Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in your tour cost?
Our aim is to provide photography tours that are unsurpassed in quality. Our tours feature low group size limits, low vehicle loadings, professional leaders of great ability, superior itineraries that often spend more time in key areas, and good quality accommodations and transportation wherever these are available. Our tour prices also generally include all field excursions and meals.
For many tours, we also include tips for local drivers, local guides, boatmen, porters, restaurant staff and others who provide services for our groups. We also provide generous amounts of bottled still water in countries or locations where water supplies are known to be unsafe or are suspect. We also include, wherever possible, soft drinks and/or coffee/tea with breakfasts, picnic lunches and (where applicable) lunches taken at self-service venues.
These additional inclusions, which many companies exclude entirely or in part, often amount to a considerable sum (which you would otherwise have to take in cash on the tour yourself, to pay at the time), so it is important to consider this issue, as well as other important factors such as quality of leadership, group size limit, quality of accommodation and financial security, when comparing holiday prices.
Obviously such a fully-inclusive, high-quality tour philosophy does not make for temptingly low tour prices, but we firmly believe that quality and convenience for our clients is of greater importance.
What equipment will I need?
This is very much a matter of personal choice, and we aim to cater for all kinds of keen photographers. Many of our clients use DSLR cameras and a variety of lenses of their preference. On every tour there will be opportunities to use lenses from very wide angle to extreme telephoto, so what you bring will very much depend upon what pictures you hope to achieve. Our tour descriptions generally give information on the types of cameras and lenses that will be suitable, but if you want more specific advice, please do not hesitate to call or email us.
We also recognize that other forms of digital photography are becoming more and more popular. Many of the modern compact ‘super-zooms’ (oiften called bridge cameras) offer excellent results these days. We are happy to cater for any enthusiastic photographer, whatever their equipment, and we will always do our best to ensure that everyone has a chance to get some great results.
Some of our tours may also be suitable for videography too. However, one thing we will never be able to provide (unless on a specific, tailor-made, private tour) is a noise-free background. You are welcome to join us with a video set-up as long as you are happy to accept that you will need to edit the soundtrack to eliminate talking, shutter sounds and the like.
Can I join your trips if I am not a photographer?
Most Wild Images tours are suitable for non-photographer partners provided they have an interest in experiencing the amazing places and wildlife that we will be focusing on (no pun intended!). By their core nature our trips are designed to be in the very best locations at the best times of the day. A lot of our non-photographer clients simply enjoy our trips because they want to witness the beauty of our destinations first hand.
During our trips the main focus is photography but our overarching aim is for our guests to enjoy the whole experience, share laughs, talk about other topics, make friends and share knowledge. If you are new to Wild Images and are unsure whether you or your partner would enjoy one of our tours, give our office a call. We will be happy to have a chat with you and offer advice.
What sort of accommodation do you use?
Wild Images tours feature comfortable (or very comfortable) accommodations with en-suite bathrooms wherever possible, but on rare occasions where such accommodations are not universally available, we have to put up with the best available. (Any such nights are always clearly indicated in the relevant tour description.) We naturally always give priority to the photographic potential when selecting our accommodations, but within this constraint we try, wherever there is a real choice, to choose hotels and lodges that are memorable and enjoyable places to stay in their own right. On the rare occasion where electricity is not readily available (for re-charging, downloading etc) we will let you know.
What types of transport do you use?
Due to our small group sizes, the road travel in most countries is by 4WD or minibuses. Where applicable, for example, on certain photo safaris, we try to keep our vehicle loadings light to allow for a superior photographic experience.
What is a typical day like?
The first and final hours of daylight are often the most productive and interesting time for photographing wildlife, so early starts and late finishes are the norm whenever it will give us greater photographic opportunities. Where the itinerary allows, we take breaks in the middle of day when the light is not conducive to good photography.
Our tours aim to give you plenty of time at each destination, since we know that the key to a truly successful photographic holiday is having enough time to get the shots everyone is after. There is nothing worse than missing key photographic opportunities due to having insufficient time in the crucial areas! We also like to keep the proportion of the holiday devoted to travelling as low as is practicable so that you can have more time for photography.
