As a photographer you might tend to pack big. This tripod and that monopod and that lens and this filter. Let yourself put all together and then look at it. How high is the mountain? Now leave it there for a couple of days and then go through it again with the question for every item, for what would I use it and how often would I be able to use it on photo safari? Some items will go out immediately others are doubt cases. Talk to people with experiences in safaris, reflect on how you use the equipment you have and how often you use the items now and how you could use it on safari. When you need to think about how you could use an equipment part on safari, it usually means that you won’t need it, otherwise the thought would not have come.
Now the mountain should only be a hill. Next step is to try and get it into your backpack. If it fits immediately, you are set. If it does not, another decision round might be necessary.
By doing that carefully and with time, you will have a relaxed African photographic safari with exactly what you need and no unnecessary kilos to carry around.
Earlier blog posts have focused already on the definition of a perfect photo and in all the cases the conclusion was, that a perfect photo is an image that appeals to you, an image you love. So why even think about how to get a perfect wildlife photo? Lets rephrase, how to get photos you love.
First reflect on you mindset. How do you want your photos to look like? Is that realistic and is it who you are?
Then reflect on what you would like to photograph on your African safari holiday. Are you going for the Big Five or rather for landscapes? This will determine the choice of your safari destination and make sure you get the photos you want.
Now you are on safari. Don’t stress yourself, just enjoy where you are, shoot away and don’t criticize yourself constantly. Just keep photographing and capturing what the bush has to offer you. Don’t get in negative spirals like today I want to see a leopard and if I don’t see a leopard it is all worthless and so on. Keep an open mind and welcome what nature wants to show you.
You are back at home and you look at your pictures. Don’t think too much. Just go through your images and mark the ones you love, the ones where your heart makes you stop and look. Put all of them in a folder and you will have a collection of your perfect wildlife photos.
A top-rated safari country has a great variety of safari circuits, offers safaris for all interests and budgets, has beach extensions, provides great wildlife sightings and has something nobody else has.
All that applies for example to Tanzania. It got its popular northern circuit with the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti and off the beaten track safaris in Selous and Ruaha. It has the Great Migration including the calving of the wildebeest and great wildlife viewing in the other parks. It got the best chimp tracking in Africa in Gombe and Mahale Mountains and fabulous beach extensions on Zanzibar. The only negative to say about Tanzania is, that it is not possible to put all that in one safari. One needs to come back and back to see it all, which is not an unpleasant thing to do.
Similar lists can be made for other destinations like Botswana and Kenya. Look out for them and find the African safari tour that includes all highlights you want to see.
Often guests who have never been to Africa ask the questions what animals they will see when visiting this or that national park. And it is very understandable that it is hard to imagine how it goes with the wildlife in Africa. Some might have the idea that lion and elephant are roaming through Johannesburg and others that Kruger National Park is an attraction park like Disney Land. Both are not the reality.
Kruger Park is 2/3 of the size of Belgium with wildlife roaming free. Visiting Kruger means that one has to find the animals first, but there is a good chance to see the Big Five, which are lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. It got a great diversity of wildlife and safari guests will see a lot from the very small like lizards to the really big like elephant. It is just not possible to tell in advance what you are going to see. It is nature, wild bush and there are no guarantees. Well, maybe one, it will be a great safari, as all wildlife is great and photographers will have fantastic opportunities to come home with great photos.
Be conscious that you are going into a wildlife area and enjoy what the safari has to offer you.
Imagine you are on safari in South Africa or Kenya or elsewhere and you do a wildlife photography course, but the course is not really a course in the sense of classroom style learning and exercises. It is rather learning while doing and the freedom to focus on what you really like to learn, all with a gentle and subtle guidance to make you arrive where you want with your wildlife photography learning journey.
And all that is called a wildlife photography experience, available for all photography lovers and photography enthusiasts to be.
The obvious answer to that question seems to be, the Internet. Just go and search for your perfect African safari and pages over pages of safari offers will roll out over your computer screen.
But that does not really help to find the perfect safari for you, neither for others. The most important step is to find out what makes a safari perfect for you. Sit down and brain storm with yourself. What do I want to see, what do I want to experience, what animals do I want to see and how do I want to travel. Read books, watch documentaries, talk to people, talk to your tour operator and get an idea of the available safari standards with regards to accommodation, game drives and transport. And most of all follow your heart. If all the books are saying you need to go to Kruger at that time of the year and not to the Serengeti, but you feel yourself drawn to the Serengeti, then go, even if it is rainy season. There will be a reason that you need to be there at that time and it might only be revealed when you get there. You might see the most amazing predator encounter and be the only vehicle at the sighting, because everybody else when to Kruger.
Safaris are certainly already by itself a best thing to do, but what is the best thing on safari? For some it’s the sundowner, the satisfying feeling after a day of adventure, watching the sunset with drink on a lovely place in the bush. For others it’s a lion sighting with a pride of 22 lion playing in the afternoon sun. And again for others it’s the crocodile kill on the Mara River.
It is very personal. And probably the best of a safari are the memories one takes home captured in beautiful pictures.