Nick Garbutt's Wildlife Photography Tours

I am pleased to offer an exclusive programme of wildlife and photography tours in partnership with my friends at Wildlife Worldwide.

Photography group with Leopard

Photography group with Leopard

The aim of these tours is to offer unmatched experiences that maximize opportunities to watch and photograph wildlife in the finest locations. And also to help participants improve their techniques and achieve the best results from their photography, irrespective of their level of experience.

wwptng_logo_rgb_1000px_onwhite1Each itinerary is carefully designed and the locations specifically chosen to offer unrivalled photographic opportunities. The pace of the tours is such that there is ample time to get the most from the photographic potential of each location visited.

During each tour, informal workshops - tailored to suit all levels of experince - will cover a cross-section of photographic and digital processing techniques and skills relevant to the destination, location and subjects, with as much one-to-one time and tuition as it feasible.

Photography on safari in Africa

Photography on safari in Africa

Tours are arranged chronologically. Nick's most popular destinations are offered most years, for instance, Madagascar, Borneo and The Pantanal (although itinararies may be refined and improved as new options become available), while other more unusual or adventurous destinations may be offered biannually unless demand dictates otherwise. New destinations and tours are continuously be researched and will be added to the programme when appropriate.

Photo ToursThese tours / workshops are designed quite specifically (but not necessarily exclusively) for photographers. The locations chosen offer unsurpassed photographic opportunities and the day-to-day schedules are such that quality photographic potential at each location is maximised.

Wildlife WatchingNot only do these tours offer plenty to keep keen photographers happy, but also cater to those with a more general wildlife interest. These trips still offer lots of good photographic potential, but are not designed solely and specifically for those interested in photography.

Wildlife Photography Tours

BRAZIL: The Pantanal: August 2015
Southern Tamandua carrying its young, Pantanal

Tamandua carrying young

 

Dates: 17th August - 2nd September 2015

(next planned departure August-September 2017)

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £7725 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £6695 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group Size: 10
Current Availability: limited space
GUARANTEED DEPARTURE

Read an account of the 2014 trip

In the heart of South America, south of Amazonia and east of the Andes, lies an immense landlocked delta where seasonal floodwaters rise then recede providing an annual pulse of nutrients that results in one of the richest wildlife areas on earth - the Pantanal.

Giant Otter, Paraguay River, Taiama Reserve

Giant Otter, Taiama Reserve

After rains in the surrounding uplands, more than 80% of the Pantanal becomes submerged (December-March) and wildlife is dispersed around the limited areas of dry land, but as these waters drain away and the land dries out, migratory birds return and other wildlife becomes more concentrated. These concentrations reach their peak in the dry season (July-October) when the remaining pools and flowing watercourses act like wildlife magnets.

The quantity of wildlife the area supports is breath taking, but it is more its accessibility that makes a trip to the Pantanal so memorable and rewarding photographically. Seeing iconic and rare animals frequently and closely is a very real possibility.

Jaguars generally top everyone's wish list: there is no finer place in the world to capture images of  South America's apex predator and the chances of success are very realistic. This tour spends time in two river locations that are renowned: during morning and afternoon boat trips there is an excellent change of encountering jaguars, some times within pulse-racing close proximity.

Male Jaguar wading through shallow water Cuiaba River Pantanal Brazil

Male Jaguar in river's edge

Toco Toucan feeding Cuiaba River Pantanal

Toco Toucan feeding

Add to this, the likelihood of encounters with giant otters (the Pantanal is arguably now the best place in South America to see these magnificent creatures), Brazilian tapir, giant anteaters, hyacinth macaws, howler and capuchin monkeys, jabiru storks, toco toucans and countless capybara, yacare caiman and a wealth of colourful bird life it is easy to appreciate why the Pantanal is regarded as such a special place.

Giant Anteater, Pantanal

Giant Anteater being photographed by one of our group

We combine two prime jaguar locations (8 nights), with a mixture of other locations away from major rivers where different habitats - a mosaic of grasslands, marshes, small rivers and still waters and forest patches - provide refuge for a tremendous diversity of species that are both relatively easy to see and approachable enough to offer great photo opportunities. Wildlife watching and photography on the rivers is by small boat, while at others locations there is a combination of guided walks, drives in safari trucks, night drives and horse riding.

 

BORNEO: Rainforests & Rivers: September 2015
Proboscis Monkey leaping

Proboscis Monkey leaping

 

Dates: 12th - 30th September 2015

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £5995 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £4995 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available
GUARANTEED DEPARTURE

Few places conjure images of darkness and mystery like Borneo - the island has long nourished the imagination of naturalists and travellers alike. Charles Darwin once described it as "one great wild untidy luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself", an incredibly apt description given the wealth and variety of fauna and flora on the island.

Morning mist hanging over Lowland Rainforest, Danum Valley

Morning mist hanging over Lowland Rainforest, Danum Valley

From the heights of Mount Kinabalu to pristine coral-fringed off-shore islands with great tracts of lush rainforest in between, the diversity of habitats supports a tremendous array of endearing and intriguing species - there are mammals, lizards, snakes and frogs that "fly", fish that "walk" on mud, monkeys that dive and swim, plants that eat insects and flowers the size of dustbin lids.

Most renowned are two extraordinary primates; the fabled orang-utan, literally "Man of the Forest", and the improbable proboscis monkey. Add to these, the spectacular rhinoceros hornbill, several species of pitta - exquisite jewel-like birds, a myriad of tree frogs and the giant Rafflesia, the world's largest flower and some of this natural wealth becomes apparent.

Focusing on the three most diverse locations, Mt Kinabalu, the Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley, we will explore a variety of evocative rainforests and have an excellent chance to see many of the island's iconic species.

Male Bornean Orang-Utan feeding

Male Bornean Orang-Utan feeding

 

Mossy Tree Frog

Mossy Tree Frog

There is also scope for numerous exciting night walks - Danum Valley is one of the best locations anywhere for these - where a completely different cast of characters become visible; there are numerous frogs, lizards and reptiles, bizarre invertebrates and if fortune favours endearing mammals like the western tarsier, slow loris and giant flying squirrel.

In combination the locations we visit offer a window in to the natural splendour of Borneo and provide a wide range of opportunities to experience and photograph the island's incomparable wildlife.

Rain forests in Borneo can be particularly warm and humid, so throughout this trip we have chosen lodges that best cater for comfort in our chosen locations. This does not automatically mean unnecessary levels of luxury: lodges in Borneo generally do not approach the standards that some in say Africa do.  It is all about striking an appropriate balance. On Mount Kinabalu, where higher elevations mean lower temperatures, the lodge is more 'rustic', where as our lodge in Danum Valley where it can be very humid is perhaps one of the finest in South East Asia.

MADAGASCAR: An Island Apart: October 2015
Diademed Sifaka with infant

Diademed Sifaka with infant

 

Dates: 13th October - 2nd November 2015

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £6595 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £5745 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 8
Current Availability: 2 spaces available

Read an account of the 2014 trip

Madagascar is a country like no other. Millions of years of isolation have led to the evolution of an array species found nowhere else. Add to this an extraordinary range of habitats and the result is a destination brimming with intrigue and excitement.

Helmet Vanga on nest

Helmet Vanga on nest

The island's most famous inhabitants are its lemurs - charming and highly varied off-shoots of the primate family tree: cuddly teddy-bear like indri and gorgeous diademed sifaka live in the lush eastern rain forests, while rare red ruffed lemurs only occur on the Masoala Peninsula in the far north east. And only after dark do the island's 'Spirits of the Night' become active: miniscule mouse and dwarf lemurs scurry along branches, while hedgehog-like tenrecs bumble in the undergrowth.

