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Customized Nature Photography Tours: Africa, South America and More!

Plan a personalized photo tour for your family or group! Throughout my travels, I have worked with several of the top tour operators in exotic photo destinations around the globe. With the help of these localized partners, we can plan a customized itinerary to some of the world’s top wildlife destinations. Individuals or groups are welcome, and we can customize a tour to focus on the skills or subjects you wish to target.

I am currently available for custom photo tours to the following destinations. Read more about these wildlife hot spots and what makes them so special!

Costa Rica: Extreme Jungle Wildlife!

Costa Rica is one of my favorite destinations for wildlife photography. When it comes to rainforest wildlife, even the Amazon has failed to surpass the quantity and variety of wildlife encountered during my travels. A custom Costa Rica photo tour can hit a variety of wildlife hot spots, including biological stations and preserves known for general wildlife and excellent night walks, mountain lodges famous for rare birds, Tortuguero National Park and its nesting sea turtles and Corcovado National Park, called by National Geographic “the most biologically intense place on Earth” (my favorite spot in Costa Rica).

My partner for these tours is Costa Rica Expeditions, the country’s top tour operator for over 30 years and one of the world’s “Top 10 Tour Operators” in 2011, according to Travel & Leisure.

See a sample itinerary and read more about our Costa Rica Photo tours.
See photos from past Costa Rica trips.

Costa Rica Photo Tour

Ecuadorian Amazon & the Galapagos Islands: The Best of Both Worlds!

An Ecuador itinerary offers a unique opportunity: immersion in two very different wildlife-rich environments.

The eastern lowlands of Ecuador comprise the far edge of the Amazon rainforest. Numerous lodges along the Rio Napo—a tributary of the Amazon—provide lots of great rainforest wildlife photo opportunities. Giant otters, several species of monkeys and bountiful birdlife are just some of the highlights.

For a change of pace, Ecuador also lays claim to the Galapagos Islands, a place unlike anywhere else on earth. The best way to tour the Galapagos is by boat, visiting different islands and their host of endemic wildlife species. Marine iguanas, giant tortoises and more can be seen during daily excursions. Itineraries feature daily walking excursions as well as daily snorkeling, making this one of the most enjoyable and relaxing wildlife photo adventures out there.

We can create a custom itinerary for either the Amazon or the Galapagos… or both! My partner in Ecuador is Happy Gringo Tours.

See Max’s photos from Ecuador and the Galapagos.

Galapagos Islands Photo Tour

Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear!

The Great Bear Rainforest is a little-known jewel found on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. It is known as the home of the rare and beautiful spirit bear, a subspecies of black bear that is born with white fur. The spirit bear can only be found in this area of Canada.

A Great Bear Rainforest tour winds its way through the inlets and waterways of the coast. Our home base for the week is a boat. The area is home to bountiful wildlife. Aside from the spirit bear, one can also see black bears, grizzlies, coastal wolves, eagles and other birdlife, as well as whales, porpoises and other marine mammals. It’s a truly unique experience.

My partner for these tours is Ocean Adventures Charter Company. Eric and Trish are among the few certified guides allowed to run tours in this region.

If you’re interested in a packaged tour, we are accepting waiting list requests for 2014.

See a sample itinerary and more information here.
See photos from the Great Bear Rainforest.

Spirit Bear Tours

Rwanda: Mountain Gorilla Trekking!

Once torn apart by civil war, Rwanda is now a peaceful, beautiful country full of wonderful and friendly people. It is also one of the last bastions for the endangered mountain gorilla. Mountain gorillas do not survive in captivity, and only about 750 are believed to exist in the wild. This is a rare opportunity to come face to face with these incredible creatures (our cousins genetically). There are also opportunities to see an endemic species of golden monkey found in Volcanoes National Park. A gorilla trek in Rwanda is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

My travel partner in Rwanda is Bizidanny Tours. A Rwanda trip works great in combination with a safari in Tanzania (see below).

See Max’s photos from Rwanda.

Rwanda Gorilla Tours

South Africa: Land of Leopards

South Africa offers some unique safari opportunities. Chief among them is a visit to the private reserves of the Sabi Sands Wildtuin. These reserves are on private land, but have open territory, allowing wild animals to roam in and out from other reserves and nearby Kruger National Park. The reserves of the Sabi Sands also allow safari vehicles to go off-road, which gives us a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with wildlife, including some of Africa’s top predators. This region is known as one of the best spots for leopard viewing and photography in all of Africa. A visit to the lodges of the Sabi Sands is a luxury experience.

Self-drive photo tours are also available in Kruger National Park. Kruger is an enormous park, with varying terrain and home to a large collection of wildlife. While self-driving in Kruger involves some limitations compared to the Sabi Sands (no off-roading), there is much more territory to explore and it is more affordable in general.

My preferred lodge in the Sabi Sands is Mala Mala Game Reserve, a high-end lodge that offer unparalleled opportunities for wild leopard photography. We can schedule a luxury photo tour to the Sabi Sands or a combination of the Sabi Sands and Kruger National Park.  Extensions to Mala Mala’s sister camp in Botswana, Mashatu, are also a possibility.

See photos from South Africa.

South Africa Photo Tours

Tanzania: Photo Safaris in Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti!

Tanzania is a popular destination for African photo safaris, and its reputation is well-earned. The northern safari circuit contains several highlights: the giant boababs and large elephant herds of Tarangire National Park, the wetlands and tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara, the geologic and wildlife wonders of Ngorongoro Crater and the endless plains of the Serengeti and its wildebeest migration.

I work with Roy Safaris, one of the top tour outfitters in all of Tanzania, also home to some of its top wildlife guides. We can plan a customized tour for various price ranges, hitting some or all of the locations listed above. A Tanzania tour may also be combined with a gorilla tour in Rwanda.

See Max’s photos from Tanzania.

Tanzania Photo Tours

What is Included in the Price of a Tour?

It really varies depending on the destinations and logistics. Some tours are luxurious and all-inclusive, while others may involve visits to more “rustic” locations or require you to cover some meals. International airfare and transportation to and from the country we’re visiting is typically NOT included. Generally, you can count on the following to be provided in a typical private photo tour:

  • Photo guidance and instruction by Max Waugh, including opportunities to shoot with me in the field and/or possible slideshows and lectures in the evening.
  • Local wildlife or naturalist guides, including some of the top guides in the world (in my opinion).
  • Most domestic transportation and lodging, arranged by a local tour operator with expertise in the area we’re visiting.
  • Most meals are provided during tours, but there are exceptions, especially toward the beginning and end of certain trips.


Rates vary a great deal based on destination, duration of the tour and the level of luxury you require. Some locations offer a variety of choices when it comes to amenities and lodging. Remember to factor in your international transportation costs (airline tickets) getting to and from a destination as well.

Book Your Private Photo Tour or Contact Me with Questions!

If you have questions about organizing a custom photo tour or would like to book a trip to one of the locations listed above, please contact me.