What our Clients Have to Say
Having traveled to Africa about eight times and numerous other countries I would rate this as one of my two best experiences photographing wildlife and Gavin was by far the most knowledgeable about photographic techniques, physics of photography, and hands on teaching of any guide with whom I have been before. He also obviously knew the best personnel, guides, and trackers available in the areas we covered and our transportation and lodging was first rate.
We were able to view close up many of the wildlife species on numerous occasions, which normally one does not often see such as numerous packs of African Wild Dogs, Leopards, Bush Pig, Honey Badger, Nyala, Africa Wild Cat, etc., and actually were closely involved viewing social interaction with young of leopards and spotted hyenas for extended periods of time, as well as predators such as leopards, lion, cheetah, hyena, stalking and killing their prey on a number of occasions. In addition, we interacted and viewed many elephant families and lone bulls, various bird species, Cape Buffalo, and the various indigenous species of antelope in the area.
Gavin goes the extra mile to give excellent photographic classes for those interested during mid day when wildlife are not as active, and will work hard to position participants in the best light and position for obtaining the best shots.
For those interested, their are night drives and instruction in astrophotography and landscape viewing as well.
I would recommend him highly for serious photographers that want to especially see unusual species of mammals and experience as much of a stress free travel experience as possible in this present day and age.
Richard E “Jim” James MD
June 30, 2016
However, throughout the tour we were afforded many opportunities to capture incredible images of not just the animals themselves but amazing wildlife interactions such as male warthogs in a 15-minute territorial battle, a feeding frenzy of dozens of white-backed and hooded vultures on a lion-killed waterbuck, hyenas at a den site, and a pack of wild dogs cornering an Impala Ram in a lake.
We essentially ran on adrenaline for the entire trip, never knowing what other exciting scenes we might stumble upon during our morning and afternoon game drives.
Since this tour was a predator tour, we observed and photographed a number of different adult leopards, including shots of leopards in trees with prey, and two different sets of leopard kittens. We also had excellent photo ops of cheetahs, lions, dwarf and white-tailed mongoose, side-striped jackals, a genet in a tree cavity, and even a honey badger! Ungulate photo opportunities abounded. Carnivores and ungulates were close enough to our game drive vehicle to capture images of parasites on the heads and faces of mammal subjects with a 70-200 mm lens.
Even though this Photo Safari was specifically targeted at the Predators of the Sabi Sand, with my friends David and Anne, we were also able to document over 90 bird species, and got good shots of many.
Gavin did an excellent job of working with our driver to get us set up at each scene for the best possible lighting and composition for our images. Being a South African native, Gavin is very knowledgeable of the biology and ecology of local wildlife, as well as the history and culture of South Africa, which enriched our sense of place. Additional rewards of the trip were mid-day photography classes from Gavin on flash and night astrophotography, the exposure triangle, proper exposure, and other helpful topics that improved our chances of capturing the best images possible.
Our stay at Nkorho Bush Lodge was excellent and also exceeded expectations. Wildlife and photographic opportunities occurred within and immediately around the lodge throughout our stay, with elephants, wildebeests and vervet monkeys at the pond in front of the lodge daily. Yellow-billed hornbills routinely perched outside our chalets and even peered in our windows. Our safari guide and driver Chene and tracker Chris did an outstanding job of getting us safely and quickly to the action and setting us up for the best image captures possible. The food was healthy and delicious, the chalets roomy and comfortable, and the lodge staff members were warm, welcoming, and paid great attention to detail.
My goals are to return to Nkorho Bush Lodge for the same predator photo workshop with Gavin, and also to participate in Gavin's Kenya wildebeest and zebra migration tour. Thanks to Gavin and his wife Lesley for a trip I will never forget, and amazing images to remember it by.
May 23, 2016
During the workshop, Gavin was readily available to clients, and generously shared his extensive photography experience. In addition, several more structured photography sessions were offered, covering important technical concepts to allow clients to get the most out of the safari experience. Gavin’s priority was that clients were as successful as they could be, given their skill levels. Our safari included novice and advanced photographers, and all learned something helpful and new.