There are numerous birds unique to the island, varied vangas with many beak shaped, noisy couas and colourful, skulking ground rollers. Reptiles too abound - over 60% of the world's chameleons live nowhere else and the amazing leaf-tailed geckos has near-perfect camouflage. Add to this a myriad of colourful and very vocal tree frogs and multitude of peculiar insects like the amazing giraffe-necked weevil and there is always something to grab your attention.
 

Aye-aye foraging

Aye-aye foraging

Male Giraffe-necked Weevil

Male Giraffe-necked Weevil

This trip will visit some of the island's prime sites like Masoala, and Andasibe-Mantadia, together with less well-known but equally spectacular and unusual places like Marojejy and Daraina.

Male Panther Chameleon

Male Panther Chameleon

Marojejy, towards the far north-east, is one of the island's truly great wilderness areas, where extensive lowland rainforests containing a wealth of wildlife, including gorgeous silky sifakas, one of the world's rarest primates. At Daraina in the far north, fragments of remaining forest support the beautiful golden-crowned sifaka and even the elusive aye-aye (during the 2013 and 2014 tours, we had excellent views of this bizarre animal - see photo).

In summary, Madagascar is intoxicating - a strange and incongruous mixture of wildlife and culture combine to produce a country unlike any other. Memories of the friendly people, unique habitats and wildlife will linger and the overriding experience will be of an island lost in time.

Nick with orphaned Ring-tailed Lemur

Nick with orphaned Ring-tailed Lemur

 

Nick and Madagascar

Nick is well-known as a leading authority on the wildlife of Madagascar. He first visited the island in 1991 and, with £200 in his pocket and 60 rolls of film, spent a month back-packing and exploring four of the parks and reserves. Since then, he has returned every year and in doing so has travelled the length and breadth of the island many times, visited all the major national parks and reserves and he has seen the majority of the island's lemurs (now more than 100 species) and other mammals in the wild, plus a very high proportion of the other endemic fauna.

He has written several books on the island's wildlife, including the highly acclaimed Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide, Madagascar Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide and Chameleons and his enthusiasm for the country and its natural history remains undiminished and infectious.

ZAMBIA: South Luangwa & A Blizzard of Bats: November 2015
Straw-coloured Fruit Bats at dawn

Straw-coloured Fruit Bats at dawn

Dates: 15th - 25th November 2015

Photo ToursPrice: £5195 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £4295 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available

Bring to mind the 'Great Migration' in Africa and thoughts inevitably turn to herds wandering across the Serengeti Plains. But Africa also hosts a migration on an even grander scale - the largest mammalian migration on Earth. From October to early December straw-coloured fruit bats from all over Africa converge on the Miombo woodland of Zambia to feed.

At it's peak some 10-12 million bats congregate and roost in a small patch of swamp forest in Kasanka National Park. Each day at dusk they fly out to feed and around dawn they return: a blizzard of bats in numbers that are hard to comprehend. Seeing it is to witness one of the world's greatest (and largely unsung) wildlife spectacles.

Straw-coloured Fruit Bats returning to roost

Straw-coloured Fruit Bats returning to roost

Bull Elephant feeding

Bull Elephant feeding

This tour combines time in Kasanka - which is also an excellent place to see sitatunga - with an extended stay in South Luangwa National Park, that is rightly regarded as the jewel of Zambia's extensive national parks network.

Leopard after dark with kill

Leopard after dark with kill

The Luangwa River forms the eastern boundary of this largely untouched wilderness and towards the end of the dry season and beginning of the 'green' season this regions offers an unrivalled safari experience.

The riverine areas attract large numbers of elephants, buffalo, giraffe (Thornicroft's), zebra (Crawshay's), puku and impala. There are also large numbers of attendant predators: the area is one of the best in all Africa for leopards, several prides of lions frequent the area and there is also good population of painted hunting dogs that are seen with reasonable regularity.

ZAMBIA: South Luangwa Art & Photo Safari: November 2015
Client during sculpture workshop

Client during sculpture workshop

 

Dates: 27th November - 7th December 2015

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £4995 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £4095 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 12
Current Availability: spaces available
GUARANTEED DEPARTURE

LEADERS: Nick Garbutt & Nick Mackman

Join Nick Garbutt and award-winning wildlife sculptor Nick Mackman on a bespoke workshop safari in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. Wildlife photography and wildlife art and sculpture are very different and yet complimentary disciplines. Both require intense observation and the ability to interpret what is being seen, before depicting the subject in a way that ‘sets' it in time. In their different ways, the two Nicks have built their careers around their ability to do this.

Combining morning and afternoon game drives (when light conditions and wildlife activity are best) with practical demonstrations and tuition in field sketching, sculpture and photography. Nick and Nick aim to help participants translate what they see in the field into photos and field sketches and then finally into finished pieces of photographic or three-dimensional art.

South Luangwa sculpture workshop

South Luangwa sculpture workshop

African Hunting Dog

African Hunting Dog

The workshop is based at Mfuwe Lodge in the heart of Zambia's South Luangwa National Park: a location that offers unrivalled access to many of the best wildlife viewing areas in the park, where leopards, lions and painted hunting dogs are regularly seen. Indeed so much can often be seen within the lodge grounds that are often visited by several species of antelope and other species.

Female Leopard

Female Leopard

Most famously in November and December groups of elephants regularly passes through the lodge to feed on a favourite wild mango tree in the grounds, which is conveniently located right next to the open decking and temporary studio that is set up for this trip.

Nick and Elephant in South Luangwa

Nick and Elephant in South Luangwa

During previous workshops we have regularly had visits from elephants (and otehr wildlife) at the same time as practical sessions have been taking place. There really couldn't be a better place in the African bush to run such an event from.

Nick Mackman

Nick is an award-winning ceramic and bronze sculptor (2015 Wildlife Artist of the Year), who gains  her inspiration from the full breadth of the animal kingdom. The majority of her pieces are based on observations of animals in the field, with South Luangwa being one of her favourite locations in Africa.

The finished sculpture

The finished sculpture

Most of Nick’s sculptures are Raku fired, giving a rich natural looking crackle glaze. She aims to get under the skin of the animal, giving each sculpture its own personality. Many of her subjects are endangered and, she seeks to enlighten the viewer to their beauty, humour and tenderness.

A baby ele takes shape

A baby ele takes shape

Her work is widely exhibited and found in international collections and in 2010 she won the Wildlife Artist of the Year Open Category and in 2012 was again a category winner and overall runner-up. Between 1998 and 2013 she made the trophies for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.

More information about Nick’s work

YELLOWSTONE: Wild West Winter Wonderland: January 2016
Yurt Camp by night

Yurt Camp by night

 

 Dates: 15th - 30th January 2016

Photo Tours(next planned departure January 2018)

Price: £5195 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £4245 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 8
Current Availability: spaces available
GUARANTEED DEPARTURE

Yellowstone was the world's first national park (established in 1872) and remains as breathtaking as ever. Its grandeur is unquestionable at any time, but in the depths of winter the landscape takes on an ethereal harsh beauty.

Tree trunks and shadows

Tree trunks and shadows

The juxtaposition of fairytale frosts, ice and snow with swirling mists and rising steam from countless hot springs and geysers (the park contains half of the world's geothermal features) creates a landscape laden with atmosphere, mystique and photographic inspiration and opportunity.

