27 October 2013

What clothes should I wear on African safari?


Planning your perfect African safari comes with practical questions. They go from what kind of safari accommodation works for me, what mode of transport is convenient, what health precautions do I need to take, what photo camera equipment to I need to bring to eventually what to wear on safari.

The choice of clothes for your
African safari is not the least concern. The choice is crucial to feel comfortable in all possible situations. Get information on the weather at your time of travel. In general it is good to work in layers, from t-shirt over fleece to light rain jacket or even warm jacket for winter in southern Africa. Mind the colors. Choose natural colors like khaki and beige. Flashy colors attract insects and scare off wildlife. Bring a sunhat and closed shoes for on the game drives and flip flops for in the camp. Choose the micro fiber fabrics for really hot areas and rainy times. They are light, very pleasant when its hot and dry very quickly when they get wet.

Don’t worry about evening clothes. On safari the safari outfit is good for everything. You only might like to change into something different once a day, just to feel different. And yes, bring your swimming costume. Most of the camps have a pool!
You can always go to a good safari outfitter. Their staff is usually very knowledgeable and they have the right clothes to feel comfortable on African safari holidays.

Happy safari travel and wildlife snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How can I practice for my African photographic safari at home


It often happens that African safari guests who are keen hobby photographers, experience some frustrations with their photos when they are in the bush. They are mostly experienced travel photographers, photograph a lot at home and are often a member of a photo club. Yet, they have their struggles, as the bush is different to anything else. It starts with the light, the circumstances of a game drive and ends with the speed of a big cat in a tree when the light is changing with every step.

Practicing photographing with the
African safari light at home will not be possible as the light is not there. But there are many other things that can be done to be prepared. There is lots of information available on the Internet where people share their experiences on photographic safaris about what went well, what were the problems and how they solved them or not. Lots of practical advice from experienced wildlife photographers is available on the net, look for it, read it and make use of it.

Practice a lot outdoor photography at home before you go on photographic safari. You will get used to photographing outdoors with natural light and under different weather conditions.

Practice photographing moving objects, like your cat or dog or horse. If you don’t have pets, go to a park where they walk and play or visit horse events or sports events. That will not only teach you photographing motion, but also patience, especially when you photograph cats.

When you have done all that you will be well prepared and ready to conquer the photographic challenges that could not be anticipated beforehand and to enjoy your African photographic safari adventure.

Happy wildlife snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What makes an African safari special?


People who have been on African safari say, that there is something special about it and that they want to come back again and again. What is it that makes people feel like that, what is it that gets under your skin and doesn’t let you go anymore?

Maybe it is that untamed nature, the free roaming wildlife, that driving a road and suddenly comes an elephant or looks a giraffe at you. That feeling of being part of all that, connected as we probably were thousands of years ago. Animals everywhere and not concrete and traffic, silence and real darkness, exposed to the elements and a fascinating way of living in comfortable safari camp in the middle of nowhere. Maybe the way we live when being on
African safari is the way we would naturally live, if there weren’t the demands of nowadays times. Maybe we feel like being back to our source and cannot get enough from drinking from it as it makes us strong and energetic.
However, there is a magic when standing on the same ground as the leopard 60 meters away from you, who decided to walk through your bush dinner arrangements, ignoring everyone just like cats do. It makes you feel real and it is almost touching that nature just accepts you as part of it and doesn’t mind that you usually sit indoors behind a computer.

Maybe that is also a reason people love to photograph a lot during safaris, to capture just that feeling and moment. As a guest said only recently, every time I see the pictures from my safari they make me smile.

Happy photo safari smiles.

Ute Sonnenberg for

Can my African safari accommodation be outside the park?


When you want to go on African safari to the Kruger National Park you will picture yourself in a lodge or safari camp inside the park. That is the desired accommodation as one is already in the bush, ready to depart on game drives. It is also very exciting to stay in an unfenced camp with the Big 5 around. Wildlife photography lovers will walk with their camera always ready to shoot and there is nothing nicer than watching elephants bathing in front of your veranda. But there can be a good reason to choose the accommodation outside the park. Budget.

The safari accommodations outside the park cost significant less than inside the park. In the example of Kruger Park there are plenty of guesthouses and hotels just a short drive away from park entrance gates. The downside to it is, that the drives go over tar roads and that there are no elephants bathing in the pool, but it saves money and the game drives are conducted inside the park with open 4x4 vehicles.

