The Waves of Luphathana


This long weekend workshop is geared towards photographers with at least a basic understanding of their equipment, and who want to spend more time on growing their technique and photographic knowledge. To this end, several critique and feedback sessions have been built into the workshop where photographers are able to discuss the images they have shot during the workshop itself. Beginner photographers shouldn’t feel intimidated by this though. With a maximum guest attendance of only 6 photographers with 2 instructors, there is ample opportunity for on-on-one instruction. Along with the feedback sessions, there are also several ‘theory’ sessions: informal discussion style sessions were we discuss theory and technique before practicing in the field (examples include panoramic stitching, long-exposure technique, filter use, star-trails and night sky photography).

As mentioned, the workshop has a maximum guest attendance of 6 photographers. The workshop fee includes all meals, accommodation, drinks (within reason), park entrance fees, guide and workshop fees. Being a long weekend workshop as opposed to our expeditions, transport is not necessarily provided (but can be organised). Guests who are traveling to Luphathana can only reach the final destination in a four wheel drive vehicle.


28th February – 4th March 2023 (Completed)


R13,800 per person. (Includes Single Supplement)
Minimum 3 participants, maximum 6 participants.


Landscape Photography


Min 2, Max 8




5 days


Tents with en suite bathrooms, Rustic





  • Stars spinning over the jumbled rocks of Luphathana.
  • Magwa Falls and the iridescent tea plantation.
  • Wild Coast coastal scenery including ‘beach bum cows’.
  • Huge waves crashing against rocky cliffs under the dawn sky at Luphathana.
  • The incredible Waterfall Bluff and/or Cathedral Rock.


  • Being truly ‘off-grid’ where even the night sky has less visible ‘light’ pollution.
  • Spending time with like minded people in one of South Africa’s least visited but most rugged coastal areas.
  • Freshly caught crayfish and line-fish brought to camp on a daily basis.

Learn about: 

  • Creative Composition: The basics and beyond, such as The Element Approach, Balancing Composition etc.
  • Basics to advanced techniques in digital landscape photography. There are two instructors (on groups of 4-6 participants) meaning that virtually all levels of photographer can be catered for.
  • Workflow & digital asset management.
  • How to create awe-inspiring Astrophotography and star trail images.
  • Working with extreme long-exposure images.
  • How to create panoramic images.
  • How to create time lapses (optional)
  • How to photograph waterfalls effectively
  • How to photograph breaking waves and coastal scenes effectively
  • Post-production using Lightroom and Photo Shop

Emil regularly runs workshops and classes on Lightroom, Photoshop layers and masking and luminosity masking. These sessions will be included in the travel itinerary for those who want to spend more time on these aspects – so long as there is electricity.


What you will learn:

You don’t become a better photographer by buying more and more equipment, better cameras or bigger lenses. That you probably know. Better equipment doesn’t mean better technique! There is no better way to improve your photography skills than to be taught by someone that has more experience than you. And there is certainly no more fun way than to do just that at some of the world’s most iconic landscapes, together with a bunch of like-minded fellows! Moreover, technique and equipment can only get you so far, after that it is ‘creativity’ that will set you apart. Creativity is what allows someone to create captivating images, rather than an ordinary photo of a beautiful landscape. It is hard to learn to be creative yourself, and you don’t learn to think out of the box from an online course. Creativity develops when someone pushes you out of your comfort zone, while giving you practical tips and hints as to what options you have from a compositional point of view. And this is exactly what we do with you in the field. We wish to inspire you so you go home with great images and better photographic knowledge!

Not only do we try to develop your creativity, (pre)visualisation skills and composition whilst in the field, we also spend time in ‘classroom sessions’ where we are able to view images and discuss the philosophy and technique behind the image. At the start of the workshop the tutors will sit with each participant to find out individual wishes and expectations, and to see at what level they are. In between the morning, afternoon and evening/night shoots there will be lectures on topics of the participants’ choice. There will also be guided photo-editing sessions, and we have frequent informal comment & critique presentations where we discuss each other’s photos in a constructive and fun manner.