Male Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep scraping snow

Male Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep scraping snow

The greater Yellowstone ecosystem is also widely considered to be the finest wildlife habitat in the lower 48 States. In the grip of winter large numbers of bison can be seen around hot springs and in the sheltered valleys it is possible to encounter coyotes, red fox, elk, bighorn sheep and sometimes pronghorn antelope.

The Lamar Valley and the surrounding area, in the north east corner of the park, is one of the best places to see wolves. There are 2-3 packs that frequent the vicinity, although their movements vary considerably from year to year with changes in pack dynamics. Research teams are out daily to track wolf whereabouts and if good sightings are possible they are always happy to help point in the right direction. Along the Madison River valley bison and bald eagles are regularly encountered and bobcats are occasionally seen hunting waterfowl along the river margins.

American Bison in blizzard, Yellowstone

American Bison in blizzard, Yellowstone

Male Timber or Grey Wolf

Male Timber or Grey Wolf

This tour initially concentrates in the north western corner of Yellowstone, including Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley, before moving to the spectacular Firehole River Valley, where there is the greatest concentration of geothermal features, and herds of frost-covered bison stand by steaming springs and numerous geysers, like 'Old Faithful', 'Castle Geyser' and 'Lone Star Geyser' erupt with predictable regularity.

Arguably the tour highlight is the final four days where we stay in the center of the park, based at a Yurt Camp, the only permanent winter accommodation within the vicinity. Using over-snow vehicles we will visit the most dramatic locations like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Hayden Valley, Gibbon Meadows and Norris Geyser Basin.

Along the Upper Yellowstone River, it is possible to see otters and several species of waterfowl, while the Hayden Valley is especially good for bison, coyottes and foraging red foxes. While at the cosy and comfortable camp there will be the opportunity to explore the areas close at hand by snow-shoe and for those who wish on cross-country skis.

CHILE: Pumas in Patagonia: March 2016
Puma in Torres del Paine

Puma in Torres del Paine

 

Photo ToursDates: 6th - 17th March 2016

Price: £5495 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £4395 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: 2 spaces available

 Torres del Paine National Park in the remote south of Chile is frequently referred too as one of the most beautiful and majestic wild places on the planet. This is the most breathtaking region of Patagonia where the rugged imposing southern Andes are juxtaposed with glaciers, blue melt-water lakes and free-flowing rivers.

This area is a refuge for a wealth of Andean wildlife and is a major stronghold for the region's top predator, the puma. The first half of this tour is focused in an area where seeing and photographing these beautiful cats is not only possible, but very likely.

Between February and April female pumas are hunting relentlessly to provide for their growing cubs and unlike other times of the year, they are very often active during daylight and especially around dawn and dusk.

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

 

Puma in Torres del Paine

Puma in Torres del Paine

We engage specialist local guides and puma trackers to maximise our chances of finding and photographing these sublime felines. Furthermore, the region also offers a chance of seeing and photographing many other species, some of which, like inquisitive guanacos and grey foxes, are surprisingly relaxed and approachable.

Guanacos in Torres del Paine

Guanacos in Torres del Paine

Lake Grey is another highlight, where colossal icebergs lie stranded on the southern shore after a slow drift from the Grey Glacier front. Despite its rather austere name, Grey Glacier is one of the most beautiful and colourful in Patagonia. The front is deeply crevassed and the solid glacial ice varies in colour from whitish to deep indigo. The glacier is flanked towards the east by impressive granite walls that are part of the Paine Massif, and towards the west by the eroded and low summits of the older Andes. As you might imagine, the opportunities here from dramatic photography are varied and tremendous.

With out question Torres del Paine is Patagonia's premier wildlife destination and in combination with the unsurpassable scenery and comfortable and dramatically located accommodation it makes for a perfect photography tour destination.

All images © Far South Expeditions
INDIA: Tigers, Terai & Central Indian Wildlife: March 2016
Indian One-horned Rhinoceros

Indian One-horned Rhinoceros

 

Dates: 22nd March - 10th April 2016

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £5095 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £4295 (Twin-share: Ground Only)


Maximum Group 10

Current Availability: spaces available

Read an account of the 2014 trip

Be it sights, sounds or smells, there's nowhere quite like India for assaulting the senses. There are few places more evocative or magical than one of its ancient forests: shrouded in early morning mists, shafts of light spear through the trees, there is a glorious palette of golds, ochres, oranges and greens and intense charged excitement when the alarm calls of monkeys and deer break the silence, triggering forest inhabitants into high alert as a tiger takes it first steps of the day?

Sloth Bear in Satpura

Sloth Bear in Satpura

While several of India's famous tiger reserves have become over-crowded and unrewarding in the wildlife experience they offer, lesser-known reserves still remain where tigers are visible and the experiences are memorable for all the right reasons.

Tiger portrait

Tiger portrait

The epitome of this is Satpura. It is a magical place, separated from humanity by a large reservoir, with mixed deciduous forest covering hilly terrain. Through a combination of boat rides, elephant rides and drives the park can be enjoyed at a sedate pace with plenty of time to take in its many treasures.

Bull Asian Elephant

Bull Asian Elephant

Better known are Pench and Tadoba-Andhari National Parks, which in recent years have a reliable reputation for tigers, as well as a broad diversity of other wildlife. Their combined variety means visiting all three is most certainly worthwhile.

The tour begins in Kaziranga in Assam, which provides dramatic contrast to the reserves in Central India. The habitat is very different - Terai - a belt of marshy grasslands, swamps, small lakes and deciduous forests. Here over 2000 one-horned rhinos live (70% of the world’s remaining population) as well as herds of wild elephants, water buffalo, hog deer and a variety of unusual and interesting birds. There is also a healthy population of tigers (around 100) but the habitat and terrain means sightings are infrequent and invariably brief.

It is all too easy to become preoccupied with one animal in India and judge the success of a tour on seeing it, yet Indian forests also support a wealth of other charismatic species like sloth bears, wild dogs (dhole), leopards and gaur (Indian bison) which are also exciting to see and photograph. This tour will concentrate on these four diverse reserves and offers the chance to experience India in a way that avoids the crowds as much as possible.

ROMANIA: Danube Delta: May 2016

RollerPhoto ToursDates: 30th April - 7th May 2016

Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)


Maximum Group 12

Current Availability: 3 spaces available

LEADERS: Nick Garbutt & Alex Hyde

The Danube is Europe’s second largest river delta and one of the continent’s great wetland wildernesses. In the spring and autumn it is a haven for migrating birds, as well a being the permanent home for a wealth of wildlife that includes not only resident birds, but mammals, reptiles, amphibians and an impressive diversity of insects.

DragonflyOur base for the trip is a superb new lodge on a private reserve in the heart of the Delta. It is remote and quiet (accessible only by boat) and within its 1000 hectares are an incredible variety of different habitats, that in turn support the impressive diversity of fauna and flora. An extensive network of trails allows access to all the prime areas and dotted around the complex are more than twenty photographic hides that have been set up to target key species.

Jackal_2In May the pups of the resident Golden Jackals are often visible and there is a hide dedicated to their den. At the time of our visit, more than 150 bird species are resident, with hides set up to target a number of these. Both European Rollers and Eurasian Hoopoes are very common and the various hides should provide amble opportunity to photograph many other species such as White-tailed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Little Owl, Collared Pratincole, European Bee-Eater, Common Kingfisher and Black, Grey-headed and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. The varied wetlands provide a home for a fantastic array of dragonflies and damselflies, including species like, Broad Scarlets, Black Pennant and Lesser Emperors (all dragonflies) and Blue Feather-leg, Dark Spread-wing and Small Red-eye (all damselflies).

