South African Safari Specials for Locals

South Africans, are you ready for the ultimate safari special?

Let us show you another beautiful day in Africa with these irresistible Winter 2020 bush deals! We have undoubtedly faced a challenging start to the year – as individuals and as a country, but we are hopeful that there will be a time to return to Africa’s wilderness soon… While we give you time to plan and pack, we give nature and wildlife time to heal and rest until we can relish our beautiful country again, spend time with the Big 5 and support and visit amazing destinations that perhaps aren’t normally so accessible to locals.

We are committed to working closely with our partners to support and stimulate local travel as and when restrictions allow. So we have put together these amazing once-off offers that will allow local travellers to make the most of the incredible natural beauty and diversity we have on our doorstep.

Get to know your country better and indulge in much-needed 5-star service with these amazing city to bush escapes created just for you!

 

  1. The More family are offering up to 70% off at the exquisite Lion Sands lodges. Book now & travel after lockdown. *At Narina Lodge, each suite has an expansive wooden deck centred on a private plunge pool. A cooling soak in the heat of the midday, a gin and tonic at your side, a buffalo bull chewing in the deep shade below, a flock of green pigeons squabbling over figs in the boughs above, will immerse you in the wilderness until you feel like a part of it – which of course you are. *Tinga lodge is a cathedral tribute to the Kruger. The double volume, cathedral-like main area opens out onto an expansive deck overlooking the Sabie River. When you return famished from morning game drive, you can devour a delectable breakfast array on the deck while the elephants wander past in the lazy heat. In the evening, put your feet up next to the lounge fire with an excellent glass of South African wine as you contemplate the wonders you experienced on drive.

  2. The Royal Portfolio is committed to supporting local travel with 50% off at La Residence & Birkenhead House after lockdown.*Perched amongst the vineyards, on the slopes of the beautiful Franschhoek Mountains is the pinnacle of luxury and unrivalled piece of heaven – La Residence. Voted Conde Nast’s No 1 Hotel in the World in 2013 amongst a myriad of other awards, La Residence is a must for any bucket list. Tuscan inspired, the horse-shoe shaped manor wraps around an exquisitely manicured courtyard, decadent pool and endless panoramic wineland backdrop. *Birkenhead House is perched on a cliff overlooking magnificent Walker Bay in the little seaside town of Hermanus – gateway to the garden route. The bay is fringed with pristine white sand beaches and secluded coves while in the water surfers carve the waves and, for several months of the year, hundreds of southern right whales call the waters of the bay home.

  3. Marataba Safari Lodge is offering a once-in-a-lifetime 70% off! Why not escape with your family & indulge in much-need 5-star service after lockdown? Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Dining-Area*Marataba Safari Lodge is the ideal location for a romantic wedding or a honeymoon, or even just for an intimate escape with your loved one. The Lodge is very convenient as it’s located in a malaria-free zone and is only four hours away from Johannesburg—perfect for a quick escape to the bush!

  4.  The Outpost in Kruger National Park is offering locals a massive 60% discount for the upcoming months. *The Outpost’s awarded architecture accommodates 24 guests in 12 stand-alone luxury spaces cantilevered over the Luvuvhu river valley – connected to the central lodge area by a raised walkway. Enjoy 180˚ views of the African wilderness and fall asleep to the open-air sounds of the African night.

  5. Book a safari now with 50% off at Phinda Forest & Mountain Lodge. *Set deep in the heart of a rare and beautiful dry sand forest, the andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge fuses spectacular design with the ultimate in conservation principles. 16 handcrafted, minimalist, glass-encased suites are built on stilts among the trees and boast luxurious en-suite bathrooms and viewing decks where guests can take in the sight of graceful nyala and duiker in the shade of the forest. *Poised majestically on the crest of a mountain, Phinda Mountain Lodge commands dramatic vistas over the surrounding landscape. Balanced between soaring views of the scenery below and the endless blue of the African sky above, each suite opens onto a breathtaking panorama.

  6. Escape to your own private wilderness at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve with 60% off! *The lodges at Kwandwe are intimate, relaxed and trendy with décor inspired by the vibrant colours and textures of the nearby villages.

