Wildlife Photography and Conservation

Zimbabwe

Capture incredible images of African wildlife and landscapes, learn new skills from a professional photographer and contribute to our hands-on rhino and elephant conservation project.

Living in the heart of the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation, you will have the opportunity to photograph iconic African animals closer than you ever thought possible. Under the guidance of our expert photographer, you will complete theoretical and practical photography lessons, take on photographic challenges with your classmates and create your own independent portfolio to present at the end of your programme. The top photographers will even have their work featured on our social media platforms and website!

In addition to your photography course, you will spend time working in the game park and the surrounding Imire community. Contribute to our elephant research projects; walk with the endangered black rhino; build roads and repair fences; conduct game counts and snare sweeps; teach English literacy to primary school children; learn about Shona culture!

 

Quick Facts

Location: Zimbabwe

Duration: 14 days

Student Limit: Up to 20 students

Itinerary

Day 1
Welcome to Zimbabwe! Your CTA leaders will greet you upon arrival at Harare International Airport before boarding a bus bound for the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation in Hwedza. Upon arrival, settle into the bush camp at the heart of the conservancy that will be your home for the next two weeks.

Take in your first African sunset overlooking Chinyika Dam. If you are lucky, Imire’s resident hippo may even pop up from the water to welcome you. Return to the bush camp for a thorough trip introduction and orientation before a well-deserved night’s sleep.

Day 2
Today you will explore the conservation, learning about its history and the wildlife on an introductory game drive. From giraffes and antelopes to stunning landscapes, you will take in the beautiful scenery and subjects that you will have the opportunity to photograph during your project.

In the afternoon, you will have the chance to interact up-close with Imire’s small but charistmatic elephant herd. Walk through the bush with these animals and learn their fascinating stories from the professional handlers who guard and protect them each day.

Day 3
This morning you will have the chance to watch the sunrise with Imire’s black rhino. If you are lucky, you may even have the opportunity to interact with little Tafika, the newest member of the black rhino breeding herd.

After breakfast, you will meet your wildlife photographer instructor. After an introduction to the course plan for the next two weeks, you will have your first theory lesson in the bush camp classroom.

Once the theory lesson is complete, you will head into the game park for your first practical. The afternoon will focus on animal photography and composition. You will end the day learning how to photograph sunsets and landscapes from the highest point on Imire.

After dinner, you will have another practical lesson in nighttime photography! Learn how to photograph stars, shadows and have fun with lights as you refine your camera skills under expansive African night skies.

Day 4
This morning you will begin with a practical lesson in sunrise photography before using the early morning light to carry on with wildlife photography and composition. Take advantage of the intimate interactions with Imire’s elephants and rhinos in order to capture moments you could not find anywhere else in the world.

After breakfast you will have your second theory lesson before heading into the community for a practical lesson on portraits. You will have the opportunity to capture Imire staff as well as the children at Imire’s Numwa Primary and Secondary Schools while learning their amazing stories.

In the afternoon, you will work with your photography instructor to create a project to complete over the following week. After choosing a theme and setting portfolio goals, your instructor will issue a daily checklist of images, challenges and theory review.

Day 5-11
Over the course of the next week, you will work to complete your individual portfolio project and the group photography challenges you have been assigned. While you will have your classmates and the Imire guides to help you around the game park, the completion of your project is largely independent, challenging you to trust your own eye and vision.

During this week you will also have the chance to put down your camera and participate in the hands-on wildlife and community service activities. Highlights include:
• Rhino Conservation
Be a part of the renowned Imire Black Rhino Breeding Programme. Learn about these critically endangered animals from experienced handlers who dedicate their lives to their protection. You will have the chance to feed and walk alongside these magnificent creatures while observing and recording rhino behavior, contributing to vital research projects.
• Elephant Handling
Teach cooperative elephant handling to not only keep their minds active, but also help them learn how to identify and track – vital to our anti-poaching efforts. You will also have the chance to contribute to elephant research projects as well feed, ride, and swim with the elephants and their handlers.
• Game Park Management
Help maintain fences, roads, fireguards and park equipment in order to keep the conservancy working smoothly. Learn what it takes to keep wildlife healthy and thriving by feeding nutritional supplements to anteoples, plains game and lion. You may even me involved in tree planting or removal of alien speices, cleaning and maintenance of animal beds, or game counts by foot, vehicle, and on horseback!
• Community Service
The heart of Imire is the community. You will have the chance to work alongside students from the Numwa Secondary School in their conservation garden before engaging in a friendly competition on the football chance. During your stay, you will also contribute to the Happy Readers English literacy initiative at the primary school. This programme is easily implemented by any volunteer and greatly improves the reading and writing skills of our young students.
• Cultural Immersion
The Shona culture is rich with stories, songs, food and dance. At Imire, you will have the chance to learn about it all from Mai Matsika, who will share with you all she has grown up with in her culture while teaching you how to cook and enjoy a traditional Shona meal. You will also visit the Makwe Caves – a local historical site where bushman paintings are still vibrantly visible on the rock faces. Here, Becknoff, the son of our local chief, will tell stories of his ancestors and the kings who are buried in the caves.

Day 12
Today will be a full day of editing and review with the help of your photography instructor. Students will have a lesson in creative editing using Photoshop in order to retouch, crop and put the finishing touches on their images. After putting together a mini-portfolio of their project, students will have the opportunity to present their work to their peers.

Day 13
Enjoy your final day in the game park with Imire’s wildlife. Walk with the elephants and rhinos through the bush, go fishing on the dam or relax by the pool under the African sun. This evening, we will have a celebratory braai (barbecue) and bonfire to reflect on your time in Zimbabwe.

Day 14
Say tatenda (thank you) to the warm country that has taught you so much over the past two weeks. Take the memories and images you that have captured home with you to share with family and friends, and don’t forget to come back soon!

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