This workshop is a unique opportunity to gain insight and knowledge of some remarkable and threatened raptor species. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has partnered with C4 Photo Safaris to provide exclusive conservation related safaris and workshops in southern Africa.
This particular workshop focuses on the conservation and recovery of threatened birds of prey in the Lowveld region of South Africa. In order to protect them effectively, the emphasis is on understanding the movements and behaviour of focal species using state of the art GPS tracking and remote camera technology. The Lowveld study site is also in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. This workshop will take place in the pristine Lowveld riparian and savanna bushveld habitats, where some of the last population strongholds for these threatened birds of prey remain.
Of special interest to conservation minded photographers will be the opportunity to visit and hopefully see a Pel’s Fishing Owl pair under research by the EWT team and the techniques they use to monitor and conserve them and their habitat. We will also have the opportunity to survey Crowned Eagle nests and Wahlberg’s Eagles nests, and the procedures used to deploy GPS trackers on Wahlberg’s Eagles.
This conservation related workshop is a partnership between C4 and EWT to allow you access to a unique conservation experience. EWT do not run these experiences for the general public - this is only accessible through the partnership with C4.
If you would like to join us on this experience, which is more than just about photography, but also about understanding and learning about these magnificent bird species, then we encourage you to join us on this safari. Not only will you go home with amazing images, a deeper understanding of the conservation challenges and successes that EWT face, but you will also be contributing directly to the conservation effort of this particular project.
You will be based at Island River Lodge. From here we will be driving in your own vehicle and the EWT team. A C4 guide will be with you during the trip in order to help you get the best out of the photo opportunities that present themselves.
Additionally, a dedicated EWT research team will be with us for the duration of the workshop. They will lead us through the conservation aspects and also present conservation talks related to the projects they are running.
Dr. Gareth Tate manages the Birds of Prey Programme. He completed a PhD specialising in Biological sciences at the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology (University of Cape Town). His specialisation and interests include population genetics, behaviour and movement ecology, avian disease, as well as raptor ecology and evolution.
Having grown up in the region, he has a broad knowledge of the Lowveld’s Fauna and Flora, in particular its birds of prey. Gareth will spend time with the team explaining the strategy and structure the Bird of Prey Programme and demonstrating the various hands-on field techniques used to track, monitor andconserve the regions most threatened and charismatic birds.
Arrive at Wild Rivers Private Nature Reserve, Hoedspruit, checking into accommodation at The Island River Lodge. You will enjoy an afternoon game drive on Excellence. The evening will be spent with the Pels Fishing owl Project team, demonstrating acoustic devices and survey techniques over a relaxed braai, while listening to and hopefully seeing, the resident Pel’s Fishing owl pair.
A full day of Vulture trapping and tagging at Timbavati. You will end the day off with sundowners and braai at the BlyOlifant viewpoint. Drive back to Lodge later that night.
Half day of Vulture trapping at Timbavati after, which you will enjoy lunch at the local Bush Inn. The afternoon will be spent checking up on a nesting Crowned eagle pair at Swadini and survey a nearby Pels Fishing owl territory. The late afternoon will be spent on a boat cruise on the Blyde River Canyon, looking for Pels along the Blydepoort dam.
Wahlberg’s Eagle trapping and GPS fitments on Wild Rivers Reserve. Potentially ring Wahlberg’s Eagle chicks and set up nest camera if the local pair have bred. Spend the afternoon surveying Pels Fishing owl territories along the Blyde River: demonstrating field techniques and how to look for Pels.
Wahlberg’s Eagle trapping on Wild Rivers (if we are able to source a carcass we will also try for vultures on the reserve); spend time in photography hide at local vulture restaurant before departure.
The Island River Lodge’s own backyard is an 8 hectare stretch of land in a prime location on the Blyde River. Accommodation is located on the banks of the river, with 4 river facing chalets. The accommodation sits under a canopy of trees and is dotted among lush, untouched pristine riverine vegetation. The Island River Lodge offers rustic and authentic accommodation provided on a fully catered or self-catering basis.
Guests have the choice of staying in their choice of 4 river facing chalets or 4 uniquely designed mountain facing tents on wooden platforms (each strategically placed for additional privacy). Rooms are interlinked via meandering pathways that are lit up during evening times. Each of the tents offers a sense of exclusion and privacy, and the self-catering area even has its own boma and communal area.
100% deposit confirms your booking after receipt of completed booking form.
Minimum of 6 clients and maximum of 8 clients
Self Drive to the Island River Lodge for check in. You will spend to following 4 days with the Pels Fishing owl Project team as they teach and show more about their conservation efforts.
After breakfast, you will be photographing at the local vulture restaurant. This is the end of the workshop.