Enquire HERE now.

Experience of the Month – Safari with a Purpose 

This month’s top and not-to-be-missed experience is a Safari with a Purpose. Embark on a journey with meaning… with one of four hand-crafted adventures. Submerge yourself in something bigger. Wander off the beaten track, interact with indigenous tribes, help conserve Africa’s wildlife and give back to wonderful projects so that the world can, in turn, give back to you. Iconic Africa, in partnership with Wilderness Safaris, would like to offer the discerning traveller the opportunity to find their travel purpose in Rwanda, Seychelles, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa by taking part in a world of philanthropy, conservation, wildlife, culture and adventure. 

Whether it’s working with endangered mountain gorillas, collaring wild dogs or elephants or conserving sea turtles – we’ve got just the thing for you here:

Great Apes and Rainforests: Experience behind-the-scenes conservation work in Rwanda; meet the Endangered mountain gorilla and help habituate chimpanzees for future ecotourism.

Travel With Purpose Gorillas

Paradise with Purpose: Explore one of the most beautiful islands on earth while actively participating in a survey and ringing of the Seychelles white-eye population and translocating some of the North Island population to other islands to further protect the species.

Travel With Purpose Turtles

Kenya Natural Wonders: Experience the Great Rift Valley, a dormant volcano, a vital water tower and learn more about the rare and elusive Critically Endangered mountain bongo.

Travel With Purpose Rift Valley Children

Hwange Elephant Collaring: In west Zimbabwe, amongst its grasslands and mopane woods are large herds of elephant. Help collar elephants, count wildlife, discover anti-poaching patrol, and meet neighbouring communities.

Travel With Purpose Elephants

Enquire about adding one of these experiences to your itinerary with one of our team members. You can have a magnificent time with plenty of adventure and also leave a positive impact on the place you’re visiting at the same time.

 

  

Iconic Africa’s Top 10 tours for 2020

There are so many different holiday-makers, from couples seeking a luxury escape, families that need different ages catered for and solo travellers seeking adventure. And… so many variables to consider – connecting flights, accommodation, activities and so on and so on! Taking time to plan your vacation shouldn’t feel like more effort so Iconic Africa has done all the hard work for you and put together some fantastic tours that have the perfect itinerary waiting. We have chosen our top ten tours for 2020 right here: 

 

JOHN’S GREAT VALUE GOLF & WINE SAFARI

Iconic Africa Director, John Holley’s two passions in life are golf and the bush. Most of his childhood was spent doing one or the other and many memories made while either teeing off at sunrise or toasting to the sunset with an ice-cold beer at a waterhole.  On that note – another great love of his is wine so a combo of golf, bush and wine… really is (in his mind) heaven! John has put together this incredible Golf & Wine Safari from all of his favourite destinations just for you. Get up close and personal with the magnificent Big Five; tee off on some of South Africa’s most impressive golf courses; discover gourmet restaurants and taste the finest wines that the Cape Winelands has to offer. Click here for full interactive itinerary.

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LUXURY LONDOLOZI AFRICAN ADVENTURE

Iconic Africa has crafted the perfect mix of the ultimate in African luxury destinations to bring you the Luxury Londolozi African Adventure.  You’ll begin your trip in the Cape of South Africa at the Cape Grace – in the heart of the world’s most beautiful city and then visit La Residence perched on the slopes of the Franschhoek Valley on the world’s most beautiful wine-lands. From there you will travel to the magnificent Londolozi Founders Camp in the exquisite Sabi Sands and then on to  Zambia where you will experience the majesty of Victoria Falls from The Royal Livingstone and lastly to Jao Camp in the midst the wilderness wonderland of the Okavango Delta. Click here for full interactive itinerary.