What if I don’t have any experience with photography? Will I feel left behind?
Wild Images guests range from beginners to truly expert photographers, but the majority would qualify as enthusiastic and somewhere ‘in between’ in ability.
You need have no fear that you will always be the only inexperienced or novice photographer amongst a clique of experts! Level of knowledge is unimportant when it comes to enjoyment as our guides are well able to cater for the needs of all group members and indeed enjoy passing on their knowledge and enthusiasm to those who have only recently been bitten by the photography bug.
Age is also immaterial provided you are in reasonable health. Indeed, for most of tours the walking effort involved is either mostly easy or wholly easy. The age range of the great majority of Wild Image clients is from the early 40s to the mid-70s.
The only requirements for enjoying the great majority of Wild Images tours are a desire to devote almost one’s entire holiday to photography, a love of the outdoors, a sense of adventure and an ability to get on reasonably well with others.
Many Wild Images groups have a distinctly international flavour, and we welcome clients from anywhere in the world.
How big are your groups?
We believe that the size of the group is important for individual enjoyment and we tailor the group size limit to the particular circumstances (for example vehicle configuration) of the tour in question. Most of our group sizes are very small.
Will my trip operate?
It is very disappointing, after months of looking forward to a well-earned holiday, to find that it has been cancelled due to insufficient interest. We have an outstanding record for reliability, since the great majority of our tours operate as planned. We have achieved this reputation not just because our tours are popular but also because they are carefully costed so that they can still be operated when there are relatively few participants.
What about the financial security of Wild Images?
Financial security is a vital part of any holiday arrangements. It is a legal requirement that all tour operators based in the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union protect their clients’ money in full. This protection is in the form of a financial bond.
Unfortunately many tour companies, including most tour companies based outside the European Union, fail to provide such financial protection! This saves a lot of cost for them, allowing them to cut prices, but leaves you very vulnerable if anything goes wrong!
We hold an ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licence), No. 2937, issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom. This means that we are fully bonded against financial insolvency through this government licensing and bonding scheme and anyone booking an air holiday with us that originates in the United Kingdom can do so with complete financial security. Our company has been in business since 1981 and is both long-lasting and financially sound.
Can I smoke on your trips?
Around 95% of those travelling with Wild Images are non-smokers and in consequence we ask smokers to refrain from smoking in vehicles and during meals. We also ask them to take care that, when smoking in the field or at other times, they do not inconvenience other group members.
Does Wild Images support conservation?
We are strongly committed to wildlife protection and to conservation in general. We have raised funds directly for conservation projects in Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Hungary, India, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Peru, Poland, Russia, Thailand and elsewhere. In some cases the entire funding has come from us. In other cases we have matched in full the many contributions that we have received from generous clients who wish to help.
Operators of wildlife photography holidays are particularly well placed to influence governments when decisions are to be made concerning the future of important areas for wildlife, since the potential income from developing special interest tourism can, in the long term, partly or even wholly offset the potential short-term gain from destroying an area. We keep a close watch on environmental issues in the countries we visit and frequently do whatever we can to support local or international conservation initiatives.
Does Wild Images support local communities?
At Wild Images we believe in treading lightly through communities with different cultures to our own. Wild Images leaders know their areas thoroughly and they take pride in sharing their knowledge with our guests. This knowledge extends to briefing guests about a variety of cultural protocols, what to bring with you as appropriate gifts and how our guests may voluntarily contribute to the communities we visit. We also believe that our best people photos are created with the help of expert local guides who act as translators alongside your Wild Images leader.
Some of our photography trips have supported local community initiatives including sustainable agriculture, the preservation of cultures, the development of support networks for rural women and community conservation projects like the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust’s program to construct steel-mesh-roofed stock shelters to prevent Snow Leopard attacks on livestock. Wild Images has donated the entire construction cost of such a shelter, which plays an important part of mitigating human wildlife conflict and conserving Snow Leopards.