What is an Art Safari?

An art safari is a creative journey to look at animals, nature and landscapes, with the express aim to capture images on paper by direct observation.  

You can expect to be taught to see the world in a different way, taking in detail and vibrant energy as you look.  Through your art you will learn about the natural environment.  

You will return with many unique images which will encapsulate your holiday and will inspire your art work at home.  In addition you will have had opportunities to see the creativity of your host country and learn about the peoples, history and culture.  

Can my non-painting partner come too?

We are always happy to welcome non-painting partners!  There are plenty of activities for non-painting partners to choose from while you are painting.

Can I take photos?

Of course!  I encourage you to take as many as you can.  Many people come on Art Safari with photography as the sole aim of their safari.

Photographers can join in the art conversations too, as photography is also all about composition, catching the moment, colour, tone, balance etc.

Can I come on my own?

Many people choose to paint and travel with us on their own.  You are always part of a group and looked after by your guide and by your art tutor throughout the entire trip.  There is absolutely no problem travelling as a single woman – or as a single man. 

Can I have a room of my own?

If you would like your own room, please let me know, and I can tell you what the single supplement will be.  

Alternatively, you can share a room with one of the other people on the trip, to share the chat and the giggles and the fear when there is an elephant outside your bedroom.

Isn’t it dangerous to sit outside painting in Africa? 

On excursions into the game parks you are accompanied by trained safari guides and, if necessary when we’re on foot, an armed game scout. They will ensure that we are not putting ourselves in any dangerous situations and will watch the bush as we work. On arrival you will be advised how to act around wild animals.

What is the balance between art tuition and free time?

In the National Parks you will spend most of the time with your sketch book and your binoculars.

There will also be ample rest time for you to relax and enjoy your surroundings on your own or in the company of your group.

On booking you will be able to discuss what you would like to get out of the tuition and your holiday, and the teaching will be geared accordingly. In general the teaching will focus on ways of seeing rather than prescribed techniques and thus is suited to all levels of skill.

How many other people will be in the group?

The group size is kept small, with 8 people as the maximum group size, (larger groups only by arrangement). The small size of the group ensures that you benefit from the art tuition and from the interaction with other artists on your trip.

Non-artist partners are of course welcome to join the art safari (nature-watchers, photographers, writers and book worms would particularly appreciate the environment). A minimum of four people are needed to ensure that the trip goes ahead.

Where will we be staying?

Your accommodation is at all times comfortable, safe, clean and well located to enjoy the best of the places we are staying in. You can be confident of personal service and exceptional locations – and a room with a view. Accommodation includes hotels, lodges and tented safari camps.

Will I have an en suite bathroom and a hot shower?

I tend to choose lodges which have brilliant facilities, so all of the rooms have en suite facilities and hot showers. In some of the eco-lodges, be aware that these are not quite what you’re used to at home, and so much more fun!

How does our visit benefit our host countries?

Art Safari endeavours to follow eco-tourism guidelines. For example, your visit to Africa contributes to the income of at least 25 African people per night, even before you have bought any souvenirs directly from the makers. Every day you spend in the country you will be helping the economy and stability of the tourism industry, one of the largest employment sectors.

Most importantly, your art safari helps to strengthen the artistic value of the country and boosts the artistic community enormously. I often invite an artist-in-residence to join us, and they gain as much from the experience as you and their participation may have a profound effect on the recognition and artistic value of local artists.

I also try to support local projects when I see a need. For instance, one of my safari guides in Malawi wanted to help support orphans in his home village, so we helped him build a school. It now hosts and feeds 120 children. We have helped another guide in Namibia who with our help has set up a Sports Academy in Damaraland, complete with football pitch and complete training kit.

What insurance do I need?

You will need to have valid travel insurance cover for your trip which should be in place at the time of booking. We can advise you of good travel insurance companies if you do not already have one. Your own personal travel insurance cover is a compulsory part of joining one of our groups.

What art materials do you advise taking?

A detailed list of what to bring with you will be given to you when you book. In general we will be using pencil and water-based paints on a variety of papers. It will be useful to bring a quantity of paper and sketch books as we anticipate you will be filling the pages fast.

What kind of food will I be eating?

Vegetarians and meat-eaters will both be happy on my trips, there is always a delicious selection of fresh food.  The style of preparation is homely Western/European, with many of the vegetables we know well at home, plus many exotic fruit and fresh bread and cakes.  

How did Art Safari start?

Mary-Anne led an art weekend in Malawi after Mark Sprong of Land & Lake Safaris in Malawi and the UK-based artist Mary-Anne Bartlett first had the idea of art safaris in 1999.  Mary-Anne was artist on an expedition to Malawi and the travel was arranged by Land & Lake Safaris.  They ran their first art safari a few months later.

What wildlife are we likely to see?

Each safari offers its own special animals – please ring me and ask what you are likely to see, bearing in mind that wildlife is wild and there are never any guaranteed sightings!

We try to make sure that you have every opportunity to see everything – whether it’s lions, cheetah, leopard or serval cat, antelope and giraffe.  Elephants are a must.

Is it possible to see the Big Five in a day?

Sadly, due to poaching, you would be very lucky indeed to see  lion, rhinoceros, buffalo, leopard and elephant in a single day.  It is possible on some safaris to see all of these on one trip – in Kenya for example.  There’s plenty to see though (and not just the Green 5 or the Small 5).

What medical precautions do I need to consider?  

You will need to protect yourself against malaria and make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations.   Consult your local surgery or visit the NHS UK fit for travel site at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk  or the Foreign & Commonwealth office site at http://fco.gov.uk for preliminary advice.