15 December 2013

How to choose your African photographic safari


You might think you just go to the internet and leave through the tours like you do with the summer holiday catalogue for the Costa de Sol, but soon you will find out that there is more to it with African safaris than you thought.

The complex logistics, the remote locations, the different time concept and thinking in hours not in kilometers when talking about distances is of importance when choosing your African photographic safari destinations and routing. You might have the idea to see the best wildlife photography destinations within a two weeks holiday, but these wildlife areas are in different parts of Africa, making you spend a lot of time on planes and roads. Even if you want to combine “only” destinations in Southern Africa, be prepared for extensive and complicated travel between them. Rather stay within one area like Kruger Park, Botswana and Victoria Falls. Even visiting these three areas that look so close together means lots of flights, transfers and border crossing, but its still good to do.

Make sure when you choose your safari tour that you don’t loose too much time with travel. Use your days to be in the bush and not on transfers. You will also stand the chance to see better wildlife interaction when staying in one area for longer. Your wildlife photography will benefit from that.

Happy wildlife photography travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Want to photograph leopard on African safari?


Sure you want. The elusive leopard is a fascinating wildlife photography subject, not easy to see and not easy to photograph.

Leopards move fast, on the ground and in trees. The light changes with every step they make. Branches get in the way or he decides to decent from the tree just not where you positioned your game drive vehicle. Then he disappears in the high grass and the photo session is over. Waiting. Maybe he will not move for hours or when you thought you could go, suddenly he comes into action.

Staying with the animal is the only way to not miss anything and to be there when the action happens. Part of the game is that you are patient and tune in to the leopards way of life. But to be able to do all that you need to choose your
African photographic safari destination and accommodation carefully. You will need a private game reserve, preferably in the Sabi Sand in Kruger Park in South Africa. Additionally you will need a private game reserve that offers private vehicles and the flexibility to bring your lunch to you wherever you are in the bush and supports your quest. There are not many that fit that profile, but the ones that do all that are great. They even have a pedigree of all their leopards on the reserve and you will end up knowing all their names.

Inspired? Get ready for an exciting and fascinating African wildlife photography safari!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Create your perfect African photographic safari


As a photography lover you enjoy the creative process from thinking about a photo project to finding an inspiring photographic subject, taking the picture and making something stunning from it. Creating your perfect photographic African safari tour works just the same way.

As you go on safari you want to photograph wildlife. You want to see the Big Five and get the best photos of leopard and lion preferably in the golden light of a perfect morning game drive. Well, you know what your photo project and your photographic subjects are. Now you only need to take the picture or not? Yes, but in between you need to choose your African safari destination to get in the best position to take these pictures. Check out where the greatest wildlife photos were taken, inquire for the best game reserve with the best-qualified guides and game drives in that area and rather stay a day or two less to safe costs than taking less quality. Now go on your African photographic safari and take your pictures. Come home and make some awesome photo books, prints and gifts from them and have the photo project of a lifetime.

Sounds good? Happy creative wildlife photography snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Why on African photographic safari in South Africa?


There are many reasons to go on African photographic safari in South Africa, but the most important is probably the great wildlife experience the private game reserves offer.

As a wildlife photography lover you want to be up close with the Big 5 to get the best shots. You don’t want to get explained, that dot you see in the distance is a cheetah. You want to be where the cheetah is and private game reserves in Greater Kruger Park make that possible. They are ideal for photographic
African safari tours. The vehicles are allowed to go off road and they are equipped with a ranger and a tracker to find the animals for you.

It helps also that not many vehicles are allowed at sightings. There is nothing more annoying for a wildlife photographer than a dozen vehicles fighting for the best spot to photograph the lion cubs.

Overall you can say that a photographic African safari on private game reserves in Kruger means guaranteed great sightings and excellent conditions for photographers. It is a great plan to go there.

Happy wildlife photography snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

African photographic safari tours 2014: Botswana safari?


Any place in Africa is great for photography, but somehow the best place to be for wildlife photography is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The photos are clear, crisp and the colors are rich. The water in combination with the mineral rich soil makes the difference that changes the light.

Even if you don’t see big animals, the colors of the grass and papyrus, the flowers in the water and the dragonflies, little frogs and birds give such a pleasure to every photography enthusiast. Botswana is a must do
African photographic safari tour. You just get the picture quality that makes any photoshopping unnecessary. And of course they have lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, elephant and some species you only see in the delta.

As an extra excitement come the waterborne activities and it can feel a bit tricky to sit with your camera equipment in a mokoro (canoe made from a tree) knowing that any moment a hippo can pop up or an elephant can wade through the reed. But the photographic opportunities are just stunning.

Put it on your bucket list!

Happy wildlife photo snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Want to see lion on African safari?


This must sound like an open door; of course you want to see lion. That’s the reason you go on African safari. But what, if you booked your African safari tour not thinking of the best area to see them?

Don’t let it get that far. Tell your specialized safari tour operator what you want to see and that the lion are a must see for you. There is nowhere a guarantee as they are wild animals, but there are certain areas where you stand a very high chance to see them. Private game reserves and private concessions in national parks are the best choice. Their vehicles are usually allowed to go off road for the Big Cats and that can be crucial to see the cats you came for.

It is also good to stay in the area longer than only for two nights as the cats might like to hide for while due to weather or full moon. At least 3 nights would be good, 4 nights are great.

However keep in mind its nature. Stay relaxed when you haven’t seen them during the first two game drives. They might be just around the next bend.

Happy lion photo safari travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What to visit in the Eastern Cape during your African Safari holiday?


The Eastern Cape province of South Africa and especially a small village called Qunu are the news of the day with the state funeral for Nelson Mandela taking place today.

The remote location of the village does not help making it part of an African safari holiday to visit his grave. But there are safari options in the Eastern Cape that are worth bringing the visitor down there in the first place.

Several private game reserves and Addo Elephant National Park are situated in the Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown area. The big advantage of the area is, that it allows Big 5 malaria free safaris. The vegetation is very different from Kruger Park and it has a completely different look and feel.

From the Eastern Cape the holiday can be continued along the famous Garden Route and further to Cape Town. Only bring enough time, if you want to do the tour self-drive, otherwise use the domestic flights that are available for very good rates.

Happy safari holiday planning!

Ute Sonnenberg for
Image: Kwandwe Private Game Reserve