SAFARI AND ISLAND RETREAT

Southern Africa offers some of the most spectacular coastlines the world over. Iconic Africa has picked boutique luxury on the shores of the raw wild Atlantic and floating in the tropical serenity of the Indian Ocean. Cape Cadogan nestled on the northern slopes of Table Mountain, offers relaxed, family-owned style and luxury – a perfect base from which to explore the awesome beaches, gastronomy and viticulture of the Cape. Azura Benguerra, in the cobalt warm waters of the Indian Ocean, offers a new level of fresh sophistication, seclusion and serenity on pristine beaches and unspoilt reefs. In between these, Londolozi Private Granite Suites offer you discerning and opulent hospitality combined with the world’s best leopard viewing. Click here for full interactive itinerary

AFRICA’S CAPE OF DESIRE

Africa’s Cape of Desire, as its name suggests, is a grand tour of this inspirational region at the base of the African continent. From cosmopolitan Cape Town – with its trendy bars and restaurants, world heritage sites, pristine beaches, sense of history and natural beauty – to the Winelands of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek – the undisputed culinary capital of South Africa and where South Africa’s world-famous wines are conjured from the Cape terroir – to the coastal sanctuary of Hermanus set on the magnificent cliffs of Walker Bay – world-renowned for its frolicking southern right whales and, for the more adventurous, a place to dive with Great White Sharks; The Cape of Desire offers you the most sumptuous luxury and astonishing natural wonder that only the tip of Africa has to offer. Click here for full interactive itinerary

AFRICA’S FAMILY GETAWAY

Africa’s Family Getaway is the ultimate luxury bespoke family holiday. It is full of excitement, adventure and fun while maintaining an indulgent level of sumptuous luxury. It is also completely safe for young children. The One&Only Cape Town is perfectly placed and appointed to accommodate your family in luxury while being an excellent launch pad to the delights of the Cape. Lelapa is malaria-free and by far the premier luxury safari camp for families with a quite exceptional children’s programme amidst the gorgeous wilderness and opulent accommodation. Likewise, Tongabezi is specially equipped and staffed to delight the modern family with adventure and fun in complete safety and extravagance. Click here for full interactive itinerary

THE ROYAL ROMANCE

Africa is the continent of safari, wilderness and adventurous escapades but infused into all of this is an unmistakable and ancient romance. Iconic Africa’s Royal Romance combines the beauty, wilderness, adventure and pioneering excitement of Africa with four destinations that define supreme luxury permeated with complete privacy and opulent romance. Ellerman House is the definition of modern sophisticated living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the marvels of Cape Town all around. La Residence is the jewel of Franschoek – abject indulgence suspended in an impossibly beautiful valley of vineyards. Royal Malewane is impeccably tasteful grandeur surrounded by the majesty of the African wilderness. Royal Chundu is the ancient mystery and magic of the Zambezi in luxurious island seclusion. Click here for full interactive itinerary

LUXURY VIC FALLS & BOTSWANA

In the Luxury Vic Falls & Botswana Safari, Iconic Africa has created the ultimate safari for those wishing to explore Victoria Falls, one of the original natural wonders of the world, and Botswana’s unbelievable wildlife areas. The Elephant Camp –has breath-taking views of the Victoria Falls’ spray and the spectacular gorges which separate Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is a luxury, intimate lodge under canvas within easy reach of Victoria Falls and all its attractions and activities, yet secluded in its own private game reserve. Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero Lodge is situated in Chobe National Park which boasts the largest remaining population of the iconic African elephant. Botswana’s only fully serviced safari spa offers sweet repose in the heat of the midday. Selinda Camp is found in the Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana along the eastern banks of the Selinda Spillway, near the confluence of the Linyanti, Savute and Kwando Rivers. At the peak of the dry season, this concession boasts elephants by the thousands and regular sightings of the Selinda pack of African wild dogs.  Click here for full interactive itinerary

Selinda Explorers Camp

AFRICA’S LUXURY SAFARI CLASSIC

In Africa’s Luxury Safari Classic, Iconic Africa handpicks the quintessential essence of luxury southern Africa – the boutique opulence, the Out of Africa safari experience and the adventure of legend. The Cape Grace – in the heart of the world’s most beautiful city – is bountiful comfort while the city has natural beauty, gastronomic delight and heart-wrenching history in abundance. Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is a sumptuous safari in the world-famous Kruger National Park. The Royal Livingstone Hotel, on the banks of the mighty Zambezi, in the spray of the Victoria Falls is a luxurious launching pad for the natural spectacles and adventures of the falls.   Click here for full interactive itinerary

LUXURY EAST AFRICAN ADVENTURE

This tour as its name suggest is a grand tour of East Africa. From the colonial opulence of Hemingways Nairobi to the breathtaking views and exceptional service at Angama Mara, to the ultimate safari at Singita Faru Faru, to the pearly whites sands of andBeyond’s Mnemba Island Lodge in Zanzibar. Only the very best in East African hospitality, classic safari experiences, sumptuous luxury and unbelievable wildlife encounters await you.