Lodging was located an Nkorho Bush Lodge, within the Sabi Sands Preserve. The lodge, located in a beautiful open woodland setting, is maintained to a high standard. A variety of wildlife, including wildebeast, elephant, impala, were common sights at the water hole adjacent to the lodge grounds. Staff at the lodge were very friendly and eager to provide a high degree of customer
satisfaction. The food served was creative, delicious and varied. Tea breaks and sundowners were offered while on game drives to provide a break and an opportunity to share experiences with clients and the capable guiding staff. Trackers and safari guides were very knowledgable and worked hard to help us meet our desired photography and wildlife viewing objectives.
The entire experience ran like clockwork, thanks to Gavin and Lesley’s dedication and that of the Nkorho Bush Lodge. The Images In Africa Safaris webpage accurately describes what you can expect.
If you are on the fence about booking a safari with Images In Africa Safaris, book it now, you won’t be disappointed. None of us were, and it was absolutely worth it.
David S. and Anne B.
May 1, 2016
This was the third photo safari in Africa for Beverly( a non- photographer who found Africa a life changing experience on our first trip) and me, and I had promised my non-photographer sister that if she would join, it would be the trip of a lifetime. You helped me fulfill that promise. To photograph the sunrises and sunsets in the Quiver tree forest, over the Fish River Canyon, and in the Namibian Sand Sea of Sossusvlei were on my bucket list and you did not disappoint. I will always remember being in Deadvlei when the sun went down and the dunes turned a bright red and orange which in turn made the light gray of the pan glow pink. I am sure when friends see the photos, they will not believe the natural color, and will probably think I "photoshopped" the scenes. We also appreciated shooting the famous ghost town of Kolmanskop, the Flamingos and shipwreck on the skeleton coast, and living desert creatures in the dunes near Swakopmund. The list of wildlife which filled my memory cards is so long I cannot recall every one without reviewing those cards. However, the ones that immediately come to mind are the wild desert horses, elephants, lions, Black and White rhinos, Brown hyena, cheetahs, hippos, many species of antelope(large and small), giraffe, zebra, and unique birds, including the predators. The most exciting wildlife event was our last morning game drive in Erindi when we witnessed and followed the wild dog hunt of the wildebeest herd. I may never see that again. Of course, Erindi itself and the game drives were the highlight of the trip insofar as shooting wildlife was concerned. The accommodations at every locale were great. Food was excellent and with two gluten-free diners in our group, the hosts always made sure we were satisfied. Erindi was especially delightful with the luxurious rooms above the water hole where we could sit on our private terrace and watch the animals. Now to the object of those of us taking photos. For a Canon shooter, you are amazingly knowledgeable about my Nikon cameras and lenses. You always made sure we had the best light available, you continuously made great suggestions on shooting angles, composition and the like. Your help and tips throughout each shoot, and our discussions between shoots always helped me achieve a better result. I learned as much or more on this trip as on any other photo tour I have taken from others. Gavin, your attention to detail, care and consideration for making this a successful adventure for everyone was much appreciated. Thanks, and we look forward to another photo safari with you.
This was the third photo safari in Africa for Beverly( a non- photographer who found Africa a life changing experience on our first trip) and me, and I had promised my non-photographer sister that if she would join, it would be the trip of a lifetime. You helped me fulfill that promise.
To photograph the sunrises and sunsets in the Quiver tree forest, over the Fish River Canyon, and in the Namibian Sand Sea of Sossusvlei were on my bucket list and you did not disappoint. I will always remember being in Deadvlei when the sun went down and the dunes turned a bright red and orange which in turn made the light gray of the pan glow pink. I am sure when friends see the photos, they will not believe the natural color, and will probably think I "photoshopped" the scenes. We also appreciated shooting the famous ghost town of Kolmanskop, the Flamingos and shipwreck on the skeleton coast, and living desert creatures in the dunes near Swakopmund.
