi Sands for approx 5days. Top of the list so far are Exeter River Lodge & Lion Sands Ivory Lodge.

Started having doubts about whole trip when I read some of the vehicle occupancy rates - up to 8 per vehicle. I love photographing wildlife - expensive long lenses etc - & this is not possible with people moving about when ( naturally)excited at a 'viewing'.

Hiring a private vehicle is one solution, but only if the Lodge has one available & at considerable extra cost. Anyone got any info/ideas how to get around this?

Renting 4x4 and going to KNP??

thanks,

Mike

Wales, UK
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21 posts
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11. Re: Photography

Thanks everyone for your excellent info & suggestions. Apologies for not responding earlier, work been getting in the way & now rushing to get to London for Cirque du Soleil.

Somersetal

- appreciate comment on long lenses, was hoping not ot have to carry them anyway due to flying restrictions etc

Photo's posted by Pandachris show that 300mm is enough.

Julian, Mike,

- your comments confirm my early thinking about private reserves; they get you close!! Mike, the peopard photo's are gorgeous, even the 'gory' ones.

One point to clarify: Julian mentioned Lion Sands having larger private game viewing area. But Mike, you mentioned L Sands as having the smaller area.

Anyone know the definitive answer !!

Leopards are the main interest on this trip although we love all wildlife including birds.

We are looking to combine this with (possibly) South Luangwa in Zambia.

Once again, thanks to all for your time & trouble. Excellent site, great info.

best regards,

Mike & Andrea

Mytmoss
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432 posts
5 reviews
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12. Re: Photography

The Exeter game reserve itself is very small, however they have agreements with many neighboring reserve to have traversing rights. So the combined area that Exeter vehicles can travel is much larger than Lion Sands. However, conversely, other vehicles from different reserves travel on Exeter property. There is good cooperation between the reserves. However this does mean that a lot of vehicles can be headed for sightings which means longer waits and shorter viewing times at the sighting. It is my understanding that you should get at least 20 minutes, but that can pass by very quickly.

As Lion Sands, they do not allow other vehicles on their property, nor do they get to go on other properties. Both reserves limit the number of vehicles to 2 per sighting, however since Lion Sands has far fewer vehicles, the wait time for sightings is usually less. Also if you are into serious photography, the staff at Lion Sands may make it so that you can sit at good sightings longer. For instance on my last trip, there was a leopard sighting in a tree eating an impala. Instead of rushing me in to be the first there, we were the last. Of course there is a risk the leopard might disappear before we got there. But the result was we sat with that leopard for over and hour and watched a drama occur when his brother showed up along with a couple of hyena.

Also at Lion Sands, they did not do the drives so much by the clock. I had requested we start the afternoon drives at 3:30PM instead of 4PM and sometimes we got back at late as 8PM. At Exeter we always left at the same time, and got back at the same time. I liked the flexibility that LS had to offered. I hope this helps, feel free to email me any questions.

London, United...
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1,717 posts
84 reviews
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13. Re: Photography

Hello,

I think the post above has cleared this up, but I was talking in terms of hectares-per-vehicle as I think this is the most relevant statistic in terms of the exclusivity of the game-viewing experience. More hectares per vehicle = more exclusive, no queues, etc.

Lion Sands has more hectares per vehicle than Exeter, but less than the 'Big 3' (Mala Mala, Londolozi, and Singita).

Cheers,

Julian

Wales, UK
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14. Re: Photography

Mike, Julian,

Once again many thanks - I'm convinced!! Lion Sands Ivory its going to be.

Any recommendations on a UK based travel comapny? We often use smaller specialist companies ( e.g. Reef & Rainforest ) as they are better at tailoring itineraries, although we have also had excellent breaks with Naturetrek & others.

Julian,

You mentioned arranging a private vehicle - do you have any costs for this option?

Mike,

I'll email you with specific photography questions. Been browsing all your pbase pics and I'm getting twitchy :)

Thanks both, much appreciated. If you are thinking of going to India ( tigers specifically ), Costa Rica, Borneo, Seychelles & looking for info, would be delighted to help.

Best regards,

Mike & Andrea

Mytmoss
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432 posts
5 reviews
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15. Re: Photography

I can tell you what a private vehicle costs at Lion Sands, its about $600 (US) per day, but I am not sure its worth it. I did it on my last trip and I am not sure I saw that much more than I did when I was with others. Its pretty much a roll of the dice. Also Mike please email about anything else related to Lion Sands. I have two rangers that you can make requests for that will make your trip wonderful.

Unfortunately I cannot recommend a tour company as I booked directly with Lion Sands. If you want help doing that, please let me know.

I am soooo envious of you going as I have to put off my next dream until 2009.

Mike

Limpopo, South...
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295 posts
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16. Re: Photography

I am a keen amateur photographer and a family member of mine is an award-winning wildlife photographer. We often go to lodges in the Sabi Sand (especially Exeter) together, where we never take a private vehicle. My said family member is always alowed to sit in the left front seat of the vehicle, next to the ranger, so that he can use the door for support for his long lenses. Most of the rangers are keen photographers themselves and are extremely sensitive to the needs of any photographer on game drive. In this regard I have often noticed the ranger positioning the vehicle so as to afford the photographer the best posible position, taking into account the prevailing light conditions, etc. Some rangers have also been specifically trained to take guests on specialist photographic safaris. So when you go, ask your agent to enquire beforehand if any rangers are specialist rangers in this regard and try and get a seat next to that ranger.

I also am fortunate to visit Kruger a couple of times per year. There is NO WAY that the two experiences can compare, not in a million years. The photographic opportunities at the private lodges are far superior.

SOUTH AFRICA
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2,562 posts
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17. Re: Photography

Hi Mike - I agree with the previous poster - you can not compare the photographic experiences offered at private lodges with a self-drive safari! It will definately be worth every penny spent!

18. Re: Photography

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