21 Ultimate Gifts 2013: African Exposure
A 14-night photo safari at Wilderness Collection properties in Botswana, Kenya, the Republic of the Congo, and the Seychelles, led by the renowned wildlife photographer Michael Poliza.
A personal collection of Hasselblad digital cameras with accompanying lenses, including the as-yet-unreleased Victor
A VIP tour of the Victor Hasselblad Foundation and the Hasselblad factory in Gothenburg, Sweden, with the company’s CEO, Ian Rawcliff, and president, Michael Hejtmanek.
Accommodations at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm for one night.
Round-trip private air transportation from the recipient’s home city to Gothenburg, Sweden, and throughout Africa.
Over the last decade, the German photographer Michael Poliza has captured striking wildlife images—a giraffe gingerly splaying its legs to bend for a drink of water, a lion cub pensively gripping a tree branch, a crocodile swallowing a zebra leg whole—on his many safaris throughout Africa. His massive tomes filled with hundreds of vibrant images have helped redefine nature photography, presenting wildlife as art
rather than documentary and pioneering the age of digital photography in the process. Now the photographer has joined forces with the Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad, as well as the Botswana-based tour operator Wilderness, to take one Robb Report reader and a guest on an unrivaled photo safari through Africa.
Organized by the UK-based travel group MGMT in conjunction with Michael Poliza Private Travel, the trip begins at Hasselblad’s factory in Gothenburg, Sweden. Following a tour led by the company’s CEO, Ian Rawcliff, and president, Michael Hejtmanek, the gift recipient and one guest will each receive an exclusive collection of Hasselblad’s latest digital equipment, including the recently released Stellar point-and-shoot camera, the customizable Lunar compact-system camera, and the company’s as-yet-unreleased digital single-lens-reflex (DSLR) camera, the Victor Hasselblad 1. Scheduled to debut next year, the Victor is Hasselblad’s first 35 mm DSLR, featuring a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor and high-definition video recording. The recipient and guest will be the first consumers to own the DSLR and the first to collaborate personally with Hasselblad’s designers in customizing the Lunar. The Victor and Lunar models will also come with an arsenal of lenses, including telephoto lenses suited for wildlife photography.
The journey continues with a 14-night African odyssey to Wilderness’s four top-tier Collection properties, during which the travelers will have the opportunity to photograph the continent’s most spectacular creatures under the tutelage of Poliza. The experience begins in Johannesburg, where the recipient and guest will join Poliza aboard a private Pilatus PC-12 aircraft headed for Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Here, the six-tent Abu Camp will serve as a home base for four nights while the travelers explore the region on elephant-back. From there, the group will spend three nights at Odzala, a two-lodge camp in the Republic of the Congo that provides unrivaled access to the Odzala-Kokoua rain forest’s population of western lowland gorillas. For the following three nights, the guests will head to northern Kenya’s Segera Retreat, an eight-villa, resort-style lodge set amid 50,000 private acres of the wildlife-rich Laikipia Plateau. The travelers will end their journey in the lap of luxury with four nights at the Seychelles’ North Island, a private-island resort that is home to giant tortoises and such endangered species as the Seychelles magpie robin and the black paradise flycatcher.
Throughout the safari, Poliza—who began his career photographing animals at various Wilderness camps—will offer insight and expertise on each region’s wildlife and landscapes. He will also tailor each day’s excursions to the travelers’ interests, scheduling helicopter flights and overnight camping trips to maximize exposure to game and hard-to-reach locales. “I have discovered some amazing places over the years that can only be reached by helicopter,” Poliza says. “In northern Kenya, there are places like Lake Bogoria, where you can see millions of flamingos, and Silali Crater, where we like to have our morning coffee sitting on the crater’s edge, that just blow people away.”
Of course, Poliza will also share his secrets for getting the perfect shot—though he admits that wildlife photography often comes down to luck and patience. “You are really depending on little gifts from nature when you are shooting in the wild,” he says. “Some of these moments may last a half a second or less, and you can’t ask for a redo. But when luck meets preparation, the right equipment, and the right eye, the results can be incredible.”
THIS GIFT MUST BE PURCHASED BY JANUARY 20, 2014, TO ENSURE THAT THE RECIPIENT WILL BE THE LAUNCH CUSTOMER OF THE VICTOR HASSELBLAD 1. THE TIMING OF THE TRAVEL IS SUBJECT TO MICHAEL POLIZA’S AVAILABILITY.