The list of wildlife which filled my memory cards is so long I cannot recall every one without reviewing those cards. However, the ones that immediately come to mind are the wild desert horses, elephants, lions, Black and White rhinos, Brown hyena, cheetahs, hippos, many species of antelope(large and small), giraffe, zebra, and unique birds, including the predators.
The most exciting wildlife event was our last morning game drive in Erindi when we witnessed and followed the wild dog hunt of the wildebeest herd. I may never see that again. Of course, Erindi itself and the game drives were the highlight of the trip insofar as shooting wildlife was concerned.
The accommodations at every locale were great. Food was excellent and with two gluten-free diners in our group, the hosts always made sure we were satisfied. Erindi was especially delightful with the luxurious rooms above the water hole where we could sit on our private terrace and watch the animals.
Now to the object of those of us taking photos. For a Canon shooter, you are amazingly knowledgeable about my Nikon cameras and lenses. You always made sure we had the best light available, you continuously made great suggestions on shooting angles, composition and the like. Your help and tips throughout each shoot, and our discussions between shoots always helped me achieve a better result. I learned as much or more on this trip as on any other photo tour I have taken from others.
Gavin, your attention to detail, care and consideration for making this a successful adventure for everyone was much appreciated. Thanks, and we look forward to another photo safari with you.
The Sabi Sand Predator Workshop was every thing it was promised to be. The wildlife encounters and opportunities for photography were as good as it can get. The guides, including yourself, were outstanding in ability to both locate wildlife and provide behavioral/anecdotal information.
The professionalism with which the logistics of the workshop were arranged led to a seamless adventure/photography experience that would be difficult for anyone to improve on. Your professionalism and treatment of clients was extraordinary.
This was my second safari with you. The first was to the Erindi Wildlife preserve in Namibia. They are two different very experiences with the Erindi trip being focused on a much more varied set of wildlife encounters.
I highly recommend both trips to anyone wishing to experience and photograph an endangered and vanishing Africa.
“We’ve been on a few safaris before, and this was our second trip with Images in Africa Safaris, but any sense of the ordinary was completely blown away by Gavin’s trip to the Masai Mara.
To be present in a sea of thousands and thousands of zebras, stretching as far as you can see, made us grin and giggle like children.
To witness an uncannily coordinated hunt by the Marsh Pride of lions, resulting in multiple kills, was a rare and thrilling event.
To learn much about the culture and ways of the proud Masai people was enlightening. Spending each morning and afternoon with our Masai guides learning more about the Mara and its inhabitants was incredibly valuable – their knowledge as tremendous.
And finally – of course – the purpose of our trip, improving our photographic skills and techniques while photographing fabulous animal and landscape scenes, was fulfilled completely and beyond our wildest expectations.
We came home with images we never would have captured without Gavin’s coaching, and now have the ability to apply this knowledge to all our work going forward –skills were gained for a lifetime.
We cannot recommend Images in Africa Safaris highly enough.”
The Namibian Quiver Tree lit by flash at sunset is stunning. This would not have been possible without your guidance and encouragement to push myself out of my comfort zone.
The Leopard in the tree at sunset – a simply stunning photo even if I do say so myself – Again this would not have been possible without your tips earlier in the day.
You gave me an appreciation for landscape photography - still subjects have never been my passion … BUT the results of the trip to Deadvlei and the dunes of the Namib were wonderful.
Lastly you gave me some techniques for flash photography that I can use with my sports action photography. I can’t wait to try these our at the next football or baseball game!
I am keen to make another safari trip so Please keep me informed of your upcoming trips for 2016.
While some were not as seriously into photography or specialized camera equipment as others, all were equally enthusiastic about taking the best shots they possibly could. Everyone has thanked me from the bottom of their hearts for letting them know about your safari, and for inviting them to join our group. Without fail, each one has said how special the experience has been for them, and I know it is one they will treasure all their lives.
Gavin, I've organized many self-drive safaris and I've always gained heaps from those trips, but your Photography Safari is by far the most rewarding safari I've ever experienced in terms of what I learned, the sightings, and the superb photographic opportunities. The guides were incredible, to say the least. Their knowledge and skills in tracking, and excellent driving abilities also played a huge role in making each day special. If ever I could swing it again, I wouldn't hesitate embarking on another such trip. It was fun, it was relaxed, it was stimulating, and it was rewarding. It couldn't have been better.
