The Sabi Sand safari to Elephant Plains Game Lodge is one of our best value for money products we have at Tusk Photo. You get to experience this top rated luxury lodge in the heart of South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park, with our own private photographic vehicles. You can expect to photograph Leopard as you have never done before with our Professional Tusk Photo host photographers sharing their intricate knowledge and secrets on how to capture and work with Big Cats at night.
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Elephant Plains Game Lodge is arguably one of the best photographic destinations in Southern Africa. What makes this lodge even more spectacular is the unrivalled opportunity to photograph wild leopard. Elephant Plains Game Lodge has to be the premier leopard lodge in the world…!
This unique 5 day safari to the luxurious Elephant Plains Private Game Lodge, set in one of the most sought after unspoiled and pristine game viewing areas in South Africa – the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
Your action packed adventure takes place in this reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, comprising of 2.3 million hectares of virgin African bushveld. The Sabi Sand private Game Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, with which it shares an unfenced border. The wildlife is thus able to wander freely between the two reserves. Wildlife abounds in this area, and you will have the unrivalled opportunity to photograph not only the Big 5, but also a diversity of other species.
In addition to the possibility of photographing the Big 5 as well as numerous other species, the Sabi Sand has a well-deserved reputation as being the best place in the world to view and photograph the elusive leopard. We all have a fascination for the big cats, and the Sabi Sand Reserve has become synonymous with Leopard sightings. You will see these magnificent cats on almost every game drive. The Sabi Sand leopards ignore vehicles as they carry on with their daily activities, unhindered and unperturbed allowing humans to view these otherwise secretive animals and affording opportunity to capture your images of a lifetime.
All game drives are scheduled for the dawn and dusk hours. This is when the vast majority of animals are most active, and you get the opportunity to see crepuscular, nocturnal and diurnal wildlife. All game drives are conducted on our private open game viewers each equipped with specialised camera brackets with gimbal heads making light work of even the heaviest camera equipment.
Your safari experience is enhanced by the use of highly skilled Trackers, knowledgeable Game Rangers, and an experienced Wildlife photographer on each vehicle. Tusk Photo limits the number of guests on each vehicle to only 6, giving you the best possible opportunity for optimum sightings, with no crowding. In addition, only three vehicles approach any animals at any one time.
- Unrivaled Leopard photography
- Unrivaled night photography and tuition using different light sources
- Private Photographic vehicles with camera supports and gimbal heads
- Photographic workshops everyday between game drives
- Luxury lodge with gym, bush walks and more
- All rooms have air conditioning (summer) & heating (winter)
- Professional Tusk Photo host photographers with intense knowledge of the area and photography.
Elephant Plains Game Lodge is situated on the dry Manyeleti riverbed, overlooking an open area with a watering hole. The lodge layout caters for the discerning traveller, offering different types of accommodation to cater for a variety of needs.
Guests are able to choose between five rondavels, six luxury suites and The Manyeleti, our romantic honeymoon suite. The main lodge houses the reception, dining areas, bar, lounge & wine cellar, as well as a small library and curio shop. Facilities include two swimming pools, a gym, conference room and games room.
The five rondavels are set in the beautifully landscaped garden of the original family holiday camp and one can still feel the old bushveld charm upon entering. The rondavels have sundecks, en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, overhead fans, mini bars, tea/coffee facilities, mosquito nets and electronic safes. While elegant and luxurious, the rondavels offer affordable game lodge accommodation.
Mealtimes are sumptuous affairs, with a combination of international cuisine and South African specialities. Breakfast and
lunch are enjoyed in the dining room or on the pool deck, overlooking the open area. Dinner is served around a
log fire in the boma, whilst enjoying the mystical nocturnal sounds under the African sky.
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Arrival and First Game ExperienceAfter arrival at the Lodge, refreshments and a short briefing, your first afternoon drive leaves the lodge at around 16h00.You will start taking photographs almost immediately as you encounter any of the vast array of wildlife species. Your Expert Sabi Sand Wildlife Photographer will guide, advise and make suggestions as you frame your shots and then take images as never before. The Guides and Trackers in the area are expert at following different species, guaranteeing some wonderful encounters, and before you know it, the time has arrived for sundowners. You will enjoy this amazing experience deep in the bush, as the sun approaches the horizon, creating vivid, spectacular skyscapes. After the area has been checked carefully for predators, you alight from the vehicle to stretch your legs and enjoy a variety of delicious snacks, and sundowners, with the smell and feel of the bush all around. Then back on the vehicle, and in the gathering darkness, you will search for crepuscular and nocturnal animals. There are few sights more awe – inspiring and heart – stopping than a lion or leopard suddenly appearing out of the darkness, an arms length away from you, marching haughtily to some destination, totally uncaring of your presence or your shaking, clicking camera. These memories will be etched on your heart and soul, and you will recapture the grandeur of that moment as you relive the time again and again with your images. Your return to camp, where a meeting with your fellows in the bar area is followed a gourmet meal served around a blazing fire, under the starry, starry African Sky. The only sounds you will hear are the crackling of the fire, maybe a hyena, hippo or lion not too far away, an owl, or other nocturnal creatures settling down for the night. The murmur of voices around the fire is subdued as people instinctively listen to and absorb the sounds of Africa. After supper, you have the choice of some in-depth photography lessons and advice from the Renowned Wildlife Photographer who accompanies you on the drives, and then gives tutorials between these times. Your accommodation is so inviting that you will find yourself wondering if you shouldn’t spend a few more days here – just to enjoy the comfort.
