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Drakensberg Amphitheatre

  • Royal Natal National Park, South Africa (map)
An iconic image of the Drakensberg Ampitheatre taken from within the Royal Natal National Park.

An iconic image of the Drakensberg Ampitheatre taken from within the Royal Natal National Park.

Trip at a Glance

  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Lodging – Private Chalet
  • Meals – Self-Catering
  • Duration – 2 nights / 3 days
  • Location – Royal Natal National Park
  • Start/Finishes – Royal Natal NP

    Trip Highlights

    • Spend three days developing your photography skills in the company of photographer Western King.
    • Dusk and dawn photography at one of South Africa’s most iconic locations.
    • Private accommodation at Royal Natal’s award-winning Thendele Resort.
    • Tutorials and critiques sessions with individual feedback.
    • Workshop restricted to six clients.


    • Photographers – R 6,920 pp
    • Non-Photographic Partners – R 3,000 pp   ( limited to 1 per participant )
    Sunset over the Amphitheater from within the Tugela River.

    Sunset over the Amphitheater from within the Tugela River.



    Our base at the Thendele Resort affords the best accommodation in the Royal Natal National Park. It provides an exemplary location from which to explore and photograph one of South Africa’s National Treasures, the Drakensberg Amphitheatre. During the spring and autumn months, a 5.00 am start is required to catch the rising sun. Waking early allows enough time for an unhurried approach to the morning’s photography. We will return to camp for breakfast at around 8.00 am.

    After breakfast, there will be a group tutorial session as well as an opportunity for an open critique of the morning’s photos. Lunch will be followed by a few hours of private time before a 3.30 pm departure for a new location and sunset photography, returning for dinner at around 7.00 pm. Western will be available throughout the day to answer ad-hoc questions and to provide guidance.

    Grading: Easy

    All the photography locations used in this workshop are within a few hundred meters of formal parking areas. The majority are accessed via good, well-maintained paths. However, photographs from the Tugela River will take place from within the riverbed itself. The riverbed is bolder-filled and the going underfoot can be difficult requiring a good sense of balance. The wearing of ankle-supporting footwear such as good hiking boots is advised. 

    The Amphitheater and the Tugela River valley.

    The Amphitheater and the Tugela River valley.


    Trip Itinerary

    Below is a typical itinerary which will inevitably change to take advantage of the prevailing weather conditions each day. The decision about the following day’s location will be made in the evening when the most accurate forecast has been studied.

    Day 1 – Meet at the Royal Natal National Park

    Western will meet you at the Thendele Resort Reception between 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm (2.00 pm is the official check-in time of the establishment, please do not arrive earlier). After the group has assembled and settled in, there will be a short introductory briefing at around 3.30 pm following which we will depart for the Tugela River to photograph the sunset. You can expect to return to Thendele at 7.00 pm for dinner. Western will light a fire and host a braai (barbeque). All participants are encouraged to partake on a bring-and-share basis

    Day 2 – Tugela River & The Dam

    Having become familiar with the Tugela River location the previous evening, Day 2 will begin with a 5.00 am departure for the same spot to photograph the sunrise. There is a dramatic difference in the appearance of the Amphitheatre at dawn and the lessons learned the night before will translate into a more successful morning’s work. You can expect to return to Thendele at 8.00 am for breakfast.

    From 10.00 am to 12.30 pm, Western will conduct a tutorial and critique session. The aim is to take a step by step walk through the digital developing process using the best image captured by each client. Every client will have an opportunity to see how their image might be developed using Adobe Lightroom and, to a lesser degree, Adobe Photoshop.

    The period following the tutorial session will be private time before at 4.00 pm departure for the dam and sunset photography. You can expect to return to Thendele at 7.00 pm when Western will again light a fire and host a bring-and-share braai. All participants are encouraged to partake. 

    Day 3 – The Dam

    s with the previous day, we will begin with a 5.00 am start and proceed back to the Dam for sunrise. We will return to Thendele for breakfast at around 8.00 am, and check out at 10.00 am. In the days following the workshop, participants are encouraged to send Western photos from the final morning for further review and editing advice.

    The Drakensberg Amphitheatre

    Non-Photographic Partners

    Non-photographic partners are allowed but kept to a maximum of one per photographic client. The fee for the non-photographic partner is R3,000. Non-photographic partners are allowed to join photo sessions, but will not receive photographic instruction.

    How to Book

    We accept bookings online, by email or by phone. Before booking, it is important that you read the relevant Trip Brochure as well as our Workshop Terms and Conditions. If you have any doubt regarding your suitability for a trip, please contact us.

    To book, simply click the relevant Book Now button and complete the booking form. We will provisionally confirm your reservation by email and include a copy of the trip brochure, booking form (for signing), T&Cs and an invoice for payment. The provisional booking will stand for 7 days. A signed booking form and a deposit of 50% is required to secure your reservation. If you are booking less than 56 days before the commencement of the workshop, full payment is required. We accept payment by Visa, MasterCard or electronic funds transfer (EFT) and use PayFast as a payment processing service.

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