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How to prepare for a photo safari

Whether it’s your first wildlife photo safari or you’re a seasoned safari goer, don’t rely on luck to get the best photos, here’s how to prepare for a photo safari.

Hwange elephant

So if you’re going beyond the obvious to more remote destinations such as Zakouma National Park in Chad (awesome wildlife by the way!) Or to bucket list Botswana (loved by first timers). You’re there for the wildlife, probably the Big Five and cheetah and wild dog too if you’re lucky.

Here’s a check list - some hints and tips on how to prepare for a photo safari.

  • Zoom lens – for close ups you’re going to need a 300mm. Affordable and practical. A good safari guide will get you pretty close to wildlife so you should get some great pics with this lens.
  • Wide angle lens – best for dramatic landscapes of the Okavango Delta, Ngorongoro Crater and Maasai Mara. Especially if you’re in the right place at the right time and see a migration river crossing!
  • Compact or pocket size action camera – a good option if luggage space is limited (which if often is, especially if you’re doing a fly in safari to a remote camp such as the Hoanib Skeleton Coast )
  • Tripod or bean bag support - so if most of your safari is going to be spent in a 4 x 4, it’s unlikely you’re going to be getting out and setting up a tripod. So in our opinion you’re better off with a bean bag. And an empty on at that! simply fill with sand and it’s a hand support for your zoom lens.
  • We all need a little protection, whether it’s from the sun, rain or dust on a windswept plain. Your camera is no exception! So just as we’d apply sunscreen, remember to give your lens some protection too. Protective filters are readily available but it’s also worth getting a silicone rubber case for the camera body which includes a LCD cover for the lens. 
  • And finally - spare batteries  Yes it may sound obvious but you don’t want to get caught short in the bush. Don’t be that person who misses out on the elusive leopard or languishing lion because the camera’s lifeless.

How to prepare for a photo safari

So you’re all kitted out and ready to go…

Time to check out our top safaris for wildlife photographers.

A note about timing

Many photographers prefer the green season because there’s less dust, better light and dramatic skies. It’s also a great time to see birds in breeding plumage (so much more colourful) and it’s the breeding season for mammals and birds of every description!

But if you’re undecided on where to go,  unclear about what happens when or when’s the best time to see wildlife, just get in touch and one of our experienced Africa specialists will give you a call… they’ve been there, seen it and got the (Zambezi) t-shirt!!

Get in touch today…

(Images courtesy Tami Walker Photography and John Berry, featured image by Noel Smith.)