Time : 4:30 am
Morning Safaris and PhotographyAt around 04h30, a knock at your door gets you springing from your bed. Yes! A day of adventure awaits! The vehicles leave at 05h00 – the best time for animal activity, and to increase the chances of an encounter with nocturnal and crepuscular species. You will leave the camp in the darkness, and soon the first faint hints of the coming sunrise are apparent. But not before your Guides and Trackers have pointed out an array of animals and birds for you to photograph in these unique surroundings and conditions. When the sun has risen over the horizon, a stop for a welcome cup of hot coffee or tea, with delicious rusks, biscuits and other home-made treats is enjoyed as you listen to the dawn chorus of birds. Back on the vehicle, you will again have the opportunity to capture wonderful shots of a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. Hippo, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, impala, kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck, Vervet Monkeys, baboons, and a seemingly endless list of wildlife in addition to the lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant that make up the Big 5. A splendid breakfast back at the lodge is followed by a few hours for you to choose an activity. Would you like to join the Professional Photography group for tutorials on your images, including the use of Lightroom? Would you like a quick nap during this peaceful, quiet time of day – when many of the animals in the bush are slumbering, too. Would you like a quick swim? A massage? A workout in the gym? A game of billiards or table tennis? A guided walk through the bush? Or would you like to pull up a strategically placed deckchair and keep an eye on the activities at the water hole – and the valley overlooked by the Lodge?
Afternoon game driveSomehow, whatever your choice, the time, including a delicious lunchtime spread seems to fly past, and you find yourself clambering back onto your vehicle, heart pounding with excitement, for your afternoon adventure. Your game drive is punctuated by a brief stop for sundowners and snacks as you watch the sun dip majestically to the horizon. Back on your vehicle you look out for the many animals that are most active at this time, followed by a return to the Lodge for your evening activity and meal. And this is how you will spend your 5 wonderful days, deep in the African Bush, with a superb blend of Africa experienced at its most luxurious.
Final Game Drive and FarewellsThe final day finds you heading back to civilisation after your morning game drive and breakfast, confident that you will be back, and with your memory cards filled with photographs for you to relive the amazing time you enjoyed here.
- Services of Tusk Photo hosts
- All meals, teas & coffees
- 4 nights’ accommodation
- All activities
- Photographic workshop and tuition
- Telephone calls
- Purchases of a personal nature.
- Travel costs to Elephant Plains either driving or International flights.
Unrivaled Leopard photography
Unrivaled night photography and tuition using different light sources
Private Photographic vehicles with camera supports and gimbal heads
Photographic workshops everyday between game drives
Luxury lodge with gym, spa, bush walks and more
All rooms have air conditioning
Professional Tusk Photo host photographers with intense knowledge of the area and photography.
Leopard, leopard, leopard
Impala and many more antelope species.
Possible sightings of: Cheetah, Wild Dog, Serval, Honey Badger, Genet, Porcupine, Pangolin, Aardvark, Caracal
Large selection of eagles including Martial and Tawny Eagle
Francolins and spurfowls
And many many more.
Option 1 – You can drive to the lodge. From Johannesburg its 6 hrs tar road with the last 60km on dirt road
Option 2 – You can fly into the Sabi Sand with Fedral Air and land at Elephant Plains airstrip
Option 3 – You can fly to Arthusa airstrip which is next to Elephant Plains and transfer 20min to the lodge
Option 4 – You can fly with your own aircraft
Option 5 – You can fly to either Hoedspruit or Nelspruit (KMIA) and arrange transfers from there to the lodge
Option 6 – You can fly to Skukuza and depending on times arrange a transfer to the lodge.
Option 7 – You can fly to Hoedspruit or Nelspruit and rent a vehicle and drive to the lodge. Hoedspruit 1.5hrs / Nelspruit 2.5hrs
Option 8 – You can arrange a transfer from Gauteng / Johannesburg to the lodge and back again.
Please let us know if you need any help in arrange flights / transfers or other arrangements.