So, yes, you can stay in accommodation outside the park on
African safaris and it is still be a lovely safari holiday. By doing that you might give yourself a couple of extra days and maybe even a beach extension or a visit to Cape Town.

For photography enthusiasts the extra available budget might go into extra photography gear, to come home with even more beautiful wildlife images.

Happy photography safari travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What are Team Building Wildlife Photo Experiences


Team buildings can vary from a lunch outing over one-day adventure or game experiences to several day travel outings. The purpose is to connect and realign the team members for future goals, but also to reward the team for it’s hard and successful work.

Very pleasant, exciting and adventurous team building experiences are the wildlife photography
team buildings on African safari. The delegates visit top-rated African safari destinations and enjoy besides great game drives and fantastic wildlife sightings also guidance in wildlife photography, to make sure they go home with great images of their adventure. Everything is arranged and the delegates only need to focus on fun and leisure.

For teams that want to add extra value to their team building experience, the so called value added team buildings while being on safari are available.
On these team buildings outside-in perspectives for each team member and for the team as a whole are achieved. The viewfinder of the camera simulates an outside-in perspective of an external  mentor, yet the mentor are the team members themselves, but with a different perspective looking at their own team. This speeds up the learning process like a Silicon Valley incubator. Insular thinking and mindsets are busted; potentials are unearthed and tapped into and focus and goals are realigned. Once learned how to utilize photography for the team, it is a reliable, powerful and efficient tool, applicable in various work situations to continue the team building process also after the session is finished. The role of the team-building presenter is to guide the team members throughout the learning process and to enable them to maintain their achievements for long lasting benefits. And all that is placed in the setting of an African safari. The results are astonishing.

Photography is such an amazing tool, for fun and for learning and the African bush makes it even stronger.

Inspired? Happy team photography snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to find my perfect African safari for Christmas


It is less than two months to Christmas and if you start now planning your African safari for the festive season, you might have a problem.

Planning your perfect
African safari means that you have clear ideas what you want to experience, how you want your camp to look like and which safari destination you want to visit. You put lots of time and efforts into research and now your vision should become real. There is only one problem; you are late. Christmas is peak season and availabilities are tight. If you want your safari to be away from the crowds in the authentic setting of a small luxury tented camp you will have to adjust your expectations. The small camps and lodges are fully booked. You might find here and there a private mobile camping safari available, but that will come at a cost. Otherwise getting space at a bigger lodge is already luck.

So, what to do now? Which parts of your safari planning are flexible and less important? What do you really need to be happy on your African safari? If you are a photography lover you might find it important to have space and privacy on game drives and you can cope with accommodation at a bigger lodge. That opens the option for travelling with a private vehicle, using it also for the game drives and staying at a bigger lodge or camp, where you can easier find availabilities.

If you want to see certain sights like for example the Ngorongoro Crater, but the three lodges at its rim are fully booked, consider taking accommodation outside the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and drive into the park every day. That can be done easily, as there are accommodations available just a short drive away. The same method can be applied when the accommodations available inside the park are too pricy with their peak season rates.

Stick to the core of what is really important to you, the part that makes your safari perfect and try to be flexible with the rest.
If the adjustments work, go for it and have a magical Christmas in the bush. If not, postpone your trip, but probably not as long as to Christmas next year.

Happy wildlife Christmas snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to create my dream African safari


The times that an African safari was only a dream for many people have passed. Transport has become easy and airfares have become affordable. The African countries have developed and even self-drive is possible on a couple of top-rated safari destinations. The African safari dream can come true!

That does not mean all is easy now. While dreaming, so many dreams have evolved and so many destinations are desired, that panic can hit when the actual moment has come to go. How to put all the dreams into 2 weeks safari? When the available budget is high enough one could see all great wildlife areas in Southern and East Africa within the two weeks, just by flying everywhere, but it would not honor the great places at all. There needs to be time at every destination to really tune in and enjoy it. Choices need to be made. Go for the most recurring safari dream and start researching about the destination and the available options. Read, talk to people, search the Internet and often coincidents help to make the decision. The lodge that is just not available at your travel date or the flight connection that is fully booked. You might get help that way in your decision process and the choices that fall easy into place are most likely the ones that work best for your dream
African safari. Don’t try to fight them, embrace them. Use images from destinations, lodges and camps to reassure yourself in your decision. You look with your heart at the images, the same source as your dreams, so you will feel what the right choice is.

From there it is really easy. Book, go and enjoy. Live your African safari dream and get the pictures you always wanted.

Happy safari wildlife snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for