Boat_tripPurpose-built hide boats allow us to explore the intricate network of waterways and lakes in the vicinity, including the margins of the Black Sea. Here we hope to photograph flotillas of fishing White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Ferruginous Ducks and Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes. There are also rafts of water lilies where colonies of Black and Whiskered Terns congregate.

Sea-Eagle_2Of course with so many different options, the day-to-day schedule will be flexible and as much as possible we will target specific opportunities to coincide with the best time of day or light conditions. After dark there are also opportunities to see and photograph various nocturnal species. This is one of the best (and easiest) places in Europe to see Wild Cats. There are also several species of owl, most notably Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl and around the water margins European Tree Frogs and Eastern Spade-foot Toads.

The photographic opportunities at this location are many and varied and require a breadth of skills and techniques to take full advantage, ranging from using telephoto lenses in hides, to macro and the use of fill-in flash, to nocturnal photography using one or more flash units.

This trip will be co-led by Nick Garbutt and Alex Hyde, who between them have a wealth of experience and different photographic skills and this will allow maximum flexibility, with the potential for tailoring opportunities to individual clients’ requirements and as much small-group or one-to-one tuition time as possible.

Dragonfly © Alex Hyde              All other images © Ultima Frontiera
ECUADOR: Hummingbirds & Amazon Rainforests: September 2016

Photo Tours

Blue Morpho Butterfly in Ecuadorian Amazon

Blue Morpho Butterfly in Ecuadorian Amazon

 

Dates: 20th September - 5th October 2016

Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available

LEADERS: Nick Garbutt

Ecuador is an amazingly rich, diverse and rewarding wildlife and photography destination. Lying on the equator, straddling both the east and west slopes of the Andes and encompassing the western extreme of the Amazon Basin, Ecuador supports 15% of the world's known bird species and in the Ecuadorian Amazon, live over 30% of all bird species in Amazonia.

But such staggering levels of diversity alone do not necessarily make for a prime photographic destination; the accessibility of the wildlife is also key. Here Ecuador also scores very highly. Locations chosen for this tour include some of the most astonishing hummingbird sites on earth, where literally dozens of species can be seen and photographed and two Amazonia locations that are each different in character, but in combination offer a range of excellent options and sites from quiet back waters, to parrot clay licks to rainforest canopy platforms.

Many-banded Aracari

Many-banded Aracari

Sword-billed Hummingbird feeding at a Devil's Trumpet Flower

Sword-billed Hummingbird feeding at a Devil's Trumpet Flower

Beginning in the cloud forests on the western slopes of the Andes we are based in a secluded valley, where bird diversity in general and hummingbird diversity in particular is astounding. Within the lodge grounds over 30 species of hummingbird have been seen and up to 20 of these visit the lodge feeders on a daily basis. Diversity on the eastern slopes of the Andes is equally impressive, but the species composition is different and therefore offers a wealth of new and enthralling photographic opportunities. Our lodge is a prime place to see the amazing sword-billed hummingbird, which in relation to body size, has the longest beak of any bird.

Wildlife watching from a canopy tower in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Wildlife watching from a canopy tower in the Ecuadorian Amazon

From the Andes, we travel into the Amazon Basin and divide our time between two locations that again offer different experiences and photographic opportunities. Both are located along the Napo River, but on opposite banks, where species likely to be seen and photographed will vary. One location may give us the chance to observe one of the regions top carnivores, the endearing Giant Otter and there will also be an opportunity to visit a renowned parrot-lick on at least one occasion.

The photographic opportunities on this tour will be broad. In all locations we will spend time looking for the more accessible wildlife like frogs, reptiles and insects which lend themselves to macro techniques. Bird and mammal photography will be more opportunistic, but is certainly rewarding, especially from canopy platforms. In the Andes there will also be time to get to grips with hummingbird photography, including various aspects of using flash.

 

MADAGASCAR: An Island Apart: October 2016
Red Ruffed Lemur calling

Red Ruffed Lemur calling

 

Wildlife WatchingDates: 11th -31st October 2016

Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 8
Current Availability: spaces available

Read an account of the 2014 trip

Madagascar is a country like no other. Millions of years of isolation have led to the evolution of an array species found nowhere else. Add to this an extraordinary range of habitats and the result is a destination brimming with intrigue and excitement.

Aye-aye foraging

Aye-aye foraging

The island's most famous inhabitants are its lemurs - charming and highly varied off-shoots of the primate family tree: cuddly teddy-bear like indri and gorgeous diademed sifaka live in the lush eastern rain forests, while rare red ruffed lemurs only occur on the Masoala Peninsula in the far north east. And only after dark do the island's 'Spirits of the Night' become active: miniscule mouse and dwarf lemurs scurry along branches, while hedgehog-like tenrecs bumble in the undergrowth.

There are numerous birds unique to the island, varied vangas with many beak shaped, noisy couas and colourful, skulking ground rollers. Reptiles too abound - over 60% of the world's chameleons live nowhere else and the amazing leaf-tailed geckos has near-perfect camouflage. Add to this a myriad of colourful and very vocal tree frogs and multitude of peculiar insects like the amazing giraffe-necked weevil and there is always something to grab your attention.

Golden-crowned Sifaka

Golden-crowned Sifaka

 

Painted Mantella

Painted Mantella

This trip will visit some of the island's prime sites like Masoala, and Andasibe-Mantadia, together with less well-known but equally spectacular and unusual places like Marojejy and Daraina.

Male Parson's Chameleon

Male Parson's Chameleon

Marojejy, towards the far north-east, is one of the island's truly great wilderness areas, where extensive lowland rainforests containing a wealth of wildlife, including gorgeous silky sifakas, one of the world's rarest primates. At Daraina in the far north, fragments of remaining forest support the beautiful golden-crowned sifaka and even the elusive aye-aye (during the 2013 and 2014 tours, we had excellent views of this bizarre animal - see photo).

In summary, Madagascar is intoxicating - a strange and incongruous mixture of wildlife and culture combine to produce a country unlike any other. Memories of the friendly people, unique habitats and wildlife will linger and the overriding experience will be of an island lost in time.

Nick with orphaned Ring-tailed Lemur

Nick with orphaned Ring-tailed Lemur

 

Nick and Madagascar

Nick is well-known as a leading authority on the wildlife of Madagascar. He first visited the island in 1991 and, with £200 in his pocket and 60 rolls of film, spent a month back-packing and exploring four of the parks and reserves. Since then, he has returned every year and in doing so has travelled the length and breadth of the island many times, visited all the major national parks and reserves and he has seen the majority of the island's lemurs (now more than 100 species) and other mammals in the wild, plus a very high proportion of the other endemic fauna.

He has written several books on the island's wildlife, including the highly acclaimed Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide, Madagascar Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide and Chameleons and his enthusiasm for the country and its natural history remains undiminished and infectious.

BOTSWANA: Giants & Predators of Mashatu: November 2016

Photo Tours

Mating leopards

Mating leopards

 

Dates: 5th - 17th November 2016

Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available

African safaris offer some of the very best wildlife viewing and photography opportunities, but there is a danger they all become ‘variations on a theme’. As a photographer you are restricted to working from a vehicle and often have only a brief amount of time to react and hopefully get a good photo. How nice it would be to be able to ‘escape’ the vehicle and have the time to consider a situation in order to ‘nail’ the best possible picture.

Mashatu in Botswana offers just such opportunities. It is the epitome of all that defines wilderness areas in Africa. Visitors are charmed by the vast open spaces, the diversity of wildlife and the tranquility. In addition to ‘conventional’ game viewing and photography from open safari vehicles, Mashatu provides an alternative perspective with the use of purpose built photographic hides that offer many and varied photographic situations.

