Tiger Canyons Add-on Photo Safari

Experience the only Tiger reserve in the Southern hemisphere

$2,495 (€ 2,230) PP

Tiger Canyons Photo Safari

Experience the only Tiger reserve in the Southern hemisphere
 $2,495 (€ 2,230) PP

As an extension to a guided wildlife safari, we recommend that you visit the only tiger reservation in the southern hemisphere. This add-on side tour places you in the midst of tigers in a safe and secure vehicle from where you can photograph tigers interacting with each other. From observing every movement to the stalking of other tigers, the tigers can be photographed under the watchful eye of John Varty. The reservation is also home to cheetah which may have been raised by hand as their parents were captured or killed. Tigers, being totally wild, have to feed themselves and their prey roams the 18,000 hectares – be there, camera in hand, when dinner is served! And take those memories home with you.

Overview of Photo Safari
You are invited to enjoy a side tour during your photo safari to South Africa on a Wildlife Safari to the only Tiger reserve in the Southern hemisphere. The 4 day (3 nights) Side Tour safari will see you fly to the Northern Karoo for a visit to the Tiger Reserve for four days. You will return to Johannesburg’s ORTambo International Airport in time to participate in the subsequent fully organized photographer guided photo safari tour.

About the Photo Safari Tour
This tour is for photographers of all skill levels. You will gain a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the majestic animals you encounter. The experienced game rangers who accompany you on game drives will explain the behavior and lifestyle of the Tigers as you encounter them, enabling you to take better images which truly depict the nature of your fascinating subjects. Each vehicle carries a dedicated tracker constantly on the lookout for clues pointing to animal activity in the vicinity.

Services and facilities
The tour is facilitated for participants on demand. At the Tiger Conservancy, each vehicles with stadium style seating accommodates 2 photographers which facilitates each photographer shooting forward without a fellow guest getting in the way. Each of the three rows is reserved for a photographer and his/her equipment. This arrangement permits a photographer to take images from whichever side is most beneficial without getting in the field of view of the other photographers.

Photographers accompanied by their non-photographer partners (maximum 1 per vehicle) will share their row. From the moment you arrive in South Africa until your departure all regular expenses are covered by the safari fees. All accommodation at hotels, lodges and camps, the three daily meals, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, refreshments on game drives are included. All transportation, air flights and charters, welcome services and reserve taxes and fees are provided for. Gratuities and premium brand spirits and beers are excluded.

Safari Tour Outline and Itinerary

The first night at OR Tambo
After arrival at Johannesburg International Airport, you will be transferred to the Mondior Hotel at the Emperor’s Palace adjacent to the Airport for the first night. The 4-star Peermont Mondior hotel at Emperors Palace features 150 spacious rooms and suites furnished in contemporary African elegance and fitted with cutting-edge technology, internet access and digital television. Every room sports tea and coffee facilities and a mini-bar with fridge. The hotel is conveniently located right next to O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Three nights at the Tigers

Early breakfast at the Hotel is followed by a commercial flight to Bloemfontein. This 90 minute journey will have you in Bloemfontein by 9:30am. An hour drive in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle will get you to Philippolis,  home for the next 3 nights.

After settling into the comfortable accommodation, a light lunch is served and you head out to the Tiger Reserve to meet John Varty for your first afternoon drive with the Tigers.

Each day starts with the journey to the Tiger Reserve and coffee at the Visitor’s Center. At sunrise, the guests begin the search for the tigers inside the tiger areas culminating with breakfast under the blue sky at the canyon. At the guesthouse, time is allocated for guests to review their images and ask questions about how to improve the images during the morning until early afternoon.

The game drives are conducted in modified safari vehicles. In the conservancy, roles are reversed – when visiting a zoo, animals are found in cages or restricted by some man-made barrier and spectators move about freely. On the conservancy, where you are virtually guaranteed to see and interact with a Tiger or even a few of them at once, guests are safely esconsed in a mobile cage while the tigers roam freely. The mobile cage has port holes through which guests can project lenses to photograph the animal activity unhindered. Each vehicle carries two guests allowing each to photograph from the side of the vehicle unhindered by a fellow photographer. Over time the Tigers have become accustomed to the vehicles and are not afraid of approaching the cage which presents magnificent photo opportunities. Their proclivity to jump and climb often sees them position themselves on the hood of the vehicle – it is the only place I have found where it is possible to take a wild animal to where the light is most suitable for a photograph!