Thank you for your focus on the group, much appreciated.
A fantastic photography safari, well organised and managed in a truly beautiful environment, unbelievably exciting sightings, and photographic opportunities to die for! Many, many thanks for everything.
These past 6 days have been sensational, the scenery, the sunrises, and the sunsets are amazing.
The opportunity of seeing the african animals up close has been a wonderful experience.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the animals with us and for arranging such a great safari, accommodation, meals, and entertainment. The driver/guides are incredible with their tracking and not getting us lost!
We will all have so many memories to take back to Australia to share with our family & friends.
This being our first trip to Africa, we did not quite know what to expect. The abundance and diversity of wildlife and photographic opportunities presented vastly exceeded our expectations. We had the good fortune of seeing and photographing all of the Big Five in a single day on multiple occasions during the safari. One of the reasons we selected the Images in Africa Safaris was to improve our photography. The help and suggestions that Gavin and co-host Moose Peterson provided helped us accomplish this goal.
The accommodations and food at MalaMala were first rate. The staff worked hard to ensure that our stay was comfortable and enjoyable. The rangers at MalaMala were truly amazing in their ability to track and locate wildlife and then place the vehicles in an optimal position to photograph the wildlife. They further enhanced our experience by sharing their extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna we were photographing. Their love of the reserve and its inhabitants was readily apparent. The rangers went out of their way to help us create our photographs and enjoy our experiences; working 18 hour days to put us out in the field during optimal light.
Based upon our experience, Gavin and Images in Africa Safaris receives our strongest endorsement. Other than getting a little more sleep, we can not imagine how the trip could have been more enjoyable.
Writing this review is far more difficult than I ever imagined. If I simply state the truth, everyone will either think I am faking my comments, or that you have paid me off with a free trip. So I have tried to “tone it down” to something believable.
First, I would like to thank you for your personal involvement with me during the initial planning and sign-up stages of the Moose Peterson / Mala Mala Photo Workshop. Although I had considered several possible trips to South Africa, I can honestly say your willingness to correspond with me and talk to me on the phone was “the” factor that convinced me to sign up with you. You knew what you intended to accomplish with the safari/workshop, how it would work, and how it could fit my needs. So your knowledge and ability to communicate the details of the trip ahead of time “sold” me on workshop.
Second, I appreciated the structure of your website, and the detailed description of each trip, particularly the part describing the expectations we should have for wildlife viewing and our guest lodging. No guessing there, and I found your information to be accurate and complete.
Third, on the ground you were “always there” and “always involved” to make sure that I and everyone else was enjoying the workshop and having fun. When we had to reprogram on-the-fly (A hail/wind storm in October in South Africa. Whoever heard of such a thing!) you immediately had everything under control with the lodge staff and our Rangers. Your professionalism and flexibility allowed us to adjust our schedules and turn what should have been a mini-disaster into a photographic opportunity. I have the panoramas of the river and the rainbow ready to process and am looking forward to hanging a print on my wall.
Your selection of Mala Mala for our workshop was outstanding. What a place. What a population of animals! Having 10 days to focus on getting the “best shot” of each species was ideal, as it let us apply what we were learning from Moose Peterson (and each other) instead of worrying about what we might see or not see. This format is far better for a photographer than the typical “arrive, shoot, leave” of nearly all the photo safari trips offered by other companies. This extended stay concept, I believe, sets your trips ahead of everyone else as when we found animals we knew we had time to work the photographic “angles” and lighting and focus on making our best possible photograph – without worrying about possible missing something somewhere else.