Elephants at a Mashatu waterhole

Elephants at a Mashatu waterhole

These hides have been positioned very carefully to provide interesting viewing angles with additional consideration to the direction of the sun, the background and the perspective the viewer occupies in relation to the subjects. These include two sunken hides that offer ground level viewing at waterholes, each giving a wonderful intimate perspective on the visiting wildlife.

The photo opportunities from a waterhole hide are spectacular

The photo opportunities from a waterhole hide are spectacular

A wide variety of species regularly visit the waterholes, from elephants to giraffe, eland and other antelope and predators including lions, leopards and hyenas. There are also numerous bird species that drink at the pools each day. The elephants at Mashatu are especially well-known and it is often the case that they occupy positions immediately by the hide when drinking and bathing – you might find yourself within touching distance of a forest of elephant legs and feet!

Watching a big male leopard at Mashatu

Watching a big male leopard at Mashatu

As a compliment this tour also visits Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in South Africa, which forms part of the Greater Kruger Park and ecosystem. Timbavati has been dedicated to conservation for over 50 years. More than 40 mammal species live in the reserve, including all the major predators like painted hunting dogs, lions and leopards, as well as healthy populations of elephants, white rhino, Cape buffalo, giraffe, eland, kudu and many other herbivores, as well as some 360 species of birds.

The area in which we stay forms part of a private concession and again offer tremendous photographic potential in complete seclusion. Game viewing and photography is from vehicles, where space is maintained for equipment. There is also the option to walk and enjoy the very different experience of the tracking wildlife in the African bush on foot.

ZAMBIA: South Luangwa Art & Photo Safari: November 2016
Client during sculpture workshop

Client during sculpture workshop

 

Dates: 19th - 28th November 2016

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 12
Current Availability: spaces available

 

LEADERS: Nick Garbutt & Nick Mackman

Join Nick Garbutt and award-winning wildlife sculptor Nick Mackman on a bespoke workshop safari in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. Wildlife photography and wildlife art and sculpture are very different and yet complimentary disciplines. Both require intense observation and the ability to interpret what is being seen, before depicting the subject in a way that ‘sets' it in time. In their different ways, the two Nicks have built their careers around their ability to do this.

Combining morning and afternoon game drives (when light conditions and wildlife activity are best) with practical demonstrations and tuition in field sketching, sculpture and photography. Nick and Nick aim to help participants translate what they see in the field into photos and field sketches and then finally into finished pieces of photographic or three-dimensional art.

South Luangwa sculpture workshop

South Luangwa sculpture workshop

African Hunting Dog

African Hunting Dog

The workshop is based at Mfuwe Lodge in the heart of Zambia's South Luangwa National Park: a location that offers unrivalled access to many of the best wildlife viewing areas in the park, where leopards, lions and painted hunting dogs are regularly seen. Indeed so much can often be seen within the lodge grounds that are often visited by several species of antelope and other species.

Female Leopard

Female Leopard

Most famously in November and December groups of elephants regularly passes through the lodge to feed on a favourite wild mango tree in the grounds, which is conveniently located right next to the open decking and temporary studio that is set up for this trip.

Nick and Elephant in South Luangwa

Nick and Elephant in South Luangwa

During previous workshops we have regularly had visits from elephants (and otehr wildlife) at the same time as practical sessions have been taking place. There really couldn't be a better place in the African bush to run such an event from.

Nick Mackman

Nick is an award-winning ceramic and bronze sculptor, who gains  her inspiration from the full breadth of the animal kingdom. The majority of her pieces are based on observations of animals in the field, with South Luangwa being one of her favourite locations in Africa.

The finished sculpture

The finished sculpture

Most of Nick’s sculptures are Raku fired, giving a rich natural looking crackle glaze. She aims to get under the skin of the animal, giving each sculpture its own personality. Many of her subjects are endangered and, she seeks to enlighten the viewer to their beauty, humour and tenderness.

A baby ele takes shape

A baby ele takes shape

Her work is widely exhibited and found in international collections and in 2010 she won the Wildlife Artist of the Year Open Category and in 2012 was again a category winner and overall runner-up. Between 1998 and 2013 she made the trophies for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.

More information about Nick’s work

INDIA, LADAKH: Snow Leopards: February 2017

Photo Tours

Bharal or Blue Sheep: a main prey species for snow leopards

Bharal or Blue Sheep: a main prey species for snow leopards

 

Dates: 18th February - 6th March 2017

Price: £5250 (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £4495 (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Single Supplement: please enquire



Maximum Group 8

Current Availability: spaces available

Perhaps more than any other animal, the snow leopard epitomizes wilderness and mystery. Its presence in the remote regions of Central Asia seems almost spirit-like and sightings have, for so long, been regarded as mythical. In recent years, locations have emerged where sightings are possible and do offer a genuine chance of seeing the beautiful grey ghost. Rumbak Valley in Hemis National Park, Ladakh is perhaps the best known of these places and recently its popularity for snow leopard trekking has increased dramatically. Success rates in the area are very good, especially for those willing to spend up to a week in the valley. However, as the number of visitors has increase, facilities have lagged behind and living conditions are basic.

A Snow Leopard prowls snowy Himalyan slopes

A Snow Leopard prowls snowy Himalyan slopes

We have developed what we regard as a superior alternative that concentrates efforts in valleys to the north of the River Indus in Ladakh. We will be working closely with several local trackers from the Snow Leopard Conservancy who are renowned for the abilities to locate the cats and they will each work in different valleys to maximize our chances.

Leh, capital of the former Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh

Leh, capital of the former Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh

While the trackers search, guests follow in 4x4 vehicles, so they can move easily between locations and also get as close a possible to potential sightings before setting out on foot (although sightings also happen from road side locations).

While snow leopards are clearly the main focus, there is plenty of other Himalayan wildlife to see in the area. The valleys we will be based in are also excellent for ibex, wolf, fox, urial or shapo, blue sheep or bharal and Tibetan partridge.

Goats grazing in Ladakh

Goats grazing in Ladakh

Accommodation is a guesthouse with western-style toilets and washrooms, and a comfortable dining/lounge area. Staff and fresh supplies are brought in to cater for guests, and help provide with little luxuries to make the stay as comfortable as possible in such a remote location.

The planned itinerary will spend nine days in the snow leopard areas, with at least two days of acclimatization to altitude in Leh beforehand, plus travel days at either end, making the trip just over two weeks in duration.

TANZANIA: Serengeti Migration: March 2017
A male Cheetah descends from a tree stump

A male Cheetah descends from a tree stump

 

Dates: March - April 2017

 

Photo ToursPrice: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 8
Current Availability: spaces available

 

The annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and other game around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem is one of the world's greatest wildlife wonders. The spectacle is an ongoing event with the herds constantly on the move in search of the best pasture and grazing.

Their movements are governed by the annual cycle of rains, which dictates that the animals follow a predictable yearly circuit around the vast ecosystem. Between January and April the rains brings the herds, in their hundreds of thousands, to the fertile short grass plains of the southern Serengeti.

Here females give birth to their calves and males spar with one another to establish dominance. Witnessing this is one of the "must see" events of the natural world. 

 I have visited the Serengeti on countless occasions at this time and it never fails to captivate and set the pulse racing. Sightings and photographic opportunities on each trip have been different - with considerable year-by-year variation - but there are always many special encounters and sightings and the events witnessed live long in the memory.