JOHN’S PREMIER WINE & GOLF TOURS

Iconic Africa Director, John Holley’s three passions in life are golf, the bush and wine – 3 of life’s finest treats! He’s been lucky enough to spend much of his life dedicated to these 3 passions and exploring all that South Africa has to offer – which fortunately for him – is a great deal! He’s hand-picked his favourite destination and put them together for you here in his ultimate golf and wine safari. Explore the historical panorama route, the sensational Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park, the Mother City, the coastal town of Hermanus and the rolling hills in Franschhoek and George.  These will no doubt be some of the best 15 days of your life – and full of wine, wildlife and golf they will be! Click here for full interactive itinerary.

Premier Golf and Safari Tour Fancourt

Rwanda or Uganda for your gorilla safari?

“Spending time with these gorillas changed my life.” – Ellen Degeneres.

 

Global tourism has been mesmerised by this spell-bounding experience and we are already taking 2022 bookings! Availability is going fast! No wildlife adventure can compare with coming face-to-face with a wild gorilla – truly the ultimate wildlife experience. 

There are less than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the wild – with infants born only every 4 years. Half of these gorilla families are found deep in the forests of Rwanda and Uganda. Getting up close to these majestic giants can be physically challenging, expensive and daunting… but completely worth it! This awe-inspiring experience should be bumped to the top of your travel bucket list before it’s too late. 

So that leaves the question, where do you go to see these great silverback gorillas – Rwanda or Uganda?

Well, wherever you go, you will need to trek – up slippery paths, down narrow pathways, through muddy hills and thick vegetation. But as soon as you catch a glimpse of the first infant or family of gorillas, any exacerbation will fall void and you will feel nothing but joy as you see them groom each other and amble around. 

Safari trips to Rwanda and Uganda are becoming increasingly popular, especially among U.S. travellers, but the available numbers remain limited and are planned and booked almost 18 months in advance. Here are our top reasons to visit both Rwanda and Uganda for your ultimate gorilla safari:

Rwanda:

The vegetation is less dense in the Rwandan forests making sightings easier. 

Travel distances between places are short making road travel more pleasant and convenient. 

You have panoramic views of the volcanoes which are a sight to behold. 

The treks are shorter, despite the higher altitudes. 

You can visit the Dian Fossey Foundation. 

Travellers looking for the ultimate luxury accommodation nestled in the heart of the forest can look to book at Bisate Lodge or Singita Kwitonda. 

Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit with magnificent views and lush forests. 

Nyungwe Forest has over 100kms of trails and home to 13 different primates. 

Golden Monkey trekking adds an additional experience to your visit. 

Gorilla trekking is a sustainable operation that benefits local communities in Rwanda. 

Rwanda has better infrastructure. 

The permits required for trekking and luxury accommodation contribute to the sustainability of wildlife operations and communities. 

A mother and child, Titus Group, Bisate Lodge, Wilderness Safari, Rwanda

Freshly baked goods and Rwandan coffee make breakfast heartwarming, Bisate Lodge, Wilderness Safari, Rwanda
Traditional Dancers stir the mood, Bisate Lodge, Wilderness Safari, Rwanda

Mountain gorillas, Virunga Mountains, Rwanda

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

Uganda

Uganda is significantly more affordable than Rwanda – both with permits and accommodation.

There is a wider variety of accommodation from entry-level to luxury lodges.  

Trekking in Uganda can be challenging due to the frequent downpours, steep slopes and thick vegetation, but there are amazing chimp-trekking programs that make this adventure worthwhile. 

Experience interactions with the indigenous Batwa people in the Bwindi region. 

Gorilla trekking is a sustainable operation in Uganda as the public/private partnerships are designed to save endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda and benefit communities. 

