Kubu Island is a landscape of immense character. In the heart of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana lies a remote oasis for any landscape photographer. Baobab trees dominate the landscape, surrounded by rocks and endless flat vistas of the Makgadikgadi. May is a great time to visit Kubu Island. Its post rainfall season, which allows for clear night skies, but also allows the chance for clouds adding drama to landscape and beautiful autumn colours. Standing on the edge of the island, gazing up at these giant Baobabs under a sky full of stars is an experience you will never forget.

Mark Dumbleton and Carl Smorenburg have a lot of experience in photographing this mysterious landscape, and will stop at no end to assist each of you in taking home special images of this special place. During this workshop we will go through the entire photographic process - from scouting a location, to composition visualisation, to photographing the dramatic scene in front of us. Be prepared for an adventurous style of photography on this workshop as we chase the light and explore the beautiful landscape of this magical place.

This workshop will be heavily focused on night photography (conditions permitting) as well as sunrise and sunset shooting. We have timed this workshop around new moon, so we are guaranteed the darkest night skies possible. Being purely a camping workshop in a very remote location, there will be no formal presentations during this workshop, as well as no post processing instruction. Non-photographic partners are welcome to join us on this trip, see below rate for bringing your partner along.

Join myself and Carl on this workshop, and take your landscape and night photography to a new level.

The Nocturnal

20-24 May, 2020


5 Days / 4 Nights

R8,290 ZAR per photographer
R2,290 ZAR per non-photographic partner

Easy (be general walking fit)

Rustic Camping (no showers or running water, only long drop toilets)
You will need to supply your own camping equipment, food and water

Mark Dumbleton (About Me)
Carl Smorenburg

Dramatic landscape photography
Exceptional night photography
Detailed salt pan abstracts
Beautiful Baobabs and Rock formations
Learn new photographic skills
Individual photographic attention
Two photographic guides

Please contact me should you have questions about this workshop.


Our plan is to all arrive at Kubu Island in Botswana on Wednesday 20 May, 2020 and set up camp before about 4pm. The camp sites are very big, so there is a lot of space for us to all camp together. You are welcome to also camp on your own if you wish for some privacy. Each day our photography shoots will depend entirely on the weather. We will aim to shoot each sunrise and sunset, as well as far into each evening, shooting star images. We will also get up early each morning for twilight opportunities. We do have a chance of clouds in May, so we have a good opportunity for some clouds in our sunset and sunrise images.

The trip runs from 20-24 May 2020, and the full days we are there, we can also do some exploring around Kubu, as well as into the pans (depending on the condition of them) and rest of the Makgadikgadi. If the pans are too wet, we may not be able to venture too far from Kubu, but Kubu has plenty to offer over the 4 nights we are there.

20 May 2020 - Arrive before 16:00. Explore and photograph Kubu Island
21 May 2020 - Explore and photograph Kubu Island & surrounds
22 May 2020 - Explore and photograph Kubu Island & surrounds
23 May 2020 - Explore and photograph Kubu Island & surrounds
24 May 2020 - Explore and photograph Kubu Island. Depart camp before sunrise. Most people like to leave very early this morning, and shoot sunrise en route back home before leaving the pans.

Mysterious Nocturnal Landscape
Looking Skyward
Pan Patterns
Essence of Life
Baobab Trio
Iconic Kubu



The fee of R8,290 ZAR for photographic clients includes expert personal photographic instruction and guidance, advice on capture techniques, thoughts on composition and location scouting by Mark Dumbleton and Carl Smorenburg. Kubu can be a tricky place to shoot for a newbie, but Carl and Mark have a lot of experience at Kubu Island and will take you to all the best spots at the best times. The cost also includes entrance fees into the Makgadikgadi, all camping fees and tourism levies. There will be ample time as well during the day for informal discussions relating to anything photography. For those interested in timelapse photography, Mark has a lot of experience in this field as well, so he can assist with any timelapse needs as well.

The fee of R2,290 ZAR for non-photographic partner includes entrance fees into the Makgadikgadi, all camping fees and tourism levies.


