Art safaris are a new special-interest niche offered by a number of companies. The safaris allow guests to get creative while enjoying nature, and finding inspiration in it.

Art on safari with Mary-Anne Bartlett

Photo credit: Art Safari. Mary-Anne Bartlett, wildlife and travel artist.

Art Safari offers guests the chance to enjoy African wildlife while getting creative, with trips to Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and various other countries around the world.

Mary-Anne Bartlett, who is based in the UK, is the Founder of Art Safari. She says her first art safari was in 1999, and in 2003 she started running it as a company. She started Art Safari in Malawi, as that is where she has family roots. She soon found that guests wanted to experience different places, and so added additional countries to her tour offering.

Art Safari currently has 10 tutors accompanying her on about 20 trips a year, where photographers, writers and non-painters are welcome to join, while others paint and sketch.

Bartlett says the trip is for anyone, from amateurs to professionals, and encourages guests to just “start anywhere and see what happens”.

She says the tutors start with the basics for guests, beginning with the structure of the animal, right down to its skeleton in order for them to see how the animal moves, which will help translate into their art.

Art on safari at Segera Retreat

Photo credit: David Crookes. Stables arts display at Segera Retreat.

Segera Retreat in Laikipia, Kenya, recently hosted acclaimed conceptual artist, Hank Willis Thomas, as part of its ongoing Artist in Residence programme.

Thomas was at the camp from June 20 to July 5. He works with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He has exhibited at various international galleries, such as the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Guggenheim and the Whitney, to name a few.

Artwork by Hank Willis Thomas, titled ‘Raise up’.

“As the East African satellite of Zeitz MOCAA, Segera's Artist in Residence programme offers an extraordinary opportunity to engage directly with Africa's leading artists. Experiencing Segera's inspiring environment together, including shared meals, studio visits and talks, guests are able to learn first-hand about the artist's work, their research, studio practice and which current issues they're engaging in. It's an incredible opportunity to be in the presence of those creating the history of art of our time," commented Jens Kozany, General Manager of Segera Retreat.

Art on safari with Brent Dodd

The early-morning game drives afford the opportunity to stop and sketch under the guidance of landscape and wildlife artist, Brent Dodd, at Zebra Hills Safari Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal.

Back at the lodge, the studio environment allows each individual the chance to develop their sketches into paintings. Over the course of the five-day safari, guests can build up their portfolio while being introduced to new creative techniques suited to the outdoor environment.