KIRSTIN GERHARD VAN DE VYVER
Kirstin is one half of the Panthera partnership, having helped create the concept alongside soon-to-be husband, Lance. Growing up in South Africa, Kirstin’s childhood was spent exploring the Kruger National Park, which ignited her dream of becoming a Game Ranger. Not all little girls from Johannesburg wish to wear khaki and work with wild animals, but it was in Kirstin’s DNA and shortly after school she made a beeline for the bush and attained her Field Guide qualifications! Fate would have it, this is where she met Lance.
The pair moved to Tswalu Kalahari together in 2015 and Kirstin devoted her time to predator rehabilitation and the meerkat habituation programmes, solidifying her love for wildlife and giving her unique insight into the incredible desert-adapted predators so many people travel to see and photograph. During her time here, Kirstin rehabilitated, cared for, tracked, studied and released various animals into the wild. These included species such as cheetah, brown hyena and a pack of wild dogs, securing a lifelong connection with these remarkable, endangered animals.
Now living on the doorstep of the Greater Kruger National Park, Kirstin’s career has aligned with her passion for photographic safaris. Over three years, she’s hosted many guests at the world famous Djuma Game Reserve which engaged her love for photographing big cats and gave her an expert understanding of the unique needs of photographic guests.
She and Lance streamlined the concept and ultimately established Panthera Photo Safaris – a lovechild, second only to their feline family members, Peanut and Pickle.
LANCE VAN DE VYVER
In 2012, Lance landed in South Africa from New Zealand, smiling. After a lifetime spending school holidays in the African bush, he had already met and fallen in love with the wildlife and nature of this great continent, and it was a dream of his to move and establish a life and career on African soil.
12 Years ago, he took the plunge and became a qualified Field Guide, kickstarting his safari journey and leading him to Kirstin, who shared his dream for life on the wild side. Long before becoming a guide, Lance loved photography, so it was only natural that his two passions collided. His lens became a tool for capturing what he loved most about being in the bush, and it wasn’t long before his work was acknowledged and awarded by publications and prestigious photography houses, globally.
Lance’s photograph of a lion and a pangolin, taken during his guiding career at Tswalu, was named one of the top 100 photographs in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, 2016, and overall winner in 2020’s Wilderness Safaris Photo Competition. Not only is this photograph a personal reminder of an incredible sighting in the specialised habitat of the Kalahari, but it signifies the power photography has to create impact.
This catalysed Lance’s focus on photographic safaris to be able to guide and coach wildlife lovers from across the world in the places that stir his soul. After Tswalu, he took the opportunities to work as a dedicated photographic guide within South Africa’s biggest wildlife territories, and on global expeditions to India and Brazil’s Pantanal. In 2021, hand in hand with Kirstin, he launched Panthera Photo Safaris, combining their shared industry experience and impassioned expertise.
Wilderness Safaris Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards 2020 – Winner
NZIPP Awards 2020 – Gold
NZIPP Awards 2020 – Silver with Distinction
NZIPP Awards 2020 – Silver
NZIPP Awards 2020 – Silver
Windland Smith Rice International awards 2018 – Highly Honoured
Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards
Black and White Finalist
NZIPP Awards 2017 – Silver with Distinction
NZIPP Awards 2017 – Silver
D-Photo Awards 2013 Travel Category – Winner
Africa Geographic Birding Competition 2013 – Winner
D-Photo Amateur Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 - Winner
Why choose Panthera Photo Safaris?
We offer fair and completely transparent pricing. Our rates are no more than booking direct with the lodges, but come with the advantage of all additional services and logistics included in your itinerary.