Gorilla tracking permits bring in more than $1 million dollars a year. 

Expeditions have also contributed more than $1.18 million to transform Bwindi Community Hospital, reducing infant mortality by 50%.

Both Rwanda and Uganda offer great opportunities for gorilla trekking, and the choice often lies at the availability of permits – especially if you’re booking last minute. 

Both countries allow only 8 guests to visit a gorilla family per day and require guests to know their fitness level before deciding. If you’re looking for ultimate luxury accommodation, Rwanda would be the ideal destination. However, if you’re looking to experience the wonders of the mighty Silverback gorillas and other outdoor adventures on a smaller budget, Uganda is preferable as it has over half of the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas. 

Due to the huge demand for a safari & gorilla combo prices have increased and we have thus carefully crafted an incredible 7-night tour at a combination of our selected Sanctuary Retreats giving you a MASSIVE 33% saving! Read more here. 

Within Six Feet of Rhinos

Our very own Terri Abadi has just had yet another unforgettable, heart-stopping encounter at our precious Londolozi. This time she was up close to five magnificent rhinos… on foot!

For a sneak peek of this incredible experience watch the video below or read on for more.  

 

“Less than two weeks ago I was within six feet of five rhinos. But I wasn’t in a Land Rover, nor was I safely tucked away in a viewing hide. 

No, I was on foot, crouched motionless next to a Knobthorn acacia tree with my ranger, fervently hoping the wind didn’t swing, which would let the enormous pachyderms catch our scent. 

There was a cow with a horn of over a metre long, feeding peacefully next to her 4-month old calf. She could potentially be aggressive if startled. Right next to them were two sub-adult bulls, only a few years old and still not completely independent. Lastly came a young cow, also probably an offspring of the huge female.

Five of one of Africa’s most threatened species were at eye-level with us, calmly grazing, totally oblivious to our presence (their eyesight is particularly poor), and I have never felt more alive!

Encounters like these can literally be life-changing. Coming face to face with the wildest of Africa’s creatures whilst simultaneously accessing your own vulnerability is a powerful cocktail of sensory stimulation and emotion, which seldom leaves the viewer unmoved. 

There is an intangibility to the true African experience which only the initiated can truly claim to understand; to profess a connection with this most varied of continents is only possible after seeing with your own eyes, after having felt the bare African earth beneath your own feet and after having heard the lion’s roar in the night air with your own ears.

I know that each time I return to the continent that is my spiritual home I will be changed. I will experience things I could hardly have imagined and I will feel things that some search for their whole lives. Awe. Deep Humility. Belonging.

The Africa of old storybooks is the Africa that is still out there; the Africa I found myself immersed in when five rhinos moved past almost within touching distance, with nothing between us but a few strands of grass, and no noise in the evening air but the sound of their heavy breaths and the pounding of my heart in my own ears. 

This is the Africa of dreams. The Africa of romance and of adventure. The Africa that silently waits in the red sunset of each day as she calls with her tribal drumbeats, and the Africa we want to share with you…”

by Terri Abadi

 

4 Fun Activities for Kids on Safari

Are you worried about taking your kids on safari? Or wondering what they might get up to in the heart of the African bushveld?

Stop right there… and worry no longer! African safari lodges love having children and they do all sorts of fun activities to make sure your little treasures have the time of their lives. They will also make sure that your children not only learn about wildlife, nature and conservation and but learn to love them too.

Here are 4 fun activities that will keep your kids busy on safari:

Junior Rangers

Many of the South African lodges such as Londolozi and Tswalu devise junior ranger activities for the kids. Special “kiddie” safari gear is provided as well as educational books and quizzes. Kids are taught lots of interesting things about the bushveld, are given quizzes and at the end of the day be appointed official junior rangers!

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Treasure Hunts

Let your kids explore and really get to know their surroundings with a special African treasure hunt. Get them to look for and retrieve iconic African mementos such as feathers, porcupine quills, seedpods, bones and plants. Why not make it a competition and the first one to get everything on your list gets a special prize!

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Mini chefs

Luxury lodge chefs will often welcome children to spend time in the kitchen. Kids can play with dough and learn how to bake certain goodies all under the watchful and talented eye of the chef on duty.

