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Magwa Falls, Eastern Cap

  • Mbotyi, South Africa (map)
Magwa Falls in the sunshine.

Magwa Falls in the sunshine.


Trip at a Glance

  • Duration – 2 nights / 3 days
  • Location – Mbotyi, Eastern Cape, South Africa
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Start/Finishes – Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape 
  • Lodging – Luxury Rooms
  • Meals – Dinner, bed and breakfast.


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 forgotten spectacles, the breath-taking Magwa Falls.
  • Dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation at the picturesque Mbotyi River Lodge.
  • Tutorials and critiques sessions with individual feedback.
  • Workshop restricted to 6 clients.


  • Photographers – R 9,940pp
  • Non-Photographic Partners – R 3,790 pp   ( limited to 1 per participant )
A lone tree fighting for survival against the force of the falls.

A lone tree fighting for survival against the force of the falls.



The Mbotyi River Lodge is situated on the west bank of the picturesque Mbotyi River lagoon. The setting is a true Wild Coast hideaway and the perfect base from which to explore Magwa Falls.

Magwa Falls is a breathtaking 142 m waterfall that plunges into a narrow slot canyon, one that has been etched into an Eastern Cape plateau. The falls are located 23 km from the town of Lusikisiki and 18 km from the Mbotyi River Lodge on the property of the Magwa Tea Estate. From the lodge, reaching the falls requires a 30-minute drive and a 5-minute walk.

Seasonal fluctuations in the river level means that Magwa Falls is best photographed in summer. Summer also sees the sun rising early and setting late so, to make the most of the golden hours, participants can expect to leave the lodge at 4.15 am each morning (returning at 9.00 am) and at 4.30 pm each evening (returning at 7.30 pm).

Difficulty Grading: Easy

All the photography locations at Magwa Falls are located in very close proximity to the parking area. However, accessing the locations requires wading across the river upstream of the falls. The difficulty of this crossing varies according to the river level at the time and can be challenging during heavy flow.

A view of Magwa Falls from the northern escarpment.

A view of Magwa Falls from the northern escarpment.


Trip Itinerary

What follows is a representative itinerary, one that will undoubtedly change to take advantage of the prevailing environmental and weather conditions. Photography at Magwa Falls can be broadly divided into three windows of opportunity: sunrise, sunset and a period just before midday when the 142 m deep gorge sees light reaching the river below. Shooting at midday period is an unusual practice, but one that can prove fruitful at this location.

Day 1 – Meet at Lusikisiki

Magwa Falls is located en route to the Mbotyi River Lodge and for this reason, the first day’s photography begins before checking into the Lodge.

Western will meet workshop participants in the parking lot of the Lusikisiki Plaza (31°21’27.5”S 29°33’53.3”E) at 11.30 am and depart directly for Magwa Falls at 12.00 pm.

The first visit to the falls is dedicated to scouting and general familiarisation with the various photography locations on offer. We will depart the falls at 2.00 pm and make our way to the Mbotyi River Lodge for check-in.

At 4.30 pm we will set off back to the falls for sunset photography. You can expect to be back at the lodge at 7.30 pm. 

Day 2 – Magwa Falls

An early 4.15 am start is required to catch the light of the rising sun. Despite the advanced start, though, it remains important that we depart promptly and move as quickly as possible to the falls. Time pressures mean that compositions for the mornings shot must have been established during the previous day’s exploration, thus avoiding any time being wasted on scouting. You can expect to be back at the lodges at 9.00 am for breakfast.

Between 10.30 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 participant 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 a 4.30 pm departure for the falls once more and sunset photography. You can expect to return to the lodge at 7.30 pm for dinner.

Mist rising from the falls.

Mist rising from the falls.


Day 3 – Final Sunrise

Once again, a 4.15 am start is required with an appropriately hasty ascent to the falls. The second morning will allow participants to take advantage of the tremendous morning glow and to capture images of the impressive falls from a different angle.

Proceedings will be somewhat abbreviated in order to allow time for breakfast and checkout. You can expect to be back at the lodge at 8.00 am for breakfast with departure for home at 10.00am.


Non-photographic partners are allowed but kept to a maximum of one per photographic client. The fee for the non-photographic partner is R3,790. Non-photographic partners are allowed to join photo sessions, but will not receive photographic instruction.

How to Book

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

To book online, simply click the Book Now button below and complete online booking form. We will provisionally confirm your reservation with an email response that includes a copy of the trip brochure, booking form (for signatures), T&Cs and an invoice for payment. We accept payment by Visa, MasterCard or electronic funds transfer (EFT) and use PayFast as a payment processing service. 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.

Earlier Event: September 21
Eastern Cape Wild Coast