  • Camping Equipment

  • Transportation to and from Kubu Island, and between each photo session

  • Braai Wood (available at Kubu reception for 18 pula per bag)

  • All food and water. Please bring extra water if you wish to shower, as there are no shower facilities. There is absolutely no facilities at Kubu, no running water.

  • Border Fees

  • Formal processing instruction


  • At any time during the workshop you may choose to search for your own compositions away from other workshop participants. You do not need to stay with the group during sunrise / sunset sessions.

  • Mark and Carl will be taking photographs on the workshop, but only when each client has been attended to and is comfortable with their own shooting. The goal is to take you to these amazing locations and teach you how to photograph them.

  • We unfortunately cannot control the weather. Mark and Carl are not responsible for an unpleasant experience because of foul weather. The best will be done with the circumstances at hand to make the workshop as enjoyable for you as possible.

  • Good walking shoes are recommended. The distances we walk are very easily manageable but we do traverse tricky rocky sections and good foot protection will make a big difference to your experience.

  • It is not compulsory to attend each sunrise/sunset session, if you are feeling tired and would prefer to skip a session, this is perfectly acceptable.

  • This workshop caters to photographers who are comfortable with their cameras, and have a general amount of experience shooting in manual mode. Photographers should have a good understanding of the basics of photography. This workshop is geared to capturing the very best images as possible during our short time at Kubu Island, so it’s important to understand the basics of photography so we don’t waste time covering the very basics.

  • Non-photographic partners are allowed to join us for each photo session, but will not receive photographic attention.

  • There is a second Island about 10km from Kubu, called South Island. We will try get to this Island on the workshop too (dependent on the conditions of the pans and if we can cross them).

  • A 4x4 is not necessarily needed, but a high clearance vehicle is. A 4x4 is recommended however.

  • Mark and Carl will meet everyone in Letlhakane (small town in Botswana) before the workshop (optional) as this allows us to drive into the Makgadikgadi in convoy, to eliminate anyone getting lost or stuck. On the final day, we will drive out of the pans back to Lethlakane together.

  • No generators are advised for electricity

Please make sure to bring the following items with you on the workshop, as there are absolutely no facilities at Kubu… no electricity, no running water and no shops within 100km from camp…

  • Enough food, fuel and water for the entire trip. Please check border regulations about what food you can take across into Botswana.

  • Extra water should you wish to shower (you will need to bring your own shower)

  • Headlamp for pre-dawn and night walking

  • All camping gear and fridges

  • Camera Gear (see camera gear section below)

  • Adequate cold-weather clothing, including rain protection (but rain will be highly unlikely)

  • Good walking shoes, as we will traverse rocky sections

  • 12v volt power in your vehicle to charge camera batteries

  • Please bring fire-lighters if you wish to braai (wood is available at Kubu)

  • Spare vehicle tyres (recommended at least 2)


The camera gear required to get the best out of this workshop are as follows :

DSLR or Mirrorless Camera with good high ISO performance. Most latest cameras are good enough for star photography.
Fast aperture wide angle lens - 16-35 f/2.8 or 14-24 f/2.8 is perfect. A fast prime lens - 14 f/1.8, 20 f/1.8 or 24 f/1.4 are ideal.
70-200mm lens (not entirely needed, but handy for few telephoto shots
Circular Polariser and ND Filters
Torch / Headlamp / Led Lights for light painting at night
Spare camera batteries and memory cards
Micro fiber cloth
Camera cable release
Good camera backpack

You are welcome to also bring longer lenses, especially if you enjoy bird photography. There are many birds around camp that provide great opportunities.

Please also bring all of your filters if you have them. We will have good chance to use these.


To make a booking, please click the "Book for this workshop" button at the top of this page and enter in your details, alternatively email Mark at info@markdumbleton.com. A booking form and deposit request will be emailed to you. Once your booking form and payment have been received, your booking will be confirmed.

A 50% deposit is required to secure your booking. Final 50% payment required 60 days before departure. You are also welcome to pay in full upon booking if you so wish.

Please make yourself familiar with the workshop terms and conditions before making a booking.

Western Twilight
Botswana Beauty
Setting Light
The Baobab Way
Glow of Twilight
Between Night and Day