Vast herds of White-bearded Wildebeest migrating across the Serengeti

Vast herds of White-bearded Wildebeest migrating across the Serengeti

Another amazing day in the Serengeti draws to a close

Another amazing day in the Serengeti draws to a close

For photographers the areas at the boundary of the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area consistently provide a stream of unrivalled opportunities for creating memorable images. Here the open plains are broken by areas of woodland with lakes and marshes that form focal points for the gathering herds and attendant carnivores. This trip makes the most of this special place with an extended stay in the area. Through a combination of morning, afternoon and full-day game drives, there will be ample time to explore the vicinity and go further a field to follow the shifting herds, look for cats (it can be exceptional for cheetahs) and other predators.

Lion cubs near Ndutu

Lion cubs near Ndutu

In addition the Ngorongoro Crater is an exceptional place, where tolerant game can be viewed in close proximity. Early morning and late afternoon light is often exquisite and all set against an awe-inspiring backdrop. The tour concludes at Ndaraqwai, a beautiful private camp with spectacular views of Mt Kilimajaro and Mt Meru. Set amongst grasslands and acacia woodland, a variety of habitats provide a home for a large diversity of mammals and birds. There are excellent opportunities to photograph elephants at close quarters and a combination of game drives and walks offers the potential for more varied photography.

AUSTRIA: Close-up on Alpine Nature: June 2017
Mountain Apollo roosting

Mountain Apollo roosting

 

Dates: 17th - 24th June 2017
Optional Extension: 24th - 29th June 2017

Photo ToursPrice: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available

LEADERS: Alex Hyde & Nick Garbutt

June sees the alpine meadows of the Austrian Tyrol in their full glory. They are flushed with a spectacular show of wild flowers, and an equally stunning array of butterflies and other insects. This is the perfect time to visit for our macro photography tour.

A riot of colour: An Alpine meadow in full bloom

A riot of colour: An Alpine meadow in full bloom

We will explore the many and varied meadows and discover a rich flora and along the way encounter many exciting and beautiful insects that flourish on these alpine slopes. In the locations we visit there is a good chance of finding the iconic apollo butterfly. Moving higher up the slopes, the colourful meadows give way to swathes of vibrant alpenrose and high alpine species such as dwarf snowbell and trumpet gentian.

Trumpet Gentians

Trumpet Gentians

The tour has been designed to maximise macro opportunities.  Along with a renowned local guide, we will take you through all you need to know to photograph the region’s fascinating plants and wildlife. There will be an emphasis on macro techniques, as well as general and landscape elements. We will also photograph other attractions such as marmots, mountaintops at sunrise and dramatic glacial valleys.

Whether a beginner or a seasoned photographer, you will benefit from the tutors’ guidance and experience. We will be looking at all aspects of macro photography from the basics through to advanced techniques like focus stacking.

Burnt or Burnt-tip Orchid at sunrise

Burnt or Burnt-tip Orchid at sunrise

In addition there will be indoor workshops on digital workflow. You will learn how Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop techniques can complement your field skills and let you get the most from your digital camera.

A friendly family-run hotel provides the perfect base for our week of photography and fresh mountain air. Flexible transport arrangements mean that we can make best use of the light. A short drive takes us to an extensive cable car network, making access to high mountain scenery and plants easy.

Alex Hyde and Broad-leaf Marsh Orchid

Alex Hyde and Broad-leaf Marsh Orchid

Alex Hyde

I am delighted to be joined by good friend Alex Hyde on this trip. Alex is one of the UK's finest exponents of macro photography, combining the best of art and science into his exquisite images. He is a master of the technical aspects of digital photography and in the field or indoor workshop environment has the enviable skill of being able to convey challenging topics and ideas, concisely, simply and in a way that makes them understandable. To see more of Alex's stunning work click here

BRAZIL: The Pantanal: August 2017
Giant River Otter feeding on Striped Catfish or Cachara. Cuiaba River, Pantanal, Brazil.

Giant River Otter eating fish

 

Dates: 25th August - 11 September 2017

Optional Extensions:
Iguazzu Falls

21st - 26th Aug 2017

Southern Pantanal
10th - 18th Sept 2017

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group Size: 10
Current Availability: 1 space available

 

Read an account of the 2014 trip

In the heart of South America, south of Amazonia and east of the Andes, lies an immense landlocked delta where seasonal floodwaters rise then recede providing an annual pulse of nutrients that results in one of the richest wildlife areas on earth - the Pantanal.

Giant Anteater Giant Ant Bear foraging, Pantanal

Giant Anteater foraging

After rains in the surrounding uplands, more than 80% of the Pantanal becomes submerged (December-March) and wildlife is dispersed around the limited areas of dry land, but as these waters drain away and the land dries out, migratory birds return and other wildlife becomes more concentrated. These concentrations reach their peak in the dry season (July-October) when the remaining pools and flowing watercourses act like wildlife magnets.

The quantity of wildlife the area supports is breath taking, but it is more its accessibility that makes a trip to the Pantanal so memorable and rewarding photographically. Seeing iconic and rare animals frequently and closely is a very real possibility.

Jaguars generally top everyone's wish list: there is no finer place in the world to capture images of  South America's apex predator and the chances of success are very realistic. This tour spends time in two river locations that are renowned: during morning and afternoon boat trips there is an excellent change of encountering jaguars, some times within pulse-racing close proximity.

Female Jaguar with young cub, in the Pantanal

Female Jaguar with young cub, in the Pantanal

Sunbittern displaying. Hato La Aurora Reserve, Los Llanos, Colombia.

Sunbittern displaying

Add to this, the likelihood of encounters with giant otters (the Pantanal is arguably now the best place in South America to see these magnificent creatures), Brazilian tapir, giant anteaters, hyacinth macaws, howler and capuchin monkeys, jabiru storks, toco toucans and countless capybara, yacare caiman and a wealth of colourful bird life it is easy to appreciate why the Pantanal is regarded as such a special place.

Capybara swimming with young, Paraguay River, Taiama Reserve

Capybara swimming with young

We combine two prime jaguar locations (8 nights), with a mixture of other locations away from major rivers where different habitats - a mosaic of grasslands, marshes, small rivers and still waters and forest patches - provide refuge for a tremendous diversity of species that are both relatively easy to see and approachable enough to offer great photo opportunities. Wildlife watching and photography on the rivers is by small boat, while at others locations there is a combination of guided walks, drives in safari trucks, night drives and horse riding.

 

CANADA: British Columbia: The Great Bear Rainforest: September 2017

 

Dates: TBC September 2017

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group Size: 10
Current Availability: spaces available

Information about this tour will be available shortly.

 

 

PERU: Amazon Bugs, Birds and Beasts: October 2017

Photo ToursDates: TBC October 2017

Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available

Information about this tour will be available shortly.

MADAGASCAR: An Island Apart: November 2017
Diademed Sifaka with infant

Diademed Sifaka with infant

 

Dates: November 2017

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 8
Current Availability: spaces available

Madagascar is a country like no other. Millions of years of isolation have led to the evolution of an array species found nowhere else. Add to this an extraordinary range of habitats and the result is a destination brimming with intrigue and excitement.

Helmet Vanga on nest

Helmet Vanga on nest

The island's most famous inhabitants are its lemurs - charming and highly varied off-shoots of the primate family tree: cuddly teddy-bear like indri and gorgeous diademed sifaka live in the lush eastern rain forests, while rare red ruffed lemurs only occur on the Masoala Peninsula in the far north east. And only after dark do the island's 'Spirits of the Night' become active: miniscule mouse and dwarf lemurs scurry along branches, while hedgehog-like tenrecs bumble in the undergrowth.