Before heading out for the afternoon drive, you have a quick, light snack and set about getting more fantastic images with the Tigers. At sunset you return for pre-dinner drinks, dinner and discourse, before heading to the guesthouse for an early evening and re-charging your batteries (and the camera’s if necessary). Hills and low mountain ranges can be seen in the distance and form an interesting backdrop to any Tiger photograph. The Reserve has been populated with reeds in the shallow riverbeds as these are favorites for the Tiger to hunt and hide in.

On the last day, after breakfast you return to Bloemfontein for a flight to Johannesburg and stay overnight at the Mondior Hotel.

Tiger Canyons is also home to cheetahs. More specifically, Cheetahs, whose parents have been captured or killed, find a refuge at the conservancy. Here they are reared by hand until they reach the stage of hunting by themselves. Every day, the cheetah sub-adults are taken from their enclosures and driven to a suitable location to hunt for small prey. Visitors may volunteer to accompany the Cheetahs during their training/hunting escapades – always a one-of-a-kind photography experience – under the watchful eye of John Varty.

Safari Tour Dates
This side tour is available on demand and subject to availability. It will be confirmed at time of booking according to the guest’s itinerary.

Costs & Terms of Payment
The 4 day (3 nights) all-inclusive photographic safari tour costs $2,495 per person. This includes

  • One night stay at the Mondior Hotel at OR Tambo International airport
  • Three nights accommodation in Phillopolis, local alcoholic beverages and all meals at the lodges
  • Radio linked vehicles to report animal sightings as they happen
  • Commercial flights between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein
  • All airport transfers and relevant park fees
  • Ground transportation of luggage
  • Hire of private vehicle and guides for game drives and park fees
  • Local alcoholic beverages at camp
  • Laundry at the lodges
  • Fees, tourism taxes and levies

The following items are not included

  • International flights to and from South Africa (OR Tambo International Airport)
  • Medical inoculations, vaccinations, travel medicines and prophylactics
  • Premium alcoholic beverages
  • Tips and gratuities for camp staff, guides, rangers and trackers
  • Visas and insurances
  • Optional personal purchases, tours and extra activities

Costs are per person sharing.  A deposit of $1,000 is required at the time of booking. Balance is payable no later than 90 days before the start of the tour. If you cancel within 90 days prior to the start of the tour, the deposit is refundable if we can find another guest to take your place.

As a limited number of spaces are available, if a guest is unwilling to share with another guest of the same gender, then a single supplement will be charged. Although we will try to accommodate requests for single occupancy, this cannot be guaranteed.

We reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary if conditions warrant such an action. We will attempt to notify participants of changes with as much notice as possible. Changes having an impact on the schedule or on costs will be borne by the participants.


Physical health requirements
This is a great opportunity for you to take pictures of the environment and observe animals in the wild. Most travelling is undertaken in air-conditioned vehicles but some images are best taken away from the vehicle and involve moderate walking. Climbing the dunes is optional – you should be able to climb into and out of a safari vehicle and walk unaided for short distances. Guests must complete a standard liability waiver  before participating in this safari.

Important Information
This safari tour visits two luxurious and well appointed lodges, one located just south of the Sand River in the lower concession area alongside the world renowned Kruger Park and the other in the central concession area. The safari departs from Johannesburg International airport (OR Tambo) to Skukuza International airport on a commercial flight and returns to OR Tambo from Hoedspruit airport on a chartered flight. The transfer between the lodges involves quite a bit of travel by road – about a 3 hour drive – in an air conditioned vehicle fro the exclusive use of the tour group. This has been determined as the most convenient and cost-effective manner to visit the region. Please note that minor changes to the itinerary and/or flight schedules may occur due to local conditions and to better accommodate our group. You will be informed, to the extent possible, in advance of any such changes.

Mandatory Medical Evacuation Insurance
Some of the areas we visit are wild and at a distance from major cities; it is a condition of this booking for guests to carry their own medical evacuation insurance. You will be asked to provide independent documentary evidence of such cover, failing which cover will be provided for you at your cost and added to your account.

Please provide the office with the insurance company’s name, contact number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that this policy exists in the interest of our guests’ safety.

Travel Arrangements to and from the Departure Point
This safari starts and ends in Johannesburg, South Africa. Your travel arrangements must ensure that you arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa at OR Tambo airport no later than 5 pm on the first day of the tour. That evening the group will meet for a group introduction and welcome cocktails offered by the organizers. This tour ends at 4pm on the last day – please arrange departures from OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg no earlier than after 6 pm on the final day. If you plan to participate in an add-on side trip to Cape Town, the routing will determine the itinerary at the time of reservation.

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Check out our galleries from previous trips.

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