The big benefits of the Waves of Luphathana Workshop is that we’re staying at the very best locations possible for accessing the desired photogenic locations, regardless of their star rating or accommodation prices. This means that sometimes we have to stay in rustic chalets in the middle of the nature reserve, but on other days we stay in more upmarket bed and breakfasts when they are the closest (or only) accommodation that will give us access to the locations to photograph during the right times with the right light. We also organize permits to enable photographic shoots at the best possible time of the day.


DAY 1:
The Waves of Luphathana:

As it is, we spend our first afternoon at Luphuthana playing on the rock shelf and working with photographing the waves in the fading light. After dinner we have an early night as the following morning is another early start.

DAY 2:
Our first proper day of the workshop is dedicated to getting to know the immediate area, and getting comfortable with shooting around the rocks. There are dozens of shoot opportunities right at our doorstep. It also gives an opportunity to correct any software issues or technique issues before getting into the business of serious photographic locations. All the days are really quite flexible, but this first shooting day is for ironing out any kinks in the photographic workflow.

DAY 3:
An early 5:00am tea and coffee with rusks before we walk to the astounding Waterfall Bluff. This waterfall falls in a beautiful curve directly into the ocean. A small cove shelters this scene, allowing photographers amazing access to this beautiful landscape feature. We aim to reach Waterfall Bluff by sunrise so that photographers can take advantage of the soft predawn light. The walk itself is easy and takes approximately 40-50 minutes of slowish walking (it’s roughly 4km to the Bluff from Luphuthana).
After dawn, any photographers who would like to can continue to the dramatic and impressive Cathedral Rock. This takes approximately another hour to reach. Photographers not wanting to exert themselves too much can return to Luphuthana.
After lunch we spend the afternoon in guided editing and a feedback session followed by rest and dinner. Once the sun has set we make our way onto the rock shelf again to photograph the night sky superimposing dramatically flash lit waves against the Milky Way.

DAY 4:
For our last early morning rise we head out to explore Magwa Falls and Fraser Falls after a 5:00am start of the day with tea or coffee with rusks. Magwa Falls is an incredible, and often missed, waterfall that cascades 142m down into a narrow ravine. The unprotected edges make for nervousness, but viewing the Falls can be done safely (visiting Magwa Falls is one of the few spectacular waterfalls that are truly uncontrolled-no fences even- creating the sense that you are the first to view it).
After visiting Magwa Falls we stop by the impressive, but basically inaccessible Fraser Falls, before heading back to Luphuthana for some editing and a rest. Once we have had some lunch we have a short feedback session before heading out to the grasslands above Luphuthana. These rolling hills afford some beautiful opportunities to create abstract landscape compositions with solitary trees, or cattle grazing under an azure sky.
Once the sun has set we make our way back to camp for a restful evening by the fireside.

DAY 5:
Our last morning is spent once more photographing the waves on the rock shelf in front of Luphuthana. The early morning light and clouds (hopefully) come together to create a fantastic purple backdrop for the waves to be highlighted against. On top of this, being near the crashing water is a fantastic way to end this wonderful workshop on the Wild Coast.
Once we have had our breakfast and portered our equipment across the Luphuthana River we make our way back towards Durban and home.


This is an annual workshop.
The 2023 tour starts on the 24th of February and ends the 1st of March 2023


R13 800 per person.
Minimum 3 participants, maximum 4 participants.

Includes Single Supplement.

Guided Tour Includes:

  • All Lodging
  • Pickup and drop off from Durban International Airport
  • All meals and drinks for the duration of the workshop (Durban airport and back)
  • Local tips for guides and for restaurants
  • Photography guidance by one professional photographer
  • All tuition including teaching material and hand-outs
  • All entrance fees and photography permits
  • All toll and parking fees

Guided Tour Excludes:

  • Airfares to and from Durban International Airport
  • Non-meal time snacks if purchased on route
  • Possible extra excursions/activities and/or additional days
  • Travel insurances (mandatory!)
  • Photographic gear rental (if required)

Want to see pictures from previous years? Check out our blogs on Africa Geographic!