The name Big 5 comes from the hunt and includes rhino, buffalo, elephant, leopard and lion. They are the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot and the animals everyone wants to see on photographic safaris.
Not everybody has the time to go on safari for several days or even weeks, so the choice of the safari destination is crucial to see the Big 5 also during a short stay in the bush. Excellent destinations are the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Sabi Sand (Kruger National Park) in South Africa. In these areas it can even be possible to see them within one day, which is still lucky, but possible.
The animals are still wild and do their own thing, but because of the wildlife density and that they are used to the vehicles makes it easier to spot them.
Keep that in mind when you plan a wildlife photography safari, a holiday or an incentive and you have limited time. Especially the cats are what you really want to see as a photographer. They are just stunning.
Pretty much all safari destinations and lodges offer bush walks as complimentary activities and there are also several walking trails available where you explore the bush on foot.
This is a very different experience and demands a lot from wildlife photographers. The moment you leave the safari vehicle and set foot on the ground, you are entering the animals’ world and you will find yourself within their hierarchy. The plains game will run away from you and when you walk into elephants or lion they might charge you.
Do bush walks only with a professional guide. Be careful with the choice of the equipment you take with you. Everything becomes very heavy quickly and you should be light footed when walking in the bush. Don’t think you need to bring your entire photo backpack in case you would need a special lens. Take one camera with a zoom lens and rather put some water and food in the backpack to stay fit.
Watch your steps and dress according to the environment. You will feel very different from being on a vehicle and that will reflect in the images. Rather do a few bush walks to get used to it. When you start feeling comfortable on foot, your focus will be again on photography, allowing great images.
Try it and you will feel the difference. Seeing a leopard on foot is a completely different experience.
If you are not a fan of team buildings that make you do things you feel uncomfortable with, incentives with photography are probably the solutions.
Photography is gentle, playful and uniting. It inspires and opens minds, it makes friends and good colleagues and it doesn’t hurt or makes you do bungee jumping. Photography can be done anywhere without big costs and the benefits for the team are great. Well, if you want to push it a bit you can do team building safaris, but still they are comfortable and inspiring, aligning teams in an innovative way. Team buildings with wildlife photography are even calling in the support of the animals and learning is becomes only a joy. The benefits are long lasting through the strength of photography, which allows connecting on a deeper level.
Inspired? Ever thought of doing an unusual team building, an incentive with friends and family? It might be a great success.
Wildlife photography is not only confined to safaris in Kenya or South Africa. Wildlife is everywhere, in the countryside of your home country, in city parks and under water. There are plenty of great photographic opportunities and each got its own challenges.
Photographing from a safari vehicle is easy comparing with photographing under water, at least for myself. While a leopard moving in a tree can be a difficult, photographing moving fish and turtles under water is even more difficult. Not only your under water wildlife is moving, you are moving yourself, because you are pivoting in the water with actually nothing to hold on to be steady. Here one ends up very often with except for the water empty pictures.
One needs to be a really good diver to be a really good under water photographer to. Water needs to be really your element and honestly, I stick to the bush and the wildlife on land, enjoying every now and then the colorful under water world.
South Africa offers wildlife in many ways and watching whales even from shore is one of the magnificent wildlife sighting it offers.
On the southern coast from Cape Town all the way up to Durban different kinds of whales can be seen, either from the shore or from the boat during the winter months of the southern hemisphere starting in May and going until about November. The whales are moving away from their icy home Antarctica to calve and rear their offspring.
Hermanus in the Western Cape is also called the whale capitol of the world where you can see whales comfortably from your table on the terrace while having lunch. Personally I experienced once that a mother with her calf was in Camps Bay in Cape Town with people watching them just from the beach.
It is a special moment being so close to these gentle giants and photographers get so many opportunities to capture great images.
Keep that in mind when planning a trip and inquire for the best places to be for he best sightings.
We all became pretty good in planning our holidays through the Internet, creating our own itineraries and doing the bookings for the accommodations and flights ourselves.
When it comes to Africa this approach can go wrong. Recently somebody wanted a second opinion on a self-created itinerary for a South Africa holiday and the plan looked like that:
2 days Kruger Park safari 1 day Garden Route incl. drive to Cape Town 4 days Cape Town 1 day Victoria Falls (Zambia) 1 day Sun City (about 2 hours drive from Johannesburg)
They put all highlights into a 10 days itinerary including all driving. And this is just not working. The drive from Johannesburg to Kruger Park is about 6 hours and the drive from the Garden Route to Cape Town takes even longer.
The distances in Africa are often underestimated and guests get disappointed when booking such an itinerary and ending up only driving instead of enjoying the sights.
Take a close look at the distances you are going to cover when you plan a safari, wildlife photography trip or an incentive. It might sound so easy with all you want to see in a short trip, but it might be only stress when actually travelling. How can you experience wildlife areas when you are only there for one day?