Its a lot of money for most photographers (who like to spend a great deal of time in the bush) to spend $1500 a night to visit a game lodge — and there are some lodges in prime areas that will charge twice that.
I think that many photographers will find it of interest to know that there are very good deals to be had at game lodges if you are flexible about when you travel. I am a huge proponent of the “green season” which is usually from December to May — a time when few people seem to travel. This is when the migrant birds are around, the air is clear and there are flowers and insects aplenty. I just have to look back through my photographic library and its so often these shots with their moody skies that create the most interest. Many lodges offer good rates at this time.
Another thing to consider are last minute specials. If you are flexible and are prepared to travel at fairly last minute notice there are often very good deals to be had. As a tour operator specialising in photographic tours I am often notified of these offers. So if you are thinking of visiting Africa three months from now and want to look at your options let me know. As a registered tour operator, I can get better rates than Joe Public so even if I get paid something to act as your agent you will not pay any extra.
If you want me to travel with you as a photographic guide that would be wonderful too presuming I am not already on the road. With 3 or 4 people in a group the costs of having a guide are not usually very steep and its much less expensive to get a private vehicle.