My goal with creating TBA Escapes was to curate tours for the adventurous female traveler– the woman who dreams of colorful destinations far from her comfort zone. The “From the Bush to the Beach” Photography Tour in South Africa became just that.
This past November, we took a deeper look at this diverse African country, from the beaches, to the mountains, to the winelands, to the African bush.
I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing group of ladies to join me on the premiere tour — we had so much fun and it was really exciting to share all the photography tips I’ve learned over the years.
It was so rewarding to see these ladies photography improve in just 10 days!
Some of the ladies loaned Fujifilm gear for the trip, and it was so cool to see them all so open to starting (and continuing) to shoot in manual mode. In addition, I was SO happy to have Travis Burke, my friend and award-winning outdoor and adventure photographer, along for the first tour and to help mentor the ladies on his shooting techniques and editing process.
If you haven’t already applied, join the waiting list now!
Highlights from the 9-day luxury tour through the best of South Africa!
Cape Town kicked off the tour! We spent four nights in a luxury villa (complete with a pool!) in Camps Bay, rented through Concierge Cape Town. Sweeping views of the ocean and the mountain range behind you, pristine white sand beaches, five-star restaurants on your doorstep – it doesn’t get much better than Camps Bay.
Our opening night party included a wine tasting event at the villa compliments of Durbanville Hills and some fun icebreakers so everyone could get acquainted.
Our days spent in Cape Town included an epic Helicopter Tour with NAC Helicopters, a trip to the Woodstock Biscuit Mill, a Street Art tour with Natalie from Tails of a Mermaid, and an over-the-top beach picnic put together by Mel from Truffle Journal. We wined and dined, plus tasted delicious virgin Gin & Tonics by The Duchess.
Lastly, we spent a full day driving the Cape Peninsula and exploring all the stops along the way! We were equipped with all our photography gear, outfit changes, and our K-way windbreakers from Cape Union Mart!
Next stop: safari! We drove out to Gondwana Game Reserve from the city for a 2-night luxury safari experience. Gondwana offers the opportunity to see the Big 5 in their natural habitat.
With morning and afternoon safari drives, we had amazing opportunities to capture photos of the wildlife multiple times!
There’s nothing like watching the sun set over Africa with a “sundowner” drink, before tucking into your luxury bush villa for the night. Travis and I hosted an Adobe Lightroom editing workshop so the ladies could improve their process, and continue to take their photography to the next level!
Our last stop on the tour was the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek winelands! We stayed at the beautiful Hawksmoor House, and biked and sipped our way through the beautiful vineyards, with a special afternoon tea at La Residence (complete with peacocks!).
Views for days and award-winning wine!
We also visited my favorite wine farm, Babylonstoren. It’s an eight-acre farm that features an incredible array of fruits, veggies, indigenous plants, livestock, bees, and even a prickly pear maze.
We dined at Babel Restaurant on the property — this place is all about deceptively simple foods. The restaurant takes classic favorites and combines them to create unique and unexpected blends that you won’t soon forget. You’ll find it all here; amazing wine, food and accommodation.
Travis also hosted a night photography workshop in the winelands to capture the city lights and stunning landscape!
TBA Escapes South Africa Photography Tour Testimonials
Ilana R. “The tour was everything I expected and more! Kiki is even more lovely in person and I loved every second of an American showing me the most beautiful spots in my own country. I wish I could do it all over again!”
Deidre R. “I loved doing the first TBA Escapes tour with Kiki and everyone else. First of all, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world (I might be biased) and seeing new to me secret spots was really special. Everyone in the group was so friendly, I feel like we were all almost instant friends, which is great. I feel like I learnt so much about photography, and I definitely see improvement from the beginning of the tour to the end, which is great. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking to improve their skills, even if its just for personal use, like myself, since the photos we took and will be taking on future travels now just move our memories to the next level.”
Cindy A. “Joining the TBAescapes photography tour was a once in a lifetime experience! I met and networked with some incredible people and learned so much about photography, while simultaneously enjoying a dream vacation.”
Claire H. “The South Africa photography tour was truly a life changing trip. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone, met lifelong friends, and experienced the magic and beauty of South Africa.”
Kayt Z. “Whether you’re learning the basics or you’re more advanced, this trip helps you grow as a photographer. Everything about this trip was incredible – keeping my fingers crossed for new TBA Escapes locations in the future!”
Ashley V. “This trip was absolutely the trip of a lifetime and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested. The Blonde Abroad and her team brought us to all around South Africa hitting the major tourist destinations and hidden local gems perfectly capturing the beautiful country of South Africa in a short amount of time. The ability to learn from Kiki, Natalie, Meyer and Travis on the trip was incredible and my photography and editing skills definitely improved. I left this trip with new best friends, amazing photos, a love for a foreign country, a renewed travel bug and memories I will never forget.”
Andrea S. “The TBA Escapes Photography tour was both a spectacularly out there and truly real way to get to see a beautiful part of South Africa. I love traveling to places where I have a friend to show you the true character and culture of a place that is sometimes difficult to penetrate as “just” a tourist. Opening that door and giving us that experience is exactly what Kiersten did with this tour. Kiersten (and Natalie and Meyer) fostered an atmosphere of openness and fun, where even though most of us did not know each other before gathering at the airport, it felt immediately like you were meeting up with a group of friends. But not only did I meet an interesting group of people who also love travel and photography, I was able to absorb all of their photography knowledge and inspiration – from learning how to pick some of the best photo spots and make interesting compositions from Kiersten, to how to perfect my night photography settings from Travis, to the best ways to incorporate the human element from my fellow travelers. It was truly a an unforgettable trip.”