Photo Safari with Night Photography - with Imma Barrera

matobo hills nswatugi cave landscape

Zimbabwe Safari Tour for photographers

The trip is designed for all skill level but it is highly recommended that you are comfortable in shooting using the manual mode for night photography. The workshops that will be run during the trip will cover only night photography as explained below. During the rest of the trip, the local guides will take us to amazing areas for a unique experience.

The night photography workshops included will cover how to plan a Milky Way shot, basic and advanced techniques for capturing the Milky Way and post-processing. Optional learnings (depending on conditions) may include how to capture star trails.

For those seeking to improve their understanding of basic photography skills can attend a one day workshop in New Jersey prior to the trip.

Imma Barrera, your night photography guide

I have been capturing the night skies in the USA for the past years and my images have been exhibited in several art galleries in NJ, PA and CA (Imma Barrera Exhibitions and Awards). Currently, I am working on publishing a mini book on night photography in the Northeast Coast as part of the intensive six-month Portfolio Development Program sponsored by B&H, one of the biggest photography retail company. A selection of my astrophotography can be seen on my website Imma Barrera Astrophotography

cruiseboat zambezi cruise safaris umbozha lake kariba

Your itinerary in detail:

Day 1 – From Bulawayo to Shashani Lodge
On your arrival at the airport in Bulawayo, your guide will welcome you to Zimbabwe.
Your destination today is a comfortable hour’s drive to the Southwest, the beautiful Shashani Lodge. Individual lodges are widely distributed among indigenous vegetation on a huge whaleback rock with stunning views across the Matobo Hills, offering you space and privacy to relax after your long flight.
You have the option of just kicking back and savouring the peace and quiet or of taking part in one of the optional activities on offer, e.g. a guided bush walk to see some rock paintings and historic grain bins.
Full Board, Shashani Lodge

Day 2 – Shashani Lodge
The day is at your disposal for sleeping off your jetlag and/or taking part in optional activities such as guided bush walks, climbing the rock opposite the lodge, birdwatching or relaxing at the pool.
Tonight, you will have your first chance at photographing the night sky under the tuition of astrophotography expert Imma Barrera. Milky Way photography, star trails light painting will be on the program for the early hours of the morning. Make sure to dress warmly, Zimbabwean winters are cold but the skies as clear and dark as you could wish for.
Full Board, Shashani Lodge

shashani lodge matopos

Day 3 – Shashani Lodge
Today, make sure to pack some warm clothing and dress "onion-peel-style", as you will be spending the day in Matobo Hills National Park.
You will go rhino tracking on foot with an experienced guide who will bring you up close to the animals and give you insights into the lives of these highly endangered creatures.
You will also have a chance to view millennia-old rock paintings in one of the famous and iconic caves of the Matobo Hills.
As the sun sets, you will watch this beautiful spectacle from the top of World‘s View Rock where Cecil John Rhodes lies buried at his own request.
If you still have energy after this, you can join Imma for another pre-dawn session of stargazing and photography!
Full Board, Shashani Lodge

Day 4 – From Matopos to Hwange National Park
Approximately four hour‘s drive to the North and West will take you to Miombo Safari Camp (or similar) on the border of Hwange National Park.
Once you have settled into your comfortable accommodation at the lodge and had a delicious lunch, it’s “Safari Time” again! You will feel the breeze and smell the bush as you travel into the park in the lodge’s open 4x4 game-drive vehicle.
Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest National Park. It covers almost 15000 km² of pristine wilderness. Only a very small part of this massive reserve is open to tourism and the public.
The southern part of the park, where you will be on the lookout for wild animals, is characterized by open, grassy areas interspersed with dense teak forests and groves of camelthorn acacia. Hwange is well-known in Southern Africa for its huge elephant herds that dominate the waterholes during the dry season, particularly in the late afternoons and early evenings.
After your drive, you will return to Miombo Safari Camp for dinner and a comfortable night.
Full Board and Activities, Miombo Safari Camp or similar

hwange national park lions kill

Day 5 – Morning and afternoon game drives in Hwange National Park
This entire day is dedicated to Safari in Zimbabwe’s largest and most famous National Park.
Your guide will show you the wildlife and birds of the park. He will provide you with interesting facts about the vegetation and the landscape that you see.
Besides being home to the Big Five, Hwange National Park boasts over 100 different species of mammals and more than 400 species of birds have been recorded here. Enjoy your day in the wilderness of this amazing National Park.
In the evening, you will return to Miombo Safari Camp for dinner.
Full Board and Activities, Miombo Safari Camp or similar

african fish eagle lake kariba

Days 6 & 7 – Mini-Cruise on Lake Kariba
After a 3-hour scenic bus transfer, you will embark on your Zambezi Cruise & Safaris cruise boat for your adventure on Lake Kariba. A scrumptious light lunch will be served on board as you make way for the Sengwe River Basin.
On arriving in the late afternoon the main vessel will moor on the shoreline of one of the many islands – it is here that the Captain will allow the use of the smaller tender boats to explore the remote Sengwe River system. With stunning scenery, resident hippo and crocodile populations and great birding – you end the day with a relaxing sunset cruise that includes delicious drinks and snacks.