There are numerous birds unique to the island, varied vangas with many beak shaped, noisy couas and colourful, skulking ground rollers. Reptiles too abound - over 60% of the world's chameleons live nowhere else and the amazing leaf-tailed geckos has near-perfect camouflage. Add to this a myriad of colourful and very vocal tree frogs and multitude of peculiar insects like the amazing giraffe-necked weevil and there is always something to grab your attention.
 

Aye-aye foraging

Aye-aye foraging

Male Giraffe-necked Weevil

Male Giraffe-necked Weevil

This trip will visit some of the island's prime sites like Masoala, and Andasibe-Mantadia, together with less well-known but equally spectacular and unusual places like Marojejy and Daraina.

Male Panther Chameleon

Male Panther Chameleon

Marojejy, towards the far north-east, is one of the island's truly great wilderness areas, where extensive lowland rainforests containing a wealth of wildlife, including gorgeous silky sifakas, one of the world's rarest primates. At Daraina in the far north, fragments of remaining forest support the beautiful golden-crowned sifaka and even the elusive aye-aye (during the 2013 and 2014 tours, we had excellent views of this bizarre animal - see photo).

In summary, Madagascar is intoxicating - a strange and incongruous mixture of wildlife and culture combine to produce a country unlike any other. Memories of the friendly people, unique habitats and wildlife will linger and the overriding experience will be of an island lost in time.

Nick with orphaned Ring-tailed Lemur

Nick with orphaned Ring-tailed Lemur

 

Nick and Madagascar

Nick is well-known as a leading authority on the wildlife of Madagascar. He first visited the island in 1991 and, with £200 in his pocket and 60 rolls of film, spent a month back-packing and exploring four of the parks and reserves. Since then, he has returned every year and in doing so has travelled the length and breadth of the island many times, visited all the major national parks and reserves and he has seen the majority of the island's lemurs (now more than 100 species) and other mammals in the wild, plus a very high proportion of the other endemic fauna.

He has written several books on the island's wildlife, including the highly acclaimed Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide, Madagascar Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide and Chameleons and his enthusiasm for the country and its natural history remains undiminished and infectious.

YELLOWSTONE: Wild West Winter Wonderland: January 2018
Yurt Camp by night

Yurt Camp by night

 

 Dates: TBC January 2018

Photo Tours

Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 8
Current Availability: spaces available

Yellowstone was the world's first national park (established in 1872) and remains as breathtaking as ever. Its grandeur is unquestionable at any time, but in the depths of winter the landscape takes on an ethereal harsh beauty.

Tree trunks and shadows

Tree trunks and shadows

The juxtaposition of fairytale frosts, ice and snow with swirling mists and rising steam from countless hot springs and geysers (the park contains half of the world's geothermal features) creates a landscape laden with atmosphere, mystique and photographic inspiration and opportunity.

Male Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep scraping snow

Male Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep scraping snow

The greater Yellowstone ecosystem is also widely considered to be the finest wildlife habitat in the lower 48 States. In the grip of winter large numbers of bison can be seen around hot springs and in the sheltered valleys it is possible to encounter coyotes, red fox, elk, bighorn sheep and sometimes pronghorn antelope.

The Lamar Valley and the surrounding area, in the north east corner of the park, is one of the best places to see wolves. There are 2-3 packs that frequent the vicinity, although their movements vary considerably from year to year with changes in pack dynamics. Research teams are out daily to track wolf whereabouts and if good sightings are possible they are always happy to help point in the right direction. Along the Madison River valley bison and bald eagles are regularly encountered and bobcats are occasionally seen hunting waterfowl along the river margins.

American Bison in blizzard, Yellowstone

American Bison in blizzard, Yellowstone

Male Timber or Grey Wolf

Male Timber or Grey Wolf

This tour initially concentrates in the north western corner of Yellowstone, including Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley, before moving to the spectacular Firehole River Valley, where there is the greatest concentration of geothermal features, and herds of frost-covered bison stand by steaming springs and numerous geysers, like 'Old Faithful', 'Castle Geyser' and 'Lone Star Geyser' erupt with predictable regularity.

Arguably the tour highlight is the final four days where we stay in the center of the park, based at a Yurt Camp, the only permanent winter accommodation within the vicinity. Using over-snow vehicles we will visit the most dramatic locations like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Hayden Valley, Gibbon Meadows and Norris Geyser Basin.

Along the Upper Yellowstone River, it is possible to see otters and several species of waterfowl, while the Hayden Valley is especially good for bison, coyottes and foraging red foxes. While at the cosy and comfortable camp there will be the opportunity to explore the areas close at hand by snow-shoe and for those who wish on cross-country skis.

CHILE: Pumas in Patagonia: March 2018

Photo Tours Dates: TBC March 2018

Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available

 Torres del Paine National Park in the remote south of Chile is frequently referred too as one of the most beautiful and majestic wild places on the planet. This is the most breathtaking region of Patagonia where the rugged imposing southern Andes are juxtaposed with glaciers, blue melt-water lakes and free-flowing rivers.

This area is a refuge for a wealth of Andean wildlife and is a major stronghold for the region's top predator, the puma. The first half of this tour is focused in an area where seeing and photographing these beautiful cats is not only possible, but very likely.

Between February and April female pumas are hunting relentlessly to provide for their growing cubs and unlike other times of the year, they are very often active during daylight and especially around dawn and dusk.

Puma in Torres del Paine

Puma in Torres del Paine

 

We engage specialist local guides and puma trackers to maximise our chances of finding and photographing these sublime felines. Furthermore, the region also offers a chance of seeing and photographing many other species, some of which, like inquisitive guanacos and grey foxes, are surprisingly relaxed and approachable.

Guanacos in Torres del Paine

Guanacos in Torres del Paine

Lake Grey is another highlight, where colossal icebergs lie stranded on the southern shore after a slow drift from the Grey Glacier front. Despite its rather austere name, Grey Glacier is one of the most beautiful and colourful in Patagonia. The front is deeply crevassed and the solid glacial ice varies in colour from whitish to deep indigo. The glacier is flanked towards the east by impressive granite walls that are part of the Paine Massif, and towards the west by the eroded and low summits of the older Andes. As you might imagine, the opportunities here from dramatic photography are varied and tremendous.

With out question Torres del Paine is Patagonia's premier wildlife destination and in combination with the unsurpassable scenery and comfortable and dramatically located accommodation it makes for a perfect photography tour destination.

All images © Far South Expeditions
BORNEO: Rainforests & Rivers: September 2018
Proboscis Monkey leaping

Proboscis Monkey leaping

 

Dates: TBC September 2018

Wildlife WatchingPrice: £TBC (Twin-share: Flights inclusive)
Price: £TBC (Twin-share: Ground Only)
Maximum Group 10
Current Availability: spaces available

Few places conjure images of darkness and mystery like Borneo - the island has long nourished the imagination of naturalists and travellers alike. Charles Darwin once described it as "one great wild untidy luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself", an incredibly apt description given the wealth and variety of fauna and flora on the island.

Morning mist hanging over Lowland Rainforest, Danum Valley

Morning mist hanging over Lowland Rainforest, Danum Valley

From the heights of Mount Kinabalu to pristine coral-fringed off-shore islands with great tracts of lush rainforest in between, the diversity of habitats supports a tremendous array of endearing and intriguing species - there are mammals, lizards, snakes and frogs that "fly", fish that "walk" on mud, monkeys that dive and swim, plants that eat insects and flowers the size of dustbin lids.

Most renowned are two extraordinary primates; the fabled orang-utan, literally "Man of the Forest", and the improbable proboscis monkey. Add to these, the spectacular rhinoceros hornbill, several species of pitta - exquisite jewel-like birds, a myriad of tree frogs and the giant Rafflesia, the world's largest flower and some of this natural wealth becomes apparent.

