African Safari blog

How to Have the Best Photographic Safari Possible


viewing elephants while on safari to south africa from australia

Going on safari in Africa is definitely a once in a lifetime experience! Therefore make sure you prepare yourself with the right photographic equipment and knowledge for your authentic African experience. Here are a few tips for achieving outstanding African safari photos you’ll cherish for years to come.

Get the Right Safari Photography Gear

Keeping in mind that you may need to travel light due to weight restrictions at airports, below are some suggestions on bringing the right African photo safari equipment.

Safari Photography Essentials

  • Camera: Consider taking two good DSLR bodies, with one acting as a backup (a standard practice for pro photographers).
  • Lenses: Take a good selection. Telephoto lenses for distance shots, wide angle lenses for nearer subjects, and macro lenses for up close and personal. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to use each.
  • Batteries: Always have charged spares, and make sure you can last a full day of taking photos in the wild. (Most lodges will make it possible for you to recharge back at camp, but you may need an international power adapter.)
  • Memory: Lots of this too (e.g. SD cards). Remember, you’ll be taking hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of shots.
  • Camera Bag: Get something light but sturdy for your essentials, while being as dustproof and weatherproof as possible.
  • Tripod: Also get something light, but sturdy and reliable, with a good zipper bag to protect against dust.

Additional Items

If you have the room, consider taking the following:

  • A shooting vest to keep your gear close at hand while keeping it safe.
  • A laptop (maybe just a small one), or tablet, with portable hard drive(s) for transferring and backing up photos.
  • A video camera (although DSLRs take video, more compact options are available).
  • Teleconverters (for extending telephoto lens zoom) and/or extension tubes (for enhancing macro lens magnification).

Improve Your Camera Skills

Although there’s no need to be a pro to capture some stunning shots, you might find it worth your while to sharpen your camera skills in order to make the most of your subject matter while on safari.

For instance, do you only know how to use the automatic modes on your DSLR? Try branching out into aperture priority or shutter priority modes. Already familiar with those? Consider giving manual mode a try, and choose the settings yourself. You might just find it’s not as hard as you think.

For instance, Youtube is chock full of free videos on how to take superb wildlife shots, and there are plenty of other free online resources. A couple of hours spent upskilling could lead to vastly improved images.

Anticipate and Prepare for Opportunities

Consider in advance the locations, wildlife, and environments you will encounter on safari. Will you visit the sweeping savannah of the Masai Mara? The watery channels of the Okavango Delta? The lush greenery of the Ngorongoro Crater? The otherworldly red dunes of Sossusvlei? Or will you stand before the mighty Victoria Falls?

Will you be photographing elephants, or cheetahs? Flamingos or falcons? Gorillas or giraffes?

Will it be day shoots, or night? Will you be shooting from a vehicle or on foot? Will you be on the ground, or in a hot air balloon? Or will you even take a visit to one of the local villages and spend time with the tribespeople there?

Consider beforehand the distance from your subject, the lighting conditions, the speed at which your subject will be moving, and where you want the focus and depth of field to be.

Sure, it’s not possible to anticipate everything. However, if you work out even some of this in advance, you’ll be well prepared to take advantage of the frequent but fleeting opportunities that pop up along your way. Remember, when it comes to wildlife photography, timing is almost everything.

Bring Your Patience

Good things come to those who wait, including outstanding photographs.

Although part of your safari experience will include relying on your guide to track down wildlife so that you can take shots from your vehicle, sometimes even more intimate shots can be taken at waterholes where animals congregate, from private decks at your lodge, and from hidden shelters where wildlife can get surprisingly (and thrillingly!) close.

In all cases, however, there will be times where you’re just waiting, wondering where the next shot will come from, and maybe even wondering if it will come at all. And then, you will be surrounded in the true splendour of the African wilderness, beset with moments of grandeur where all your preparations will have been more than worth your while.

A Word on Our African Photo Safaris

Destinations Africa is an Australian-based, specialist African safari company that knows how important good photos are for supplementing that safari expedition of a lifetime. Included among the many benefits of our service is the guarantee that our tours will always provide excellent support for your photographic adventures.

For example, our safari vehicles are capped to six tour members at a time, and include tiered seating, meaning everyone is able to get a fantastic view of the landscape. Unlike some other tour operators, we are committed to your personal space and comfort – you will never be cramped, never be overcrowded. Our guides are also second to none, and are equipped to ensure your safari photo experience includes the best chance of finding wildlife and taking superb shots.

Interested in going on one of our best African photo safari tours? Why not request a personalised itinerary and visit one of our glorious safari destinations? Enjoy one of the best photographic safaris around and experience the Destinations Africa difference!


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