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Fishing

For centuries fishing has been a fun pastime for children and today, in Africa…nothing has changed. If there is a river or a dam the lodge will have some basic fishing gear and a ranger can accompany the kids to the closest safe and kid friendly dam. See who comes back with the biggest fish!

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Iconic Africa looks forward to planning you and your family, the African Adventure of a lifetime! For 3 of our top rated Family Lodges click here.

 

 

 

 

Is James Hendry Married?

As we reflect on 2017 and share what and who we are grateful for – the good and the bad times, the funny moments, the people who have entered our lives and those who have left, it is our solemn duty to acknowledge and appreciate this week’s nomination by ladies all over the world and this month’s winner of Man Crush Monday!

Introducing… JAMES HENDRY – wildlife extraordinaire, ranger above all rangers, jack of all trades, and possibly master of all.

James Hendry has spent much of his time observing the human condition and the natural environment. However, many women would prefer to spend their time observing him – and his physical condition in his natural environment, the great outdoors and more specifically the African bushveld. What once began as a great incentive to visit luxury safari lodges has now culminated in to Google Searches and Facebook comments.

But Hendry is more than just a pretty face with what many refer to as ‘dry sarcastic wit’. While (and here we justifiably generalise) all women possibly (and should have) reacted to Hendry’s topless foot race against Brent Leo Smith with unintelligible shrieks, justice will descend upon us if we omit his intellectual charm, gentle ways and his unapologetic love for animals. He has both an Honours degree in science and Master’s degree in Human Development!

Dipping his toe in many waterholes, Hendry is a published author, musician, singer, guitar teacher, actor, Safari Live filmmaker/guide and music composer. Oh, and ‘the best safari guide’ (mostly according to women guests) and makes for good conversation too. Light-hearted and humourous, Hendry will either serenade you or charm you with some light banter. Like his comic fiction novel, he is a supernova. A zenith of intellect, charm, wit, and not forgetting, easy on the eyes. Hendry will cast a spell on all women’s hearts.

For eight years after Hendry moved to the wilderness, women were unsteady and likely to collapse as he worked as a safari guide, head ranger, guide trainer, land manager and lodge manager. And so we ask the question, “Is James Hendry married?” On behalf of all the single ladies who enjoy the African bush accompanied by the tranquillity, sounds, sunsets and sunrises as much as he does.

We thought we should let you know that our beloved James Hendry is in fact NOT married. For more on this stud of a man click here. 

#MCM #ManCrushMonday #JamesHendry #Safari #SafariLove #Wildlife #WildlifeLove #GreatOutdoors #Nature #NatureLover #AllRounder #SafariLive

10 Quick Tips on Wildlife Photo Editing

We had a chat to James Tyrrell, friend of Iconic Africa, ranger at Londolozi and budding wildlife photographer who took us through 10 quick tips on editing wildlife pictures.

Let’s not over complicate things… the objective here is simple! You want to recreate exactly what was in front of you at the time you pressed the shutter button so here are some helpful tips on how to do this:

  1. Lightroom is great for photo editing and is generally quicker and simpler than Photoshop
  2. When post-processing wildlife photographs the key is to keep as natural a look to the picture as possible.
  3. The best photos always tell a good story (this is ultimately what you want your photos to do!)
  4. Increasing vibrance and saturation a touch are generally a must when editing RAW images, but one has to be careful not to overdo it.
  5. With elephant or rhino, the detail in their skin is a wonderful thing to try and emphasize in a photo, so it’s often good to up the sharpness and clarity a little.
  6. Try to get your subject (animal) to pop a little more, which you can do by sharpening or lightening the subject slightly.
  7. When taking a full-body image of an animal try not to cut off the feet, tail, the horns or any other part of the body!
  8. In photos of big cats, whiskers are generally where you want to check if the image is sharp enough or not.
  9. With action photos, let the action speak for itself as any over-editing will detract from what’s happening.
  10. With evening pictures you want to keep colours as natural as possible while still emphasizing the warm glow of the sunset.

We hope these tips help even just a little! For a very basic introduction to Lightroom have a look at this easy-to-follow tutorial done by Londolozi.