Focusing on the three most diverse locations, Mt Kinabalu, the Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley, we will explore a variety of evocative rainforests and have an excellent chance to see many of the island's iconic species.

Male Bornean Orang-Utan feeding

Male Bornean Orang-Utan feeding

 

Mossy Tree Frog

Mossy Tree Frog

There is also scope for numerous exciting night walks - Danum Valley is one of the best locations anywhere for these - where a completely different cast of characters become visible; there are numerous frogs, lizards and reptiles, bizarre invertebrates and if fortune favours endearing mammals like the western tarsier, slow loris and giant flying squirrel.

In combination the locations we visit offer a window in to the natural splendour of Borneo and provide a wide range of opportunities to experience and photograph the island's incomparable wildlife.

Rain forests in Borneo can be particularly warm and humid, so throughout this trip we have chosen lodges that best cater for comfort in our chosen locations. This does not automatically mean unnecessary levels of luxury: lodges in Borneo generally do not approach the standards that some in say Africa do.  It is all about striking an appropriate balance. On Mount Kinabalu, where higher elevations mean lower temperatures, the lodge is more 'rustic', where as our lodge in Danum Valley where it can be very humid is perhaps one of the finest in South East Asia.

Testimonials

We've been traveling with Nick for sixteen years, and have been lucky enough to have had some of the most wonderful animal encounters in awe inspiring locations, from Orang-utans and Proboscis Monkeys in Borneo, Jaguars in the Pantanal and the Wildebeest migration in Tanzania to the tiny things like pygmy chameleons and Giraffe-necked Weevils in Madagascar. No matter how big or small the subject, Nick will encourage and give advice on how to photograph it with unending patience and good humour.

Not a moment of any day is wasted often starting before dawn to perhaps admire the sunrise on Mount Kinabalu in Borneo and ending well after dusk maybe staking out an Aye-aye nest in Madagascar. And then there's the photo editing tuition if wanted in between. Every day is a new adventure and we can't wait for the next trip.

Jan and Nick, Madagascar 1998 & 2014, Tanzania 2000 & 2006, Borneo 2008, Pantanal 2011 etc.

We did want to sing Nick's praises in respect of our Serengeti trip. It is perfectly possible to go on a NG Wildlife Photography trip when you don't know anything at all about photography!! He is patience personified and he set about explaining what we needed to do to draw maximum benefit from the trip. I don't know whether or not it is his custom to organise tutorials during any free time, but this he offers very willingly and we simply could not have had a better teacher.

On the wildlife side of things, he is just awesome, so knowledgeable that you have faith in him right from the outset, and he never appears to tire of questions even after 14 days!

Our whole trip was also significantly complemented by Jombi and Faizal who could not have tried harder to present for us the best viewing spot, who were extremely knowledgeable in their own right and who were frankly an absolute joy to be with.

Jan and Paul, Tanzania 2014

A fantastic trip, and we would repeat it in a heartbeat if only we could! This was our first trip with Nick, but won't be the last. Nick is great trip leader, and a thoroughly nice person to boot. He works tirelessly to get the most out of the trip for everyone and, where possible, to tailor content to the wishes of individuals.

Early mornings and late nights are mainstays of this experience, but the great thing is you can do as much or as little as you choose - be warned though; the wildlife is compulsive! We'd hoped for wild orang-utan and tarsier; we were incredibly fortunate to see both. And what magical encounters too, so much more than just 'a tick'. Add in frequent night walks that reveal an entirely new perspective, and you've a top drawer trip. Nick knows the areas extremely well, and uses excellent local guides. Food and accommodation is fine throughout, culminating in the wonderful Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley - a wildlife traveller's heaven!

Anne and Steve, Borneo 2014

"What a wonderful exciting and memorable trip to the Pantanal, with brilliant views of jaguars during the day and night, giant otters, caiman, capybara. birds & frogs - the list is endless !! Part of the trip included a visit to Iguassu Falls a definite must do.

Nick is an outstanding guide with incredible enthusiasm, patience and knowledge. He makes every effort to ensure that everyone has a close encounter of the wildlife kind which is unique and personal. Careful consideration is given to the welfare of the animals and minimising disturbance to the environment. Locations are carefully selected to give the best opportunities for intimate and rewarding wildlife experiences. The lodges were eco-friendly with lovely staff and enthusiastic guides. Photographic sessions were tailored to everyone's ability and were fun and informative.

A top quality trip!"

Barbara, Pantanal Tour 2012

This was not an easy trip, and the word 'holiday' may not apply - BUT the reward was fully worth the effort! On our adventure we stayed in all manner of accommodation, from western-style with modern comforts, to remote and basic bush camps in the forest. Food was mixed too, but included the best chocolate mousse ever.

But there is no such variation when it comes to the quality of wildlife viewing! We saw things, special things - and very special things. From the astonishing diversity of geckos and chameleons, through numerous kinds of lemurs, to the most remarkable aye-aye encounter, that will remain with us for life.

Nick is a brilliant trip leader, as is his local guide Hery - they are a winning combination. Expect long days, long drives and aching muscles, coupled with stunning scenery, exceptional encounters and magical memories. Be prepared for an assault on your senses. The culture and people add an extra dimension to this trip too, especially in the more remote areas visited. There are many reasons why Nick is a terrific leader - his expertise and patience (notably before and during the trip), his enthusiasm and tireless commitment, and his sense of humour. Not insignificant, either, is his taste in restaurants and patisseries!

Anne and Steve, Madagascar 2014

"Wonderful trip which lived up to expectations. Nick catered for our different photographic levels and interests and each of us came back having learnt new things an keen to learn more. The wildlife was abundant and there was a good variety of photographic opportunities. The guides Jombi and Faizal were terrific and their knowledge and enthusiasm really made the trip memorable. The combination of Nick and the guides and of course the wildlife made it a great trip"

Kathy & Brian, Serengeti Migration Tour 2014

As a professional wildlife biologist, a very novice photographer and someone with little experience of organised tours, I was somewhat apprehensive about joining Nick's trip to Madagascar. I certainly needn't have worried. Nick's comprehensive knowledge of the island, its wildlife and his local contacts meant we were often well off the main tourist routes and had wonderful opportunities to see some of the rarer lemur species.

Our small group size allowed us to have some very intimate wildlife encounters. Whilst always conscious of animal welfare, we never felt rushed and were able to observe fascinating natural behaviours. I'll never forget the aye-aye tapping a tree trunk to find food.

Nick went the extra mile getting us up and dawn and out again after dark to maximise chances of finding wildlife and optimise conditions for photography. He took time to ensure everyone had a chance to take photos and was always happy to help where necessary - which was often in my case.

I have some fabulous memories, pretty good photos and I'm already planning my next trip!

Jane, Madagascar, 2014

Our tour with Nick Garbutt was fantastic and we had so many incredible tiger sightings: even I got some great photos. Tigers, leopards, rhinos, wild dogs, bears, jackals and wild elephants are just a few of the animals we saw. We loved the whole trip.

Penny & Richard, India 2014

We had a very good Tanzania trip with Nick Garbutt who was an excellent group leader, very helpful for those needing photographic assistance - he was always patient, kind and prepared to go the extra mile for us. We also had two first class guides, Jombi and Faizal whose experience, driving skills and knowledge of the wildlife provided us with the best chances of good photographs. I will say that following my first Wildlife Worldwide holiday I will not hesitate to travel with the company again. Well done.

Gloria, Tanzania 2014