Africa is a land of real magic - it exists in every living thing, around every corner you turn, and occupies even the most distant horizons. Africa abounds with mystical creatures, enchanted forests, and arguably the richest cultural diversity of any continent worldwide, and is still a land of ample opportunity - where authentically wild adventures and exploration are easily sought in each of her 54 countries.
There is a rawness to Africa that you’re unlikely to witness anywhere else in the world, and that’s what makes it the premier Safari destination on the planet. But there’s so much more to Africa than the in-your-face wildlife.
Rarely a person travels to Africa and doesn’t return home enraptured by the experiences they’ve had – it's a feeling where you’re transfixed so deeply it feels like Africa itself runs through your veins. Like, your life before can never be the same now its presence permeates your every thought, all day long. Your entire body ripples in goosebumps as you passionately re-tell stories of adventures on distant shores, to audiences hanging on every word... whether you’re describing the profound presence of a towering bull elephant, or the majesty of a thick-maned, scarred old Lion.
It’s especially difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t been to Africa how wonderfully eye-opening and life-changing an experience it can be – the only answer is to travel there and experience it for yourself.
But there’s something for everyone, no matter your passions and hobbies, life experiences and career choices, or love (or not) of world travel.
Africa is familiar to us all from a ripe young age. We learn African animal names and sounds when we’re first grasping words, and as you grow your parents read you bedtime stories and cycle through vibrant picture books bursting with stripes and spots, whiskers and tusks, tooth and claw.
For the readers among us it’s all about activating your imagination, recreating scenes of Africa straight from flowing fiction script you've read, into reality… like watching a Wilbur Smith epic come to life right in front of you.
For movie fans, those who love natural history documentaries and nature-based reality shows, it’s an opportunity to translate what you’ve seen in motion picture into what’s right before your eyes. When you make the connection that what you’ve seen on your screen is also standing there poignantly right before you, goosebumps spread across your body as you remember the story behind that scene flashing through your mind.
For artists and creatives Africa is a source of inspiration we regularly see reflected in modern-day and past cultures, across the globe. Its soft earthy hues and vivid sunsets, spectacular landscapes and majestic animals lend themselves to stirring recreations through oil and acrylic paints, across a sketch pad, in the verses of a song, lines of a poem, chapters in a book, colours in clothing, or scenes in a movie or television series.
For photographers - artists in their own right - naturally, there are endless photographic and video opportunities, around every bend in the road or trail you walk. But you don't have to be a photographer to appreciate Africa.
For the nature lovers, there’s no end to what Africa has to offer you. From a traditional Safari to a walking tour, overland trekking and climbing the Roof of Africa to joining an exploratory expedition, the opportunities are endless. You can capture it with camera, pen or paintbrush, or simply absorb it in your own way... regardless, you will be touched by the warm heart of Africa. This stuff is totally for the adventurers, explorers and pioneers among us.
For those that aspire to the legends, leaders and inspirational stories of Africa, you will likely walk in the shoes of your heroes - whether they be early explorers or tribal leaders, conservationists or big game hunters. Africa is steeped in human history, and our evolution here as Homo sapiens alone dates back over 60,000 years.
For human history and culture buffs can trace early hominid evolution from South Africa to the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, uncovering the complexity of cultural diversity and human interaction over thousands of years.
For businessmen and women, labourers and office workers. For best friends and families, there's an experience in Africa that will rival any you've had across the world.
And for the little kid in us all, Africa has always been there for us, and has everything and more for our curious, adventurous minds - it captured our hearts as little ones, and - if you let it - will exceed all your expectations at whatever time in your life you visit, from the moment you step off the plane until you're flying home again. Africa is the ultimate travel destination. If you haven't dreamed of her before, perhaps now you will.
I'm Shane, and I'm the Safari Leader, Nature Guide and Animal Tracker for RAW Worldwide. I'm also a Nature Photographer and Trainer for Shane
Ross Photography, the Founder-Director of both, and have a passion for writing, storytelling (as you can probably now tell) and for helping whoever I can have life-changes experiences in the
I've been visiting and travelling Africa for over five years now, almost full time, and after zig-zagging +100,000km across 11 countries with a goal to visit every
national park and wildlife reserve between Cape Town and Kenya (over 200 between 2015-2017), I founded my own specialist guiding venture in Africa in 2017 - now lovingly known as RAW
After an incredibly rewarding three years of guiding clients across Africa from 2017 to 2019, I've fine-tuned my 2020 (now 2021) tours to not only bring you the usual African guiding experience but also an elephant-load of extras, including teaching you how to track fresh spoor, read animal behaviour, discuss animal symbolism and connection to humans, and a suite of specific training, from photography to the mastery of campfire cooking. Bringing together the best of the best wildlife experiences Africa has to offer with the rustic beauty best provided by mobile safari glamping tours, I'll be leading Safaris through Botswana, Tanzania and a multi-country 21-day combo between April and October/November every year. Check out my tour dates for 2021 below, and full packages here.
*If you've ended up on this page but are more interested in viewing or purchasing my nature images, head to my new Shopify website at Shane Ross Photography, or scroll down on this page to buy my 2020 Calendar, or Caffiend prints currently on exhibition. If you're here to find out more about the African Safaris that I offer, you're in the right place.
Although things have been shaken up worldwide over the last month, we've still been busy at RAW Worldwide. Our Director has been working on several projects and collaborations since returning from Safari late last year, and while some will take more work yet there are others that are coming up soon.