The next day, you can enjoy an early morning activity to explore the unbeatable scenic views and abundant birdlife of the Sijarira Forest Land and the Chete Safari Area – through the Sengwe Inlet and motoring down the Sengwe River - stopping off for a light breakfast and coffee on board the tender boat.
Back on the main vessel – the Captain will untie the mooring and leisurely cruise for 4 hours through the Chete gorge and into the Ruze River system. This is the time for you to totally relax, read, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a siesta.
Afternoon activities on the tender boats include fishing (for those who are interested in trying their luck to catch the famed Tiger or Bream fish) or game viewing and bird sightings.
Fully inclusive, 2 nights aboard a comfortable cruise boat

victoria falls rainbow early morning

Day 8 - 10 – Victoria Falls
Roughly five hour’s scenic drive will take you to Victoria Falls today.
You will have an opportunity to settle into your room at The Kingdom (or similar), have lunch and relax for a while. Your afternoon is at leisure.
On your first full day in Victoria Falls, you will enjoy a guided tour of the Victoria Falls rainforest.
You will barely have passed the gate when you already hear the thunder of the water falling over the basalt cliff 100 metres deep into the chasm. 1,7 km wide, the Victoria Falls, locally named “The Smoke that Thunders” will draw you in with its magic. The Falls need to be seen, heard, smelled, felt with all the senses and you have the opportunity on this tour to do that.
Depending on the time of year, the water levels and the direction of the breeze, you will feel the water of the Zambezi like gentle spray or like a heavy downpour. It is a good idea to bring a waterproof bag for your camera and a rain jacket for yourself.
Later in the afternoon, you will board a boat for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River above the Falls. Drinks and a few snacks are included in your cruise. You will have the chance to see some hippos, crocodiles and many species of water birds. As the sun sets behind the palm trees, you will start to cruise back to the jetty.
Your second full day in Victoria Falls is at leisure for you to enjoy one of the many optional activities that are on offer in this "Adventure Capital of the World"! From Bungee Jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge to white water rafting, canoeing, a game drive in the Zambezi National Park or a few hours in a hide at water level watching animals come to drink, the choice is yours.
In the evening, the whole group will meet for the last evening of night photography at the Victoria Falls. At full moon, a rainbow appears in the spray of the Falls and that is what you are going to go and capture.
Full Board, The Kingdom Hotel or similar

Day 11 - Departure
After a leisurely breakfast, your transfer will be waiting to take you to Victoria Falls airport for your flight back home. We hope you will travel well and that you will take very special memories back home.

Download the detailed itinerary of the Photographic Safari in Zimbabwe with Imma Barrera as PDF file

Shashani Lodge viewed from whaleback rock opposite the lodge
Landscape view from Shashani Lodge
View from the veranda of the lodges at Shashani
Swimming pool with a view at Shashani Lodge
Lounge and fireplace at Shashani Lodge
The best sundowner spot at Shashani Lodge with a view over the Matobo Hills
Milky Way photography at Shashani Lodge
Guided walk from Shashani Lodge through the magnificent landscape
Rock paintings and grain bins can be visited on foot from Shashani Lodge
Tracking rhino on foot in the Matobo Hills with an experienced guide
Getting close and personal with endangered rhinos in the Matobo Hills
Iconic rock paintings at Nswatugi Cave in the Matobo Hills
The rock paintings in Nswatugi Cave are endlessly fascinating
A comfortable tented camp on the edge of Hwange National Park
The vehicle is ready for safari in Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park has a large number of lion prides
Lions are among the favourite sightings for visitors to Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park boasts over 400 registered species of birds
Sable antelope occur frequently in the Southern parts of Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is best known for its huge herds of elephants
Hwange National Park's elephants tend to dominate the waterholes in the evenings
Iconic African sunsets also abound in Hwange National Park
A classic passtime in the evening on safari is to exchange stories around the campfire
A comfortable, air conditioned cabin aboard a cruise boat
The cabins aboard the cruiseboats have en-suite bathrooms
The cruiseboat allows fantastic views of the landscape whilst you sail
Wildlife sightings are frequent when you cruise with the smaller tenderboats
Meals are delicious and well presented
The variety of foods allows for all tastes and palates
You can catch your own snacks on an excursion by tenderboat with a bit of luck
One of Lake Kariba's iconic bird species, the African Fish Eagle
A Sacred ibis roosts on a dead tree for the night
A beach barbecue is one of the fun occasions when you cruise on Lake Kariba
The Kingdom Hotel is only a few minutes on foot away from the Victoria Falls
The gardens of The Kingdom Hotel are beautifully designed with ponds, streams and bridges
Even the birds appreciate the opportunities for hunting provided in the gardens of The Kingdom Hotel
Sunrise is a great time to visit the Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls at sunrise are even more impressive with the beautiful light
Large flocks of birds fly over the river on their way to roost
An impressive moment when the sun sets over the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls