The perfect game drive vehicle on African photographic safari is an electric 4x4 Landrover. Surprised? Yes, something like that exists, although it is still in the testing phase.
The advantage of such a vehicle is not only the zero pollution while driving through the bush, it is also silent and therefore less intrusive to the wildlife. There will still be the breaking branches and crushing leaves, as the vehicle is not a cat, but that annoying noise of the engine is gone. Wildlife photographers on African safari can move almost noiseless through the bush and have more and better opportunities for great wildlife photos.
It might still take a while until the electric 4x4 jeep is advanced enough to replace the conventional 4x4s, but imagine how that will improve the African safari experience for all, not only the photographers.
Happy silent wildlife snapping! … with the sound of the shutter being louder than the vehicle.
You might wonder why you should look for photo inspiration before going on African safari, but it is very helpful for your wildlife photography.
Checking the right Africa photo books before going on photographic safari will not only make you wanting the perfect light, it will also train your eye for composition and that can be crucial for your wildlife images. We can train our eye by looking at the paintings of the old masters, training our eye in general for light and composition, but the bush is different and the same method will work well for the specifics of wildlife photography. Take for example Peter Beard and Michael Poliza. Look at their image and learn. Browse National Geographic and watch the BBC wildlife documentaries. The BBC’s photography is outstanding and you will learn framing your subjects.
You might have heard about sports people watching their sports executed by the best in their field to get better. It works just the same way. Our brain gets it and makes our hands and eyes do it. Benefit from it.
When you plan your African photographic safari you will come across many questions, from African safari destination related questions to wildlife photography specific questions and health and what to pack questions.
The Internet is always a good source to find answers, but it is often very helpful to have all questions and answers in one place, as you might not think yourself of other helpful information and would not ask the question. Here is the good old travel guide a very helpful tool with lots of practical information and good advice on the sights worth visiting.
What I haven’t seen so far is an African safari travel guide that covers travel information and detailed photographic advice. As far as it gets to that, are probably the still separate travel info and wildlife photography guide we put in the iBook store. Just search for Roho Ya Chui and you will find them. But as a comment of a reader of this blog said yesterday, it might be a good plan to produce just that comprehensive African Safari holiday and wildlife photography guide and make it available for free to the public.
Until then, keep in mind to also talk to people who have been on African photographic safari to get first hand advice. And look at the work of great wildlife photographers to prepare your eye for the light and subjects in the African bush.
There are many ways of going on African safari, but all include somehow photography. Some guests enjoy the most watching the animals and will snap only a bit when the Big 5 make their appearance, just to have proof for their family back home that they really saw them. Otherwise they enjoy nature, being outdoors and seeing the wildlife.
Then there are the photography lovers and advanced photography enthusiasts. They will have at least a bridge model digital camera and most likely a DSLR. These guests are experienced photography travellers, choosing their holiday destination with an eye on the photographic opportunities. But they might not have the equipment for great wildlife photography and they often don’t know, if their African safari holiday will be a once off or if they will come back. The question will be, should I buy that extra lens for the safari or not?
There is an easy answer to that question that makes life much easier. Some safari lodges offer professional photographic equipment, an ideal situation as one can try it out on safari and decide later, if it is worth buying it. It can be a bit challenging when you try to photograph the one leopard and you are not used to the camera, but it is great to have the opportunity to try out this amazing photo gear.
Ask when you plan you safari, if this is interesting for you.
When families go on African safari holiday it can be a concern how the children will like it. They cannot run around freely in the bush and play where they want. Being on 3 hours game drives can also be boring pretty quickly for a child when it is not allowed to jump, to stand up in the vehicle or to make any noise. The regular game drives on African safaris are something for older children. For that reason the lodges and camps have age limits for their game drives and allow children from the age of 6. For guests with a private vehicle it is different. They have the vehicle entirely for themselves and can customize the game drives to the needs of the children. But that comes at a cost. Yet there are more options for children on African safari holidays.
Many lodges have children programs. They often have lovely names like “cubs den” and offer play programs for the children, that involve the amazing environment they are in, the African bush. The parents can enjoy their game drives, knowing that the kids are looked after and that they have fun.
Really sought after are programs like “junior ranger” where children learn the bush basics and get even a certificate after passing their ranger exam. It is of educational value and it is lots of fun.
Most of the lodges do also have family suites to make sure the children are in the same little cottage as the parents, just for their safety. It is the trend of the last years to create better facilities for families on African safaris to make it easier for travelling as a family.
This might sound like a silly question, but it is far from that. The luggage allowances on light aircraft flight transfers to your African safari camps and lodges are pretty tight. And imagine you are traveling for 2 or even three weeks and you got 15 kg for all, inclusive hand luggage. Then the laundry service at the camps and lodes becomes essential.
The laundry service is usually very good. They collect your laundry in the morning and aim to have it back in your room the same evening. A delay can only occur when the weather is wet and it takes longer to dry, but usually they are really quick to serve also the guests that are staying only for 2 nights. Also the quality is good. You get back your t-shirts and shorts nice and clean and ironed. After your safari you wish to have the service at home.