I really enjoyed having Moose as our “professional in residence.” How often to do you get to ride along with a true professional and listen to him verbally describe why and how he was shooting….and then have him personalize his guidance for your own equipment and style of shooting? You may not have seen it, but Moose spent some personal time with me helping set up my camera for video work and answered some very specific questions for me on the differences between his shooting and processing styles for landscape/aviation photography and wildlife photography, and why they exist in his workflow. The game drives with him left me wanting to just shadow him everywhere, and I never quit taking notes. His afternoon lecture on workflow and image intake and processing – “Speed/Security, Quality, Flexibilty” was outstanding all by itself and that alone has improved my use of the computer to manage my images, as well as refocusing my mental concept of what I was looking for in my imagery.
I suppose I could write a detailed review of why I liked the Mala Mala facilities and staff, but it would go on for several pages, so I will just say that I want to return in the April/May timeframe (to see the wildlife “in the green”) for another extended stay. Hopefully you will schedule such a workshop in the near future. In the meantime I am looking forward to your 2016 schedule, as I have already set time and money aside for a return to Southern Africa with you.
In closing: Wild Dogs three times! Leopard every day, Lions on six days, the “big five” on six continuous days, my first ever daylight shots of a genet cat and several other endangered species. Birds of every species imaginable. A reserve and lodge staff that was beyond exceptional and your dedicated oversight made this trip the best I have ever taken.
Clarence “Gene” F - 10/2014
Gavin, the trip that you organized made the Mala Mala experience, which is clearly world class in itself, even better: our special group all together in Sable Camp; the extra-early morning game runs with the beautiful light; your photo advice and easy-going attitude; we know you were working behind the scenes to make sure that everything went smoothly and beautifully – all made this not just an unforgettable trip but one that we feel privileged to have experienced.
Gavin’s conscientious attention to detail in organizing the trip and meeting individuals’ needs throughout the trip we greatly appreciated. In arranging for our group’s private use of the separate Sable Camp, he enhanced the overall group experience which added to fond memories of a marvelous trip.
We hope to accompany Gavin on another photographic adventure.
Gavin, from Images in Africa, grew up in Africa, making him very knowledgeable about the animals. That combined with his knowledge of photography, makes for a perfect combination to be successful in getting great photos. The safaris go out during the best time of day for lighting and for animal activity.
If you get the chance to go, take it, this is is an experience of a lifetime.
Having watched National Geographic and other shows on Africa over the years didn’t prepare me for what I saw there. The TV and movie screens just can’t compete with the real life images and sounds of being there. Watching over 3,000 wildebeest and zebras crossing the Mara at the same spot and time were magnificent and mind boggling. The multiple lion prides and their interactions at kills was amazing as were the leopard, and many other animal sightings.
Listening to the lions at night while in the camp reminds one of the fact that you are in the jungle. Watching the crocs and hippos from the dining hall and cabins was surreal. The vastness of the open country we crossed at times with hundreds of various beasts in sight takes one back to what it must have been like for many eons past.
Gavin is a great host during the trips and will see to your needs and care at all times. I would recommend you go on one of his trips.
We saw major animal groups of predators and prey on every morning and afternoon game outing. The photo gimbals on the vehicle we used were a valuable addition not available on any of the other resort’s vehicles that I saw.
Our game tracker and guide Andrew was the most pleasurable person you could ask for.
During our night drives, he was able to spot things no one else saw including a couple of green chameleons on green leaves along the road that we had to look hard for even under his spot light.
Gavin was there at every turn to see that we were taking care of from the first meet at JFK in New York, to the final parting at JFK at the end. He was very professional at every level and saw to our every need at the resort as well as professional photo help with personal instruction where needed with his photography expertise. The lodge was excellent with a large variety of food at every meal and all day long refreshments available.
Evening meals were in the open air when weather permitted with a view of the lit fields where game was visible. The staff bent over backward to see to every need and the facilities were spotless. The separate cabins were comfortable and clean. I enjoyed waking up in the morning with my coffee and sitting on the front covered area to listen to the jungle sounds waking up. There was the morning scone biscuits and warm milk before every drive delivered to the cabins. I could go on but it is and experience you should go see for yourself.
After this adventure, I have already signed up for the Maasai Mara trip later this year.
Yes it was the first trip with Gavin that made up my mind for me. I will undoubtedly do another down the road as well.
