03 November 2013

Can I post my African safari images immediately?


We are so used to shoot away and immediately post our images to the various social media, that we want to do that also on holiday and also on African safari holidays.

In order to post your safari images on the go you need a cell phone signal. The Masai Mara in Kenya is very good with that and guests often take a photo at a cat sighting and send it immediately to the people back home to tease them. Whole conversations develop as the people back home want to know what’s going on and they can be part of the experience even when they are at the other end of the world.

But not all safari areas have a cell phone signal or not everywhere on the reserve. So the answer is yes, but it depends on where you are. Rather expect that it is not possible and be gladly surprised when it does work. Use the Internet at the lodge or camp to post your images. Although it is not right at the sighting, but still on safari and your friends and family will appreciate that they can be part of your holiday.

Happy wildlife snapping and sharing!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What camera should I bring on African safari?


The answer to this question depends on the photography you want to do. When you go on African safari to mainly enjoy watching the wildlife, but not really expecting great wildlife photography, a point and shoot camera is fine. It is small, easy, has a good zoom and allows nice pictures of your African safari holiday. It will struggle with certain light conditions and speed, but it is a good compromise, if you don’t really want to get into photography.

If you expect a bit more than holiday photos and you want to be able to cope with more complex light conditions, but don’t want to make the step to interchangeable lenses, a bridge model is the right camera to bring on safari. It got more functionality than a point and shoot camera and the zoom is also better.

If you aim on great wildlife photography a professional or semi-professional camera model is the right choice. Already the ISO options will help a great deal to get better results and features like fast focus point choice are essential for wildlife photography.

If you buy a new camera before you go on
African photographic safari, make sure you practice prior to your safari at home to get a routine in operating your camera.

Whatever your choice is, have fun!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Can I bring my iPad on African safari?


Travelling with the iPad has its advantages. The screen is bigger to search the map or the Internet or to check emails. It has also some practical benefits when being on African safari.

For photography enthusiasts it is a nice tool to upload images quickly to share them with fellow travellers, to reflect on the day and to empty your camera’s memory card. But be careful, there are only adapters for SD cards for iPad. Bigger memory cards would need more power and that does not work with the iPad.

Check before you go on your safari what exactly you can use your iPad for and rather bring a laptop when you want to work seriously with images.

Another great benefit of having the device with you is the possibility to look up information on the wildlife you are seeing and the area you are in. It can increase the educational value of your safari.

Make the best of the possibilities of modern technology and have more benefits from your travel experiences.

Happy photo safari travel!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How is Internet on African safari?


In the past this question would have had a simple answer, there is no Internet, but that has changed. Nowadays many safari lodges and camps have even Wi-Fi, but there are still camps that want to deliver the ultimate African safari experience without cell phone signal and without Internet.

Internet in safari camps and lodges is satellite based Internet and bandwidth is usually not very good. Recon that it is pretty slow when you try to use it at times when everybody is back from the game drive and wants to check the emails.

Some camps also charge for the Wi-Fi, often in packages of e.g. 30 minutes. They can be quickly gone when you have the bad luck of Internet rush hour and it is very slow. All he 5 star accommodations usually do not charge and offer Wi-Fi even in the room. Tented camps have the wireless usually in their main area.

Often cell phone signal is weak or instable. You can switch on your phone while you are on game drive (but set it on silent!) and while driving around there will be areas with good signal to fetch your messages and you can read them back in the camp.

Ask when you book your safari, if the lodge or camp has Internet, if you rely on it. Just to make sure you make the right choice.

Happy safari planning!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What is an African walking safari?


The first that comes to mind when hearing the word African safari are the images of 4x4 jeeps driving into the setting sun with guests having their photo cameras ready to photograph the incredible landscape or the Big Cat that hopefully turns up right in front of the sunset for the best of the year image.

That is one version of a safari, but there are more. Walking on
African safari is a very special way of exploring the bush and wildlife. One is not on game drives, but walks a bush trail and pitches tent every evening where the trail brought you. The luxury version of walking safaris is with a team pitching camp while you are still on your trail exploring the bush and making sure all is done with the shower ready when you arrive.

Walking in the bush means being part of the bush and wildlife will look at you as part of their hierarchy. That can lead to interesting encounters and is highly educational.

A walking safari for wildlife photography is not ideal as it is very tough to carry the heavy equipment through the bush, but a bush walk can also be done as part of a regular safari, just to get the feeling.

Happy safari walking!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What animal interactions can I book on my African safari?


Going on African safari means in the first place that you will be on game drives to see the wildlife in the African bush and if you are a photography enthusiast, to photograph the Big 5. You will be on the game drive vehicle, a 4x4 jeep, and the animals are roaming free in the wild and they are wild. If you would step out of the vehicle they would either run off or attack when they feel threatened. That is not the animal interaction this post is about.

As a part of your
African safari you can visit wildlife sanctuaries where you can learn about conservation and experience animal interactions. That can vary from an elephant ride to being with cheetah or endangered birds. The choice of the sanctuary should be made carefully as there are different levels in the commercialization of the experiences. Look out for the more conservation serious places where they mainly take care of injured animals and work with the endangered species.

It is of great educational value to learn about the wildlife, the efforts to protect it and the help you might be able to provide, and if its only by spreading the word through your images. And of course, it is fantastic to touch an elephant or even ride on one.

Happy wildlife conservation interaction!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How is Christmas on African safari?


Christmas in the northern hemisphere means winter, in many countries snow and cold, short days, candlelight, lots of food and time with the family. Celebrating Christmas on African safari means in many ways the same, being with the family, lots of food, candlelight, but very different weather and surroundings.

The bush lodges and camps do great efforts to make Christmas in the bush special. They often organize surprises like cultural dances, choirs and special menus. Candles are lit and the places are nicely decorated. It might sound like Christmas at home, but it is not the same. Celebrating Christmas in the middle of the African savanna, surrounded by the Big 5, with the sound of the bush while having your Christmas dinner is very different. For some it is the ultimate place to be for Christmas and others suddenly miss home, the snow and the cold. It is a deeply emotional experience and even the most skeptical admit that there is nothing to top a leopard calling in the surrounding bush while you enjoy your Christmas dinner.

Happy merry safari Christmas! Imagine the pictures!

Ute Sonnenberg for