The "I Heart Africa Project"
A passion project for New Zealand-based writing extraordinaire Nikki Lockwood, the I Heart Africa project is her baby - and involves composing stories from people who have travelled to or live in Africa and who have been captured by her beauty, into a book illustrating the various positives of this continent, and breaking all the misconceptions around it too. Her work will ultimately culminate in a non-fiction book set for publication later this year, though offshoot media includes a podcast and blog, all shared through the usual social media and podcast/blog avenues - but particularly on the www.iheartafricaproject.com website.
Our Director, Shane, was recently interviewed by Nikki for inclusion in the book (publication details will be shared later), as well as a myth-busting 2hr podcast about the fears and negative views on the safety and value of travelling to Africa. This podcast will go live on 4 April 2020 - details on how to listen in will be shared here soon.
Cairns Post Interview
Thanks to the interest and hard work of the wonderful team at Cairns' own Cairns Post Newspaper, our Director was also interviewed this week for a media release to be shared Saturday 4 April 2020. Click this link to read this short article (you do need a subscription, though you can get a free 28-day membership right now), but for now go pick yourselves up a hard copy, or visit the Cairns Post website www.cairnspost.com.au
Wet Tropics Photo Tour 2020
A collaboration between Brian "Rossy" Ross of Cockatours Cape York, Kimberley and Savannah Ecotours (Shane's brother) and RAW Worldwide, the Ross brothers led a Wet Tropics Full-Day Photography Tour with five keen photographers on 18 March 2020 - just before COVID-19 restrictions came into place. An excellent sojourn from the seriousness of the real world, our group of seven stopped at several locations throughout the Wet Tropics - namely in the Cairns and Atherton Tablelands regions, where various aspects of theory and practical photography were delivered to our group of enthusiastic and willing students. We jam-packed a hundred different camera techniques and photographic styles lessons into the day, and took in some of the most spectacular sites in Far North Queensland. More of these tours will be hosted once social and movement bans are lifted.
It's No Secret with Dr T. Podcast
In mid-March, our Director and Tyson Franklin, aka Dr T., chatted on the It's No Secret with Dr T. podcast about all things Africa, covering Shane's journey from growing up to how he ended up running his own Safaris in Africa, to more topical issues including misconceptions and the finer details of African travels. Due to recent changes in circumstances this podcast hasn't been released yet, though you can listen in to Tyson's other podcasts through his website www.tysonfranklin.com
Due to the worldwide ripple-effects of the COVID-19 virus, international travel has been drastically limited, borders closed and entry to most countries banned to foreigners as of March 2020. And apart from this short discussion, we won't speak of it again here - I prefer to keep things optimistic, looking at opportunities on the horizon and great times ahead.
It's a sad story, but as a result we've decided to postpone all 2020 Safaris until 2021, to ensure our clients remain safe; and also to prevent potentially impacting other nations with our own movements.
Although we have postponed all 2020 Safaris, everyone who booked with us has had the opportunity to reschedule their trip in 2021, at no additional costs. We've contacted you all personally, already. It hurts us as much as it must hurt you not to be travelling to Africa this year, but it's for the good of our communities, and the whole world, that we limit travels right now.
We won't be sitting idle over the next 12 months, however, and plan to come back bigger, better and stronger in 2021. We've already been in touch with our travel partners across Africa, and are reaching out to form new collaborations too - ensuring we build our Safaris into an even better experience than they already are... And they were a world-class product before.
We have shortlisted dates for next year, and will be posting those up soon. Keep an eye out for next year's dates here on www.RAW-worldwide.com, or on any of our social media pages.
Every year I produce an annual calendar, compiled from images taken during the previous year's Safaris across Africa.
This year's theme is "An Expedition Into Africa" and includes photos that will take you on a journey as though you're in Africa yourself.
Jam-packed with mostly baby animals from 2019's Safaris, this 2020 full-colour calendar is accompanied by cool facts and an animal noises activity per page for your little ones!
To buy now, go to the 2020 Calendar page.
Pre-orders of next year's 2021 Calendar will commence in October 2020.
One perk of having spent five years driving across Africa, and a lifetime of wilderness adventuring across Australia and the world before that, is that you learn all the accompanying skills and activities that best accompany any outdoor expedition.
Our Director purchased his first camera in 1995 at 11 years of age, and has been an enthusiastic nature photographer since.
He extended his knowledge and skill set in 2015 after purchasing an Olympus Pro-model E-M1 mirrorless camera... and built a portfolio of nature images now numbering over 100,000 photographs (and over 300 hours of wildlife footage).
Having been offered the opportunity to display his work at Caffiend on Grafton Street, Cairns, between early November 2019 and mid February 2020, he printed 11 bright nature photographs on premium floating frame canvases and displayed those for four months. Several sold, but each is still available as a limited edition print. If you would like to purchase one of these, head to the Caffiend Gallery page.
Shane Ross - African Safari Leader, Wildlife Photographer, Ecologist & Writer
From flex-itinerary expeditions to tailor-made tours, corporate events, private and photographic safaris, World-class Aussie nature guide Shane Ross will show you the way...
Phone: (+61) 0475 564 636
All images taken by Shane Ross. All Rights Reserved © Shane Ross 2020 | RAW Worldwide / Shane Ross Photography (ABN 92864915571).