The twice daily game drives were fabulous. Each day involved 7 1/2 to 8 hours of photographing – more if one took strolls around the lodge. Our guide Andrew made each foray special, using his knowledge to follow the scat and/or tracks to locate the animals that we otherwise would simply have driven past. In addition to the mammals, Andrew was a wealth of information about the reptiles, birds, insects, and vegetation, and his smile and kind manner really helped make the drives special.
Gavin, our fearless leader, had everything organized for us, and took care of whatever came up. It was like camp for grown-ups: our every need was fulfilled – meals, snacks, lodging, laundry, transports – so that we could devote our energies to the photography. Gavin’s sense of humor made every outing fun, and he was quickly able to assess each participant’s skill level and provide appropriate technical guidance or suggestions.
Whether you are new to photography or a seasoned veteran, you’ll really enjoy your trip with Images in Africa Safaris.
Gavin covered everything from taking pictures to post processing. Our one-on-one daily reviews helped me to make the adjustments needed to get the best results from my photo gear. The safari vehicle provided plenty of opportunities for taking pictures. There were two photographers on each row. It allowed enough room for taking pictures as well as keeping all the equipment easily accessible. Our driver/tracker Andrew was great. He always positioned his track to give all photographers an opportunity for the best shot.
The wildlife sightings were amazing. We saw all Big Five almost daily. I can say the same about birds, antelopes, hippos, etc. I believe we saw seven different leopards and lions from four different prides.
Our stay at Cheetah Plains could not have been more enjoyable. The staff was very attentive, professional, and friendly. All the food was excellent, and the room (cottage) was comfortable and well cared for. The entire property was this way.
The photo safari with Images in Africa Safaris provided me with absolutely amazing experience I would never forget.
In preparation for the trip, we upgraded our Nikon D300 DSLR (which we barely knew how to use) to a Nikon D600 (with which we were almost clueless). We brought both cameras with us. Gavin was a great coach, teaching us almost the whole time – discussions at the lodge, help during the day while taking pictures, and reviewing our results with supportive critiques and editing tips in the evenings. We can honestly say that during this trip we took the best pictures we’ve ever taken, and the knowledge we gained greatly improved our photography.
The vacation experience, however, was just as wonderful as the coaching. We will always remember being (literally) a few feet away from a stalking leopard, being charged by a baby elephant, and watching male lions quarrel while the pride’s cubs played and tumbled in the background. We spent time at Djuma Private Game Reserve, Erindi Private Game Reserve, and the Etosha Pan. These are not your basic bush accommodations – these are luxurious lodges with attentive staff and excellent service. We were accompanied by knowledgeable and professional guides and trackers, usually local men, whose skill in finding game in its natural setting was amazing.
We quickly fell into the rhythm of the bush visitor – morning game drives at sunrise (with a pleasant stop for coffee), then back to the lodge for a large brunch. Then a walk in the bush, or time to ourselves, or a bit of study, and often an afternoon nap. Then evening game drives with sun-downer cocktails in the bush, and back to the lodge for a gourmet dinner. A review of the day’s successes, and then get ready to do it again.
We hope one day to return to these wonderful places with Images in Africa Safaris and Gavin. The experience was truly magical.
New to this part of the world, new to a real camera lens, new to seeing and appreciating the nature’s sheer power and beauty, I was completely enthralled, constantly, by all of the wonderful creatures, peoples, sights and cultures.
The Head honcho of Images in Africa Safaris, Gavin Slabbert, a South African native, has truly created that Adventure of a Lifetime for anyone who dares to seek excitement, tranquility, beauty, and learning in one terrifically efficient, cost effective experience.
His patience with this novice photographer was amazing. What I learned, what I saw, what I brought back home has made be want to return again, very soon, to the African Continent.
Yep, we spent a lot of time on the Private Game reserves, but, if you get the chance and can fit it in the very active schedule, do not miss a couple of days in the cities, especially in South Africa. Go to the tourist places, if you want, but make sure you so see the culture and the people. You will not long forget the experience.
You bet, I do dream of Africa and I have pictures to prove it.